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Considering Becoming a House Sitter?

Updated on May 14, 2013
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House sitting is an arrangement between two people: the house sitter and the homeowner. The house sitter agrees to stay in the homeowner’s residence rent free during the owner’s absence in exchange for performing specified duties in relation to the care of the property and any pets.

While the concept is straightforward enough, there’s much more to house sitting than just collecting the mail and leaving food out for Mittens.


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Why Do You Want to Become a House Sitter?

Before diving into the house sitting business, take a moment or two to think about the reasons you're considering becoming a house sitter.

Do you want to do house sitting to save money on accommodations while on holiday? If so, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to quite the day job, sell the house and make a full-time commitment to house sitting. Doing this as a sideline with only a few assignments a year, however, would more realistic.

Is it your dream to travel the world, discover new cultures and maybe learn a new language? If your dream doesn't include expensive hotels and noisy hostels, you could conceivably house sit your way around the world. Many people do just that, going from one home to the next with scheduled stops to check on the homestead between assignments.

Do you imagine yourself kicking back in a luxury home, sipping the homeowners’ vintage wine and throwing wild parties while earning a neat pay package? If so, abandon any ideas you have of becoming a house sitter immediately. House sitting is a job like any other. And like any other job, a professional attitude is essential.


How Suitable Are You?

While there are all sorts of people who house sit, not everyone is suited to the job. You should ask yourself these questions.

Do you like to travel? Hopefully the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes,’ as you will be doing a fair amount of travelling to get to various assignments.

Second, are you a ‘people’ person with good communication skills? Homeowners will determine whether or not to trust you with their most valuable asset, their home, based on how well you present yourself. It’s vital to able to connect with them and convince them that their home will be safe in your hands.


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Next, are you an animal lover? The main reason many homeowners choose to hire a house sitter is not just to look after their property, but to look after their pets, as well. It’s essential to love, honestly love animals because pets aren’t limited to cats, dogs and hamsters. Many people keep horses, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats as pets. Some pets may even be quite exotic such as snakes, peacocks and alpacas. If you have allergies or are not into animals, that’s OK. You can still be a house sitter, but your choice of assignments will be limited.




Now then, how flexible are you? Can you adapt quickly to last-minute changes? Circumstances beyond the homeowners’ control may require you to stay more or less time than was agreed upon. Your assignment may even be cancelled at the last minute. This is part and parcel of the house sitting game and you have to be able to roll with it.

Are you responsible, reliable, trustworthy and respectful? Can you pass a criminal background check and provide good references? If you can answer ‘Yes’, you’ve already got the makings of a good house sitter.


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What Skills Have You?

Anyone who has ever lived in or owned a house probably already has some basic knowledge on how to look after a home. So what else can you bring to the table? Have you had any experience in caring for animals other than your own pets? Do you enjoy gardening? Are you skilled enough with tools that you can make minor repairs around the house as and when needed? More importantly, do you know when to call in the professionals if the job proves to be beyond your skill level?


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Let’s review. You’ve thought long and hard about you’re reasons for becoming a house sitter. You feel you have the personality and traits that would make you a good house sitter, and you’ve got some pretty good skills. Excellent.

Now, there’s one last thing you should do before taking the plunge. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Please excuse me for raising my voice; however, I cannot emphasize this point enough. There are several house sitting blogs on the internet where you can read about the good, the bad and the funny side of caring for another’s property. You owe it to yourself to see what these people have to say.

Also be sure to take a look at the websites of established house sitting agencies. You will be able to get a clearer picture of what they are looking for in a house sitter as well as an idea of what kind of situations are available.

I hope this information has been helpful. If you decide to take the plunge, I wish you all the best in your new venture.


© 2013 Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon

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    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      As a TEFLer, I may consider this for periods between contracts. Very informative.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for stopping by, Brett.Tesol.

    • Maximizer profile image

      Maximizer 5 years ago from San Jose, Costa Rica

      If this is a job, how do you get money? From what I can tell the only perk is living in a house without rent, but what about food, travel, etc? It sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

      Thanks for SHARING!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for commenting, Maximizer.

