Ultimate Guide to start house sitting
Tips on how you get your first house sit faster
Free accommodation. Staying in amazing homes. Free entry tickets to local attractions. Getting to know local people and their culture. Meet like-minded people. Care for adorable animals. Explore the world and learn countless things and lessons for life.
Sounds amazing? Then start house sitting now!
I´ve been house sitting for over two years now. Thereof one and a half years full-time house sitting in the US. Since 2017 I´ve done over 30 house sits together with my husband. We´ve cared for all kinds of dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, horses, a domestic pig and even some squirrels and hedgehogs. So I know what I am talking about. And I know what home owners are looking for. 😉
Let´s get you your first house sitting gig!
first things first. You can always try to find sits on your own, but house sitting platforms make things so much easier! There are many house sitting platforms out there. However, trustedhousesitters.com is by far the best one!
Yes, they are among the most expensive, but if you want to travel the world, go with trustedhousesitters.com. They are the largest house sitting community worldwide. They also have the best house sitting website (still not perfect but so much better than all the others), a 24-hour vet-line and so much more! They even have an app since 2018, which makes life as a house sitter so much easier!
Signing up with TrustedHousesitters is no big deal. You create an account and pay your annual fee. Last time I checked it was 119$/year. It may sounds like a lot. But it really isn´t.
Even if you only do one house sitting gig a year. Let´s say a short one. Over a long weekend for three nights. Normally, you pay like 50$ and up per night. So even with only one short house sit a year, you already save money. So don´t miss this huge opportunity of travelling more and mostly for free just because of 119$ a year.
Nice extra with TrustedHousesitters? You can house sit solo, with your partner or even with your family. And you only need one account! So 119$ for one year for a family of four? That sounds like a favorable holiday to me.
Create a trustworthy profile
House sitting is all about trust! So when writing your profile keep that in mind. After all, you will be living in other peoples´ homes and will care for their beloved pets.
On trustedhousesitters.com there is a 5-step verification process. You don´t need to do all of them. But the more verifications, the better. And you can do all verifications online.
We have completed 4 out of the 5 steps. That means our Email and phone number have been verified. We have at least one external reference (see “Get external references”) and got our Identity as well as IDs checked (e.g. Passport). The 5th step would be a criminal record check, which costs about 40$. But we did just fine with the first 4 steps. Plus, we wrote in our profile that we are Green Card holder. So they can be assured our background got checked intensely. J Other sitters for example mention their global entry (USA specific) in their profile.
Next, upload photos of you with pets and animals and write about yourself. Some do it in first-person perspective. Others use third-person. Whatever you like more. Have a look into profiles of other sitters to get a feeling about what/how to write.
Write why you want to house sit. Write about your experience taking care of pets and homes, pools or gardens.
Also, mention your work and hobbies. Again, people trust you with their home and pets. They want to know you. And even though you can write this stuff in your applications as well, you sometimes may forget to do it. Also, if you are open for sits, some owners might contact you based on your profile. J
Write where you come from, what languages you speak. Where did you travel so far? Where you would like to go? What kind of travel do you like? How you came to house sitting?
It´s about the little things. I think we got like four house sits in the US, because I am from Germany. Another one, because of the industry I was in (market research). The home owners felt some connection to us and that´s all they needed to trust and choose us.
Get external references
When starting out, you don´t have house sit reviews. But you can and should get external references to make up for it. It increases your chances of getting this first sit.
External references can come from your work, family or friends. You might did some sort of house- or baby sitting before. Or you took care of someone’s plants while they were on holiday. Or you are an Airbnb host or regular guest. You can also ask for character references.
Many people are concerned how you will treat their home. They want clean, tidy, quiet, responsible and respectful people. So a character reference might help with that. Also pointing them to your Airbnb profile with reviews, if you have one.
Of course you can always apply for a dream sit in a dream house in a dream location for three weeks or longer. But keep in mind, these sits are popular. Plus there will be people applying for these sits with actual reviews and more experience than you .
