Housesitting 101

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Not a week goes by that we don’t get quizzed on our current career as house sitters.

Common questions are…

You’re doing what?!

How on earth?

And my personal favourite…

What website did you find that on? Freeloaders.com?

Well, not quite. But that’s not a bad website idea…

We are on our third official house sitting job, having done two in Canada and now enjoying one in Honduras. The inspiration for this new career path came from an older American couple that we met in Ecuador who had been doing various house sitting jobs for many years on end. In fact, they spent six years in Costa Rica alone, completing different jobs around the country in six month stints. For any homeless vagabond, it provides a perfect opportunity to “play house” without the major economic stress of home ownership.

The lifestyle that house sitting provides is perfect for us. We can explore different parts of the world on a very slim budget. We get to enjoy a slow pace of travel, and become involved in each community that we visit. And the home owner gets a valuable service in return – two responsible people to care and maintain for their property, their pets, and whatever else needs attending to.

House-sit-Turkey-974x649

interested in embarking on this “career path”?

There are several websites out there, but only four that we monitor and three that we currently subscribe to. The costs and benefits of each vary; note that with the exception of one website, you can peruse the listings without paying the fee, but you must be a paid member in order to apply for the jobs.

Trustedhousesitters.com – $79/year
The functionality of the site is one of the best out there, and they have the most house-sits available of all the websites!

Mindmyhouse.com – $20/year
This is the first website we signed up to, and got us our wonderful house sitting job in British Columbia. While this site doesn’t have as many listings as others, it is very easy to use and has the lowest subscription cost.

Housecarers.com – $50/year
The home owner here in Honduras saw our profile online and contacted us directly through this website. We have since gotten other home owners tracking us down on here as well. It has one of the bigger networks of home owners, but the layout and functionality of this site needs some improvement. The majority of listings on this website are for Australia.

Dalene-Housesitting-974x649

some tips on makin’ it happen…

Spend a good amount of time making a quality profile for yourself
On whichever website(s) you choose, as that could lead to direct contacts from home owners. We were actually pretty surprised to have people contacting us directly, and pretty pleased. We had never even heard of the island of Roatán before our current home owner found us on housecarers!

Sign up for email alerts.
Some of the house sitting gigs are in pretty appealing locales, and the competition for them can heat up fast. Be one of the first to get your application in!

Line up your references.
This is one of the most important parts of the process from the home owners point of view, so be sure that you have good, quality references ready to report on what a fab person you are. Never house sat before? Use past employers, friends, neighbors, and those that can attest to you being an animal-lover if the job calls for it.  Some home owners may also ask for a criminal record check.

Remember: this is a two-way deal.
Yes, it is exciting to get one of these jobs, and it’s easy to be so thankful for living rent free that you forget that you are providing a valuable service as well. Don’t forget to look out for your own best interests and be sure that every aspect of the deal works for you. Prior to accepting, be sure that both sides have been very clear about their expectations; leave no question unanswered.

Not ALL of them are free.
Some home owners want you to cover the cost of utilities, etc. while they are gone. If it is in a popular location, they can probably get away with this as chances are people will still line up to take the job. Alternatively, there are some house sitters out there that charge for their services as well.

Some also require a certain amount of work in return
Taking care of pets, gardening, household maintenance, etc. In our case, the house in Roatán is for sale so we need to get it ready for showings by a realtor. Not a big inconvenience, and still a very good deal overall.

This is not just for homeless bums like us!
House sitting jobs can range from days to years. If you only have two weeks of vacation a year, why not consider tailoring it around a cool house sitting gig? It could be a very inexpensive and easy way to see your next destination, as long as the extra tasks don’t take away from your vacationing.

So, house sit away!
Be warned, however, that if one of you readers scoops a luxury Tuscany villa out from under us as a result of this post, then so help me Flying-Spaghetti-Monster, you had better have room for these two Canuckleheads to crash with you!

Looking for more house-sitting tips?  
We’ve got them for you here in our post House-sitting 201

Learn how to become a house-sitter, and see the world, for FREE!

Our eBook, “How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World”, gives all the secrets behind our house-sitting success. We’ve had 14 jobs in 9 countries, and saved over $50,000 in accommodation fees as a result.

how-to-become-a-house-sitter-ipad

click here to learn more

170 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own

  • March 16 2011

    Love this post! We’ve also obtained sits from http://www.SabiticalHomes.com.

  • March 16 2011

    I’d never really thought of house sitting as an option – not sure why. This is definitely going to be something I explore further. Now, if we just keep it to ourselves we’ll get all the good gigs to ourselves…

    Thanks for the resources!
    Sarah recently posted..Photo Friday- A weekend on England’s South Downs

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      No problem! I’m not doing so good with “keeping it to myself”! But we seriously get so many questions about it, that I figured we might as well just point people to our website then scratch out the info on a napkin! :)

      • March 27 2014

        I was trying to find a way to go see my son in college without having to spend a lot on lodging as he is in a very nice area and to search for housesitting popped into my head. Now all I have to do is create the profile but I was thinking about sharing it but I think I’ll wait a loooong while first. LOL. Want to getting my footing first. ; )

  • Awesome resources! Jack and I definitely have this idea on the back of our minds — to fall back to if/when we run low on budget and still have the wanderlust to keep going. Do you find that certain areas of the world have more/less opportunities than others? How about Africa?
    jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Yogyakarta- Things to do when you only have 24 hours

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      Most of the opportunities are in more developed regions – North America, Europe, Australia, etc… or countries where people buy vacation or second homes (like the Caribbean). I’ve seen a few in Asia…I haven’t seen any for Africa, but I haven’t looked for Africa!

  • March 16 2011

    This is great! We actually wrote a similar post when we started our career as housesitters last year. We find that housecarers.com and mindmyhouse.com are the most useful resources, and we’ve got already two awesome housesitting gigs lined up for this year: 5 weeks in the Alps and 6 weeks in Canada. We loved every housesit we’ve done so far and we can highly recommend it. Nothing beats free accommodation in a really nice house ;)
    Globetrottergirls recently posted..Go Beyond… the Copan Maya Ruins in Honduras

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      Totally agree! I really don’t think this arrangement can be beat. 5 weeks in the Alps? Super jealous on that one!

