HOW TO BECOME A HOUSE SITTER
Home and pet owners connect with caring house sitters who keep the home secure and the pets happy in familiar routines. House sitters experience immersive slow travel or a freedom lifestyle option, with the company of pets.
Keep reading to find out how you can get started.
Is house sitting for you?
House sitting is a unique travel alternative and a happy solution for all involved! We've enjoyed the house sitting lifestyle for almost 8 years, first as home owners then as traveling world nomads. Our adventures have taken us all over the world looking after other peoples homes and pets.
House Sitting Magazine was created to share both our knowledge and that of our contributors. Our aim is to help you create your own version of the house sitting travel lifestyle, whether it be for just a few weeks a year or as a way to facilitate full time travel.
First you need to decide if it's the right travel option for you. For more on this take a quick read of "The reality of the house sitting lifestyle" and get inspiration from "13 first time house sitters".
How to become a housesitter
Delve deeper and discover how you can begin as a house sitter in 6 easy steps in our "Begin House Sitting" guides. We explain how to get started, what to expect and what you need to do so that you too can enjoy slow travel all over the world. Finally, we have a helpful FAQ section to answer any remaining questions you may have, or you can always email us - we are here to help!
Stay updated with the latest news and developments
House Sitting Magazine has over 30 issues that you can browse for a ton of information about house sitting, travel and pets. We bring you the latest news and developments from the most popular house sitting platforms, and you'll find links to the latest house sitting discounts and offers.
Our quarterly issues are free to read and provide additional help with house sitting best practices, tips, house sitting services. Do check out our website blog too, which is full of information and stories from contributing members of the house sitting community. You won't find another resource with so much unbiased information to get you started as a domestic or international house sitter.
For pet owners - How to find a house sitter
If you've found your way here as a pet and home owner you'll have your own questions. We've linked to our most helpful articles to help you decide if using house sitters is the best option for you.
MOST RECENT HOUSE SITTING MAGAZINE ARTICLES
The most commonly asked house sitting questions
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, as people are keen to know how this travel option benefits all involved. These are some of these most frequently asked questions about house and pet sitting.
Q&A FOR HOUSE SITTERS
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 begin 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 didn't find our 6 part series above, you can read our "Begin House Sitting" guides here:
Join our House Sitting Magazine Facebook Group of 10,000 like minds here:
For a real quick start, invest in your future by enrolling in our "Become a Successful House Sitter" video course.
Can I still house sit through the Covid-19 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:
House sitting and Covid-19 - Tips for safe handovers
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 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 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.
How do I know 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 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 websites the same for paid and unpaid house sits?
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.
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?
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:
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.