So when you are getting started, why not start house sitting in your home country? Especially, if you are a bit nervous about your first house sit. Use your home-advantage. The cultural differences are not as big. No language barrier. And you can set up a meeting with the owner before the sit. Maybe even see the house and animals. For many home owners having someone local plays in their hands as well.
So how do you find these sits in your home country before everyone else does? You can save searches in the TrustedHousesitters app. For example you can save a search for your home country, for June 2019, for a period of 3 days, with only cats. As you can see you can go quite specific. Whatever you like. You can save up to 10 searches.
In general your chances are higher when applying for fresh listed sits (you get these with the saved searches) and sits with up to 12 applicants. Applying for very popular sits (30+ applicants), where you don´t even get an answer, can be really frustrating. Believe me! I´ve been there.
So which sits should you apply for besides the ones in your home country? I suggest applying for shorter sits (for a weekend) and last-minute sits (two weeks before the sits start). You can also look for sits, where there are no or not so good photos in the listing. Most people get scared away by that. But you shouldn´t. You can always video chat before accepting a sit. This way you can ask to see the home. Also, sits in a countries not so popular season (Spain in August – hot, hotter, hottest) could be worth a try. Just save a search for Spain in August.
However, to find last- minute sits and sits with not so good photos, you need to look/search regularly on the website. And if you find something you like, apply right away. Some sits come up one day and are gone two days later. You never know. I had once written an application for a new sit and the time I pressed send, the sit was already filled. Crazy! Also, getting a sit is often on a first-come-basis.
BONUS TIP: Christmas time!!! There are so many people looking for sitters for the holidays! In the long-term and kind of last minute. It´s crazy! And so many sits are not getting filled. So why not start house sitting on Christmas/ New Year?!
Write customized Applications
You can apply for as many sits as you want. However, you won´t get any sits when you olny hit that “Apply button”. Your application should be detailed and customized. No three-line notes. No generalized application. But also no 5-pages long story of your life.
Do include the names and breeds of the pets you will be sitting. Maybe you always wanted to have a Poodle and that´s why you apply for this sit. Great! Let the owners know. They will be thrilled, because it´s most likely you will take extra good care for their poodle.
Make references to their listing. Maybe compliment them on their beautiful home. For example, in the US many people are proud of their home. So show them you appreciate the possibility of staying their home.
Mention the tasks they want you to do. Write in a way that shows them you are up for this task.Include your experience, in specific with pets. Did you grew up with pets? Did you or do you have pets on your own? Do you have experience with sick pets?
Write about your personality. Most homeowners are most interested in: Are you responsible? Are you/ do you like clean and tidy? Are you a non-smoker? Are you flexible (e.g. regarding the dates)?
Write about your travel plans. Why you would like to sit for them in this area? Do you do a road trip, world trip or just this one sit? It helps them to understand your commitment, flexibility, etc. Offer to video chat (or meet). Offer to come a day earlier, so they get to know you a bit. And you get to know the pets and their routine. (Also you see how the owners interact with the pets.)
If you have experience with taking care for properties (e.g. you owned homes) or e.g. are an Airbnb host, include that. It builds trust and shows that you can care for homes as well (and gardens).
If you do need to care for plants, write about your experience with that as well.
Also, do ask questions, e.g. about getting there or when they would like you to arrive. It shows you think this sit through and plan ahead.
Join the House sitting world
So getting your first sit can take some time. But keep applying and you will get it. I applied for 20 sits for our first house sitting trip to Scotland. And sit number 21 was the one. Our first sit! Four days long. Last minute (two weeks til the sit). Taking care of rescued hennes and feed some wild hedgehogs at night and birds in the morning.
So keep applying. Create a trust worthy profile including photos. Write customized applications and apply for the right sits. I recommend short and last-minute sits as well as sits in your home country and during Holiday season.
I hope this post answered your questions on getting your first sit. If you have any other questions on house sitting, please feel free to contact me. Either on Social Media or via Email ([email protected]).
If you like to do house sitting, I highly recommend TrustedHousesitters. They are the best platform and house sitting community worldwide.
If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and family! The more, the merrier! Let´s change the way of travelling together!