It was while travelling we heard about house-sitting. This concept of taking care of someone’s house and their pet(s) while the homeowner is away, immediately spoke 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 we were doing our very first house-sit. Now, many months later, we’ve already done five house-sits. All over the world: Malaysia, Thailand, Mexico and twice in the States. Some people go from one house-sit to another house-sit, but for us, it’s perfect or a little ‘break’ and work on some things. Basically, we got all house-sits 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 house-sit! 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 best
As you can read in our previous blog, we joined the website Trustedhousitters.com. There are more websites out there you can join and it can be difficult to choose one. Some are more region-specific and some more expensive than others. We joined Trusterhousesitters as it is the best fit for us. It’s the biggest and fastest growing house-sitting platform worldwide. But there are more possibilities to find house-sits, think about Facebook (expat) 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 is going to 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 house and pets!
NOTE: you’re responsible for people’s houses and often pets,
don’t sign up for house-sitting if you just 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 on our own from the age of 18, which makes us responsible, independent girls who can take care of ourselves and our houses. We don’t highlight we’re really 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, don’t mention hobbies like partying).
Share your previous experiences with house-sitting or pets in general (yes, mention your grandma’s cat and how you loved to cuddle it). Also, tell them why you want to house-sit. Don’t mention the free accommodation, but think about it – really. 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 cover of the book, the first thing the homeowners see. Make it good and enthusiast, 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 practising your hobbies; aside from writing who you are, show them! 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 a feedback from homeowners after a house-sit done through the website. The more positive reviews and references you have on your profile, the stronger it gets!
Finding a house-sit
Be flexible! New house-sits are added every day, which means: many opportunities to house-sit. We never travelled to a specific place and just found a house-sit when we were there. You’d be very very lucky to pull that off. We were lucky with our house-sits in Los Angeles and New York City, but 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, the more applications you can send out. Be flexible time wise and location wise and many, many house-sits are yours!
Through Trustedhousesitters, a newsletter with new house-sit offers is sent out twice a day. When we think of doing a house-sit we scroll down the list with all new opportunities so we don’t miss out on the ‘perfect’ house-sit. It’s also possible to search house-sits on a specific location on the website itself.
Apply for a house-sit
When you found the house-sit that fits you, it’s time to apply. Don’t apply for house-sits you don’t feel comfortable with. For example, if you don’t like dogs, don’t go petsit a dog just for a fantastic house with swimming pool. Make sure you know what to expect, just like your own profile, the house-sit needs to look trustworthy. Are there pictures of the house and pets? Are there reviews of previous house-sitters? Read the instructions carefully. 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 time to understand what the house owner is looking for. The better the match, the greater the experience will be.
When you see a house-sit you want, apply immediately! You need to be quick, especially house-sits 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 house-sit you want. Time to write that crucial message. Remember: the first impression counts. Just like your profile, make the message personal. Tell something about yourself, why should you get this house-sit? Let the homeowner feel you are the best house-sitter for them. Tell them how you fulfil 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 house-sit because every house-sit 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 someone wanted to talk with us on Skype, but it also always makes a good impression!
Exciting, you got the house-sit!
Make sure to make arrangements with the homeowner about when you are coming to the house. Twice we arrived a couple days before the house owners were leaving. Just to get to know everything about the house and pets. The other times we arrived on the day they left. It depends on what the homeowner wants and feels comfortable with. Make sure you know the important 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? 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 might be a good idea to do: make up a house-sit 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 neighbours and they called the police about ‘a stranger in the house’ and you need to explain yourself).