Have you ever thought about how much money people could save by house sitting?
Let’s say that these homeowners with animals need to go on a trip. These homeowners will need someone to watch their homes.
That’s where you come in.
All of these homes and pets in demand for watching means many opportunities to get significantly discounted (sometimes free) accommodation. Moreover, if you become a professional house sitter, you can turn it into a career and make a significant income.
While discounted accommodation like this may sound like a scam, it’s not.
The term for it is house sitting. In a way, it’s like babysitting, but entirely different.
So if you want to become a house sitter, dive into this guide, and I’ll teach you what house sitting is, what steps you’ll need to take to become a house sitter, and some frequently asked questions.
What Is a House Sitter?
A house sitter watches over a person’s home and possible pets while the homeowner/s are away. The house sitter (or sitter) isn’t usually a regular family member, but someone who does this work for a living.
Some house sitters will stay in the home through short vacations or over many months while the homeowners are on long trips abroad.
Are you transitioning into a nomadic lifestyle? Explore this in-depth nomad guide to learn how.
What Does a House Sitter Do?
House sitters will typically have to do the following duties while they’re watching someone’s home:
- Collect mail: you may have to forward the mail if the homeowner needs you to do so
- Take care of pets: feed them, clean litter boxes, give them medication, and whatever else
- Secure the home: turn lights on and off, monitor surveillance, and more
- Keep plants alive: water plants and such
- Other property management: cleaning, maintenance, and whatever else the owner requests
Paid Vs. Unpaid House Sitters
In some instances, homeowners will pay you to watch her home and provide a room for you to stay in, ideal for most house sitters.
However, you are more likely to find an unpaid house-sitting gig, which means you get almost free accommodation—except for website fees.
What Are the Benefits of Being a House Sitter?
It might not seem like a dream job at first glance, but what many people don’t realize are some pretty significant benefits to being a house sitter:
- Discounted accommodation: you’ll get to experience different places around the world without paying a lot for accommodation
- Experience life like a local: one of the most exciting things about being a house sitter is how much insight into local culture and customs that you will gain from spending time with them on their turf
- Caring for pets: if you love caring for animals but don’t have the means to have your pet, caring for someone else’s pet may be something that you’ll love
There are plenty more benefits, but those key features should give anyone considering becoming a house sitter enough reasons to reconsider what they might think about the profession.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a House Sitter?
Thankfully you don’t need a degree to become a house sitter; however, the following are requirements that you will need to house sit:
- Transportation: homeowners can’t provide transportation, so you’ll need to have the means to get to where you’re sitting
- Responsibility: you’ll need to dedicate your time to ensure you take care of the homeowner’s property, pets, and belongings
- Pet and plant knowledge: you’ll need to know how to take care of someone else’s plants and pets
- Communication skills: to let the owner know if anything’s wrong with the property
How Much Does It Cost To Be a House Sitter?
If you go with a house-sitting website like TrustedHouseSitter, you’ll need to pay for their annual membership fees, transportation, and food (for yourself and your pets).
Typically, the homeowner pays the house sitting fee to cover expenses and reimbursement for any services provided while they are away.
How To Become a House Sitter
If you’re wondering how to become a house sitter in 2021, follow the steps below.
Throughout this section, I will go over some of the best house sitting websites, what you’ll want to research before diving into house sitting, and some ways to pursue getting clients.
1. Become a Member of a House Sitting Website
Make an account with a house-sitting website. Most, if not all, house-sitting websites charge a monthly or annual fee. Fees usually cover insurance costs, veterinary consultation, and other perks like stays in airport lounges.
While paying to watch someone else’s home may sound unreasonable, consider that you will still save a lot of money compared to typical accommodation. Moreover, having to pay a fee reduces the number of people that are flooding the platform/s.
Anyway, once the website approves the profile, you will search through available house-sitting jobs.
The following are websites meant for you who want to save money on traveling rather than turning house sitting into a profession.
What Are the Best Best House Sitting Websites?
Some of the best house sitting websites include:
- TrustedHouseSitters: the most well-known house sitting website, but that means you’ll also face the most competition
- Nomador: fantastic customer service and more affordable than some of its competitors
- MindMyHouse: it has poor ratings, and there’s a lack of listings; however, it’s the most affordable
- HouseSit Match: odd perks for their paid subscription, yet this house sitting website has left a lot of people satisfied
- HouseCarers: a great house sitting site if you want to house sit mainly in the US, Australia, and Europe
Keep in mind that you won’t make an income from these websites. However, they still save you a lot of money if you want to travel.
What Are Good Websites to Find Paid House Sitting Jobs?
If you want to find paid house-sitting jobs, you can advertise on Craigslist; however, with this site, exercise a lot of caution and don’t get scammed. Conserve, you could use a more trustworthy website like Care or a job board such as Indeed.
