House sitting, well its safe to say that if you are reading this then you are considering or know someone who is considering becoming a house sitter! That is freaking awesome!!! We are so happy to hear someone is considering house sitting it is a awesome lifestyle!  So why don’t we get into it.

House sitting, will it be for you?

Making a commitment to become a trusted house sitter is a big thing! However, we really can’t stress enough, if you are going to become a house sitter, give it everything you have. Most of all,  we want the share economy of house sitting to be trustworthy and growing for years to come. So, making sure you’re a fit to the lifestyle because it can be a big commitment.

Here are some key points to consider before starting house sitting

Remember these are just things to think about before jumping in.

  • Do you like animals? After all your main responsibility will be to care and love for people’s beloved pets
  • Will you be able to commit to looking after a home for anywhere between 3 days to 3 months? This probably means committing to being around each day for the pets and the home, meaning no weekends away or holidays.
  • Can you live small? You can’t unpack everything you own when you start a new sit? We live from what we can store in our car.
  • Can you complete the house sit without expecting money to be exchanged? House sitting is generally a mutual exchange, therefore,  you don’t pay for rent, accommodation, mortgages or bills in exchange you live in, care for pets and maintain the property. (Note – In some cases you may be paid but be careful about insurances etc)
  • Some pets require extra care like medications, skin care and other needs.
  • How are you going to organise your time between house sits?
  • Will you continue to live in your current residence?
  • Are you flexible and relaxed enough to live place to place?
  • If you work, travel times may increase depending on locations and house sit availability, will that still work for you?
  • Long term house sits often mean long term commitments. Can you commit to caring for pets and property for extended periods of time?
  • Once you start a house sit and the owners are overseas, you are all in. Are you ok with that responsibility?
  • Do you have your own pets? Some house sitters are open to people brining their own pets but this can mean you will not be accepted for some house sits

Now I don’t want to scare you off before you have even started but these are all issues that we have faced. We are relaxed in our approach as sometimes things can get complicated and you must go with the flow. But remember it can be a large commitment.

Now into the good stuff….

The try before you buy approach to house sitting

This is a simple approach to making sure you are suited to house sitting. Just ask friends and family if they need a house sitter when they go away. Place a post on your preferred social media and let people know you want to get into it.  I almost guarantee that someone will need your services and if that doesn’t work, you can you can sign up for a house sitting website and pick up a small listing. However, don’t stress, I’ll go into these websites in more detail soon.

The key here is to take on a small, low risk house sit where you can just lock up your own home and test the lifestyle first.

Start small, test, test, test and see how it all goes.

A little tip, try and stay close to home. That way if you forget something or you need a little time in your own space, you can just head on home for a couple of hours. See easy!

Your first house sit – The small test run

Well done, you have made it this far. Now best to be honest here and tell the home owner you are new, just ensure them that you will do a perfect job and show them how enthusiastic you are!

THE BIGGEST TIP FOR YOUR FIRST HOUSE SIT – Make sure you can contact the owners. That way if something goes wrong or you can’t turn on the TV, you can just give them a little call. Skype, Facebook, international numbers, close friends and family members. Get the right infomation.

At this stage I bet you like, what is that it??? Well now you can read on and I’ll walk you through some more of the long term lifestyle changes of a full time house sitter.

The full time house sitting lifestyle

In this section I will quickly step out the process that we used to become full time house sitter in simple dot point format. Then I’ll go into more details as we go along

Planning – It is everything, key points to consider

As the old saying goes, prior planning prevents piss poor performance, so being a trusted house sitter with a good reputation takes planning. Lets step out the planning stages.

  1. Get a calendar, plan out when you will start house sitting
  2. All your gear -what are you going to do with it? Sell it, store it, leave it locked up in your own home. Start making plan
  3. Get a police check started asap – this gives people confidence that your not going to sell their homely goods while they are sun baking in the Greek Islands. They can take weeks to receive so get started at your local police station. Or check out this WEBSITE
  4. Get character references or testimonials from previous pet minding or house sitting, or even current landlords.
  5. Make a back up plan for between house sits, you may have small gaps with no accommodation.
  6. Start making a check list of questions to ask
  7. Build a killer online profile – start small, work on 1 website and set up a profile.
  8. Build a short bio about yourself so people can get to know you. If you have trouble ask a friend to help you make one. I know it can be tough talking about how awesome you are!
  9. Start looking at the best websites for your needs.
  10. Ohhh did I mention start a calendar?
  11. Be responsive to enquiries and meet with the home owners in advance.
  12. Book out at least 3 months of house sits

I’ll go into the important ones in a little more detail and share what and how we did each.

