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House Sitters Working for Free? Why?

Updated on May 14, 2013
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If your future plans include financial security and freedom, then becoming a house sitter may not be for you.

You don’t get paid much if you get paid at all. And, occasionally, you may have to pay the homeownersin the form of a security deposit.

So, why would anyone want to work as a house sitter for free? While not a lucrative profession, there are certain advantages that make house sitting appealing.


By Ewan Munro from London, UK (Hunter's Arms, Bloomsbury, WC1  Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ewan Munro from London, UK (Hunter's Arms, Bloomsbury, WC1 Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Save Money on Accommodations

The cost of accommodations can take a large chunk out of your travel money; even if you opt for budget hotels and B&Bs.

Hostels are a less expensive option and are not without their charm. You get to meet lots of intriguing people, there’s ample opportunity to socialise and explore the area at your leisure. But sometimes, you just need a little time on your own to relax and, maybe, take a leisurely bath to unwind after a long day.

Life in a hostel provides precious little privacy. You have to share a room with several roommates, and the bathroom, kitchen and common areas with dozens of other residents.

Hostels are not inherently tranquil places. People are constantly coming and going at odd times, and it seems like someone is always hosting loud parties.


By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Broken pipe  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Broken pipe Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to all this commotion, there's no telling when the plumbing or heating will break down. Most hostels are pretty well maintained. But given the constant flow of people using the facilities on a daily basis, plumbing and heating problems are part and parcel of life in a hostel.






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But if you were a house sitter, you could easily find yourself spending your days nestled in the kind of comfort you could only find in luxury five-star accommodations, but without the five-star price.

Because you would be staying in a private residence, you won't have to sacrifice peace and privacy for the sake of economy. With no roommates about, you can bask in quiet solitude spending the day as you wish without the need to share facilities. A hot shower or languid soak can be had whenever you desire without disruption. You can prepare your favourite meals in a kitchen equipped with all the mod cons with no one peering over your shoulder waiting to use the microwave.


By istolethetv from Hong Kong, China (tourists  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By istolethetv from Hong Kong, China (tourists Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Experience Real Culture

Sadly, many tourists miss out on experiencing the real culture of the country they visit. Most start out with good intentions. They want to sample the local cuisine and get acquainted with the local customs. But instead, they end up spending most of their two-week holiday shuttling from their hotel to the next tourist attraction on their list. Before they know it, it’s time to return home, and they have learned next to nothing about the area.

Working as a house sitter can offer you the opportunity to travel to such places as Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Singapore, Fiji and Thailand, to name a few. The difference is, instead of visiting as a tourist, you’ll be living as a member of the community.

From Day One, you will be immersed in the culture of the region. As you go about your day-to-day activities, you’ll make friends with the neighbours and other locals who can tell you more about the area and suggest places and events that may not be mentioned in the travel guides.


Source:  Clipart.com
Source: Clipart.com

Keep in Touch With Relatives

Does this sound familiar? You’ve had a lovely time visiting with relatives who live in another state or country. As your holiday comes to a close and you bid your farewells, you find yourself wishing you could stay a while longer. But you don’t want to wear out your welcome by imposing on their hospitality any further, and staying at a motel is too costly.

By getting a house sitting assignment in the area, you can stay in a beautiful home and visit aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc, for as long as you wish.




As I mentioned at the start, house sitting won’t put you on the road to Millionaire’s Row, but it can put you on the road to rich experiences and a wealth of knowledge.

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    • Angela Kane profile image

      Angela Kane 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      If I was looking for cheaper room and board, I would definitely consider house sitting. I think it is better than paying $1,000 a month for rent or mortgage.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      What are some ways to increase the amount of money earned via house sitting? Would offering services like house cleaning help?

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      First off, thank you for reading my hub. With regard to your query, you must appreciate that I cannot give definitive, concrete answers because house sitting agencies and self-employed house sitters all work differently. I can provide some additional information, however, that might help.

