Do you think you can’t house sit BECAUSE you have children?
Often when we describe our house sitting lifestyle to friends with children, we are met with the comment, “It’s easy for you because you don’t have kids”. But in reality family house sitting is on the increase.
We admit, it probably is easier for us to get house and pet sitting assignments as a couple, but we have actually been turned down after reaching the shortlist on two occasions this year. The reason? Because the home owner wanted to offer the opportunity to a house sitting family.
It’s easy to assume that home owners will be less likely to want a family with kids looking after their property.
But it just isn’t true.
Many home owners have families themselves, and have no problem handing over the keys to other respectful family house sitters.
What does seem clear is that more and more families are hoping to find house sits. So it’s likely you will start to find more “family friendly” filters appearing on websites as house sitting platforms realize the need to cater for this.
Trusted House Sitters already have this filter in place, and when we looked at their site today, around one quarter of all house sits indicate they will consider family house sitting applications.
That’s not bad odds.
Maybe you’ll have to work a little harder. Make your profile a tad more special. Or wait a bit longer to get your perfect assignment. But it does seem that family house sits are certainly more than just a slim possibility.
The choice of house sitting website can make a big difference to your success when applying as a family. We will be talking with all the platforms over the coming months. We will see how each specifically helps families looking for short or long term sits.
One platform already offering to help to families is the international site HouseSitMatch. Owner, Lamia Walker offers a very personal service to help families secure the best option for their particular situation.
This is something that has benefited long term house sitting family Tracey, Rob and Makai Tullis, since they set out on their house sitting adventure back in 2014.
Tracey Tullis shares her family’s experience below.
Family house sitting made easy
by Tracey Tullis
HouseSitMatch makes choosing assignments easy for families.
We are a location independent family that has been travelling the world since April 2014. We set out in search of destinations where we could live for less than what it cost us to live in our home country, Canada. Now we use house sitting as a means to keep our travel costs low and to immerse ourselves in local cultures.
So far we have completed 9 house sitting assignments, adding up to almost a year of free accommodation!
What makes HouseSitMatch so family friendly?
We’ve used three different house sitting sites over the course of the last two years, but HouseSitMatch really stood out for us as the most “family friendly”. The biggest difference is the individualized service that they offer their members.
Personalized service and support
In our opinion HouseSitMatch is unrivalled for their personalized, friendly communication. We really benefited from the “live chat” facility that is available on the site. The founder, Lamia Walker, personally helped us communicate with homeowners, making the whole process much smoother.
People on her team call every new home owner who subscribes to get to know them and help them with “on-boarding”.
This level of communication is extremely valuable for all members because it helps HouseSitMatch create the best “matches” for all of their listed house sits.
Having Lamia and her team act as liaison between homeowners and house sitters ensures excellent communication right from the start, resulting in less guesswork for both parties. This is especially important for house sitting families like us.
Finding perfect matches for house sits can be challenging. Usually, house sitters and home owners meet for the first time and communicate via a computer, often by Skype or email. It is less likely that both parties will meet in person before a decision to work together is made.
The list of unknowns can be much longer due to this remote type of communication. For example, we walked into a less than ‘kid friendly’ house sit because of questions we neglected to ask, and things we should have insisted on, but didn’t. This led to a less than ideal assignment.
I know this awkward situation could have been avoided if we had been able to use HouseSitMatch. Because of the personal link they provide between house sitting families and homeowners. We haven’t found this kind of communication on any of the other sites we’ve used. It’s really worked for us.
The effort that HouseSitMatch employs to get to know the house sitters and the homeowners personally builds trust. It helps house sitting families feel more confident when choosing assignments.
Personalized support really does help families land house sits!
Overcoming objections when you are family house sitting
Some homeowners do prefer singles or couples as house sitters. They want to avoid having kids in their home for one reason or another. And we’ve had to overcome some of these objections because of our young son.
In one case, the three-way communication, that included Lamia, helped put the homeowners concerns about our son to rest sooner than we could have possibly achieved on our own.
Lamia was able to act as an intermediary because of the relationship she had with us and the trust she had built with the homeowner. Her opinions and suggestions helped us all “click”. We landed the best house sit we have had yet… in sunny Spain!
All of this personalized service and support makes choosing assignments with HouseSitMatch easy for us.
Anything that simplifies family travel is a good thing, right?
If you want more advice and top tips about how to secure family house sits then Lamia Walker of HouseSitMatch has even more information for you.
Read Lamia’s recommendations in the HouseSitMatch supplement at the back of Issue 2 of “House Sitting – The ultimate magazine”. See below for magazine app links.
We’re Rob, Tracey and Makai, a Canadian family who has been travelling and house sitting along the way since April 2014. We love sharing what we learn about the places we visit and the challenges and rewards of living an unconventional family life on our blog:
Part of living and travelling in this way involves home schooling our son Makai. This is another obstacle that often faces long term or expat travelers and I (Tracey) will be sharing our knowledge on this subject in Issue 3 of House Sitting – The ultimate lifestyle magazine.
Editors Note: Makai was recently named one of 2016’s “Top 30 Adventurers under the age of 30.”
See our mini-article on Makai’s adventurous nomination in Issue 1 of House Sitting – The ultimate lifestyle magazine