All your gear, what are you going to do with it

For us, becoming full time house sitters was essentially a form on minimalism. If you haven’t hear about minimalism well hear is a couple of places to start THEMINIMALISTSBECOMING MINIMALIST, BEMOREWITHLESS.

What we did to downsize

  1. Plan to keep whatever essentials you need that can fit into your car. If you plan to house sit internationally then you’ll need to go smaller, think backpack and suitcase, back packer style. We look something like this: 6 containers of clothes in the boot. A bathroom box, a kitchen box and a small items box. We then have 2 laptop bags, a camera bag, 2 pillows and 2 doona’s (because two doona’s make for a happy marriage… a whole other story!). That’s it, and we have found that we don’t need much else. Remember your living in other people’s homes. They will have it all, or close to it. Trust me
  2. Store everything that we considered essential into a storage shed. The reason is that if everything fell apart in 6 months we could just go back to renting, move everything out of storage and go from there. Think big and essential, washing machine, fridge, a mattress and anything thing you might need. However, try to think small and only worst case. It turns out we didn’t need to do that so we sold everything from the storage shed as well
  3. Sell everything else. Gumtree, garage sale, friends and family, donations. This may be tough and I can blurb on about it for days but it is liberating! Its 90% just STUFF – have a look at this view on STUFF – HERE

Character References, police checks and supporting documents

This step is all about building trust so spend some time on it. Think of it as going to a job interview. People want to know as much as they can about you. This is your opportunity to tell them. How? Well most house sitting websites will allow you to attach supporting documents. I think we currently have 10 documents attached from personal references (when we started out), letters from happy home owners (these are like gold, ask for them) and police checks (pretty much essential).

Remember how I mentioned to offer your house sitting services to friends and family, well that’s the opportunity to get a glowing review.

Messages that you are going to want to get across to homeowners

  • You are responsible and trustworthy
  • Your love for animals
  • Past experiences with animals, house sitting or general “good deeds”

People are going to ask you a lot more questions but these are a few good points on how to start. You can view our profile HERE for more ideas and tricks.

Then, you have to set up a killer profile. police checks are essential (they build trust) and get some friends to write references for you. Just so home owners see your a nice and trustworthy. This is an example of our PROFILE

Ohh and if you want to nail the whole application process spend the time and make a YouTube video and put together a small website that demonstrates an ABOUT US page and PHOTO GALLERY (another great way to share you animal love). It’s not as hard as you think and it really does set you apart from the rest.

Check out our profile example HERE

Back Up Plans – What to do between each house sit if the timings don’t match

People commonly ask what we do between house sits? What if they don’t line up? We have good back up plans. Here is why. Not every house sit is going to match up perfectly. People may miss flights home, you may need to stay for an extra night or 2. People may come home earlier than expected (this has happened but is very rare).

So here is how to have a bullet proof house sitting back up plan.

  1. Ask friends and family if you can board out a room. Talk to them prior and ask a couple of people so you have more than one option. Make it worth their while. We pay friends $40 per night and try to cook them dinner. Remember most of the time you will live rent free and they will help you out heaps!
  2. Use cheap accommodation websites like (Homestay.com, AirB&B, Easyroommate.com)
  3. Go on a holiday. Seriously at times you are going to need it! Imagine this, you have just finished a 2 month house sit. Every day you stayed at this home as you said you would. After 2 months, believe me, you are going to want a night with no responsibility. You often have to say no to weekend away with friends and spontaneous activities due to house sitting commitments. So do yourself a favour and plan to have small breaks just to keep sane and enjoying the free lifestyle.
  4. PARTNERS ONLY – We are married, there are 2 of us in this team so we are lucky enough to be able to split up. One person at one house the other at another. Problem solved, but unfortunately that’s not for everyone.

Building a new house sitter checklist

If I will be honest with you, this is probably the hardest part and most crucial part of the process. It is important because everything that you will need to know about the home, pets and the arrangements for the house sit will be recorded on this document.

We send this document to the home owners well before the house sit and make sure it is completed in detail. We will often the double and triple check the information to make sure we have as much information as possible and trust me, you will need it! At one time or another we have used everything on this document whilst on a house sit.

Here are some of the key details that you will need to include in your checklist

  • Home and owner details – address, phone number
  • Neighbour details
  • 2 emergency contacts
  • Traveling details
  • Contact details whilst away – As many as you can get, international mobile, Skype, Facebook, twitter, hotels etc
  • House sit details – Bin dates, cleaning products, garden care, keys, quirks, spare keys in emergency, lock up details
  • Pet details, special requirements, feeding regime, are they other pet friendly, exercise details
  • Vet details and pet emergency plans (essential!!)
  • Internet details
  • House alarm details
  • Special requests etc

Build a killer online profile

Up until now we have worked through most of the planning and preparation stages of becoming a house sitter. Its time to start working on what I like to call the customer experience. Think of house sitting like a business.

