Once you’ve learned how to become a house sitter and landed your first long-term job, it might all seem too good to be true. You may just feel like you’ve stumbled upon a secret travel cheat code or struck the cash-strapped traveler lottery. Feelings like these are bound to bubble up from time to time.
After all, relaxing in cozy homes and living completely rent-free isn’t a reality many of us budget-conscious travelers thought possible. Traveling the world frequently and lounging around in top-notch properties is a lifestyle reserved for the rich and famous, right?
Not so fast.
Over the years, my partner, Keri, and I have enjoyed long-term house sitting jobs both near and far, even when we’ve been dang near broke.
Our duties are simple: take care of pets, water plants, collect mail, and keep homes occupied while the owners are out of town. The hosts get to travel knowing that their home is in good hands, and Keri and I get to live rent-free and see the world on the cheap. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
And our modest experience is mild compared to some of the more ambitious sitters out there. Some clever digital nomads and retirees have embraced house sitting as their full-time lifestyle. They bounce around the world during the summer, winter, and every season in between as they watch over homes, pets, and plants. And they travel for next to nothing along the way.
So, whether you want to house sit occasionally like Keri and me or dive in headfirst and become a long-term professional sitter, you’re in the right place. This step-by-step guide is full of all the tips, resources, and websites you’ll need to become a bonafide sitter and land your first job right away.
Let’s dive in.
How to Become a House Sitter in 2023: 11-Step Guide
If you’d like to know how to become a house sitter and land long-term sitting jobs ASAP, you’ve come to the right place. Keri and I have pursued countless jobs over the years and, though we don’t land every gig we apply for, we’re more or less experts when it comes to the process.
As a result, I’ve put together a guide that I think will give you the best chance at success possible.
Now, let’s get started.
If your goal is to become an in-demand house and pet sitter, you must first play the part.
The transient and unpredictable nature of home sitting doesn’t suit everyone, so make sure you’re cut out for the lifestyle before you start firing off applications for jobs.
You may be a good house and pet sitter if you:
- have experience caring for dogs and cats
- can embrace the ups and downs of travel
- have a flexible schedule
- work remotely, are financially independent, or have a job near your sit
- can afford the occasional hotel or Airbnb
- are comfortable in someone else’s home
- don’t have a criminal history
- are a good communicator
If the above characteristics describe you, keep reading. You might just have what it takes to cut the mustard as a house sitting professional.
For those who made the cut, the time has come to become a pro house sitter.
It ain’t the 90s anymore, so don’t go thinking you’ll find long-term house sitting jobs in the back page ads of the local newspaper. No, you’ll need to stare into the glow of your favorite device religiously if you want to find a proper gig.
Keri and I use a service called TrustedHousesitters, which has worked out very well for us.
Their website and app are both fantastic, they offer loads of jobs in over 110 countries, and everyone on the site is vetted and verified. Not to mention, it’s the most widely-used house and pet sitting website in the world.
You can browse through TrustedHousesitter’s job opportunities for free, but ultimately you’ll need to become a paid member to apply for sits. Memberships start at $129 but should pay for themselves after a night or two of free accommodation at your first gig.
💥 TrustedHousesitters is offering The Packable Life readers 20% off new memberships! Click the button below for your discount. 💥
Things start to get real after you’ve signed up for a house sitting website.
It’s now time to get laser-focused in your search for home and pet sitting jobs, as there’s always plenty of competition for the more extended gigs. Some of these listings will have dozens of applicants, so you’d better learn how to set yourself apart with a stellar application if you want to land the best sitting jobs.
Here are the first two things you can do to start getting a leg up on the competition:
Put together a rock-solid resume. Many potential hosts will want to see your past work experience and long-term sitting gigs before they let you live in their home and take care of their beloved pets.
Reach out to friends, family, landlords, and past sitters for references. Potential house sitting hosts are far more likely to let you live in their homes if others gush about how incredible you are.
TrustedHousesitters has a handy feature that allows you to send out reference requests via email to your connections. Take advantage of this feature! Give your references a heads-up, send out as many requests as you can, and watch the 5-star reviews start rolling in.
Your profile is really important.
It’s your first impression to all of the hosts that are going to consider letting you live in their home. Think of your profile as posting your resume for dozens of potential employers to nitpick before they ever have a chance to speak to you.
Hosts will read your profile carefully, and they’re going to judge you instantly. Invest time into making a professional profile or risk missing out on great opportunities.