  • Oh thanks for posting all this information. I heard about house sitting and planned on looking into it just haven’t got around to it yet!

    This looks like such a fun way to spend time in an area. Can’t wait to dig into it!
    Debbie – European Travelista recently posted..St Patrick’s Day and Irish Proverbs Towards the Path To Wisdom

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      I’m glad this will be helpful Debbie! It is a really great way to get to know an area (not to mention the obvious economic benefits). I can see us never tiring of being permanent vagabonds if we can keep finding great stays like we have so far.

  • March 16 2011

    Thanks for that post! I’ve always wondered about finding house sitting jobs. I hear another way could also be to scope out some rental websites and if they have a “furnished” search field then it’s most likely someone that wants a house sitter.

    Keep those helpful and interesting posts coming!! I enjoy them a lot!

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      Ah, very good tip Jeff – I never would have thought of that!

  • March 16 2011

    Wow, this is so inspirational, and so packed with info :)
    I will add house sitting to my bucket list. Thank you :)

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      You’re welcome Tobias!

  • March 16 2011

    Wow! This is AWESOME! I’ve always dreamed of house sitting. You just opened my mind to a whole new way of seeing the world. Thank you so much for writing such a helpful and informative post!
    Sheryll recently posted..A Spirtual Awakening in Patmos

    • Dalene
      March 16 2011

      No problem Sheryll! Just don’t go stealing my housesits – ha! ;)

  • March 17 2011

    Great resources! I’ve been curious about how to do this…sounds like a fantastic gig =)
    Andrea recently posted..Ascending the Beast- What Our Volcán Villarrica Climb Reminded Me About Life

  • March 17 2011

    What a great way to travel, and spend quality time in some great places. It makes me wish I didn’t have so many commitments and could do this. I’m sure that you have just turned on a lot of people to a new way of seeing the world. Way to go Dalene!
    Ken Kaminesky recently posted..Natural Beauty and Old Money Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

    • Dalene
      March 17 2011

      Thanks Ken! :)

  • March 17 2011

    That’s very interesting, usually rent is the most expensive part anywhere! Now I’m checking those sites for the next destinations I would like to tackle.. Stupid question: if it’s considered a job, do they also provide with a visa?
    Angela recently posted..Shopping in Shanghai- or the art of bargaining

    • Dalene
      March 17 2011

      Anything is negotiable! For instance, here in Honduras, the cost to extend our visa is being paid for by our home owners. But that may not be the case for others…

  • March 17 2011

    I’ve used housecarers on several occasions to find people to housesit my place in Vancouver. I’ve often had over a dozen respondents in a day. You made a good point by saying that you need references lined up and a good profile. One can read a great deal between the lines of a profile. Once you’ve had a few successful housesitting gigs it’s really easy to get more – plus you’re likely to be invited back. I have the same couple from last year returning for a month this summer.

    • Dalene
      March 17 2011

      Thanks for providing a comment from the home owner point of view…glad to know it has worked out for you so far! We have been invited back to our gig in BC and asked to extend here in Honduras as well.

      Housecarers also seems to have a LOT of listings for Vancouver and the Island, we are debating taking one on Vancouver Island someday as well – if/when we decide to settle down, we might consider living there, and so it would also be a great way to decide if a certain place is really for us or not!

  • March 17 2011

    Thanks for this information — great resource. You’ve really got me thinking about the house-sitting. Nice that you can do this.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Blarney Lips

    • Dalene
      March 18 2011

      Glad it got you thinking! It really is a great way to travel.

  • March 17 2011

    Thanks for sharing this. I thought most house sitting gigs were done through people that knew each other, or friend of a friend type situations. It’s nice to know that it is possible to do through various websites.

    I would love to see another post with more details of what happens once you were contacted by a home owner. What types of questions to ask? How do you check out the home owner to make sure everything is legit?

    P.S. Can’t go wrong with settling on Vancouver Island. I lived there most of my life until recently coming to the Rockies for work purposes. It’s a beautiful place!
    Audrey recently posted..Day Trip To Ross Castle Killarney

    • Dalene
      March 18 2011

      Audrey – some really good questions, and I will consider another post along that lines, “Housesitting 201″ maybe? :)

      There always seem to lots of ops on Van Island, and surrounding islands (Gulf, etc.)…that is on our to-do list one day too!

  • March 17 2011

    We’ve house sat once in Argentina and that was arranged through our couchsurfing hosts. I’ve just joined Mind My House & House Carers as we are now actively looking for house sits in Italy and San Francisco later in the year. I know they are competitive locations though so my hopes aren’t high.

    • Dalene
      March 18 2011

      Yeah, I’m eager for a good one in Italy too! That’s cool that you got one via couchsurfing…finding them via those kind of relationships is always a bonus…

  • March 18 2011

    What a wonderful way of getting to know a place and feel like locals…all while saving money! Great resources too…bookmarking this post! Thanks :)

    • Peter
      March 18 2011

      Con mucho gusto, Christine! :)

  • March 18 2011

    Dalene, thanks for writing this post. Now when people like us bug you for info you can point us to this post. :)

    We are using http://www.mindmyhouse.com to look for housesitting in Europe this summer, and one thing we are noticing is that old ads are not taken down. You have to scroll through a lot to find a few that are current. Maybe we should check out one of the other sites as well.

    I hope you guys do find something in Italy so we can finally meet in person!
    Betsy Talbot recently posted..Our ship has come in

    • Peter
      March 18 2011

      We are happy to help! It’s funny, we get chatting with people on the beach here and end up writing down these websites on little scraps of napkin!

      Yes, I have that same complaint about mindmyhouse. At least there is the ability to sort by start date, which helps getting through to the current ones.

      Housecarers might be another one worth looking into for you guys. We just started with caretaker so don’t have substantial feedback to give on them yet. And we’re keeping our eye on trustedhousesitters!

