If you have ever asked the question “What is House Sitting?” you are not alone. House sitting is growing in popularity, and we are sharing our experience.
How would you like to stay on the south coast of England for two months?
What about 6-weeks in Andalucía, Spain?
Have you wanted to live like a local in a small village in Italy?
Does living in London for a month fit your budget?
As a house sitter all these options can be a reality, in fact, we have experienced all these wonderful situations and many more.
In the two years, we have been house sitting we have completed 25 housesits. These were located in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
Previously we also had house sits in Australia.
So, What is House Sitting?
House sitting matches people leaving their homes for a period of time, with sitters who stay in that home while the owners are away.
Often, but not always, there are pets to look after. Sometimes there are gardens to be tended, and mostly no money changes hands.
The homeowner gets the security of their home being lived in, and their pets looked after.
The house sitter gets free accommodation, and the opportunity to stay in a different location. It is a win/win situation.
Even Wikipedia has a section on What is house sitting.
We are House Sitters and we Love it!
We have been travelling full time since February 2016. House Sitting is our chosen style of travel, and we love the experience.
House Sitting is the Perfect Travel Adventure for us.
We first heard about house sitting when we saw an article on a TV documentary. A couple had been house sitting for 2-3 years and during this time, they had saved $40,000 due to not having rent payments. They were based in a big city so were able to house sit in and around that city while retaining their jobs.
We also found out some people combined house sitting with overseas travel. To us, it sounded like a smart way to combine our desire to travel and to live like a local for short periods of time.
After doing more research, we thought we would house sit in Europe following our 4-month Asian Adventure.
We registered as members on a few house sitting websites and started applying for house sits. With no luck initially, it seemed that by the time we applied the house sits had been filled. And when we did respond quickly, we still didn’t get shortlisted.
We realised we needed to change our approach.
Sign up here and we will send you details of how we changed our approach and secured our first house sits.
Who can be a House Sitter?
Any adult can be a house sitter, but of course, it is entirely up to the discretion of the homeowner as to who they accept.
We have seen young couples, singles, retirees and everyone in between take up house sitting as an option. All that matters is that the homeowner is confident the house sitter is trustworthy and responsible, as they will be charged with caring for the homeowner’s major asset, property and pets.
We asked a number of Homeowners what they were looking for when they advertised for House Sitters.
Click the button to find out what they said.
What does it Cost to be a House Sitter?
Membership of house sitting sites varies from $20 to more than $100 for an annual membership. Most house sits are free to the house sitter, although we have seen requests for payment to cover utilities like power on long term sits. We have never paid for any utilities, and we do not feel we should as the savings for a home owner are huge compared to the alternative e.g. pet boarding establishments.
You can get paid house sitting assignments, but they come with heavy restrictions. We looked in to being paid house sitters but decided the small payment did not compensate for the demands placed by the house sitting company.
That was a major difference. With non-paid house sits the contract is with the homeowner directly.
With the paid sits the contract is with the house sitting company.
We prefer to deal directly with the homeowner. As a result, we have made some great friends and have often stayed at the home when we have been ‘passing by’.
Click here for a guide to some well known House Sitting websites.
Is House Sitting Simply Free Accommodation?
While no money needs to change hands, there are responsibilities that come with house sitting.
There are commitments to the pets, that can mean you are restricted to a few hours per day for sightseeing. You need to look after the homeowners property, this can involve watering plants, gardening, maintaining swimming pools and various tasks that have been agreed to.
Remember you are staying in the community of the home owner. Neighbours and friends do watch and report to the home owner of your activities. We have often had feedback from the home owner that a neighbour has said how the pets are being cared for.
So while we do not pay for accommodation while we house sit, we do not consider it ‘free’, as we are obliged to meet the requirements of the home owner.