Here’s what you should focus on:
- A profile picture that captures your personality
- Lots of pictures of you (and pets!) so owners can visualize you with their animals
- A well-edited introduction to yourself, broken down into easy-to-read paragraphs
Ask someone who gives good advice to look over your profile and offer up some unfiltered feedback. Their constructive criticism is very valuable, as it’ll help you dial in your profile and separate yourself from the competition.
Once your profile is impeccable and your references have started to trickle in, it’s time to start going after incredible live-in house sitting opportunities.
Whether you’re interested in visiting Hawaii, California, NYC, Italy, Australia, Japan, or any other desirable destination, use TrustedHousesitter’s search feature to start browsing through jobs. When an intriguing listing presents itself, click the heart icon to save it to your favorites list.
Once you have a robust list of your most ideal opportunities, whittle it down to a handful of favorites. Take a deep breath because it’s time to find yourself a killer house and pet sitting gig.
Finding incredible live-in house sitting opportunities is exciting; I get it! But it’s imperative not to rush when applying for jobs. Always put plenty of time and effort into your application before you send it through, as you’ll often be competing with other highly-motivated folks for the job.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when putting together an application:
Reference the Listing: Reference their owner’s listing several times throughout your application. Mention their pets by name. Tell them that you love the restaurants, parks, and cafes around their neighborhood.
Be Yourself: Mention a few unique things about yourself that you may not have covered in your profile. Did you recently have a meaningful house watching experience? Are you obsessed with playing cribbage? Are you a certified scuba diver? Great! Thoughtful details like these might just be a valuable conversation starter between you and your host.
Be Honest: Let hosts know if you’ve also applied to other listings. They’ll appreciate your honesty and shouldn’t get too irked if you end up withdrawing your application for another opportunity. They might also be more motivated to hire you if they’re afraid another host will scoop you up before they can.
Edit Your Application: Look over your application and edit it before clicking send. This is important! Hosts want to see that you’re taking their posting seriously and might view applications with typos and grammatical errors as lazy or rushed.
Advertise yourself as a motivated, professional, and in-demand sitter, and the hosts will be drawn to you.
When hosts are intrigued by your application, they’ll open up a conversation to see if you’re a solid lead. They have fast-approaching travel plans, so reply to their messages quickly and professionally. It’s a good look.
If you haven’t heard back from a host for a day or two after you’ve sent your application, shoot them a thoughtful follow-up message. Reiterate why you’re an excellent fit for their listing and how motivated you are to set up an interview. Let the hosts know you mean business.
Who do you think hosts would be more likely to give an interview: the detail-oriented go-getter who submitted a flawless application and professional follow-up message or the free-spirited wanderer who fired off a subpar application and never bothered to check back in?
If you’ve nailed the first seven steps of this article, I have some good news: you’re going to get interviewed for many of those tasty long-term sitting jobs you’ve been dreaming about.
Here’s how to prepare for (and ace) your interview:
Do Your Research: Read the listing several times and jot down helpful notes about the gig beforehand. Hosts are sensitive about their beloved home and precious pets, so memorize the vital information. You wouldn’t dare call their sweet Moose the wrong name, would you?
Ask Lots of Questions: Make a list of questions about the listing and sprinkle them into your conversation with the host. Asking well-informed questions lets the interviewer know that you did your research and care about the finer details of the opportunity.
Sell Yourself: Be open, honest, and give the host a chance to know you during the interview. Offer up fun details about your life and let your personality shine through. Tell the host about your strengths, passions, past travel experiences, and future goals.
Eliminate Any Doubts: What’s your plan if a pet gets sick? Are you prepared to navigate the home security system every time you come and go? How often will you check the mail? What if a pipe bursts?
Hosts tend to imagine worst-case scenarios when entrusting their home to a stranger, so prepare to answer questions like the ones above. Reassuring hosts will help them eliminate any doubt about you, the trusted house sitter.
Let’s say your interview went well, and you landed the gig. Well done! Now, get to work sorting out the logistics of your sit.
Arrange transportation to your gig, and clear your schedule for the dates you’ve committed to. If you’re traveling for an international sit, get your visas sorted out as soon as possible. Hosts are relying on you to show up prepared and on time so that they can embark on their trip worry-free.
Do everything in your power to make the transition smooth and effortless, and share your travel plans with the hosts. They’ll appreciate you for it.
