It was while traveling we heard about housesitting. This concept of taking care of someone’s house and their pet(s) while the homeowner is away immediately speaks to us.
It’s a shame we hadn’t heard about it sooner, which is why we want to tell you ALL about it! After reading our article Why you should become a house-sitter, you probably think: how do I become one RIGHT NOW?!
We wrote that blog one year ago while doing our first housesit. Many months later, we’ve already done five housesits worldwide: Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico, and twice in the States. Some people go from one housesit to another housesit, but for us, it’s perfect or a little ‘break’ and work on some things.
We got all housesits we seriously applied for (and only got rejected for the ones we weren’t too serious about). Even in popular places like New York City and Los Angeles, we got a housesit! So let us tell you exactly how you become The Perfect House-sitter and book all the jobs you want!
Choose a Platform That Fits You
Some are more region-specific, and some are more expensive than others. We joined Trusterhousesitters as it is the best fit for us. It’s the most prominent and fastest-growing housesitting platform worldwide.
But there are more possibilities to find housesits, think about Facebook (ex-pat) groups, or sometimes through work away; the possibilities are endless!
Make Your Profile Trustworthy
If you have chosen your platform, creating your profile is step one. And arguably, the most important one.
Someone will let a stranger in their house, sometimes even for multiple months. So it’s your job to tell them exactly who you are and why they can trust you with their home and pets!
NOTE: you’re responsible for people’s houses and often pets, don’t sign up for housesitting if you want free accommodation or can’t handle the responsibility
So, tell them about yourself; who are you? Highlight the good qualities that make you a good house-sitter.
For example, we mention on our profile that we’ve lived independently from the age of 18, making us responsible, independent girls who can take care of ourselves and our houses.
We don’t highlight we’re social because that’s not necessarily a quality that makes us good house-sitters.
Talk about interests and hobbies (again: do mention loving reading books or writing, but don’t mention hobbies like partying).
Share your previous experiences with housesitting or pets in general (yes, mention your grandma’s cat and how you loved to cuddle it). Also, tell them why you want to housesit.
Please don’t mention the free accommodation, but think about it. Is it because you like your own space, are you a digital nomad who can use an office, or do you want to experience a place from a local’s perspective? Don’t forget to mention what homeowners can expect from you!
Your profile is like your business card, the book’s cover, the first thing the homeowners see. Make it good and enthusiastic, but also be authentic.
Make sure to include photos on your profile of you being you. Not the perfectly polished travel pics from Instagram, but the selfies of you and your cat at home, you practicing your hobbies; aside from writing who you are, show them!
It works even more magic if you put a little video up there. That way, people can see the real you.
Reviews & References
Another super important thing on your profile is references. Depending on the platform, you can add reviews and or references.
With TrustedHousesitters, you can ask references from friends, family, or former bosses to write a character profile, a little piece about who you are as a person.
A review is feedback from homeowners after a housesit is done through the website. The more positive reviews and references you have on your profile, the stronger it gets!
Finding a Housesit
Be flexible! New housesits are added daily, which means: many opportunities to housesit. We never traveled to a specific place and found a housesit when we were there.
You’d be very, very lucky to pull that off. We were fortunate with our housesits in Los Angeles and New York City.
Still, we usually find a housesit in an area we’re interested in and adapt our travels to the housesit. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities there are, and the more applications you can send out.
Be flexible time-wise and location-wise, and many, many housesits are yours!
Through Trustedhousesitters, a newsletter with new housesit offers is sent out twice a day. When we think of doing a housesit, we scroll down the list with all new opportunities, so we don’t miss out on the ‘perfect’ housesit.
It’s also possible to search housesits on a specific location on the website itself.
Apply for a Housesit
When you find the housesit that fits you, it’s time to apply. Don’t apply for housesits you don’t feel comfortable with.
For example, if you don’t like dogs, don’t petsit a dog just for a fantastic house with a swimming pool. Make sure you know what to expect; like your profile, the housesit needs to look trustworthy.
Read the instructions carefully. Are there pictures of the house and pets? Are there reviews of previous house-sitters? Do you need to be home all the time? Do you need to give the pets medicine?
You will be responsible for the house and pets, so take the time to understand what the house owner is looking for. The better the match, the greater the experience will be.
When you see a housesit you want, apply immediately! It would be best if you were quick, especially since housesits in popular locations or with great perks are gone before you know it.
Often it’s first come, first served. Apply as soon as you see the housesit you want—time to write that crucial message. Remember: the first impression counts. Just like your profile, make the message personal.
Tell them something about yourself, why should you get this housesit? Let the homeowner feel you are the best house-sitter for them. Tell them how you fulfill their expectations. That you are responsible, clean, don’t smoke, etc. (if this applies to you, of course).
Don’t use the same message every time. You can make a template and use it but make it personal for every housesit because every housesit is different!
In addition, we always offer to hop on a Skype call if the homeowner wants to get to know us a bit better. It only happened twice that someone wanted to talk with us on Skype, but it also always makes a good impression!
Exciting, You Got the Housesit!
Make arrangements with the homeowner about when you are coming to the house. Twice we arrived a couple of days before the house owners were leaving.
To get to know everything about the home and pets. The other times we arrived on the day they left. It depends on what the homeowner wants and feels comfortable with.
Ensure you know the essential things about the house and pets; when do you feed the pets? Where do you put the garbage? What to do with the mail?
Ask if and how often the house owner wants to be updated while they’re away (daily? or weekly?). Don’t forget to ask about vet information and emergency contacts. You never know what can happen.
One thing we have never done before, but it might be a good idea to make up a housesitting agreement (download one here).
It’s a trust-based community, but in some cases, it’s better to have it clear in writing (for example: when the homeowner forgot to tell the neighbors and they called the police about “a stranger in the house,” and you need to explain yourself).
Okay, that’s it! Now GO HAVE FUN and enjoy having a home away from home!
And please, send us your success stories afterward (with photos!)
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