      • December 5 2012

        We have been subscribers of housecarers and Caretaker Gazette for a few years now. CG has some really interesting opportunities, and it has been around for decades. Of the two sites, we have had more actual sits come from housecarers, but I enjoy them both and may consider subscribing to one more site after reading this post : )
        Valynne recently posted..Settling In to Santa Fe, New Mexico

        • December 6 2012

          Hey Valynne – thanks for your comment! We tried CG for a year but really never saw anything that intrigued us. We are subscribed now to only two, but find that just the one (Trusted Housesitters) has been responsible for our last 5 housesits!

  • March 18 2011

    Ooh, so glad you guys wrote this! I’ve been using mindmyhouse and housecarers just to peruse the listings…I think when I’m travelling full-time, I’ll pick locations based on housesits. Love it!

    • Peter
      March 18 2011

      Thanks Candice! That has become part of our strategy, to go where the housesits are!

  • Cam
    March 18 2011

    Great tips guys! I will certainly bookmark this for when the time comes.
    We’ve bounced around the idea but never fully pursued. It sounds like the perfect way to spend time in Europe!
    Cheers
    Cam
    Cam recently posted..Tips for Travelling with a Dog

    • Peter
      March 18 2011

      Thanks Cam! We’re hoping that we can find a place in Europe now that we’ve leaked the secrets on how to do this ;)

  • March 19 2011

    great post — another resource I haven’t tried yet, but might be up for in 2012. Bookmarked. And yes, Housesitting 102 should be an upcoming post!
    Michael Hodson recently posted..I am in Love… with my Passport

    • Peter
      March 19 2011

      Glad to help! We will keep class 102 in mind!

  • March 19 2011

    Awesome! I didn’t know this existed. Will definitely want to apply for shorter jobs. Don’t mind about the small task as long as some money could be save. Thanks for opening my eyes!

    • Peter
      March 19 2011

      Good luck with it Amer! There are lots of short stays to look into.

  • March 19 2011

    What a great resource. I’m thinking of looking into this. Definitely need to get away for awhile, this could suit our purposes.
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..What Can you Write about Fries

    • Peter
      March 19 2011

      Hope it works out for you Caz! We look forward to doing more of this in the future, maybe even tailoring our next adventure wherever a good housesitting job may be!

  • March 19 2011

    I really want to do this, any idea which ones may be better for South America? I’ve looked at a few but they didn’t have any listings.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Blissful beach days make boring blog posts

    • Dalene
      March 20 2011

      The listings for South America are pretty scarce. I’ve seen a couple on mindmyhouse, and I can’t remember if I have seen any on the others. For places that you’re really interested in doing it – I’d suggest contacting property managers or real estate agents in that town/city. They would know which houses are sitting empty and would benefit from a house sitter!

  • Sarah-Eve
    March 19 2011

    Hi! This is a great post! Also, for vacationers, house exchanges are great. My family and I have done two of these (one in Dijon and one in Senegal and Paris) and were pleasantly pleased both times! It is a great way to visit a different country!

    • Dalene
      March 20 2011

      Yes, I’ve heard a few great success stories about house swaps! Problem for us is that we don’t have a house to offer up in exchange – ha! Thanks for the comment Sarah. :)

  • March 20 2011

    We are staying in that yellow house now because Dalene and Peter are so kind inviting us to stay. Thank you so much guys, woot woot!!!
    Dina recently posted..Blown Away literally by Landing Airplanes in Maho Beach- Sint Maarten of the Caribbean

    • Dalene
      March 21 2011

      What??? Really? Did you sneak in when we weren’t looking? :)

  • This is so so so incredibly helpful! We’ve always been vaguely interested in housesitting but never really knew how to get started. And now that we’re planning to move around various countries for the next few years, it’s the perfect time to give it a try.

    I’ll definitely be signing up for some of the sites you list soon – thanks so much for the recommendations! :)
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Texas Rollerderby

    • Dalene
      March 21 2011

      Glad to be of help! :)

  • March 28 2011

    Great post, thanks! I was signed up for the Caretaker Gazette a few years ago, but it’s painful to follow the listings when you’re not ready to actually take advantage of any of them. Now my fiancé and I are planning our long-term slow-travel lifestyle – departing after our wedding next year – and house-sitting is definitely on our radar, so I’ll be checking out these sites!

    • Dalene
      March 28 2011

      If you’re into long term and slow moving, this is definitely a great way to do it! Good luck!

  • What a great idea! I’ll have to look into this. Thanks for sharing! I promise we will invite you if we find a villa in Tuscany! :)
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Keeping in Touch with Your Significant Other While Traveling 8

    • Peter
      March 30 2011

      Thanks Christy. It’s a pretty sweet gig for sure. We certainly have no complaints living rent free for the last 8 months in pretty sweet locations… Oh and keep us posted on when you have secured your assignment in Tuscany ;)

  • April 3 2011

    Two years ago I house sat for some friends in Taiwan. They have seven dogs. No, that is not a typo. :)

    It was a good experience. One thing I did find though was that it was lonely. Believe me I was busy with seven dogs, but I never talked to a human being (that I knew) for 3 weeks.

    To combat the loneliness I got into a routine, which helped. I also had a freelance writing gig at the time, so that helped too.

    I would consider doing it again. My challenge is my cat. I can usually find someone to mind Indy for a month or two, but beyond that it’s difficult. Plus, I want her with me. Also, although I try and live a minimalist life here in Korea, I’ve collected stuff over the years.

    All that said, I would highly recommend house sitting. If you’re single, think about what you’re going to do while you’re there alone. :)
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday- March 31- 2011- Buddha’s Head- Ayutthaya Thailand

    • Dalene
      April 3 2011

      You make a great point about the loneliness. The house sitting opportunities that we’ve found do tend to be in more remote areas. We’ve always gotten involved in the communities and made big efforts to get to know people, but if a solo person wasn’t able to (or didn’t have transportation like we do), then that would be really, really hard.

  • Chris
    April 14 2011

    What do you do for money while you’re housesitting for so long?
    Do you bring money that you’ve save up before-hand? Do you get a job while you’re there?