Once you’ve arrived at your house sitting gig and the hosts are out the door, it’s your job to hold down the fort. Barring any crazy circumstances, keeping on top of your duties shouldn’t be too hard. Do your job, do it well, and keep the hosts in the loop when they’re away.
Send them photos of their beloved pets, give them relevant updates, and ask them any questions that pop up during your sit. Keeping in close contact with the hosts will reassure them that all is well on the home front. This will allow them to travel at ease.
If you’ve nailed steps 1-10, you’re likely going to ace your house watching assignment. It’s not too tough to live in a stranger’s home, follow their instructions, and keep their beloved pets happy and healthy. Easy, right?
Once you’ve completed your successful sit, tell the hosts how grateful you were for the opportunity and encourage them to reach out to you next time they need help. Answer any questions they have and always leave on good terms.
Leave an honest review for your host on TrustedHousesitters and encourage them to do the same for you. Barring a catastrophe, you and the host should exchange glowing five-star reviews, which will help you line up jobs in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite platform for finding jobs is TrustedHousesitters.
If TrustedHousesitters isn’t quite your style, don’t worry, as there are plenty of other great websites to find your dream job. Here are the seven best house sitting websites of 2023.
TrustedHousesitters is the best website to consistently find gigs, whether short or long-term, internationally or locally. They boast a 4.7 rating with over 14,000 reviews on TrustPilot.com. They’re as legit as it gets when finding sitting jobs.
As I write this, TrustedHousesitters has thousands of active job postings listed in over 110 countries. Travelers consistently land incredible long-term sitting jobs via TrustedHousesitters, and it’s viewed as the go-to website in the industry.
In terms of job volume, user interface, and features, it simply doesn’t get better than TrustedHousesitters.
💥 TrustedHousesitters is offering The Packable Life readers 20% off new memberships! Click the button below for your discount. 💥
House Sitters America
If you’re trying to find a sitting job in the US and aren’t having luck on TrustedHousesitters, give House Sitters America a look. They’re a US-specific site that costs only $49 a year to become a member but offers fewer opportunities than TrustedHousesitters.
Though I’m bummed they don’t list international jobs, I love that House Sitters America offers PAID sitting jobs. Though most gigs you’ll find are free, it’s not rare to find paid jobs for $20+ a day. If you happen to land a long-term job, those daily earnings could add up quickly.
If you’re looking for a sitting opportunity in the UK, Ireland, France, or Spain, you might just find it on HouseSitMatch. The site gets plenty of glowing testimonials from users on TrustPilot and is a solid option if you’re looking to bounce around Europe watching people’s homes and caring for their pets.
While the HouseSitMatch website isn’t the easiest to navigate, it has loads of character and a very active blog. Not to mention, there are plenty of fresh listings and opportunities for rewarding extended sits on the site. Membership costs £69 for a standard account or £89 for a premium account.
Nomador offers a decent amount of international house and pet sitting jobs and is one of the more popular options around. At $99 a year, membership costs less than TrustedHousesitters, though you’re not going to find nearly as many opportunities.
Nomador also offers the ‘Nomador Stopover’ feature, which connects users with homeowners willing to host travelers for a night (or more). This feature is similar to Couchsurfing, which is a great way to travel around the world cheaply if you’re comfortable crashing at a stranger’s home (while they’re still around).
MindMyHouse is another solid option for finding international gigs, though listings aren’t as abundant as TrustedHousesitters or Nomador. That said, interesting sits do still exist on MindMyHouse, and there’s not usually a ton of competition to land a job.
At $20 a year, MindMyHouse is a very affordable platform, however, I only see 211 total listings worldwide at the time of writing this article. That said, it never hurts to browse their site and see what’s out there. You might just find the dream sit you’ve been looking for.
Established in 2000, HouseCarers is the oldest worldwide home sitting website on the internet and has connected thousands of travelers with incredible opportunities over the years. Check out their fun archive of blog posts to get a feel for the type of sitters their platform attracts.
HouseCarers doesn’t have a ton of listings — only 68 total at the time of writing — but should offer less competition than sites like TrustedHousesitters or Nomador. If you’re striking out on other websites, HouseCarers is certainly worth a look.
Workaway isn’t a house watching specific platform but does offer opportunities to work in exchange for lodging, food, and (sometimes) a paid allowance. Workawayers can help with tasks like building homes, helping out on farms, nannying, and more.
