Grab yourself a coffee for this one folks……
Over the past few years, housesitting has become extremely popular all across the world.
There are many housesitting websites that cater for this exciting new way to travel the world and experience diverse cultures – just like the locals do.
So what is House Sitting exactly?
Simply put, house sitting is where the owner of the house/apartment leaves their house in the capable hands of a “house sitter” for a period of time.
The agreement is that the sitters can live their rent free for the duration in return for taking on a few responsibilities like looking after the owners pets (if they have any), maybe light maintenance work like mowing the lawn or just making sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
The majority of house sits entail looking after a cat or dog, but there are plenty of house sits where all you have to do is turn up and live there while the owner is on holidays or an extended stay somewhere.
It seems like a perfect opportunity, right?
And it most certainly is!
Yet, when we mention house-sitting to a lot of our friends they have a blank look on their face because they’ve never heard of the concept.
Our experience with House Sitting
As of right now, we’ve only completed one house sitting assignment which was in a quaint little town in northern Ecuador called Cotacachi.
If it’s such a good opportunity to travel the world for free – then why haven’t we done more of these houses sits you may be asking?
The reason is due to our travel plans and dates not aligning up.
The Ecuador house sit only came to fruition because we were travelling through the country during the dates the house sit was available.
So we applied and we were fortunate enough to be chosen for the 60+ applicants.
Our 8 days in a luxury apartment in Cotacachi, minding an adorable little dog was a fantastic experience. We got to chill for over a week to recharge the internal batteries and also so to experience life in a stunning Ecuadorian town which is set in between two volcanoes.
Our responsibilities were simple to look after “Honey” the dog, make sure she got her daily walks and to obviously look after the apartment.
As we both absolutely love dogs, this really a good house sit for us. We’d be travelling for 7 months around South America at that stage, so having the company of a 4-legged friend for 8 days was brilliant.
The owners of the apartment – Pete and Dawn couldn’t have been any nicer. They made our first experience so memorable that we’re looking forward to house sitting again at some stage in the future.
With so many different websites to choose from, it can be a job to figure out which one appeals to you the most.
However, we wanted to sign up with a platform that had a big number of house sitting listings, was good value for money and was also highly recommended.
In the end we choose TrustedHouseSitters.com
This website is the fastest growing house sitting platform on the market. The website is strongest for house sitting jobs in Europe and Britain, but it does have plenty of opportunities around the world. We did find our house sit in Ecuador through them.
The price is $95 (€83) for a years membership and it’s crazy good value.
When you think about it – you could in theory live around the world the whole year rent free for that price.
We met one such man while on our house sit in Cotacachi. He had been travelling the world as a house sitter for the past seven years and had lived in exotic locations such as the Bahamas.
He was currently in Cotacachi on a 2 month house sit before heading off to Mexico to take up another one for a 6 month period.
That’s the power of house sitting right there.
You can travel the world, live like a local (if that’s your thing) and not have to worry about paying rent. The guys over at Hecktic Travels have been very successful with house sitting over the years.
It does seem too good to be true, but the reality is that people all over the world are starting to sign up to these websites, creating their profiles and applying for house sits.
How does Trusted House Sitters work?
It’s extremely easy to get signed up and create your own profile on the system. (See below for an in-depth guide on how to go about this process)
Once you upload some photos and create a profile, the next step is to start searching for potential sits in the area that you’d like to visit or that you’re actually going to be travelling in.
When you find something that peaks your interest, you simply get in touch with the house owner via the in-build messaging service. You let them know why you’d like to take up their offer and why you’re the best candidate for the sit.
Once the owner has gone through all the applications then will let you know whether you’ve got the house sit or not.
All that’s left is to do is make the necessary travel arrangements if you’re successful, or rince and repeat the process.
One of the cool features about being a member with TrustedHouseSitters.com is that they email you every day with a list of all the new house sitting jobs.
So this will save you tons of time researching and will prevent you from missing that perfect opportunity when it comes available.
Like I said earlier, then price is very good value for the annual plan. However, then do have a 3 month plan as well for $23.99 (€15.99) per month. So that’s a good way to sample things out first and see if it’s what you’re looking for.