First you plan and prepare your product, like the steps that we have mentioned earlier. Up until now most of the preparation has been behind closed doors.

Now you move your effort to marketing your service, this is your profile. It’s your chance to win your client or potential home owner over and convince them that your service will be second to none.

It is relatively easy to build a killer profile but going above and beyond will set you above your competition. Remembering that many people will be applying for the same house sit.

Join a house sitting website

Lets start by joining a house sitting website and paying your annual subscription. This will enable  you to use their platform to advertise your service and apply for house sits.

Fill in personal details

Then fill in the details as required. Now you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Use the stand out information from your character references, police checks and supporting documents. Place your own spin on things and try to give the profile a little of your own character.

Add some photos

Grab 5 of your best photos and add them to your profile. We like to use photos of us with a variety of animals as this shows that we are passionate about all animals. Now go practice those big smiles!!!

House sitting, well its safe to say that if you are reading this then you are considering or know someone who is considering becoming a house sitter! That is freaking awesome!!! We are so happy to hear someone is considering house sitting it is a awesome lifestyle!  So why don’t we get into it.

House sitting, will it be for you?

Making a commitment to become a trusted house sitter is a big thing! However, we really can’t stress enough, if you are going to become a house sitter, give it everything you have. Most of all,  we want the share economy of house sitting to be trustworthy and growing for years to come. So, making sure you’re a fit to the lifestyle because it can be a big commitment.

Here are some key points to consider before starting house sitting

Remember these are just things to think about before jumping in.

  • Do you like animals? After all your main responsibility will be to care and love for people’s beloved pets
  • Will you be able to commit to looking after a home for anywhere between 3 days to 3 months? This probably means committing to being around each day for the pets and the home, meaning no weekends away or holidays.
  • Can you live small? You can’t unpack everything you own when you start a new sit? We live from what we can store in our car.
  • Can you complete the house sit without expecting money to be exchanged? House sitting is generally a mutual exchange, therefore,  you don’t pay for rent, accommodation, mortgages or bills in exchange you live in, care for pets and maintain the property. (Note – In some cases you may be paid but be careful about insurances etc)
  • Some pets require extra care like medications, skin care and other needs.
  • How are you going to organise your time between house sits?
  • Will you continue to live in your current residence?
  • Are you flexible and relaxed enough to live place to place?
  • If you work, travel times may increase depending on locations and house sit availability, will that still work for you?
  • Long term house sits often mean long term commitments. Can you commit to caring for pets and property for extended periods of time?
  • Once you start a house sit and the owners are overseas, you are all in. Are you ok with that responsibility?
  • Do you have your own pets? Some house sitters are open to people brining their own pets but this can mean you will not be accepted for some house sits

Now I don’t want to scare you off before you have even started but these are all issues that we have faced. We are relaxed in our approach as sometimes things can get complicated and you must go with the flow. But remember it can be a large commitment.

Now into the good stuff….

The try before you buy approach to house sitting

This is a simple approach to making sure you are suited to house sitting. Just ask friends and family if they need a house sitter when they go away. Place a post on your preferred social media and let people know you want to get into it.  I almost guarantee that someone will need your services and if that doesn’t work, you can you can sign up for a house sitting website and pick up a small listing. However, don’t stress, I’ll go into these websites in more detail soon.

The key here is to take on a small, low risk house sit where you can just lock up your own home and test the lifestyle first.

Start small, test, test, test and see how it all goes.

A little tip, try and stay close to home. That way if you forget something or you need a little time in your own space, you can just head on home for a couple of hours. See easy!

Your first house sit – The small test run

Well done, you have made it this far. Now best to be honest here and tell the home owner you are new, just ensure them that you will do a perfect job and show them how enthusiastic you are!

THE BIGGEST TIP FOR YOUR FIRST HOUSE SIT – Make sure you can contact the owners. That way if something goes wrong or you can’t turn on the TV, you can just give them a little call. Skype, Facebook, international numbers, close friends and family members. Get the right infomation.

At this stage I bet you like, what is that it??? Well now you can read on and I’ll walk you through some more of the long term lifestyle changes of a full time house sitter.

The full time house sitting lifestyle

In this section I will quickly step out the process that we used to become full time house sitter in simple dot point format. Then I’ll go into more details as we go along

Planning – It is everything, key points to consider

As the old saying goes, prior planning prevents piss poor performance, so being a trusted house sitter with a good reputation takes planning. Lets step out the planning stages.