I know a friend who strung together a few incredible Workaway opportunities in Europe and was able to bounce around the continent on the cheap for an entire summer. Though I’ve never tried it myself, I wish I’d tried out Workaway in my younger years when I was broke.
House sitting, whether near or far, short or long-term, is a unique way of traveling that not everyone is familiar with. Hopefully, this section clears up any questions you might have as you entertain the possibility of becoming a top-notch sitter. Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions about my personal experience.
How Long Do House Sitting Jobs Usually Last?
While shorter house sitting jobs can last only a day or two, some long-term opportunities can last up to several months. In my experience, most gigs last between a few days and a couple of weeks.
The longer the duration of the listing, the more desirable it will be to others. Expect the competition to ramp up as the length of the potential sit increases, especially if the gig is in a high-demand area.
What does a House Sitter Do? What are Their Typical Responsibilities?
Sitters are expected to maintain the property while the host is out of town and will almost always have a pet or two (or more!) to take care of, as well.
Here are a few of the typical tasks hosts will ask of house sitters:
- Feed, exercise, administer medication to, and spend time with pets
- Collect mail and receive deliveries
- Water plants and perform basic yard maintenance
- Spend significant time at the property to decrease the risk of break-ins
- Communicate with and relay important information to the homeowner
Most House Sitting Jobs I’m Finding Aren’t Paid. Why Not?
Watching someone’s home is a mutually beneficial exchange. Hosts offer up their homes to sitters in exchange for pet caretaking, house maintenance, and peace of mind while they’re out of town. Everyone wins.
‘Payment’ comes in the form of free accommodation, food, and future opportunities, and money usually isn’t involved. Paid jobs do exist, though, but are quite competitive and usually reserved for ‘professional’ house sitters or retirees who have years of experience and can take on specialized duties.
Can I Make a Living as a Professional House Sitter?
While it’s pretty easy to travel on the cheap as full-time as a house sitter, earning a full-time salary as a professional a different story. As I just mentioned, well-paying opportunities exist, but they’re usually very competitive and almost always include many responsibilities.
That said, if you set your mind to it, you could carve out a career for yourself as a professional house sitter. Start with free sits, collect excellent references, build a top-notch resume, and start searching for those dream long-term (or even full-time!) luxury jobs that pay a generous salary.
What are Some of the Drawbacks of House Sitting?
While extended home sitting is generally a rewarding line of work, there are a few potential downsides to consider before you get involved.
House sitting isn’t exactly lucrative, so you’ll need another source of income if you plan on staying in other people’s houses regularly. I earn income from my blog while working remotely, allowing me to home sit wherever I want, whenever I want.
You’ll be bound to the home to keep things running smoothly until the owners return. You’re more or less ‘stuck’ at the property once the owners leave town, which could be an issue if an unexpected event in your life demands your attention.
You’ll never feel 100% at home at someone else’s property. Sleeping in somebody else’s bed and taking care of their household isn’t always comfortable. Frequent travelers are probably used to this lifestyle, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Hosts can get a little weird on occasion. Though I’ve experienced nothing but friendly and grateful hosts, I’ve heard stories of impossible-to-please homeowners who’ve made life very difficult for their sitters from afar. Hosts like this are rare, but they do exist.
In my experience, the good vastly outweighs the bad in the world of house sitting, so take these drawbacks with a grain of salt. That said, it’s helpful to understand the possible challenges when heading into a gig, so you can be well-prepared to deal with them as they come.
Hopefully, you understand exactly what it takes to become a house sitter that locks down long-term jobs, takes care of incredible properties, and travels the world affordably. If you can pull this lifestyle off, you’ll certainly feel as though you’ve unlocked a powerful travel cheat code.
All it takes is one successful sit to realize that frequent travel to new destinations isn’t only reserved for the rich and the privileged. We budget travelers can also kick our heels up and live a life of luxury (even if we have to watch a stranger’s dog and mow their lawn a few times along the way).
As wild as it may seem, people are willing to open up their doors, hand their keys to a stranger, and welcome them in their homes for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. Keri, myself, and countless other successful house sitters are living proof.
Learning how to become a house sitter and landing long-term jobs is quite simple. Read this guide, follow the steps carefully, and you’ll be rewarded with opportunities to travel longer and more affordably than you may have ever imagined.
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Last Updated on July 21, 2023