This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page answers some of the most common questions we get asked when people are new to house sitting. There are also some useful links, and we'll update the page whenever new questions come up that can be answered here.
Here are some of the most common abbreviations and terminologies you may see on this website, in comments, or on the House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group:
HS = House Sitter
HO = Home Owner - You can usually assume this also means "home and pet owner¨
HSM / HSMag = House Sitting Magazine
THS = TrustedHousesitters (house sitting website / platform)
MMH = Mind My Home (house sitting website / platform)
Platform = a website where home owners offer assignments and house sitters can apply
Assignment = a house sitting "job" or a listing on a "platform"
Answers about house sitting
Is house sitting something anyone can do?
Anyone can potentially house sit, but there are some reasons why it might not work for you. Take a read of these two articles to get a better idea of what is involved and what the usual expectations are of both home owners and house sitters (links open in a new tab):
What's the best way to get started?
Here are the best resources to find out more about getting started as a house sitter (all links open in a new tab):
1) Read our "Begin House Sitting" series of six articles. You can find them all here:
2) Join the House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group here:
3) For the quickest way to get a real fast start invest in your future and enroll for our "Become a Successful House Sitter" video course. Find out more here:
Why don't most international house sitters charge a fee?
Because house sitting is a value exchange. Home owners offer free accommodation in return for looking after their home and beloved pets. This exchange is usually built around trust (not money), which is at the heart of the international house sitting community.
Overseas sitting could also incur problems with immigration if you charge and don't have a work visa. And for some of us we prefer to be a part of the sharing economy and feel that charging would change the expectations and overall dynamic.
Can I get paid?
There are several different models for house sitting.
Some people house sit for free, some charge, and some use a mix of both - charging in their home countries, but when overseas, they sit for free. One reason for this is that if you plan to charge in another country you might need a work visa.
Usually people begin as unpaid house sitters to build experience. Once you have some experience and a profile that shows this, you may think about changing to a paid model, if that is something you feel would be of interest.
But free or paid is fine - it's all about what works for you.
What about tipping?
It's best not to expect anything. The value exchange is that you get free accommodation, utilities paid for, WiFi (mostly), and sometimes a car, in exchange for giving pet care and keeping the home secure. However, we have found that home owners frequently leave gifts, or "tips" to help with expenses.
Monetary tips seem to happen more in the USA where the culture is of tipping, in the UK and Australia we've found food/drink gifts more common.
Will my food be provided?
No not normally, except in extreme cases where a home owner decides that would be a particularly generous thing to do. However, it's usually accepted that any refrigerated perishables can be used up (it's wasteful otherwise), but we still always ask on handover.
Are the websites (or platforms) the same for paid and unpaid?
Not generally. The house sitting websites (often called "platforms") that we work with and recommend on this site are built around the exchange model where money doesn't change hands. This is a grey area though.
TrustedHousesitters, for instance, will not allow you to advertise if you charge, and your membership can be revoked if you are found to do this.
Other sites aren't so strict and you'll see that some people do make a charge. For the sites that fully promote the business model of charging for services, look at companies like Rover.com or Pawshake.com.
You'll find many others if you search on the internet.
Can I house sit with my own pets?
Yes you can, but you will find less sits available.
It will depend very much on how socialized your pets are. It often helps if you start locally and can visit potential home owners - you can build up a "pet reference" base to accompany your own profile and references to reassure potential owners.
It seems to be more common in countries like Australia, but on some sites you'll find a filter for "pet friendly" sits. The HouseSitters Group that includes the following websites has this facility (all links open in a new tab):
Can I house sit with my family?
Most definitely yes. Most of the main international websites now have a "family friendly" search filter.
You'll find some inspirational and informative posts here on family house sitting (link opens in a new tab):
Do all house sits have pets?
No, but it's only a small proportion that don't have pets - when we last calculated it was around 2% of all available sits.
Often sits without pets will have other duties involving security, staff or ground/pool maintenance.
How long can I house sit for?
House sits vary in length from just a few days to many months. A long term sit is generally considered to be a month or more and you'll usually find these are advertised well in advance as they involve some planning by the home owners.
Sits of 1-3 months are quite common across the sites, but longer term sits are fewer.
How do I decide which house sitting platform to use?
This will depend very much on where you want to house sit. There are both international and country-based websites that you can join. We tend to use a mix of both depending on where we are in the world.
Many are free for home owners to list their adverts but some, like TrustedHousesitters and HouseSitMexico, charge for both sitters and home owners. We feel this shows an equal level of commitment, with less adverts placed as a "let's just see what happens" type of approach, only to decide against using unknown sitters.
Here are two articles to help you decide which are best for you. The second contains all the discounts we have negotiated for our House Sitting Magazine subscribers and the group members, including 25% off TrustedHousesitters, 15% off AussieHouseSitters and all the other country-based platforms in that group (links open in a new tab).
Where can I find the House Sitting Magazine website / platform discounts?
You can find all the latest specially negotiated discounts in this article, which is updated regularly (link opens in a new tab):
Or if you search #discounts in the House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group you will find the monthly post where all the discounts are listed.
How can I sign up to House Sitting Magazine?
The magazine is issued bi-monthly and it's a free downloadable publication, available as an app version on iTunes and GooglePlay, or for laptop users, as a PDF. Here's the link to subscribe for free (link opens in a new tab):
What if I have more questions?
Please feel free to ask in the House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group at any time. However, do make sure you are available to engage with anyone that takes time to comment. Your post may get uploaded at anytime over 1-2 days (mostly within 1-3 hours), but it depends how many are in the queue.
We try to pace them so that everyone gets a good response to their questions, so please be patient if your post doesn't appear immediately.
Answers for home and pet owners
This section coming soon...
Answers about work / money / lifestyle
This section coming soon...