What is the house sitting?
House sitting is for:
- people wishing to go on vacation without leaving their home empty
- travellers looking for cheap accommodation and slow travel
People looking for house sitters often do so to avoid having to move their pets during their absence. It can also be for the garden to be watered, or simply for safety by keeping a presence in the house.
For travellers, it is more than an opportunity for a free stay and money saving with cooking. This allows you to travel more slowly. But above all it makes you feel at home with access to the kitchen, TV, washing machine, etc. without having to share with everyone at the hostel! It is also a golden opportunity to live as a local and blend into the community. Moreover, it is a chance to have new pets, give and receive tons of love! Finally, it is an opportunity to meet people and become friends with your hosts.
How does it work?
Many house sitting websites exist. Simply register, create a profile and respond to offers. As for Airbnb or Couchsurfing, guests and travellers receive comments and recommendations.
The house sitting duration varies from one weekend to several months. The tasks to be performed vary considerably depending on to the pets, the garden, the size of the house and the owner’s habits. Each house sitting is different: some houses are very luxurious, some home owners lend their cars, some pay for your shopping while others may ask you to participate in the bills (depending on the length of your stay).
The different house sitting websites
From one website to another, registration fees are very variable. Also, the number of house sitting offers differs greatly.
In addition, some websites are specialised by country or region, and the “global” websites all have countries and regions in which they are better represented.
Finally, house sitting is not a common concept in everywhere. In our experience, this seems more popular in North America, Europe and Australia.
Do your research before registering on a particular website. We also suggest to register with two websites to maximise your chances.
We have tested three house sitting websites for you:
- Nomador: a global one, easy to use and very safe. This website also features, following the couch-surfing model, people willing to welcome fellow travellers at anytime. We love the discovery formula which allows to test the website for free. The only downside, this website is more popular in Europe. Consequently, we did not found any conclusive house sitting on our way around the world.
- Mindahome: we have successfully tested Mindahome Australia, we found most of our housesittings through this website. We found the portal to be complete and it offers a lot of information. The membership fee is low. Moreover, MindaHome is also available in the UK!
- AussieHouseSitters: we have also successfully tested AussieHousesitters, a website also exclusive to the Australian territory. The site is easy to use and we liked the interface to manage messages and conversations.
- Other global sites that we have not tested but are popular and have good ratings: TrustedHousesitters (very expensive) and MindmyHouse.
Once you have been contacted by an home owner, expect to have an interview. We strongly advise you to insist on making a video call with the home owner, it is also the opportunity for you to judge them. We have rejected offers as a result of conversations. You must feel confident about your house sitting and you do not want to find yourself in a situation beyond your abilities. Make sure you have clarified what is expected of you, your tasks and financial aspects.
If you need time to think be honest. Once engaged if one of the parties does not keep one’s word it can cause a lot of trouble to the other and certainly ruin holidays. Some home owners will ask you to come before their departure, we think it is a very good practice. This allows the pets to get used to you and for you to get used to the place and the surroundings. Finally, make sure you have all the emergency numbers and contacts as well as the procedures to follow in case of problems. During your stay, follow the rules of common sense and return the house to the state where you found it.
How to find your first house sitting?
Before doing your first house sitting you will not have recommendations on your profile, it can make your research more difficult. We were worried because we also know there are usually more requests than offers to find a house to keep. However, by applying the tips below we were very successful and even had to turn down offers. Here are our tips:
- Take care of your profile, write a long description with relevant information such as your experiences with animals or gardening and why you want to become a house sitter. Make sure to post several photos. Show enthusiasm!
- Look for ways to justify of past experiences. Have you already cared for a loved one’s home? Pet or baby sit for friends? Mention it in your profile, or better, have them write you a recommendation to add to your description. You can also turn to your former roommates. For example, we included in our description our comments on Airbnb.
- This sounds logical but write in the language of the country where you seek to find accommodation. If necessary, publish your profile in multiple languages.
- Post a video on your profile, it is the secret! We went from zero answers to many offers after following this advice heard in a podcast. We made a 2-minute video introducing ourselves in which we more or less repeated the information from our profile. However, seeing us on video has a much more reassuring and authentic feel for home owner.
- When responding to specific offers, customise and add as many references a possible to the published offer.
- Send a lot of requests. No secrets here, multiplying your demands you increase your chances of having a positive answer. Some owners do not even answer.
Finally, do some research, we learned a lot from reading online testimonials and especially listening to podcasts, here are two excellent podcasts:
Our experience in Australia
After being on the road for 7 months, we loved house sitting in Australia: being able to unpack, use an oven, make provisions, take baths, know the neighbours, etc.
We did 3 house sitting in 3 different regions, from one to three weeks. We were responsible for: 15 chickens, 3 dogs, 1 cat, 1 rabbit, 1 guinea pig and 1 vegetable garden. All the animals were well educated and very affectionate! We shared some great moments with some of our hosts and even spent evenings with their families. We were able to enjoy very comfortable house. In the meantime, we made huge progress on the blog and Nicolas has even been able to work as a freelancer on a short term project.
We had one bad experience, however, with an incredibly dirty house. Even after hours of scrupulous cleaning, the smell made us extremely uncomfortable. For the interview, the host refused to make a video call with us, just a phone call, on the pretext she did not have enough time to set up the video. We asked for photos and only received a picture of the kitchen. We should have insisted and not accepted without making the video call. Indeed, we should have asked to see where we were going to sleep. If it had been the case we would have declined this offer because the experience was unpleasant for us.
Overall, it is a very positive experience for us. We are thinking about doing it again upon our return to Europe. Indeed, house sitting can also be a way to discover a region in which you want to settle, or to test life with a dog or a cat.
You plan to visit Australia ? Our articles and advice are available here: https://voyagedemiel.com/en/category/destination-en/australia/.