      As for making money, many long-term housesitters offer to do extra chores in exchange for monetary compensation. For example, if they have landscaping experience, they can redesign their garden during the owners' absence.

      Many short-term sitters can charge per day and/or offer to do extra jobs like a full house cleaning for a fee.

      These are extra ways to earn money, but that is something they need to work out with the owners.

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 5 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      I enjoyed reading your hubs and congrats on your hubnugget selection. Is there a organizaton that matches up housesitting gigs with those in need of a housesitter? If not, your knowledge sure would make for an interesting business. voted ^ & interesting.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for stopping by, gjfalcone. Your comments are most appreciated.

      There are many agencies that match up house sitter with homeowners. I have links to a couple on my site above.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      phoenix, you had my full attention at "Considering becoming a housesitter?"! Yes, I've considered it MANY times, but had no idea where to start. I'm bookmarking this hub and will be poring over your other hubs on the subject, too! Thanks!

      Voted UP, useful and awesome!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you for stopping by. Your comments are most appreciated. Hope you find my hubs useful.

    • billips profile image

      billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

      This actually sounds like fun - you would get to know new places and meet new neighbors - the only problem for me would be having a home, between jobs - I guess if you're good enough and the word is spread, there may be no in between job time - nice hub - B.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi billips. Thanks for stopping by.

      I suppose house sitting, like anything else in life, is as fun as you want it to be.

      If you're just starting out, there is the worry of no home between assignments. That's why many people maintain a home, usually looked after by family/friends, while they're on assignment. Some may only house sit for free accommodations while on their 2-week holiday from work.

      But as you say, once you get a good reputation and people recommend you, it's possible to live a nomadic lifestyle going from home to home. Many people do just that.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great Idea! I have wanted to alter this to do farm sitting. Taking care of livestock and such as people leave town.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Angela, thanks for stopping by.

      Sounds like a great idea to me. I remember reading about a house sitter who accepted an assignment to look after a farm in New Zealand complete with cattle and a couple of horses. Fortunately, the sitter used to help his uncle on his farm so he wasn't totally unprepared.

      Hope you can make a go of this. I'd be interested in reading about your farm sitting adventures.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      New Zealand.... I would love to house sit that farm!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      That would make for a pretty awesome holiday, Angela.

    • bryanbaldwin profile image

      bryanbaldwin 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      I will house sit any far away land... :-)

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for commenting, Bryan. If you're seriously about house sitting, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do your research. Living in a cool house in an exotic land sounds idyllic but you need to be aware of any pitfalls so you're better able to deal with them. See my site 'The Road Less Travelled' above for more info.

    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 4 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Wow! Amazing tips for someone to become a house sitter. Even if this system doesn't prevail here in India, I enjoyed reading it.

      Up and useful.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, radhikasree. I appreciate your commenting and I'm glad you liked it.

    • profile image

      House Sitter 4 years ago

      Excellent. I hope you have a wonderful experience.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, House Sitter, for stopping by.

    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      This is great information for so many people who wish to see the world on a shoestring - that's all they can afford. The many tips will help set them right before they start so their vacation is not ruined by misunderstandings between themselves and their 'hosts'.

      I have never done house-sitting, as I usually have people to stay with in the countries I like to visit. But it is a way of traveling that I would consider sometime, since there are many countries out there I have not been to yet where I do not have friends. I think you could make lasting friendships from house-sitting, if you start out right, and your tips would certainly help.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      In an ideal setting the house sitter gets to live in a lovely home free of charge; the home owner has peace of mind knowing his house is being looked after. Everyone wins. The key is to make sure the parties involved understand and agree on the conditions set down in their contract.

      Thank you, mizjo, for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I take it you have done this?

      I actually have done this here in the states on five different occasions....for pay....I found it a bit nerve-wracking because I could never relax in the home; always worried about making a mess or breaking something. LOL

      Interesting information here; I might consider it again in a couple years.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello, Bill. Thank you for stopping by. Always a pleasrue.