If you want to pursue caretaking, you can explore The Caretaker Gazette. However, remember that you’ll also have to pay a somewhat reasonable fee to look for gigs on this website.
Don’t want to watch houses outside of the US? Then, check out House Sitters of America. With this site, you can find paid and free house-sitting opportunities.
Are you interested in making money? Explore these fantastic jobs for digital nomads.
2. Improve Your Image
Before setting up your profile, you’ll first want to ensure you have an excellent profile picture to let homeowners know you’re a trustworthy person.
Other ways to enhance your profiles include learning handy skills such as basic gardening, fixing a leaky faucet, pet care, and more. You could learn these skills from YouTube—not the most effective learning path. Or, you could take local or online courses.
I’ve found mixed reviews from past experiences of people signing up for memberships like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. Perks from membership websites like these helped some people while proving not as valuable for others.
3. Create a Profile
By now, you’ll have chosen a website, and you will know what kind of area you want to stay in. With that in mind, now you can create your profile on the house sitting website/s.
Ensure that you list the following information about yourself to increase your chances of landing a house sitting gig:
- Any skills: let them know if you can replace sinks, reupholster a couch, or other skills that homeowners may find useful
- Experience: let people know whether you have house sat before
- Experience with pets and plants: it will increase the homeowner’s confidence in your ability to care for pets and plants
- Rates: if you’re opting for the paid route, let potential clients know your rates
4. Find Homes to Watch
If you’re opting for unpaid house sitting opportunities, you’ll browse through house sitting listings and make a list of what ones you’ll want to do. Afterward, contact the homeowners and research your desired sits.
To find paid house-sitting jobs, you’ll need to put in a significant amount of work rather than just entering your debit card into a payment portal. So first off, you’ll want to ask your family and friends if they know anyone who needs someone to watch a homeowner’s home while they’re away.
Next, you’ll want to explore job listings, contact clients for more information, and apply for a paid job sitting position. While you could pay to advertise your services, I don’t recommend it unless you perform the proper keyword research and create a captivating ad.
5. Research the Neighborhoods in Which You Want to Work
Step two depends on whether you care about the area of the home you’re watching. If not, skip to the next step. Otherwise, keep reading.
If you’re still reading, you’ll want to research the area where you’re staying. That way, you’ll ensure you’re staying in a safe location.
But how do you research neighborhoods?
First off, you’ll want to explore the US Census Bureau for neighborhoods in America. You could also explore the street view of the neighborhood through Google Maps.
Afterward, if you want to look into stores and restaurants, the ratings for those stores will give you a good idea of what the locals are like. To find these ratings, check out Yelp or Google reviews.
6. Maintain Good Communication With All Parties Involved at All Times
Likewise, one of the most important things to remember is good communication with all parties involved.
House sitters will need contact information for owners and pets if emergencies or other issues during their stay. Similarly, homeowners should provide a phone number or social media messenger to be reached 24 hours per day so that house-sitters know how to reach them if needed.
House Sitting Frequently Asked Questions
Before watching someone’s home, you may want to explore these frequently asked questions to understand better how house sitting will go for you.
How Much Does a House Sitter Normally Make?
Ziprecruiter suggests that professional house sitters in the United States can make around $70,000 per year.
Is House Sitting Safe?
Unless the homeowner has an assassin after them, house sitting is safe for house sitters. But, conversely, you should keep in mind any risks with going to someone’s house, such as potentially hostile pets.
What Should You Not Do When House Sitting?
It would be best if you did not do the following when house sitting:
– Host a house party: this can lead to security issues, home damage, and other chaotic incidents
– Eat the homeowner’s food: eat your own food, unless the homeowner permits this
– Use their landline: this can lead to costs for the homeowner
– Neglect your duties: it will ruin your reputation, and it’s just disrespectful
– Mess with the home owner’s belongings: respect their privacy and don’t break anything
Do Home Owners Provide Food for House Sitters?
Some homeowners may provide food for house sitters. However, it’s on a case-by-case basis.
Not all property owners will offer food, nor should you expect them to. Before starting your house-sitting gig, you should ask homeowners if they provide food or will clear space in the refrigerator for you.
Can House Sitters Leave the House?
Yes, house sitters can leave the house.
However, you will want to communicate with the homeowner that you’re doing so. That way, they’ll understand what’s going on. Moreover, you will need to ensure the house is secure before leaving.
Should You Become a House Sitter?
Whether you want to become a professional house sitter or want to save money during your trip, house sitting acts as an excellent means to help someone else who’s traveling while saving money during your travels.
Don’t forget to do your research before house sitting and to be respectful to the homeowner. Finally, enjoy your home sitting endeavor and stay safe.