House sitting can be a very rewarding experience. But if you’re missing critical knowledge it can be a struggle.
All successful house sitters know the first step to house sitting success is choice of house sitting website. But selecting a site from the plethora of platforms can be daunting, especially if you’re a first timer. We compare Features, Functions & Prices of house sitting websites so you can self-select the one best for your circumstances.
Follow our TOP 5 TIPS – and apply for house sitting jobs with confidence 🙂
TIP 1: Write a great Profile
First impressions count! Your Profile is your introduction to the home owner. Sell yourself. It’s really important to build the best possible profile to stand out in the crowd. Emphasize your personal attributes. Add photos! Home owners want to put a face to a name – not communicate with a faceless name on a house sitting website. If you’ve cared for pets similar to theirs, say so. The more you relate to the home owners’ needs, the more likely they are to feel a connection. It’s quite something for home owners to entrust property, possessions and pets into the hands of a virtual stranger. Be open and honest about who you are – why you want to house sit and your pet preferences. Upload as many photos as the site will allow, preferably with pets. Posting photos of you in holiday destinations will leave home owners with the impression you’re more interested in visiting nice locations than caring for their home and fur family. Similarly photos of you with other people, even adorable grandchildren, says it’s more about you than about them. Don’t expect to write a stellar profile the first time. You can edit it as often as you want.
Insider Tip: “A picture is worth 1,000 words“. Increase your chance of Home Owners identifying with you by uploading as many photos as the site will allow.
TIP 2: Activate and monitor home owner ad Alerts
Alerts enable yours to be among the first applications received by the home owner for their house sitting job. To be in with a chance you need to be among the first five messages received by the home owner. After that, your chance of being short listed diminishes. All the ‘best’ house sitting websites offer alerts as and when house sitting jobs are listed that match the house sitters’ specified preferences. Some send alerts every twenty four hours, others offer real time alerts. All send email alerts and some also offer Twitter alerts – see features of the best house sitting websites for Australia & New Zealand and UK, USA & Canada.
Insider Tip: You must opt in to receive Alerts! These are not automatic. Take care when setting up your Alerts. Read the how-to information of your chosen house sitting website, carefully. Does ticking a box denote you want, or do not want, a particular feature included in your alerts? If unsure, seek clarification from the site.
TIP 3: Apply as soon as you see house sitting jobs of interest
As soon as you are alerted to a house sitting job of interest – apply. Don’t leave it to a more convenient time, particularly for ‘attractive’ house sits for which competition is fierce. Sits of more than four weeks come into this category, as do house sits in major cities and popular holiday destinations. Other factors that increase competition for house sitting jobs are no pets, a pool, an easy care lawn and/or garden, beautiful home in gorgeous location. Browse house sitting jobs for Sydney, France.
Insider Tip: If you’re actively looking for a house sitting job, be poised to apply anywhere, anytime. If you see a house sitting job you’d like, make time to write a good application message and send ASAP.
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TIP 4: Write a good application message.
Your first contact with the home owner is critical. It 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 issues raised. The more you relate to the home owners’ needs, the more they’ll feel a connection. Explain what you bring to the position. Detail relevant experience, particularly with animals like theirs. Show empathy for the needs of the home owner and their pets. Don’t cloud communication with details about duties. The all-important initial contact is about opening up two-way communication. A disinterested application will not impress home owners who receive emails from enthusiastic, experienced house sitters. If you’ve had experience with similar animals, say so. There’s a big difference between caring for a young, active, intelligent Border Collie to an elderly Golden Retriever who suffers from arthritis, not able to walk far or often. Give the home owner an insight into your world. Let them get to know you. 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. Only apply for house sitting jobs for which you qualify. 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, either sight seeing or working. To doing so wastes your time & also, theirs.
TIP 5: Communication is key to house sitting success
Aside from the practical aspects of being available for the period in question and willing & able to carry out the duties specified, effective communication is key. House sitting is about relationship, relationships are built on trust, and trust starts with communication. Communication with home owners should be timely, courteous and clear. Give a thorough, not evasive, response to questions. Encourage contact with the home owner as early as possible in the process – by phone, Skype or Facetime or, if you’re in the same region, suggest meeting face to face. This helps each party get a sense of how good a ‘fit’ they are and opportunity to clarify expectations.
Insider Tip: It’s important to inspire trust on first contact. Attach a reference or two with your initial contact, but first remove the home owner’s contact details. Past Home Owners who are happy to be contacted by potential home owners are gold! Don’t stretch the friendship by allowing anyone to call them willy nilly. Only give your referees contact details once satisfied you want to go the-next-step.
Sound like a lot of work?
Applying for house sitting jobs is work. I look at it this way – a dollar saved is a dollar earned. Thanks to discovering house and pet sitting in 2011, I’ve ‘earned’ hundreds of thousands of dollars by not paying rent or mortgage in Sydney, Australia – a city where house prices continue to go through the roof. These savings are based on rentals in Sydney over the past seven years of long term house sitting.
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