    • April 14 2011

      Hi Chris, I just sent you a lengthy email in response to your questions. The short answer is: we currently fund our travels through our savings, although we are starting to earn some money off of our blog as well as with other travel writing. We have also picked up a couple of odd jobs here on the island. I will be getting more into these details with a follow-up blog post – Housesitting 201 – which we will be posting soon.

  • dzent1
    April 14 2011

    Anyone have a sort of “checklist” of things to ask when negotiating a housesit?

    • April 14 2011

      Stay tuned for “Housesitting 201″ coming soon that will address this topic specifically!

  • April 25 2011

    This sounds pretty interesting, thanks for sharing!

  • Kim
    April 25 2011

    This article has just been bookmarked! I’m really, REALLY hoping Brian and I can land a few housesitting gigs as we travel. Thanks for this great info.
    Kim recently posted..Help Us Travel The World!

    • Peter
      April 25 2011

      No problem Kim. Good luck, and if you have any other questions let us know.

  • April 29 2011

    Thanks for this. We don’t know where our travel will take us but who knows, maybe house sitting would be a fun option.

    BTW, we LOVE Roatan!

    • Peter
      April 30 2011

      No problem! If you have any other questions, let us know.

      Agreed that Roatan is certainly paradise.

  • May 26 2011

    Oh you guys, what a timely post for me- thank you! I just started looking into housesitting as an alternate way of travelling. I hadn’t come across any of the sites you mentioned, so I will check those out, too. Cheers!

    • May 27 2011

      Lori – it really is *thee* way to travel for us. We have done a lot of research into it, if you have ANY questions at all, just let us know!

  • June 25 2011

    Great tips! I’m daydreaming about extended travel — this is a great way to handle accommodation.
    Thanks!
    Marcia

  • John
    July 25 2011

    If you know of anyone looking for a house sitter in Madrid, Spain, let me know. My fiancée and I are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (were in Nicaragua) , and are moving to Madrid to be teachers, and would be more than thrilled to help out!!

    • July 25 2011

      Hi John – you are able to peruse three of the websites (without signing up) to see if anything is on there for Madrid. Good luck!

  • August 1 2011

    Great post. This is something I’ve always wondered about. Would love to do something like this for 1 month in the winter. Will bookmark it for later!
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..‘Would You Rather’ Game–for Travelers

    • August 1 2011

      Thanks Lisa! Good luck with it!

  • August 1 2011

    Thank you for posting this!!! I appreciate the links, both because we may need a house sitter in the future and also because maybe we may house sit ourselves. The thing is that we have pets, and it has been hard for us to travel as much as we would like, since we love them so much and have had some bad experiences with people not treating them properly.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Mom Blogger Profile: Suzie at Unschool Plus

    • August 3 2011

      That would make it hard Elizabeth – I hope you have better luck with people to look after your pets. For us, because we move all the time we really miss having pets, so housesitting gives us our “pet fix” – ha!

  • Emily Chew
    August 5 2011

    Hi! I’ve been following you guys on Twitter for awhile and my husband and I are getting very close to trying a vagabond lifestyle…actually thinking about Costa Rica and want to do some scouting trips this winter. Are you still in touch with the American couple who spent six years in Costa? Would love to have someone to talk with personally for ideas. Keep up the wonderful blog. I love reading and you guys have inspired me so much.

    • August 6 2011

      Thanks so much Emily! I just sent you an email on this matter…

  • I wish I could travel long term and do something like this, alas my trips are very short! But, I will put it on the Bucket List for the future! ;-)
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Dominican Republic: Day 5 (Part 2)

    • August 7 2011

      There are short term opportunities as well! We are looking at a potential one in London for just a couple of weeks…which is great, as we probably couldn’t afford to stay there that long otherwise! :)

  • August 26 2011

    oh wow… i never knew about house sitting until today… checking the links now :-)
    flipnomad recently posted..Don’t End Up as a Dead Tourist – 5 Tips to Stay Safe in ‘Dangerous’ Countries

  • August 26 2011

    Great information! Thanks for this great post.
    Just wanted to let you know that I clicked on your RSS feed and got a bunch of HTML and error code.
    I’ve subscribed by email instead and look forward to more of your adventures.
    Gorgeous site. Thanks for all this.
    And you’re right.
    You SHOULD be getting some sort of affiliate links :)
    Colleen Friesen recently posted..On Caffeine Addiction

    • Pete
      August 26 2011

      Hi Colleen, thanks for having a read and for the email sub.

      Regarding the RSS, you might be getting that error because you have not installed an RSS extension. I am guessing that you are using Google Chrome? If so, you can find the install here – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nlbjncdgjeocebhnmkbbbdekmmmcbfjd If you are using another browser, let me know and I can find the install for you. I just tried it and all seems to be working ok… Regardless, thanks for the heads-up, very considerate of you to let us know :)

      Cheers!

  • PeteJ
    October 13 2011

    Wow! what a great concept. It looks like the site you recommend are for overseas travel. Are there any such services that your aware of that accommodate homes in the US. We have a house in Spokane,Wa that could use this service.

    • October 13 2011

      Housecarers.com has a lot of US housesits on there, and I think there *may* be some US only websites as well, but we haven’t looked into that. We also just found one on trustedhousesitters.com that we are probably going to take advantage of (6 weeks in New York – wheee!)

  • October 21 2011

    Dalene – I know I’m late to comment on this, but I had to laugh at the ‘freeloaders.com’ comment, (unfortunately taken by a Ukranian punk band, believe it or not), the FSM reference (Ramen) and ‘Canuckleheads’ LOL

    We’re just finishing up Phase 1 of our travels and prepping for the Phase 2 overseas part. So many housesitting choices!
    Glenn Dixon recently posted..Minnesota – It’s Flat!

  • December 6 2011

    Ok friends, I officially want to try and jump into the house-sitting pool. Let’s say I can only sign up for two of these sites right now and not all 4 (which would be nice as it would probably maximize my options) – which two would you recommend for a first time officially listed house-sitter? (I do have recommendations and I have house-sat before. Thank you for any and all tips.

