Have you read our previous article how we ended up in Mexico for 6 months house and pet sitting? Are you excited to try this way of travelling and become a house sitter?
Here is a short guide how to start, where to look and how to ensure you get the best out of it!
Where do you want to house sit?
A method used by most for securing your house sit is using one of the websites.
There are international and location specific options.
Trustedhousesitters is the largest (around 2000 active house sits at a time) and most popular house sitting website but they also charge the most of all. They cover the whole world but are particularly strong in the US, UK and Australia. With the popularity being an advantage, it brings also high competition rates as there will be many people wanting the same house sit as you do.
Nomador is slightly smaller (around 500 active house sits) but has some unique features we really like, as Stopover which is offered by community members that a house sitter between the sits or while travelling can use (something like couchsurfing for house sitters). There is also Nomador Discovery option that allows you to apply for 3 house sits free of charge.
HouseSitMexico – this is the one we used to find our house sit. It’s very easy to navigate and almost every day we get new house sit opportunities into our email inbox, so there’ s plenty to choose from.
HousesittersCanada – currently free membership for house sitters for 2 years!
There are also facebook groups specifically for house sitting or for expats, where people would post the opportunities directly a you communicate with the owner via private messages.
So you picked a website, registered and now you need to
Create an interesting and eye catching profile
It’s your CV, it’s the first thing (apart from your personal message) that the homeowner will find out about you. Write about yourself, your experiences, your motivation for house and pet sitting and what you can offer to the owner and animals, what you’re good at. Be honest. Don’t lie about the experience if you don’t have any (but don’t forget you can ask your landlord for reference or friends or family you did unofficial house and pet sitting for). Pick a perfect profile picture clearly showing your face, with a big smile, optionally with a pet :). Add more pictures to help the owner to know you better, your hobbies and your relationship to animals.
Start responding to interesting house sits
You can have a template but ALWAYS be personal and refer to things mentioned in the ad. Nobody is interested in talking to an automated message creator.
Don’t get annoyed if it doesn’t work on the first, second or third go
You’re new to this, some people will prefer more experienced house sitters but there is somebody out there who will like you as a person and give you that FIRST house sit.
You can do this even with your own pets or whole family
But be prepared it may take more time to find a house sit because people may be afraid to let other pets live with theirs if they haven’t don it before. If the owner tells you, it’s not good idea, move on, they probably know their own pets and you don’t want to get into trouble. But we (meaning us and our two dogs) live with one dog and two cats at the moment and it’s manageable though the house dog has her moments of jealousy sometimes :). All depends on your agreement with the owner.
You got accepted? Brilliant! Before confirming the house sit:
- review all the responsibilities specified in the ad and confirm them with the owner
- confirm the dates when you’re required to be there
- check the location properly, check the transport options, if there is car available for your errands or how this will managed (shopping, vet visits etc)
- who is responsible for paying for the utilities, TV and internet
- visa requirements for the country
- any need for vaccinations required for the country of house sit
- ask about anything you find relevant, better to sort it out now than be surprised later when the owner is in their home country/vacation destination already
- ask yourself – am I ready to commit in terms of dates, location and responsibilities? this is not a vacation that can be cut short when you don’t like it
While waiting for the time of your arrival, keep communicating with the home owner and keep building your relationship
The day has come, your house sit starts
Arrive on time. Ask questions. The ideal situation is when you can spend several days with the owner and go over everything but this will also depend on the length of the stay. Go over any emergency procedures, numbers, people who can help you if anything goes wrong. Go over all your responsibilities again. Make notes or sometimes the owner will give you a house and pet manual.
And now… enjoy this new experience and be a good house carer and pet step parent. Things may go wrong (they did already for us) but you learn from it and at the end you’ll be probably grateful 😉
Do you like our guide? Pin it!