We have had a few people ask us how we managed to get the house-sitting bookings in Europe because it is one of the best ways to travel with free accommodation.
So what is housesitting?
House sitting is a service matching homeowners going on holiday with sitters who stay in that home.
Often, there are pets to look after, perhaps gardens to be tended, and mostly no money changes hands.
The homeowner gets the security of their home and their pets being looked after. At the same time, the house-sitter gets free accommodation and the opportunity to stay in a different location.
How did we hear of house-sitting?
We first heard about house sitting when we saw a current affairs TV programme.
A couple had been house-sitting for two years in Sydney and saved $40k due to no rent payments. This house-sitting was done around that city while retaining their jobs.
We thought it was a good idea and started looking into it in the build-up to our trip.
Why we Chose Trusted Housesitters
We researched several housesitting websites and found that Trusted House Sitters had many European homeowners needing housesitters. Their website has many opportunities around the world.
We registered as members and started applying for house sits, but with no luck initially. It seemed that the house sits been filled by the time we applied.
Why a Profile is important
We did some work on our profile, giving more personal details about ourselves and adding photos. We wanted to create a much more personalised and interesting profile.
But we needed to add some reviews to show homeowners we knew what we were doing.
And when we thought about it, we could use the housesits we did in Sydney in 2013 and 2014.
We went back to Tracey and Wendy and asked for references which we added to our profile; this helped gain the homeowners’ confidence when we applied.
How to get house-sit reviews
If you are thinking of doing some house sitting, it is worth offering to do some housesits for people you know. This is how you can build up your portfolio of reviews to supply references to potential homeowners.
You should also obtain a police background check. Homeowners want to know they can trust your integrity to look after their home and pets.
Make sure you sign up for email alerts.
We worked out we needed to be on the email alert list with housesitting websites. As members, you receive the list of the new house sits every 24 hours before they are on the website.
We started to get some positive responses to our applications.
Our first confirmed booking was with Janice and Jeremy in Gloucester, UK, looking after their home, two dogs, one cat, a parrot, and tropical and pond fish.
We were so happy, wondering if we would ever get a booking.
The cool thing is that we have been chatting on Facebook and via email and already feel we have friends in the making.
We will arrive a few days before they leave for a meet and greet. We will also stay an extra day after they return to give feedback on how things went.
Success does grow
Since then, we have got three more housesits, with Leslie and Mike in Devon (caring for four rabbits), with Miriam in Sussex (two older dogs), and with Marion and Monk (two dogs) in a small medieval town of 600 people in France.
In all, it’s over 100 days of housesits that take us through to early October.
By our calculation, that saves $5-10k on accommodation and more money for other adventures.
What worked for us?
A well-written genuine profile with references from the previous house sits.
We were flexible with dates (as long as it was for more than two weeks, preferably at least a month) and quick to respond as many people are looking to house sit.
We started to look for house sits in Wellington to gain more references.
We did get two offers; one fell through as it clashed with our home move to our apartment, and the other was an experience we won’t forget!
Why do you need a Meet and Greet?
We responded to an ad for a house sit in Brooklyn (Wellington) and were invited to do the sit.
We arranged to visit the house and meet the owner and her pets (two dogs and one cat). The afternoon appointment was booked, and we were excited.
However, when the homeowner opened the door, we were overcome with a strong animal smell that wafted out to meet us. The smell worsened as we went into the kitchen to chat with the owner.
Worse was to follow!
As the lady showed us through her home, she admitted to letting the animals “do their business” on the hallway carpet! The place reeked of dog and cat excrement!
We looked at each other, made excuses and left in a hurry to get fresh air into our lungs.
We cancelled that housesit immediately. So not all housesits are perfect; we hope none are as bad as that place!
House Sitting Websites
TrustedHousesitters.com (tiered plans) — The largest site on the web and the fastest growing with the best functionality. It’s heavy on the UK and European house-sits but is also gaining ground in Australia, New Zealand and North America.
Click this link to receive up to 25% off your membership ➡ Trusted House Sitters
Aussie House Sitters – (AUD84 annual fee) – use this code 79FQ5L at checkout for a discount. Their website is one of the easiest to use, with an easy messaging platform.
MindMyHouse.com (USD29 annual fee) — Low fee to join, many house-sit, and a well-laid-out website. Jobs are primarily in North America and Europe. ➡ Mind My House
Housecarers.com (US50 annual fee) — Plenty of good house-sits focused on Australia, New Zealand, and North America, but a poor website structure that is difficult to navigate. ➡ House Carers
House Sitting – free accommodation while we travel!
Housesitting is a perfect way to reduce your travel accommodation budget.
But remember, there are commitments to the pets which homeowners will advise. You can still see yourself getting out and about to explore the area, but you need to have the pet as your priority.
We will be letting you know how our house sits turn out.
To read more about our house-sitting adventures, click here ➡ House Sitting.