    XO

    P.S. When are you in NYC? Schedule filling up and I want to *make certain* I am here and don’t miss you two.
    Kirsten recently posted..Where to Stay in London: Part 1

    • December 6 2011

      Ok friend! It all depends on where you want to housesit. Some sites are better for different regions. What do you have in mind?

      We are in NYC from Jan 17 to the end of Feb!! Please “make certain” you will be there! :)

      • December 6 2011

        That’s a good long while to be in NYC! Quite happy that is your schedule, in that case I am bound to be in town for a good portion of your visit. You might get sick of me ;)

        Top house-sitting places: NYC, UK, Spain, Italy, Asia, Australia. No desire for South or Central America, Canada or India, etc.
        Kirsten recently posted..Where to Stay in London: Part 1

        • December 6 2011

          Yay!! And I fully expect to gain 10lbs just in dumplings. Because you promised. :)

          Trustedhousesitters.com would be my first recommendation – they are becoming “the” authority in Europe, especially the UK. They are also gaining ground in the US (that is how we found our NYC gig), but a good back-up is either housecarers or mindmyhouse. For those last two I would check out the listings that they currently have (you can peruse them all without signing up), and see which one has more attractive postings. I’d guess housecarers (as they also have lots for Oz), but their website is one of the worst to use in terms of functionality.

  • January 14 2012

    Wow, I am totally bookmarking this post too, for when I am ready to get to travel like this! Sounds amazing, what I way to experience new places! Great tips!
    Tash recently posted..Kiva Loan for Xmas

    • January 14 2012

      Glad to help Tash. If you ever have any questions about it, just let us know!

  • January 16 2012

    A little late to this post…but that’s typical of me!
    I love housesitting and was fortunate to get gigs through word of mouth. It was usually combined with cat sitting! House sat in the Hollywood Hills, Istanbul for 2 months, and NYC. I think I was a member of Housecareers for a bit, and had a few possibilities but none ever panned out. I am also on Trustedhousesitters as I think the founder emailed me when it started. OH…and I will be in NYC Feb3-5 if you are still around?! :)
    Lisa | LLWorldTour recently posted..Photo of the Week: Food Glorious Food – Parma, Italy

    • January 16 2012

      Lisa – YES! We will be here until the end of February! Would be great to meet you! :)

  • Barbahrooba
    January 22 2012

    This is way cool. As a novice traveler I didn’t know such a thing was possible. Seems like a great way to explore new countries. Usually my husband and I just browse travelexplosion.com for new destination ideas but we’ll follow your site as well. We may be future house sitters now!

    • January 22 2012

      That’s great! I hope you do try housesitting as it is such a good way to travel. If you ever have any questions about it, please let us know and we’ll try to help.

  • January 23 2012

    Dalene

    Although I have done a little bit of sitting I am about to embark on a pretty big journey…and I’m and oldie!!

    I have just started on this blogging lark and (I think I may have already said in a different blog!) that your site has been an influence. My son and I have developed our own site by way of cataloguing our profiles etc and would actually welcome any critique you might throw our way.

    I do understand you will be maxed out but if you get a mo?

    keep up the writing …

    Gary:)
    Gary Thomson recently posted..Weekend working on our new life

  • January 26 2012

    Thanks Dalene…I did receive your comments and really appreciate the feedback. Look forward to fallowing you both as we take off on our own venture.
    Gary Thomson recently posted..Weekend working on our new life

  • February 22 2012

    This is the first time I’ve herad of house sitting and I gotta say I am soooo glad I Stumbled Upon your site. It is an excellent idea! Thanks a lot for the references and tips. I’m looking forward to do this soon. :)

    • February 23 2012

      Glad you stumbled here too Joe! Hope you do try housesitting soon!

  • April 24 2012

    After just graduating university, I am more than ready to become a vagabond and try out some house sitting. It seems like “Trustedhousesitters” is the best site based on your description. Do you find it important to sign up for multiple sites? Also, are some sites geared toward certain parts of the world?

    Loved the post

    Ryan

    • Pete
      April 25 2012

      Thanks Ryan. Yes Trustedhousesitters.com is our go-to site at the moment, but not to say that we don’t look at the other sites. We are members on all, but what we recommend is browsing the listings first and if one interests you, then sign up and apply. Competition is heating up though, you have to be fast on the draw and show strong experience. Best of luck.

  • April 26 2012

    Great Read!

    We have been investigating this. You added some new sites to our list. The Flying Spaghetti Monster must have willed it. Perhaps all of these pagoda visits we have been doing!

  • June 1 2012

    Superb information! This is such a great idea, I will definitely look into this for our next trip, thanks guys!

  • June 6 2012

    Hi,
    I just read the posts and this is very helpful. My fiancé and I are getting married next May and hoping to houses it until we can get on our feet. My fiancé has a good job but I am still a student. We love in the DC area so housing is really expensive. We are looking to house sit in this area but are not sure where to start and if people will be interested in us. Any suggestions would help! Thanks

    • June 7 2012

      Hi Kelly! My first suggestion would be to go on all of the housesitting websites out there, and narrow your search to DC. All of the websites (except for one), allow you to search for free before signing up for a membership. Then, I would sign up for whichever ones have listings that you like. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of opportunities for DC, but then I haven’t been looking for them. Good luck!

  • June 6 2012

    My fiance and I are getting married in about a year. I have a good job but she is still in school and we are considering house sitting as a way to allow us some time to get on our feet in the Washington DC area. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • June 7 2012

      Hi Jimmy, I am guessing Kelly is your fiance? (I just answered her comment!) Good luck in your search! :)

  • June 21 2012

    Love this, guys! We haven’t tried housesitting yet, but I think you may just have inspired us! We’re planning a trip to Southern Europe this winter, and will start looking to see what’s out there.
    Micki recently posted..Why Travel With Kids Is Amazing

  • June 30 2012

    Hi! I tried to register as a housesitter on mindmyhouse.com but assumed it was a scam when it wouldn’t save any of my information. I spent a bunch of time (twice!) only to have it seem to be saving but in actuality ended up with an empty profile. I reported them to PayPal I was so frustrated! My husband and I are about to start our housesitting career in September so reading your information was very inspirational. Our problem (challenge?) is that we have a dog. We are hoping that if we have enough references, and that if the people we are offering to housesit for are animal lovers, that we can work around this issue. Thanks for the information and advice.

