Housesitting around the world sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
It is! However, lots of people are interested in housesitting opportunities. Many competing for housesitting jobs can offer skills and experience that younger people sometimes don’t have. Not to worry! If you implement the following housesitting tips and wisdom, you’ll be stride-for-stride with the competition.
Benefits of Housesitting
Housesitting is a Long Term Travel Linchpin!
Many people first start wondering, “How do I become a housesitter?!” when they realize housesitting jobs are a way to live without accommodation costs.
As someone who has been housesitting for months at a time over the past decade, I cite accommodation savings as one of my favorite things about housesitting around the world.
(There are costs involved, though. More on that in the next section.)
Wanderlust makes it difficult to make a multi-year commitment to an animal. Housesitting jobs are an awesome way to have pets in your life, without losing the ability to travel around the world.
Off the Beaten Path
Some of my best travel experiences and memories have been in communities unknown to the tourist circuit.
Many housesitting jobs will be in wonderful places that you’ll never read about in any guidebook, but are still super fun and rewarding to explore!
There’s something about the intimacy of experiencing someone else’s space that draws people together.
I’m still in touch with and have great admiration for many of the homeowners for whom I’ve done housesitting jobs!
Try Before You Buy
Chances are you haven’t made any big investments in furniture, appliances, household electronics, etc. Maybe you never will!
However, if you’re on the road to homeownership, housesitting jobs are a pretty cool way to really experience different fridges, stoves, furniture, sinks, televisions, security systems, etc.
For example, it’s better to find out you actually hate center-opening fridges during one of your long term housesitting jobs... instead of two months after you bought your own!
Or maybe you thought you’d love modern furniture… until you sat on it for several weeks.
It's perfect to experience different ways of living
Being a house-sitter is also a great way to discover different ways of life.
Perhaps you have dreamed of living in the country for years, and a home-sitting job away from the city will make you realize that rural life is not what you imagined?
Or maybe you've been dreaming of having a pool or a spa, and when you've had to maintain it, you'll decide that it's not worth the effort...
Must-have considerations and tips for Millennials and Gen Z
Housesitting is Competitive
The idea of free rent in exchange for housesitting is alluring. Homeowners are flooded with applications within hours of posting their housesitting jobs.
You have to stand out among the crowd. Think of it like a job or dating.
You’re asking someone to take a big chance on you without really knowing much about you. Follow the housesitting profile tips below to start off on the right foot. Follow the communication tips to seal the deal!
Housesitting Skills are Real
It’s statistically true that Millennials and GenZs have a lower of a chance of being chosen for housesitting jobs.
Homeowners want to be confident the person housesitting for them has enough life experience to deal respectfully, efficiently, and responsibly with their home. Housesitters who have lived through multiple home issues and experienced various home systems are a real bonus in a homeowner’s eyes.
Assess your skill set honestly. Housesitting jobs require taking care of someone’s home (and usually pets) - a big responsibility! If you realize you need to grow your knowledge base, consider work exchanging or letting local friends know you’d love to build your references by housesitting for them.
Go ahead! Jot down the skills you have (or the skills you’d like to get!) that pair well with housesitting duties.
Housesitting is an Exchange
While you’re getting free rent in exchange for housesitting, homeowners are getting a human who is willing to come live their lives for them.
It’s important to be service-minded, but don’t forget homeowners aren’t the only ones with something to give. Respect and be aware of your needs and make sure they’re getting met.
Ben Harris - a 26 year-old housesitter - realized just how much he was also sacrificing after arriving in Milan once and thinking, "What the hell am I doing? I just flew halfway across the world so I can take care of a cat." He said it’s a feeling that comes and goes. I agree. Although I give up some autonomy, I mostly love housesitting!
Housesitting Comes with Responsibilities
It’s easy to get lost in the fantasy of yourself in the lap of luxury... sleeping until noon in uber comfortable beds, basking in the French sunshine by the pool with a glass of champagne, delighting in local cafes and shops…
In reality, at most housesits I’m up fairly early in the morning with the pets. I’m outside watering, writing emails and sending photo updates to homeowners, doing property maintenance... and then spending 20 minutes looking for a cheese grater or corkscrew!
One of the “costs” of housesitting is that you don’t get to spend every second of your time on personal wants, needs, or tasks.
You’re also responsible for knowing what to do in case of emergencies.
Housesitting Feels Risky for Some Homeowners
A home is an investment. A big one. Trusting such a huge investment to a stranger can be hard for some people.
Pets are family and loved dearly. Trusting loved ones to a stranger can be difficult.
For many homeowners, it’s been a long time since they’ve been the current age of Millennials or Gen Zs. Because people are easily comfortable with what they know, some might feel less comfortable with younger housesitters.