Setting up your account and bagging your first house sit
Ok, so up until now we’ve just talked about some general information about house sitting and the platform that we personally use.
Now it’s time to walk you through the process in a little more detail.
1. Setting up a solid profile
A good profile is key to getting you noticed. It’s your shop window when it comes to house sitting.
You have to make it as appealing as possible for potential house owners who may visit it.
Here’s some pointers to help you with creating it.
- Be as detailed as possible
Fill out all the fields with as much information as possible. Include any relevant experience that you may think would lend itself to a house sitting job.
If you’ve never house sat then don’t worry – if you own your own house or have any experience of minding someone else’s house before then this counts. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry if you’ve got zero experience.
Same goes for owning a pet – it’s not mandatory that in order to look after a cat or dog; that you’ve got to own one. It certainly does make a big difference if you do, but it’s not going to rule you out of any potential jobs.
House owners are looking for people they can trust and who come across as responsible.
The more info you fill out on your profile then the higher up the search rankings on trustedhousesitters.com you’ll go. This means that homeowners are able to get a better feel for applicant.
Don’t skimp out when it comes to beefing up your profile!
- Use Photos
It should go without saying that you should use photos in any online profile – otherwise what’s the point.
We recommend including at least 3 photos in situations that would add some muscle to your profile.
So a photo of you on a mad bender isn’t going to cut it.
Make sure you’re smiling in the photos and choose photos that make you come across as friendly. If you’ve got images of you with a pet then use those.
- Add References
References are the currency of these type of online platforms where reputation and trust play a major role.
You can attain internal references from previous house sitting jobs, but you can also add external references from family, friends, members of your community etc.
This really adds a lot of weight to your profile.
We got a few friends to add a reference when we were setting up our profile. You want to showcase your trustworthiness and by getting colleagues and neighbours to vouch for you, then this helps build out your profile.
- Get a Police background check
Having a background check completed can really make you stand out from the competition – even though these days it goes without saying that you should include a police check for situations like these.
You should look into this as soon as possible because depending on where you’re from this process could take a few weeks.
If you’d like to get some more ideas for your own profike, then feel free to have a look at ours for more ideas.
2. Include a Video
As you can see from our own profile; we haven’t included a video (yet). We plan to soon because it adds a ton of transparency to your listing.
We did find though that because we’ve been running this blog for a few years, it does provide us with some “digital footprint” so that we can send homeowners here if they want to vet us out a little.
In saying that, we’ve heard that not having a video could hinder your chances somewhat. So maybe it’s something you should look into.
The video doesn’t have to be anyways fancy or complicated on your end. You can simply use your smartphone or even the webcam on your laptop.
Keep the video short and sweet – usually 60 seconds is more than enough time to convey a short intro and why you’d an ideal house sitter.
Of course, if you want to make a nice video edit and you feel like you’d enjoy doing it, then there are plenty of free phone and video apps out there that will make your video look a lot more professional.
3. Be Quick
It’s important to be quick on the buzzer with these house sits.
Most of the house sits are filled up within a day or two at most. Homeowners don’t want to spend days on end going through endless amounts of applications.
So they usually look through the first few and if they see a few they like, then they filter through them and pick from that batch.
So the key here is to read that daily email that you get from them with the new assignments.
Remember that because you’re a paid member of Trusted House Sitters, you’ll see these listings 24 hours earlier than non-members. So you’re ahead of the pack by a full day by signing up.
This email system gives you an early bird chance to apply for positions that may interest you.
When we travel around Europe next year, we plan to use this platform to stay for free in a few countries at least!
If you want to stay further ahead of the game, then you can set up real time alerts for certain countries that you’re interested in. This makes a lot of sense if your location is a popular destination for example.
The good thing is that you can apply for loads of assignments at the same time, so you don’t have to wait for a response from each one.
4. Going to apply for your first housesit
Ok, so you’ve found your perfect house sit. You’ve read and reread the advert on the site and you want it!
The next step is to apply for it (as quickly as possible – remember what I said above).
All you do is click the “contact this homeowner now” button and the assignment you’re interested in.
Now, all you’ve got to do is write them a message and click the send button.