  • July 3 2012

    Hi..wow! I just discovered your site and it’s great, there are so many things here that it is exactly how I feel. I have been reading a few travel and lifestyle design blogs here and there but I don’t understand how do you build your traveling budget? housesitting sounds like a fantastic option but you still have to pay for tickets and bunch food etc. How do you even make money if you are actually doing this full time?
    Great site indeed!!

    • July 4 2012

      Hi, and welcome! :)

      For us, we are fortunate in that we had substantial savings when we set off to travel (thanks to the sale of our house and years of scrimping!) But we are relying on that less and less as we go because we are making money through our blog and a bit of freelance. The key is to set up a business that is mobile so that you can earn money from wherever, or else perhaps try something like teaching English, working on cruise ships, etc. etc. There are many opportunities, it just depends on what you are looking for. :)

      • July 4 2012

        Ok great. We’ll have to figure out something to do, but thanks for your response this is great!!! This is a big dream for us and more and more I’m finding people that are actually doing it!! :D

  • July 22 2012

    You look just like my godmother. Her name was Sara Zecco Spearling. I am 60 and haven,t seen her since I was 10. Wierd huh.

  • Nen
    August 18 2012

    Have been on these sites for years now and have yet to match up with a housesit. Have come really close a couple of times. I’m beginning to get discouraged. Issues have been transportation – their car or public transport is a must for long, far away stays. I’m thinking it would be too expensive to rent a car for months in Europe. Then there’s the visa restrictions – 3 months limit in Europe, etc. I would love to hear how others have resolved these things. I have tons of experience locally and really good references now I’m dying to venture off into the unknown.

  • August 25 2012

    Hi there,

    We have been house sitting for the last four years. Being retired we have no time restrictions and we enjoy seeing how other people live across the world. Last year we were away from home base for eleven months – we love it!

    Housecarers.com have been good for us but now we want to travel the USA again as well as spend the maximum time visas allow. Are there any other sites on the web that have good information regarding permits, travel, etc for house sitters?

    Housecarers have been great in Australia – we believe they are ‘second-to-none’.

    • August 25 2012

      Hey Dan! Thanks for your comment! We enjoy house-sitting for the exact same reason.

      Housecarers is definitely dominant in Australia (but Aussie House Sitters is right up there, with Trusted Housesitters gaining ground). We have yet to make it over to that side of the world yet, but when we do, you can bet we’ll do a lot of house-sitting!

      Within our book are some resources with regards to visas, etc. It will also show you which house-sitting websites are good in which areas, as they all definitely have their strengths and weaknesses! We break the numbers down by region so you know which website will give you the most exposure! It is always good to be on at least a couple anyways, we believe! Cheers! :)

  • August 28 2012

    Great information and resources, this is definitely something to think about for my upcoming long term travels as an alternative to couch surfing around and hostels. Thanks for sharing! (ps I hope you don’t mind me saying but the design of your site is great!)
    Jody-Lea recently posted..How to Sleep in a City on a Minimum Budget – Couch Surfing

    • August 28 2012

      I never mind comments that are full of compliments. Thanks Jody-Lea!

  • October 2 2012

    Thanks for the useful links and information here. I think I’ll be starting to do some housesitting whilst I’m in South America next year – fingers crossed it works out!

    • October 2 2012

      There aren’t many opportunities in South America, but you might get lucky!

  • December 9 2012

    Great post! I am considerding house-sitting when I finish graduate school :D

  • December 14 2012

    Hi everybody, I’ve just started a housesitting/petsitting business this summer and am always eager to read and learn about ways to branch out! Thanks so much for sharing your tips with me! :)

  • January 1 2013

    Thanks for a great article on housesitting. I hadn’t really considered it as a cheaper accommodation option but I will definitely be adding it to my list for future travel.

    I liked the comment from Dan White who has been housesitting since they retired – if you have a reasonable income coming in it must be a great way to see the world cheaply!
    Pretraveller recently posted..Pretraveller Top 10 Posts of 2012

  • January 25 2013

    If I do get that Tuscany gig, you two can most definitely join me. We can compare our Sunday sauce with the locals.

  • March 22 2013

    Hi, question: I’m a single female. Would you say those looking for housesitters prefer couples to singles? Any idea? Thanks.

    • March 23 2013

      Dana, most home owners do prefer couples, but I do know of many successful single house-sitters. It’s all about getting those first few good references, and then it gets easier. :)

  • April 7 2013

    Hello,
    I am a teacher who is single. My summer break begins June 1. I am interested in house sitting in the US. Have you used the site luxury house sitting?
    Thank you

  • June 6 2013

    My wife and I live in south metro Atlanta, but both work in north metro Atlanta. We were considering housesitting to cut down our commute times. We would still want to return to our place on the weekends. Is housesitting an opportunity for us? or Will we be expected to do more and also occupy the residence on the weekends?

    • June 6 2013

      Hi Corey, while I would never say that any situation is impossible, such specific circumstances as yours would be difficult. I would suggest that instead of going through any of the housesitting websites, to post your specific requirements in local newspapers, etc. and see how that goes. Most house-sits would want you to be there the entire time, but depending on required pet care, alternative arrangements can sometimes be made.

  • July 25 2013

    Hey Dalene!! I am in a position where I am staying with my mother two to three weeks at a time. Then I have that amount of time off. Because of this I can’t work and I have given up the home I was leasing. So I am oficially a two week wanderer!!! I am in NM and would love to start this!! Would love some advise!!! By the way Roatan is one of my favorite places!! Love it!!!

