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House Sitting and its Benefits

Updated on November 11, 2010

Being location independent can mean different things to different people. For some, it means the ability to travel as much as they want, as often as they want and for others, it provides the ability to spend longer periods of time in new and different places. The draw of trying to see and experience as many places as possible is obvious, but on the flip side, being able to live somewhere new and become immersed in the culture also has a certain appeal.

Of course, one of the key arguments against spending a length of time in one place is the cost of accommodation. Even cheaper hotels quickly become pricey if you are looking at spending more than a few weeks in a particular location. There are other options available though. Home, apartment and condo rentals can often be found for both short and long term stays, but they will still cost you. Another option that is gaining in popularity, partly due to the low costs involved, is house sitting.

What is House Sitting?

In a nutshell, a house sitter lives in someone else’s home for an agreed period of time. The accommodation is provided at no or little cost, if the house sitter agrees to take care of certain jobs around the house. These tasks can be anything from looking after the house and garden, taking care of pets, or forwarding mail, etc. In most cases, the jobs are nothing more than you would expect from living in your own home. House sitting periods can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or longer, which will let you experience what life is really like in this new location.

Benefits of House Sitting

Besides the obvious benefit of not having to pay for your accommodation, there are a number of other reasons for choosing house sitting:

  • The comfort of living in your own space while travelling,
  • Getting off the beaten path and experiencing what life is really like in a new city or country,
  • Opening up a whole world of experiences and friendships in the community where you live,
  • Allowing you to “try” a new place if you are considering relocating at some point in the future,
  • Variation in where you stay, from city based homes and apartments to sprawling ranches in the country,
  • Living rent or mortgage free if you are taking longer house sitting commitments and not maintaining a home somewhere else, and
  • Not paying for where you live allows you to save for such things as a house down payment, etc.

Is House Sitting for Me?

Of course, as with everything, there are a few things to consider before committing to house sitting. First, it’s key to know what is expected of you during your house sitting stay. If you are not a pet person and you have been asked to care for the home owner’s animals, this is probably not going to work. The same can be said for those who do not have a green thumb and are asked to care for plants or a garden.

The second thing to consider is the length of the proposed house sitting term. If you are travelling a great distance, you will obviously want to find a house sitting situation that is worth your while. At the same time, if you are unsure of a location, you don’t want to be committing for months or even years. It is recommended that for your first time house sit, you look for shorter terms so you can get a feel for what to expect.

It is important to remember that not every house sitting situation will be the same. Even if you are in the same location, you will be dealing with a new home and a different set of home owners. This variability will definitely be a pro for some and a con for others, so this should also be taken into consideration before taking on the role of a house sitter.

For those of you who would like to learn more about house sitting, you can visit the following sites:

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      JohnJohnson 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for writing about rent-free living as a housesitter. I have tried all the housesitting websites and have found www.caretaker.org to be the best for housesitting assignments. I recently started using www.caretaker.org and have found two housesitting opportunities there so far.

      John

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