The internet’s most famous house sitting couple, Dalene and Pete Heck, published a book unlocking the secrets of how they saved $75,000 on accommodations in ten countries. While not everyone will save that much money you could reduce the cost of that round the world trip by picking up some house sitting gigs along the way. It’s another adventure, a chance to stay in a place you could never afford, save some money, and experience actually living in another place. People house sit for lots of reasons and some even house sit in their own towns. If you are just moving to a new city, taking a three-week house sitting job can give you the time you need to leisurely look for an apartment while not racking up costly hotel bills. Whatever your motivation, here is your house sitting 101 course.

What Does House Sitting Entail?

As a house sitter and sometimes pet sitter your job is to make sure the house continues to run while the owners are away. This can be as simple as getting the mail and turning on lights or as complex as walking a dog at specific times and sending off bill payments. You are the trusted employee of the homeowner and need to respect their house rules. You may be requested to perform light duties such as dusting or turning on the sprinklers. All of these tasks should be identified, explained, and agreed to before you accept the assignment.

As a house sitter you will need to have money for your day-to-day activities such as meals and entertainment. If you consume any of the homeowner’s food, it should be replaced before they return. Don’t drink their wine or liquor as it may have sentimental value or be irreplaceable. You may also be required to pay a security deposit. If it is a long-term assignment, you could also be asked too contribute to the electricity, internet, or water bills. Other homeowners may ask for you to pay a lower than standard rental fee. In all cases, like the chores, these items should be discussed and agreed to before accepting the sit.

Some homeowners will want some type of update from you while others may just want to leave knowing it is all in your capable hands. To avoid common problems, be nice to the neighbors. Do not invite people back to the house unless you have express permission from the homeowner. If you move it, put it back.

If you look at any blog posts on house sitting two words will appear repeatedly—adaptability and flexibility. You are moving into/or looking after someone else’s home. Just look around at the different environments in which your friends live…there is no uniform decor, manner for dealing with pests, mattress firmness, or cleaning regimen. To try and minimize house shock, ask the owners questions before you accept the assignment and after you confirm. If you are going to be in a tropical country find out if they have screens or mosquito nets. Is there reliable Wi-Fi? How far away is the nearest grocery store or bar?

Will I Be Paid to House Sit?

In most cases house sitting is a direct exchange—they give you a place to live, you take care of the home while they are gone. However, there are cases when the additional duties which need to be performed warrant payment.

Where Can I House Sit?

Most sites have opportunities in the UK, US, and Australia. Other popular areas are Western Europe, South Africa, and Dubai.This is not to say you can’t find jobs in other places keep checking the sites there are new ones added daily.

Who Can House Sit?

Anyone can be a house sitter, some sits are even open to families—it is all at the discretion of the owner.

Can I Work While House Sitting?

Some homeowners with pets love to have people who work online as house sitters. This means they spend more time with the pet. If you do plan on working from the house you will want to require about the reliability of the internet and if there are usage caps.

What Is the Best Time of Year?

You can find assignments any time of the year. There are always more requests during the traditional vacation periods of Eid, Semana Santa, Christmas, and the month of August.

How Do I Find Sits?

There are numerous house sitting and exchange sites online. Some specialize in regions such as whereas others like cater to a specific community. Most will require house sitters to pay a nominal membership fee and will have varying levels of ID verification. As with other online profiles, the more you fill in, the better your chances of being selected by a homeowner.

  • Nomador is one of the largest sites offering rural and urban options around the world.
  • Trusted House Sitters is a general site with thousands of new listing every month. You can browse the site for free but will need to register to contact owners.
  • Mind My House is an established name in the house sitting business. Their blog features stories from people of all walks of life who have found success as house sitters. 
  • Luxury House Sitting is a site where one can find paying house sitting jobs. The majority of their listings are in the USA

If you ar still not sure which one is right for you, check out House Sitting Magazine and their 2017 guide to house sitting websites.

As experienced house sitter, Josie Schnider writes on the House Sitting World blog

…house sitting is a fabulous way to see the world on the cheap. You incur no cost for lodging while spending weeks or months at a time in the country of your dreams. You delve into the local culture, make friends with locals, learn a new language and expand your horizons.

What are you waiting for?