House sitting can change the way you travel for the better. Picture this… free accommodation in Lush Hawaii with friendly cats or a White Christmas in Canada with awesome trails on your doorstep! House sitting allows you to experience a place as a local, while having company of furry friends! It has taken us to places we didn’t plan and we have had the pleasure of looking after a variety of different animals. We were lucky enough to house sit in Calgary (during the Calgary Stampede) and a memorable house sit in Hawaii to name a few!
I have some tips below to help you get set up and on your way to a rewarding and exciting way of travelling.
Sign up to a house sitting website!
Firstly you need to sign up to a housesitting website, there is usually a charge to have the ability to contact potential hosts but with the money you save on accommodation this will pay for itself after just a few days in your first house sit. There are plenty of different housesitting websites out there. We started with TrustedHousesitters which we find has the most house sits. They send emails twice a day informing you of all the new house sits across the globe. There is also MindMyHouse, HouseCarers and Housesitters Canada.
Build an awesome profile
Think of your profile as a resume. This is an introduction into who you are, why you want to house sit, your experience, background and what house sits you are looking for.
Think about your experience
Most house sits require pet sitting during your stay. Have you had pets or looked after anyone else’s pets in the past? If you have no experience, ask around family and friends that might need a dog walker or pet sitter to build some experience and don’t forget to ask for a reference!
We ran an Airbnb for a year before house sitting and with all our 5 star ratings and many reviews, we used that to help with our profile. Think outside the box. What can you use to help build that trust? Do you have an online presence which you can use to back your profile up?
Character or personal recommendations from friends and coworkers will help your profile. Especially at the start when you don’t have any housesitting reviews via the website.
Take a few nice clear photos, including some with pets. Make sure they are not photos of you at the pub!
Personalise your introduction email
When you have found a house sit you like the look of, apply by sending a detailed, personalised introduction email. I like to include the pets names and the location of the house sit. It shows you have put time and effort into your application. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression so make sure this email gives an insight into who you are and why you would be a good fit.
Communication is key to getting house sits. If you see one you are interested in, apply straight away. You don’t know how many other people are interested and we have found the quicker we apply, the higher the chances we have of getting the house sit. Don’t forget to reply to messages quickly. If you are too slow, you could loose the opportunity to someone else! Don’t be afraid to Skype a potential host, ask lots of questions and make sure it is a good fit from your prospective too.
Start off with last minute sits
Our first house sit was a last minute one in our local area. Posted on the Wednesday, we spent that weekend looking after a cat and a dog in a lovely apartment, which kick started our house sitting experience. We now have repeat house sits with this host, and love being able to see the pets again!
Do an awesome job so you get awesome reviews
The one thing Dan and I pride ourselves in is providing constant updates, photos and stories to quickly put a host at ease and also leaving the house as it was found, if not better. It takes a lot for someone to leave a stranger in their house, looking after their pets. Small, thoughtful things can make their experience a great one. Think of a unique way to thank your hosts with some home baking, stocked staple supplies or a nice bottle of wine. You never know they might need you to house sit again in the future!
And remember… reviews are so sooo important!! They back up our profile and help our house sitting journey grow! We now get approached by hosts which is amazing!