      I can understand how you might have been on edge. I'd love to hear about your house sitting experiences. Did you sit for friends and relatives or strangers? Where did you sit? Were the houses nice? Any incidents that might make for an amusing hub? :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I have actually done this on a local level. I have to say I did enjoy being in a different house taking care of daily chores, walking their dogs, taking care of their plants, etc.

      I have entertained the idea of doing this in Puerto Rico. I want to go back there, but can't afford it!

      Voted UP, etc. and will share.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, Mary for sharing you thoughts on the subject.

      My family is from Puerto Rico and I can understand you're wanting to go back again. It's such a beautiful island and the people are colourful and friendly. Hope you'll be able to return soon.

      Thanks again for sharing.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      This is so interesting and I'm confident it does work - if you are the right person. I hear many positive reports as you so clearly demonstrate. I have friends 'on call' who stay in local homes at various times and it works well.

      Good hub - got me thinking - thank you

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello, travmaj. A pleasure to meet you.

      I agree house sitting is an interesting venture. It must be working given the amount of online agencies looking for the right people.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your comments.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Phoenix,

      What an interesting thought although I have heard of this before I have never done it in all my travels. That said, I would certainly not dismiss this be it for free acomodation etc or for payment. Nice article with great tips, voted up, useful and interesting!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Suzie HQ - Thank you, Suzanne, for the votes. With all the travel you've done, I bet you'd be a natural. Thanks again for stopping by.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      This is a great and informative hub. I have not house sit before, but I was considering it sometime ago though only in the neighbourhood. Thanks for sharing the tips. Voted up, useful and interesting. Have a lovely weekend.!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello, Thelma. I'm glad you found my hub informative. Many house sitters start out by sitting in their own location. They don't have to worry about transportation, passports, visas etc. and it's a good way to start getting references and building up the business if you want to become a professional.

    • ienjoythis profile image

      Marissa D. Carnahan 2 years ago from Nevada

      Hi Phoenix! Great read - I've actually done house-sitting once in Germany. It was a great experience. I did become good friends with the homeowner beforehand, so that helped me relax and enjoy myself. I found that I'm actually quite the cleaner haha I loved cleaning and tidying up. She has two small children and a cat, so when her and the kids were away, I was able to really shine the place up! Maybe there's a business idea here - The Traveling Maid? :)

      Anyway, thanks for a great hub! I'm glad to be back here on HubPages - it's been awhile!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi ienjoythis. I've been absent myself for a while and am slowly getting back into the HP habit.

      Glad you enjoyed my hub. I like that idea, The Traveling Maid. This could be an untapped market waiting for someone to fill the gap.

      Welcome back to HP and I hope to read more of your writings.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      To my way of thinking, the most important attribute of a houses sitter is trustworthiness.

      Interesting hub.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 22 months ago from United Kingdom

      Absolutely, Larry. Trustworthiness and common sense. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

      I was going to ask about money but noticed the first comments, but what a great idea! I would love to do it!

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 19 months ago from United Kingdom

      @Nell Rose Ah, yes the money angle. It really depends on your situation. If you're just looking to check out an area you're considering moving to, a cheap holiday or research, money may not be a big priority. If you work through an agency, you'll most likely get a set amount. It's pretty flexible, actually. Thanks for stopping by.

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 13 months ago from Cebu

      Sadly, here in my country house sitting is not a common practice (close to non existence) . I would gladly hire one if I can find someone who is trustworthy since I plan to travel a week at a time and someone have to feed my dogs while me and my family are away.

    • phoenix2327 profile image
      Author

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 13 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you, cebutouristspot, for stopping by.

      While the industry is growing, it's not exactly international. It's a more common practice in Europe and the States. The next best thing is to get a trusted friend or relative who'd be willing to daily checks for a fee.

    • profile image

      LAMIA-HSM 13 months ago

      Actually we have housesits available on www.HouseSitMatch.com in 20 countries. So it definitely is growing in practice and acceptance I would say.

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