      If the assignment is long-term, regular cleaning is usually included in the agreement between the homeowners and the sitter so you most likely wouldn’t get paid extra. You may be able to earn a bit more if you agree with the homeowner to do some additional cleaning. Perhaps offer to clean out the garage or basement, deep clean the carpeting or draperies.

      If the assignment is short term and consists of dropping in to water the plants and collect the mail rather than actually moving in, you could offer cleaning services for an additional fee. As I stated, everyone works differently. But there’s no harm in asking is there?

      Thanks again for stopping by.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Interesting hub, do you know of a website that advertises for international house sitters?

      Found you on Redgage, so popped here too :-).

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      How are you liking Hubpages?

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Interesting article on house sitting. I have done some house sitting in the past but I've only done it for friends that live pretty close to me. Great hub!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for you comments.

      Quite a few house sitters get their start by sitting for friends. It's a good way to get some experience and references they can use on their profiles.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      As I started reading I was getting nervous thinking how could you possibly trust someone to "sit your house" for free if you don't know them. As I read the comments I saw you referring to the agencies that get you the jobs and thought this might help with reliability. Very interesting concept for a practically free vacation.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, tillsontitan, for stopping by.

      I'm sure you're not alone in thinking this. I too had these same misgivings when I first started researching house sitting. I'm a private person and wouldn't even consider having a cleaner because I don't like strangers in my house. Even if I am there.

      I have found that reputable agencies will have vetted the people who join their establishments. House sitters should be able to provide solid references and pass a criminal records check before they would be considered.

      It always pays to shop around until your comfortable you've made the right choice.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Very interesting. I never thought about it like that, but very good points as to why someone should housesit for free. Especially if it's for someone in a large mansion...free vacation! Voted up and useful.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for stopping by, kittythedreamer. Yes, I suppose house sitting a luxurious mansion on a tropical island would be a pretty compelling reason to housit for free. lol

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      I read a similar article in 'International Living' about house sitting and house swapping for free vacation-accomodation. So they would be a good resource for finding such accomodation. There are also membership sites for reliable sitters and exchangers. Members use one another's services and give reviews on their experiences, so anyone not up to standard will find himself/herself ousted pretty quickly.

      Good information, Phoenix. Voted 'useful'.

      Thanks for the follow.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the useful comment, Mizjo. House sitting seems to be up and coming.

    • billips profile image

      billips 4 years ago from Central Texas

      I do think house-sitting is a perfect idea for some people, but it is a great responsibility and I do think sitters should be paid something - at least enough to buy a few necessities and even a few luxuries - empty houses are a great temptation to thieves - living in a stranger's home is no treat - it deserves remuneration - B.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I agree. There are sitters that charge a weekly fee for their services, but many house sit as a cheap alternative to hotels or simply to experience a new culture.

      I've written a hub about the types of people who would take up house sitting if your interested:

      https://hubpages.com/business/Who-Can-Become-a-Hou...

      Thank for stopping by.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      A former neighbor of mine was sent to New Zealand for more than a year, and because of the corporate rules & the housing costs, he had to find someone to house sit (live in the house for free, only paying utilities) for that time. The corporation would not allow him to rent it out and still get housing benefits in NZ. He tried to sell the house, but it was during a slump in the market. I actually connected him with a friend who was the perfect 'sitter' (she makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker.

      It was a win-win for everyone - she had free housing for more than a year, and by the time he came back, the market had recovered and he made probably 25% more on the sale than he would have before he left.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Marcy, for sharing this story. It's another example of beneficial house sitters can be. I agree this was a definite win-win.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      This sounds like a great way to see the world during retirement. Great post!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Terrye. Many retired singles and couples do just that. They rent out their homes and travel the world on house sitting assignments.

    • Validateinfo profile image

      Validateinfo 4 years ago from Bangalore-India

      Hi,

      good one and useful...........thanks

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

    • profile image

      gsurvivor 3 years ago

      It actually made me want to consider house sitting, which definitely earned you a vote up! :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm pleased you liked my hub, gsurvivor. If you're considering house sitting, please do some research. There's plenty of books and blogs about to help give you a more rounded look and house sitting. Thanks for the vote.

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