HOW TO BECOME A HOUSE SITTER
Want to travel slowly, for longer with more money to spend along the way? Then keep reading. We can help you become a house sitter in 6 simple easy steps with our popular house sitting guides and resources
Begin House Sitting - Easy 6 Part Guide
As full time nomads and house sitters with experience spanning 120+ house sits and almost a decade of independent travel around the world, we've got a lot to share!
House sitting is our passion and we've dedicated the past 5 years to helping others get started. We can't teach you absolutely everything but our 6 part guide shares the best of everything we've learned, including updates following pandemic restrictions.
When you're done you should be armed with enough info to get started as a house sitter. If not... send us an email and we will help if we can. Or you can check our Frequently Asked Questions where you'll find often-asked questions from others just like you. You might also enjoy interacting with us in our Facebook Support Group where you'll find over 10,000 like-minded people to connect with.
STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LASTEST HOUSE & PET SITTING NEWS
Once you're enjoying the benefits of house sitting it doesn't stop there. You'll soon discover there's a lot to keep learning. Every time you encounter a different set of pets, people and places you'll find yourself adapting to new and different routines. You may be happy taking care of dogs and cats, but have you looked after horses, llamas, or a full-on hobby farm? What about different breeds ... do you know the tendencies of Australia Cattle Dogs?
House Sitting Magazine continues to provide you with a valuable resource where you'll find a huge range of topics to read up on, all of which will help you feel more comfortable as you develop your house sitting skills. We'll keep you up-to-date with latest developments, house sitting site reviews, discounts, best practices and events. Make sure you download our quarterly issues or subscribe to get notifications so you never miss a magazine! You won't find another resource with so much unbiased information to get you started as a domestic or international house sitter.
Most frequently asked questions about house sitting
Whenever we stop and chat to people on our travels, we're asked about our house sitting lifestyle. The same questions pop up over and over again. These are some of these most frequently asked questions about house and pet sitting.
What does a house sitter do?
People use house sitters to look after their home, possessions and pets while they go away. This might be for a couple of nights, a weekend, a week, or a month or more. Whilst looking after the home and keeping it secure is key, most people use house sitters as an alternative to boarding their pets. It's considered much better for the pets to keep them happy at home, following their normal routines, being looked after by other pet lovers.
Can anyone house sit?
Yes, potentially, anyone can house sit, but there are some reasons why it might not work for you. You really must enjoy the company of pets and take the responsibilities and house sitting duties seriously, this doesn't fit in with everyone's expectations of a vacation, or lifestyle option. However, we know successful solo sitters, couples, families, people with their own pets - all who house sit internationally around the world.
Does a house sitter sleep in the property?
Yes, in most cases of unpaid international house sitting, the house sitters live temporarily in the property. One or more bedrooms is made available, and it's generally expected that the living areas, kitchen, garden, etc. are all made available. In some cases the home owner may allocated rooms (such as a study), "off limits" and even lock that space, but it's quite rare in our experience. All this can be discussed before accepting a house sit.
How do I start house sitting?
As we most things, the more research you do the better chance you will have of securing house sits in your location of choice. There's plenty to read on this website and in the House Sitting Magazine back issues - all of which will better prepare you and inform you of the best practices employed by successful sitters.
If you haven't read our 6 part series - house sitting for beginners - than take a look back at the top of this page. It really is a great place to start your research. Or for a real quick start, invest in your future by enrolling in our "Become a Successful House Sitter" video course.
Can I house sit during the pandemic?
There's no denying that there aren't as many house sits available while the pandemic continues to cause disruptions to travel and while border closures and restrictions are in place. But you will still find house sits advertised as not everyone who uses sitters does this for the purposes of taking a vacation. And of course there are some countries like Australia and New Zealand where house sitting is thriving.
This is a good time to do your research, prepare your references, perfect your profile and plan for the future. If you can get a few shorter domestic sits under your belt, this will help tremendously when you are ready to house sit and travel. For information about how to house sit safely through the pandemic take a read of this informative post:
Do house sitters 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.
Why don't most overseas house sitters charge?
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 house 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.
Which house sitting platform should I 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 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 2 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 Facebook 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).
Are there house sitting sites for paid work?
Yes. Although many of the house sitting websites (often called "platforms") that we work with and recommend through House Sitting magazine are built around the exchange model where money doesn't change hands, there are others who specifically work with pet sitters and house sitters who charge for their services. For the sites that fully promote the business model of charging for services, look at companies like Rover.com or Pawshake.com - search online as they tend to be country or regional.
What about tips or gifts?
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 and drink gifts much more common. It's quite for home owners to provide a meal the evening before they leave as part of the handover process. It's a chance for the pets to get to know you with their owners around and for you to get to know the owner better. Many new friendships are made through house sitting!
Is my food provided on a house sit?
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.
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.
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:
Family house sitting
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.
Short term holidays or long term travel?
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. In countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, you'll find a lot of long weekend sits available as people make last minute travel choices for short breaks. This is a great way to get started and build up your references.
For pet owners - how to find a house sitter
As a pet and home owner you'll have your own questions. We've linked to our most read articles to help you decide if using house sitters is the best option for you