  • August 14 2013

    Very helpful post! I had been thinking about trying this out for a while, and just decided to throw up a post on Craiglist to see if I could find something. I already have my first house sitting job, and hopefully I can find some other gigs after that.

    Have you heard of others finding enough house sitting gigs in a specific location that they can stick around long term?

  • Sharon
    August 19 2013

    Is “House Sitting ” a Legitimate employment? How do you go about it? Right now in Utah.

  • Hey guys, not sure if I ever emailed you to say ”thank you” for this brilliant ebook. I found this exact post earlier this year and it changed our lives, and our journey. I always tell people about your ”Where did you find that? Freeloaders.com?” comment. It is too funny! Thanks again :)
    Kathleen l Our Favorite Adventure recently posted..It’s Not About Quitting Your Job to Travel the World

  • September 19 2013

    Hello! Looking for an opportunity to house sit this winter on the west coast of british columbia. A professional Canadian couple, looking to join a house sitting site. Which site offers the most BC exposure? and most canadians use, or based in Canada? Thanks, happy travels and good job! Jason.

    • September 19 2013

      Hi Jason, if I were you I would look closely at Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House for Canadian opportunities. I am sorry that we don’t monitor them daily to give that info, but those two typically have a good amount of Canadian listings.

  • September 22 2013

    I’m curious as to how you juggle the prospective gigs, what with overlaps and spaces (time between gigs).

    There certainly has to be a sense of urgency when considering (juggling) multiple gigs. Life is short, the world is immense, so I really shy away from considering the long gigs (greater than 6 months); which brings up another point, “What if you don’t want to complete the gig (Problems with language, animals, health issues, living conditions, etc.), is there an ‘Exit Clause’ in the contract? Do you use a contract?

    • September 23 2013

      Hi Mike, my point form answers to your questions…
      – We like to travel freely when we’re not house-sitting so that we can explore without the responsibility and get to places that aren’t big on the concept of house-sitting yet. We typically only house-sit about half of our time (even less these days), so don’t worry about overlap.
      – We’re with you – 6 months gigs are far too long (we did it once). We prefer shorter ones, 1 to 2 months.
      – We use contracts intermittently, if the home owner requests it, we don’t insist on one ourselves. We rely a lot on our gut feel about the home owners via our pre-sit communications, and ask for lots of photos of the house, animals etc. so that we know what we are getting into. You’ll find that in most cases, home owners are very reasonable, and if we ever have to leave for health conditions or anything serious, they would understand. Minor issues will always be there, so the house-sitters really have to be flexible and make-do. In the contracts that we’ve seen, there are no exit clauses.

  • October 10 2013

    Hello,
    Thank you for this.
    We have signed up with Trusted House Sitters and are in correspondence with a few homeowners so it’s looking good to have our first assignment really soon!
    Julie recently posted..How To Get The Romance Back In Your Relationship

  • October 22 2013

    We met you two last year in the yellow house on Roatan! We were looking to buy, and ended up building. I need a house sitter for my Louisiana home, so I can spend more time in Roatan. It was really helpful meeting you two, and made me realize, I might be able to find some GOOD people to mind my house!
    Say hello to the cat!
    Susan and Walter

    • October 23 2013

      Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your comment, funny how we met you in Roatan! I hope all is well! :)

  • January 6 2014

    Hi, awwwwwwesome ;) we also want to start our housesitting career soon. Looking forward to it. Thx for sharing your tips! Feli

  • January 20 2014

    Dalene, this is super-helpful information to get us pointed in the right direction! Both my husband and I are avid travelers, speak Spanish and are ready to pull the plug to slow down. We have two children under age 5 and would love to share a global adventure with them – do you think housesitting would be a viable option given the right set of circumstances? We’d like to do it for a year or two before the kids get in school.
    Much appreciated! Jennie

    • January 21 2014

      Absolutely Jennie! It might be a little tougher to find, but I do know some families who house-sit. Check out 1dad1kid.com – he housesits with his son all the time!

  • January 25 2014

    Great list of resources, I have been only using a couple of them and this has really helped.

  • February 11 2014

    Thanks for the great information! Wondering about house sitting possibilities for a single woman – I’m not ‘handy’ with repairs, etc. However, I love animals and know how to keep a house looking and feeling lovely. Your thoughts?

  • February 17 2014

    What a neat way to get around the world whilst getting out of the hotels/guest houses and actually keeping something akin to a ‘normal life’

    I’ll certainly be looking into a couple of these sites and considering this tactic for the near future, thanks for all the advice

  • April 14 2014

    I AND MY WIFE ARE RETIRED WE WOULD LIKE TO HOUSE SIT SOMEONE HOME IN FLORIDA IN THE WINTER TIME.WE OWN OUR HOME IN OHIO,AND WOULD LIKE TO HOUSE SIT A HOME FOR SOME ONE FOR FREE,WE DO NOT NEED THE MONEY,WE JUST NEED THE WARM WHEATHER .HOPE WE CAN HELP SOMEONE.THANK YOU RIC&PAT

  • April 15 2014

    I love this post and all the great info about house sitting. I had no idea this was a real possibility until recently – strangers would let you stay in their home? And these were places you would actually want to stay? And it is free (or mostly free)? It’s a crazy world. Thanks for the info, I hope I can try it out soon, especially somewhere like Roatan!
    Jenni Earll recently posted..House sitting: free lodging in a chateau or spending your vacation doing yardwork?

  • April 28 2014

    Well, I guess I will hit the road once again. Never tired of exploring different cultures. I would use these website just to have something onsite. It is always easier
    Mardenom recently posted..Flashbacks from the American County Fairs

  • June 4 2014

    I’m a Florida State license Property Manager willing to relocate have extensive construction experience and great character references and awards. My hobby is to write screenplays and I’m tired of working with condo commandos and would like to get into a one home care taker situation.
    My problem is I have a very well trained small dog that I love to much to let go for the opportunity.
    Is there possibilities for someone like me?
    Oh yes I speak fluent Spanish with no accent.

    • June 5 2014

      Hi Luis, it is definitely possible! Check out the website constantrambler.com as they do house-sitting with their dog. Cheers.