Follow the housesitting profile tips and the communication tips below to anticipate the concerns homeowners might have - both in general and about you as a sitter.
Respect that trusting strangers with precious pets and one’s home can be scary for some homeowners!
Acceptez et respectez le fait que confier sa maison et des animaux qu'il aime peut être angoissant pour un propriétaire !
Housesitting Requires Transparency
Homeowners may not have experience with the lifestyle you have that enables you to do housesitting jobs. Be ready for their curiosity!
They may also have genuine concerns about your ability to be financially responsible for yourself. My experience with many non-nomadic folks is that they can have a hard time wrapping their brain around anything but the settled, 9-to-5 life.
Some housesitters report being regularly asked by homeowners about their financial lives. Know what you’ll say in response to this sort of query. Know where your boundary is between need-to-know and personal privacy.
Being Chosen is Just the Beginning
Once you’ve agreed to a sit, the real work of house sitting begins.
To be an exceptional house sitter, you need to anticipate homeowner’s needs and meet them. You need to communicate at a pre-established interval.
I keep a daily journal, writing down anything of interest or concern as soon as it happens. I snap photos the minute I think of them... pets, possible home issues, something neat happening on the property like a flower blooming, a wild animal visiting, etc. I summarize my journal for homeowners at whatever their preferred interval is. For some, that’s daily!
Not All Housesitting Jobs are Good
Yes, the housesitting world is competitive. However, caving to the temptation to accept housesitting jobs that you don’t actually feel comfortable with is a set up for a fiasco.
Follow your instincts. Don’t push yourself into a housesitting job with an owner or property that doesn’t feel right. Remember to know and respect your needs & the homeowner’s needs, or you’ll end up with bad experiences and bad reviews!
For more on costs involved in house sitting and how to best use platforms, check out my free housesitting guide.
Housesitting Profile Tips & Competitive Communication
Housesitting Profile Tips
You wouldn’t believe how many poorly written housesitting profiles there are out there! You’ll leap ahead of half your competition just by doing well in this area.
- Have at least one profile picture! Homeowners want to see you in action. Include photos of yourself loving animals and doing other housesitting duties.
- List your relevant skills. Your profile shouldn’t be about you. It should be about why you make a great housesitter. Do you have home maintenance experience? Ever lived off-grid? Have taken care of exotic pets? Love long walks with dogs? Adore cuddling kitties?
- Highlight unique resources. Maybe you grew up with a handyman Dad. Or your best friend is a vet, happy to answer pet questions 24/7.
- Sell yourself! If you’re a couple, talk about why having a couple as a sitter is great. If you’re single, highlight the benefits of that! Assuming you’re young, what do you have to offer that your older counterparts may not (maybe more energy to take care of active pets)?
Many homeowners won’t even look at your profile until later in the selection process. It’s really important that your first message is thoughtful and well-written. Do this:
- Talk about them first. What seems great about their pets? Their property? What drew you to apply for the housesitting job?
- Include the best parts of your profile. Remember homeowners may not have time to visit profiles right away.
- Understand why they want a housesitter (break ins, care for their pets, etc.). Emphasize why you are particularly good at meeting those needs.
- Share your successes. Explain how you’ve excelled at other housesitting jobs or in situations with tasks similar to the usual housesitting duties.
- Emphasize your strengths. What do you bring to the table that others may not? E.g. if you’re young and keen for vigorous walks with their high-energy dog, say so!
How to Become a Good Housesitter
You don’t just want to know how to become a housesitter. You want to know how to be an amazing housesitter! One who gets rave reviews and is successful with most their applications.
There isn’t an ideal age for housesitting, but there is an ideal mindset.
Housesitting Success Is:
- Writing a great profile.
- Thinking from the homeowner’s perspective before, during, after the sit.
- Asking tons of questions and taking lots of notes throughout the application process and home handover.
- Having great references.
- Being one of the first to apply.
- Doing the best job of empathizing with the homeowner’s needs and demonstrating your ability to meet them.
- Only choosing sits you know are a good fit for you.
- Staying aware of and respecting your wants and needs, too.
- Treating your housesit as you would a job. Be responsible! Treat their house and pets as if they were your own.
- Meet the homeowners expectations for communication during the housesit.
- Earn a great reference for your profile! Once you log a few, more housesits will be easier to get.
Okay! You’re ready! You know the benefits of housesitting. You’ve got your housesitting tips and important industry info. You know how to write a good housesitting profile and communicate competitively. And most importantly, you know how to be the best housesitter possible.
Jema Patterson loves house sitting so much, she wrote a free guide covering the best (and worst!) platforms, the costs of housesitting, and everything beginners should know. She teaches life and travel hacking at HalfTheClothes.com. She got struck by lightning early in life, which she credits for her excessive enthusiasm.