house-sitters-top-5-tips

There’s never been a better time to get started as a house sitter, as world-wide house bound home owners leave home in droves and need minders for home and pets while away.

Not only do home owners and renters need house sitters to keep things running smoothly on the home front, due to the surge in pet ownership over recent years, a higher proportion than previously are in search of live-in care for newly acquired pets.

house-sitters-top-5-tips-to-get-started

As a result, the demand for people who ‘sit’ for free in exchange for free accommodation, is at an all-time high – good news for house sitters keen to get started.

So, if you want to find houses to sit, in your own country or on the other side of the world, then you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you want to travel the world, one house ‘sit’ at a time, “earn” free holiday accommodation for one or a family of five, or any other of the many reasons people are flocking to the value-exchange model of house sitting, then these tips will help you get your foot in the door.

 

A common misstep made by house sitters getting started is to expect to land a fabulous sit in a beautiful home in an exotic location the first time – an easy enough misunderstanding because this is often what is portrayed.

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One of my all time favourite sits. A luxurious home in a stunning location with an adorable pet. CIRCA 2016

Luxury house sits absolutely do exist and can be achieved.  These days, after eleven years spent living in other people’s homes as their house and pet sitter, the majority of my sits would be considered luxury.  But first I had to earn street cred, with written references and online reviews to authenticate my house sitting experience.

House sitting success comes from being able to demonstrate you are reliable, trustworthy, known to do the right thing by others, and have an interest in caring for other people’s homes and pets. 

The best way to achieve this is to start out doing a few short sits close to home before venturing off on your house sitting adventures.

Best way to Get Started as a House Sitter

Nothing dampens enthusiasm more than being knocked back, time and again.  So the sooner house sitters getting started receive a positive response to their application for a house sitting job, the quicker they will build confidence.

The best way to get started is to apply for short house sits in your local area.  There are many advantages to doing short sits in your locality, central to which are:-

Do Short Sits

Competition is not as tough for short sits as it is for longer sits, so your chance of being offered the sit increases significantly.

housesitting-reviewAn important benefit is that by doing a few short sits, house sitters getting started will accumulate reviews, quickly currency in the world of house and pet sitting.  This will boost confidence! 

Do Local Sits

By sitting in the local area house sitters are able to visit the home and meet people and pets before committing to ‘sit’.

Visiting enables sitters to see if the home owners’ cleanliness standards are a good match to their own, assess the behaviour of the pets, and will avert any unwanted surprises.  In this way house sitters can establish whether or not they’re a good ‘fit’ for the people, house and pets.  This will build competence!

Another advantage is because sitting locally is more manageable, there’s less stress at trying something new.

 


Got Questions on What House Sitting is, exactly?


TIP 1: Join a good House Sitting Website

Often when people think about house and pet sitting, they wonder if they can get away with not joining a house sitting website and instead, find houses to ‘sit’ through word of mouth or on Facebook groups. There are many reasons why house and pet sitters are advised to connect through the secure, online environment of a house sitting platform. These are a few:-

Identity is protected

free-house-sitterHouse sitting platforms shield the exact location and personal details of the individual until such time as both parties agree to connect.

Connecting is easier

The process of connecting is so much simpler.

Each step of the way has been streamlined, so all house sitters need do is focus on finding house sitting jobs Where and When they want them.

Gone are the days of spending hours scrolling through hundreds of house sitting jobs to find assignments that suit.

These days, every good house sitting website has search filters. All have the basic search filters of Location, Dates, Duration, Pets.  The larger platforms have additional filters such as “Families Welcome,” “Pets Welcome,” “Smoking Permitted”, “No Garden Care,” “Sit Duration”, and many more.

Avoid time wasters

Someone who is less serious about entering into a house sitting arrangement is unlikely to go through the process of joining a house sitting platform and investing time to write up their profile.  Because people are accountable to house sitting platforms of which they’re a member, if a home owner or renter did not follow through with the house sitting arrangement made with a house sitter without very good reason, the house sitting site would not permit them to advertise again.


Best house sitting sites for Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico.


TIP 2:  Write a great Profile

First impressions count

Your Profile on a house sitting website is your introduction to the home owner.

Sell yourself. Important house and pet sitters build the best possible profile to stand out in the crowd.  Don’t be too formal.  Show your personality.  Home owners want to get to know the people who will be living in their home. Remember – house sitting is not a one-size-fits-all, and home owners look for different things. Browse other sitters’ profiles to get some ideas, but do so with a critical eye. If you adopt elements of another person’s profile, be true to yourself.

Emphasize what you bring to the position. Perhaps you “Have a green thumb” or “Like to keep fit and active” or “Work online so I/we will be home a lot as company for your pets”.

Be honest and open about who you are

It’s quite something for home owners to entrust property, possessions and pets to a virtual stranger.

compare-house-sittingThe more home owners are able to get to know potential house sitters, the more likely they will feel a connection. 

Reveal more rather than less information about yourself and other members of your house sitting team, if applicable.

State why you want to house sit

Explain why you are seeking houses to ‘sit’.

Do you want to house sit to save money, explore a location, or travel longer or more often?  Are you seeking sits in a particular area to have your own space while visiting family or friends in the region? Or do you ‘sit’ to enjoy the company of pets? Other reasons why people search for houses to sit is to travel the world, one house sit at a time, or to find a place to call home for a while when life’s circumstances change.

Outline your Experience

Include information about the types of pets and animals you’ve cared for – breed, whether young, old, or infirm.  The more information house sitters give the home owner about who they are and what they bring to the table, the more the home owner will relate, and the closer you are to making a connection.