  • November 26 2014

    How about coming to Australia next June/July and house sitting for us you two?! Just outside Melbourne in the hills…Ok, it is winter in Victoria at the time, but still pretty!
    Wicked Walkabout Family recently posted..Mt Timbertop – Overnight Hammock Camping

    • November 28 2014

      Hmmmm! That is tempting, I can’t believe we haven’t been on that side of the world yet! But we actually already have plans for then. :(

      • November 28 2014

        Keep it in mind incase you are around then Dalene! You would love the Dandenong Ranges I am sure.

  • Caroline
    November 30 2014

    Okay, so this will be a bit of a long post. But I’ve belonged to all three of the sites mentioned in the post, and I’ve done assignments through all of them.

    Housecarers.com — since it’s free for homeowners, it must have a good ratio of assignments to sitters. But I found that there weren’t very many assignments in Europe, so after two years (and four nice assignments) I canceled my membership.

    Mindmyhouse.com — I joined for a year and got one assignment, but I found there were so few housesits that it wasn’t worthwhile.

    Trustedhousesitters.com — Now here’s the lengthy post. I’ve been a member of the site for 3 years now, and have excellent (all five star) references from 15 assignments (including repeat assignments) I’ve done over the years. In the first year, so long as I applied promptly to a new listing, I usually heard back from homeowners and often got an assignment. However, in the last 12 months I’ve noticed a precipitous drop in responses to my applications — in fact, most of the time my emails are never opened. I’m on the computer all day and keep the site page up 24/7, and I’m really diligent about checking listings every 30 minutes or so. But still, it seems there are hundreds of (presumably desirable) housesitters applying before I do. And homeowners have told me that they generally don’t make it past the first dozen applicants. One homeowner in France, in a location that was fairly easy to get to, told me that she had two hundred applications in the first 30 minutes after posting her listing. And it wasn’t a posh or fancy place, a small old (un-renovated) apartment with no pool and not close to the sea. I can only imagine how many applicants there are for the more desirable housesits. Last year I recommended the site to two friends, both recently retired 50-something professional, non-smoking women. And despite countless timely applications, neither of them ever got a single response. I chatted with someone on the site about this issue, and was told that Trustedhousesitters is making an effort to enlist more homeowners. This year when I went to renew, I noticed there was a significantly reduced renewal rate available to me but ONLY if I registered for a combined membership — as both a homeowner and a housesitter. But in fact, I would never list my home on the site as I don’t havea pet and I have a full time housemate, and it wouldn’t be fair to inflict housesitters on her. But this practice of enticing housesitters to buy a ‘combined’ membership enables the site to say they have more homeowners as members, to improve the ratio of homeowners to housesitters. And I think this is misleading. Given that it might be easier for new members (with no site references) to win the lotto than get an assignment through the site, I can’t in good faith recommended it.

    • November 30 2014

      Caroline, thank you SO MUCH for that feedback. I have had my own suspicions, to be honest, when recently I asked the owner of TH about their house-sitter to home-owner ratio and they said it was only two to one. I found that hard to believe, as I’ve been hearing similar complaints.

      We need to update this post to include one of our new favorite sites – Nomador.com. We secured a house-sit in Paris with them this summer and even had a chance to meet the website owner while we were there – they have many great features coming up soon and currently have a fairly even ratio. Give that one a try!

      Thanks again.

      • Caroline
        November 30 2014

        Hi Dalene — thanks for the information, I’ll definitely give Nomador a try! All the best, Caroline

      • December 8 2014

        Hi Dalene

        Ok, I feel I have to express to you that even though I like your three house sitting website examples I feel there are other possibly ‘better’ house sitting websites out there that your readers should know about. How do I know this? Well…. I own them :D

        Now, I hear you moan and mutter how self indulgent I am trying to promote my sites on a non-biased informative house sitting blog, BUT I have to be honest, these are four of the strongest, most popular house sitting websites on the net.

        I was going to be really bold as you ask if you would add them to your ‘House Sitting’ resources with the other examples you have displayed? Would I do that….. who me…?

        I’m not joking when I say my group of sitting sites are up there, if not, the best there are. They are older, (usually) cheaper and get more local activity than most of the global house sitting websites you mention above. We make it 100% free for homeowners to find sitters on our network so they keep coming back.

        Now, not to say that these sitter sites’ you have mentioned aren’t worthy of a spot on the list but first time house sitters (and experienced sitters for that matter) really need to know about the other good options available.

        Ok, I’ve rattled on long enough. I invite you to please have a look at them and see if they could be worthy of being added to your ‘House sitting’ resource list. They are:

        Aussie House Sitters: http://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au
        Kiwi House Sitters: http://www.kiwihousesitters.co.nz
        House Sitters UK: http://www.housesittersuk.co.uk
        House Sitters America: http://www.housesittersamerica.com

        I hope I haven’t bored you too much here.

        Peace, love and free travel :D

        Nick

        • December 9 2014

          Hi Nick! Thanks for your comment, and you can never bore me when talking about house-sitting.

          You’ll be pleased to know that all of your websites are included in our house-sitting ebook! This initial post is just meant as an opener to the world of house-sitting (which is why we only focused on the global sites, and because those are the only sites we personally have experience with), but within our ebook we put in the effort of evaluating every site we could find. Including yours. ;)

          • December 9 2014

            Hi Dalene

            Ahhh I jumped the gun didn’t I? That’s great – thank you. We do appreciate that :) I will of course recommend your housesitting ebook if anyone asks us for greater house sitter information.

            Would you be so kind and remove my last name ‘Fuad’ on the previous comment. I was unaware that your full name would be viewed. If you can’t that’s fine – cheers Dalene :)

  • Nick
    December 10 2014

    Haha…so sorry Dalene. I realised that I put my last name in the previous comment when asking you to remove it from the one before!

    So…would you please be so kind as to remove THIS comment and the second para in the previous comment where I state my last name?

    I really appreciate this as I’m sure you’ve got a lot of more interesting things to do :)

    Cheers, Nick

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