  1. Get a calendar, plan out when you will start house sitting
  2. All your gear -what are you going to do with it? Sell it, store it, leave it locked up in your own home. Start making plan
  3. Get a police check started asap – this gives people confidence that your not going to sell their homely goods while they are sun baking in the Greek Islands. They can take weeks to receive so get started at your local police station. Or check out this WEBSITE
  4. Get character references or testimonials from previous pet minding or house sitting, or even current landlords.
  5. Make a back up plan for between house sits, you may have small gaps with no accommodation.
  6. Start making a check list of questions to ask
  7. Build a killer online profile – start small, work on 1 website and set up a profile.
  8. Build a short bio about yourself so people can get to know you. If you have trouble ask a friend to help you make one. I know it can be tough talking about how awesome you are!
  9. Start looking at the best websites for your needs.
  10. Ohhh did I mention start a calendar?
  11. Be responsive to enquiries and meet with the home owners in advance.
  12. Book out at least 3 months of house sits

I’ll go into the important ones in a little more detail and share what and how we did each.

All your gear, what are you going to do with it

For us, becoming full time house sitters was essentially a form on minimalism. If you haven’t hear about minimalism well hear is a couple of places to start THEMINIMALISTSBECOMING MINIMALIST, BEMOREWITHLESS.

What we did to downsize

  1. Plan to keep whatever essentials you need that can fit into your car. If you plan to house sit internationally then you’ll need to go smaller, think backpack and suitcase, back packer style. We look something like this: 6 containers of clothes in the boot. A bathroom box, a kitchen box and a small items box. We then have 2 laptop bags, a camera bag, 2 pillows and 2 doona’s (because two doona’s make for a happy marriage… a whole other story!). That’s it, and we have found that we don’t need much else. Remember your living in other people’s homes. They will have it all, or close to it. Trust me
  2. Store everything that we considered essential into a storage shed. The reason is that if everything fell apart in 6 months we could just go back to renting, move everything out of storage and go from there. Think big and essential, washing machine, fridge, a mattress and anything thing you might need. However, try to think small and only worst case. It turns out we didn’t need to do that so we sold everything from the storage shed as well
  3. Sell everything else. Gumtree, garage sale, friends and family, donations. This may be tough and I can blurb on about it for days but it is liberating! Its 90% just STUFF – have a look at this view on STUFF – HERE

Character References, police checks and supporting documents

This step is all about building trust so spend some time on it. Think of it as going to a job interview. People want to know as much as they can about you. This is your opportunity to tell them. How? Well most house sitting websites will allow you to attach supporting documents. I think we currently have 10 documents attached from personal references (when we started out), letters from happy home owners (these are like gold, ask for them) and police checks (pretty much essential).

Remember how I mentioned to offer your house sitting services to friends and family, well that’s the opportunity to get a glowing review.

Messages that you are going to want to get across to homeowners

  • You are responsible and trustworthy
  • Your love for animals
  • Past experiences with animals, house sitting or general “good deeds”

People are going to ask you a lot more questions but these are a few good points on how to start. You can view our profile HERE for more ideas and tricks.

Then, you have to set up a killer profile. police checks are essential (they build trust) and get some friends to write references for you. Just so home owners see your a nice and trustworthy. This is an example of our PROFILE

Ohh and if you want to nail the whole application process spend the time and make a YouTube video and put together a small website that demonstrates an ABOUT US page and PHOTO GALLERY (another great way to share you animal love). It’s not as hard as you think and it really does set you apart from the rest.

Check out our profile example HERE

Back Up Plans – What to do between each house sit if the timings don’t match

People commonly ask what we do between house sits? What if they don’t line up? We have good back up plans. Here is why. Not every house sit is going to match up perfectly. People may miss flights home, you may need to stay for an extra night or 2. People may come home earlier than expected (this has happened but is very rare).

So here is how to have a bullet proof house sitting back up plan.

  1. Ask friends and family if you can board out a room. Talk to them prior and ask a couple of people so you have more than one option. Make it worth their while. We pay friends $40 per night and try to cook them dinner. Remember most of the time you will live rent free and they will help you out heaps!
  2. Use cheap accommodation websites like (Homestay.com, AirB&B, Easyroommate.com)
  3. Go on a holiday. Seriously at times you are going to need it! Imagine this, you have just finished a 2 month house sit. Every day you stayed at this home as you said you would. After 2 months, believe me, you are going to want a night with no responsibility. You often have to say no to weekend away with friends and spontaneous activities due to house sitting commitments. So do yourself a favour and plan to have small breaks just to keep sane and enjoying the free lifestyle.
  4. PARTNERS ONLY – We are married, there are 2 of us in this team so we are lucky enough to be able to split up. One person at one house the other at another. Problem solved, but unfortunately that’s not for everyone.