Include anything else that might be useful, such as language skills, experience managing pools or wood burners.

Include photos in your profile. 

This is very important! Home owners want to put a face to a name, not communicate with a faceless name on a house sitting website.

Upload as many photos as the house sitting site will allow, preferably of you interacting with pets.  If you sit as a couple or family, don’t forget to include photos of each of the other members of your house sitting team.

Photos taken in holiday destinations will give home owners the impression you’re more interested to visit desirable locations than care for their fur family.  Similarly, photos with other people, even adorable grandchildren, says it’s more about you than about them.

Insider Tip:  A picture is worth 1,000 words“.  House sitter profiles should contain photos with pets.  

TIP 3:    Activate and monitor Alerts

Function, Purpose & Importance of Alerts

Setting Alerts on a house sitting website enable house sitters to find assignments in Location/s they want to ‘sit’, during Dates they’re available, looking after Pets they prefer.

Without Alerts, house sitters must scroll through listings to find house sitting jobs of interest. Not only is this time consuming, it may well be futile. The reason is because members who receive Alerts have almost certainly applied days before, resulting in your application being one of the last received by the home owner.

By setting Alerts tailored to Where (Paris), When (Christmas), What (Cat) and for how long (two weeks) they want to sit, house sitters have the advantage of being able to apply for sits soon after they’re listed.  This will result in their application being one of the first received by the home owner, and will increase their chance of being chosen.

House sitters must opt-in to receive Alerts

Alerts are not automatic. House sitters need to indicate they want to receive Alerts of new house sitting jobs as and when they’re listed.  This is done by selecting “Preferences” on the house sitting website of Where, When and What they want to sit.

house-sit-alertsSome sitters are happy to sit dogs, cats, horses and all manner of animals. Whereas others want only to care for a home, some potted plants, and perhaps a few fish.

Good house sitting platforms offer sitters the option to receive Alerts as and when new house sitting jobs are listed that match their Preference. Most platforms give house sitters the option to receive alerts every 24hours.  Some also offer alerts on “as listed” basis – an excellent feature for those keen to be among the first to know when new house sitting jobs that match their preferences are published.

Insider Tip:   As soon as things change update your Alert settings e.g. Location, Date.  

TIP 4:  Apply as soon as you see a house sitting job of interest

dog-sittingHome owners may receive a lot of applications from house and pet sitters. Rather than wade through all messages, they tend to prioritize applications on a first-come-first-served basis.

Our research shows five is the magic number of application messages before the home owners’ interest in reading more, wanes.

House sitters increase their chance of being short listed if theirs is one of the first applications received by the home owner.  If you’re actively looking for opportunities to house sit, be poised to apply anywhere, anytime.

Insider Tip: If you see a house sitting job of interest, apply fast and apply well!

 TIP 5:  Write a good application message

Your first contact with the home owner is critical

This sets the scene for ongoing communication and will make or break whether you’re short-listed.  Communication should be less about your needs and more about the home owner.  Read details of the house sitting job very carefully. Address each of the aspects raised. The more you relate to the home owners’ needs, the more they’ll feel a connection.

Are you a good ‘fit’ for the house sitting job?

House sitting jobs are not a one-size-fits-all.

Now the pandemic that brought the world to a standstill is under control, house bound home owners are leaving home in droves.

World-wide the demand for house sitters who provide services under the value-exchange model of house sitting is high.  House sitters are spoilt for choice of home owners seeking house and pet sitters.

If the ad says the home owner is looking for a couple who are home a lot, perhaps retirees or people who work from home, don’t apply if you’re single, or if you’ll be away from home a lot, sight seeing or working.  Likewise if the ad says the home owner wants a single female, don’t apply if you’re a male.

Home owners have reasons for stating specific requirements in their listing. For instance, the two dogs may need two people to walk them, one dog each. Or the home owner may be a single female and her cat may not be comfortable around men.

Explain what you bring to the position.

The more information house sitters give home owners about who they are and what they bring to the table, the more the home owner will relate, and the closer you are to making a connection.

Don’t cloud communication with questions about duties. The all-important initial contact is about opening up two-way communication. Detail relevant experience, particularly with animals like theirs. Include anything else that might be useful, for instance, language skills, experience maintaining pools, wood burners/open fires, etc.

Give the home owner insights into your world. Let them get to know you. Where are you at the time of writing – around the corner, or on the other side of the world? Why do you want to sit for them?  You have a much better chance if you’re a down to earth person.

Insider Tip:  Respect the requirements specified by the home owner in their listing.  

Communication is key to house sitting success

Aside from the practical aspects of being available for the period in question and willing and able to carry out the duties specified, communication is key.

dog-sittingRelationships are built on trust, and trust starts with two-way communication.  Communication with home owners should be timely, courteous and clear.

Every house sit is different, so asking specific questions early on will help you know whether the house, the homeowner, and the pets, are a good match for your personality and preferences.  Once you’ve done a sit or two you’ll have a few standard questions to ask each homeowner.

Early in the communication process suggest meeting.   If the house sitting job is miles away, then a meet up by Skype, Zoom, Facetime or some other method is advised. If a local sit, suggest meeting in person.

Meeting makes it possible to assess exactly what you’re applying to ‘sit’.  Ask to be taken on a tour of the home and garden (if there is one), and meet the pets.

Both methods enable house sitters to see where they’ll be living, assess the behaviour of the pets, and get to know the home owner.   Meeting face-to-face helps both parties determine if they’re a good ‘fit’ – for each other, the house sitting jobs and the pets in residence.

Insider Tip:   The better the ‘fit’, the better the sit.


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