This will be sent on to the homeowner along with your profile, so a quick introduction is all you need to include.
5. You’ve got to make a good impression
As the saying goes – You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Same goes here in this situation.
You need to stand out from the other applicants. You’ve got to show the homeowner that you’re a cut above the rest and that you’re their ideal house sitter.
Make sure that the message you send them in the application is friendly and try and convey your personality as best as possible.
If you’re a blogger or some sort then give them details of the blog and point them to it so that they can see you’ve got an online footprint.
This blog helped us secure our first house sit in Ecuador as we stood out from the other 60+ applicants for that reason alone.
However, a blog is not a necessity by any means.
A good list of references and a polished profile will suffice.
If/When you hear back from the homeowner, the conversation over and back is your time to really shine and make sure you give them every opportunity to like you.
Give them your Skype details so that you can chat face to face. This really adds gives you a legitimate shot at landing the house sit.
- Ask loads of questions – This will show that you’re interested and you want to find things out. Always music to homeowners ears we were informed.
- Don’t be too formal – Just be yourself and talk as you would normally. You should obviously be professional and maintain respect at all times, but don’t be rigid and afraid to be yourself.
- Don’t use canned messages – These are tacky and lack any sort of professionalism. Plus it’s extremely easy to spot for the trained eye. Instead, have a general message to go with your application but also do your research and mention their pets names (if they have any). You want them to know that you’ve read their profile extensively.
6. Reply, reply, reply
Once you submit your application for an assignment, many homeowners will send out a canned response with something along the lines of “Hey, we’ve received your application and we’ll get back to you once we finish going through the list” etc.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to quickly reply with a short thank you message and something like “if you’ve any questions about my application, then please let us know”.
This shows that you’re serious about the position and it could set you apart from everyone else in the mix.
7. Keep yourself Flexible with your dates
It’s worth keeping this in mind when you’re planning a potential house sit. If you only have a specific window of opportunity to take up a house sit in a specific location, then you’re leaving yourself with limited options.
Try and accommodate the homeowner as best you can. If they know that you’re trying to work things to suit them, then you’ve a great chance of getting the assignment.
Location is also an important metric to consider when being flexible.
If you’re looking to house sit in a big city then you’re going to be competing with literally hundreds of applicants.
However, if you aim for other house sits outside (even 3o mins away by car/train) the main city then you stand a significantly better chance of bagging it.
If you want the house sit bad enough, then you’ll work your dates to accommodate things.
After you successfully complete your house sit
So, you applied, got accepted and had a brilliant experience during the house sit.
What’s left to do?
Obviously, you should leave the house in the condition you found it in.
It’s a good idea to have a meal prepared for the homeowner(s) when they come back – we did this for our house sit and they were absolutely delighted to walk in the door to the smell of a cottage pie in the oven…
Stocking up on milk, and toiletry essentials adds a nice touch as well.
Make sure you update your profile with a new photo showcasing your recent house sit. This will also help you going forwards as well.
Give a nice glowing reference for the homeowners and they will do likewise. This is mutually beneficial as well for both parties. A nice 5 star review from the homeowners will set you up nicely for future house sits.
Once you get that first house sit under your belt and you get a nice review, you’ll actually start to get approached from homeowners.
We found this to be the case for us about a month after our house sit.
We were contacted for a weeks house sit in Norway and also for one is Belgium, but since we weren’t even in the same continent, we couldn’t take them up.
Hopefully this guide will help you get set up on TrustedHouseSitters.com. We really love the platform.
Its user interface is simple to use and the options for house sits are fantastic – especially in Europe and Australia.
House sitting is one of the coolest ways to both travel and live around the world. It’s a perfect exchange for both the house sitter and the homeowner.
We plan to do a lot more house sitting in the future when the opportunities present themselves.
If you’ve any questions then just drop us a message in the comments and we’ll try our best to help you.
Note: We are affiliated with TrustedHouseSitters.com and therefore we make a small commission on any sales generated through this post (at no extra charge to you). We only promote products and services on NextStopWhoKnows.com that we genuinely think adds value. If you decide to sign up with TrustedHouseSitters, then using one of our links above would be very cool of you 😉