Building a new house sitter checklist

If I will be honest with you, this is probably the hardest part and most crucial part of the process. It is important because everything that you will need to know about the home, pets and the arrangements for the house sit will be recorded on this document.

We send this document to the home owners well before the house sit and make sure it is completed in detail. We will often the double and triple check the information to make sure we have as much information as possible and trust me, you will need it! At one time or another we have used everything on this document whilst on a house sit.

Here are some of the key details that you will need to include in your checklist

  • Home and owner details – address, phone number
  • Neighbour details
  • 2 emergency contacts
  • Traveling details
  • Contact details whilst away – As many as you can get, international mobile, Skype, Facebook, twitter, hotels etc
  • House sit details – Bin dates, cleaning products, garden care, keys, quirks, spare keys in emergency, lock up details
  • Pet details, special requirements, feeding regime, are they other pet friendly, exercise details
  • Vet details and pet emergency plans (essential!!)
  • Internet details
  • House alarm details
  • Special requests etc

Build a killer online profile

Up until now we have worked through most of the planning and preparation stages of becoming a house sitter. Its time to start working on what I like to call the customer experience. Think of house sitting like a business.

First you plan and prepare your product, like the steps that we have mentioned earlier. Up until now most of the preparation has been behind closed doors.

Now you move your effort to marketing your service, this is your profile. It’s your chance to win your client or potential home owner over and convince them that your service will be second to none.

It is relatively easy to build a killer profile but going above and beyond will set you above your competition. Remembering that many people will be applying for the same house sit.

Join a house sitting website

Lets start by joining a house sitting website and paying your annual subscription. This will enable  you to use their platform to advertise your service and apply for house sits.

Fill in personal details

Then fill in the details as required. Now you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Use the stand out information from your character references, police checks and supporting documents. Place your own spin on things and try to give the profile a little of your own character.

Add some photos

Grab 5 of your best photos and add them to your profile. We like to use photos of us with a variety of animals as this shows that we are passionate about all animals. Now go practice those big smiles!!!

Upload supporting documents

Upload your supporting documents and give a heart felt introduction to yourself in the “about us section”. See how easy was that?

Going the extra mile

You can go one step further and really build some trust with the home owner. That’s by building a killer YouTube video that you can upload to your profile. However that is for another post. But you can check out our simple video HEREhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIy4n1XvVBs

Be responsive to enquiries and meet with the home owners in advance

Hold on team, not that long to go now, the nuts and bolts are done. You have done the background work, marketed yourself with the profile and if all is working out well you have found and applied for a couple of appropriate house sitting jobs! Well done.

We now move on to the close. You have made contact, but can you do more? The answer is yes. At this stage it is important to make the home owner really know that you want the job. You don’t need to hassle them too much but you want to make sure that you are at the top of their list.

Tricks to being at the top of a home owners list

How do you do this? Well simply you send them an email within 24th of applying for the job.

In this email you want to re-introduce yourself and give a little taste of your personality. Often this is as simple as doing a little research and making a comment. Like this

  • Hey I noticed your pets, they look adorable, it would be a privilege to look after them
  • Being the excited and organised person that I am I had a look at some of the activities in your local community, x.x.x looks great and it would be wonderful to explore this if I am successful in my application
  • Your home looks stunning, I would very much like to care for your animals and upkeep your amazing home, given the opportunity.

See how I have tried to make each personal based on the information you are provided.

The number 1 trick to be, well, the number 1 applicant

So trick number 1, send a personal email within 24h of applying. Trick number 2, set the sites notifications to email you when listings become available. So try to be the first to apply. Then as before, email within 24h to express your interest. The owners will see your enthusiasm, back up with your killer profile and consequently, if all goes to plan will likely want to make contact with you.

When the home owner’s do make contact with you get back to them ASAP!!! This is important because your profile has a reply rating. This indicates responsiveness to first contact messages, so it is vital that you get back quickly to receive a great score.

When they do get back to you, it is a great idea to meet or Skype with them as soon as possible. The quicker they know you are the right person for the house sit, consequently, the quicker they will book you and stop looking at other profiles. It’s a numbers game and owners will often have dozens of applicants which maybe overwhelming. In our experience, the quicker you make them feel comfortable and happy the more house sitting jobs you will be able to secure.