Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Tom Wake0
How to live like royalty for free (and even make money) by house sitting
Fancy living in a swanky spacious pad with all the mod cons and acres of space… but without the wallet crushing rent? Here’s how you can book a stay in the home you’ve always dreamed of – for free!
House sitting has become an increasingly popular way for homeowners to keep their properties safe and shipshape while they’re abroad, away on business or living in second homes.
It’s a win win scheme. The homeowner gets peace of mind and you get to stay in a luxurious place for free (or at a very low cost).
House sitting can be great for…
Budget Holidays (at home or abroad):
House sitting can be a clever way to take a low cost holiday in amazing and desirable places. If you’re happy to do the upkeep and stay local, house sitting can be a fantastic way to get away from it all.
If you’re in a position where you can be fairly flexible with where you live (for example if you can work from home on your computer) house sitting can be a fantastic way to free get accommodation in great locations.
Making Money From Your Own Property:
If you’re already a homeowner, house sitting can be a great way to make a little extra money to pay the mortgage or draw a second income (especially given current interest rates). By house sitting for someone else you could ‘upgrade’ your residence temporarily for free while drawing a profit renting out your own place!
What you need to know about house sitting
There are usually conditions attached with each house sit and what’s involved will completely depend on the property and the owners – so every gig is different.
In most cases homeowners require that you aren’t absent from the property for extended periods of time and that you don’t have guests round (house sitting as a couple is normally fine – and in many cases preferred).
Sometimes you’ll be asked to look after a pet(s) or tend the garden. Other times all you’ll have to do is live in, keep the place clean and tidy (and agree not to have monstrous parties).
While longer term stays do crop up, the majority of house sits will be shorter term holiday length stays so if you want to use it as a way to get free accommodation, you might need to be willing to move around and change properties fairly regularly. If you’ve got a nomadic soul and travel light this might be a perk.
How many house sitting jobs you get will depend on how much information you provide homeowners with through your profile (they want people they can trust), how flexible you can be and what references you can provide. The more jobs you complete the better your reputation will be and you’ll be more likely to be offered house sits.
6 resources where you can find house sitting jobs online
I’ve done some research to help you get started and uncovered 6 of the most popular house sitting websites which connect homeowners with home sitters.
While most house sitting sites are free for homeowners to register, there’s normally a charge for house sitters. This can range anywhere from £10 – £50 a year and, depending on the site, pays for your listing, reference checks, keeping you updated with potential house sits and more.
Here are the best sites I found:
Trusted House Sitters (Worldwide)
This is one of the fastest growing house sitting websites. It has a simple, user-friendly layout and according to a survey 75% of members have secured at least one house sit. The emphasis is on house sitting for pet owners and that means most of the agreements are completely free. Your ‘rent’ is simply looking after their animals and the house.
This site isn’t free to join however (it’s £29 for 3 months or £49 for 12 months making it the most expensive offering on this list) but there are a great deal of perks included with this company. Their profiling is very thorough (which means more house sits), you can search for houses worldwide and there’s an option to have daily alerts sent to your email address to let you know about the latest house sitting opportunities.
Luxury House Sitting (Worldwide but predominantly USA)
Luxury House Sitting bill themselves as the “largest community of responsible house sitters in the world”. The site is basic but effective. The upside with these guys is that yearly membership to search and use the site is just $10. Houses are available for short and long term ‘sits’ (anywhere from a weekend to a year).
Homesitters Ltd (UK only)
Homesitters have been operating since 1980 so they’ve got some real experience in the field. They personally manage their homesitters, so in order to get a gig you’ll have to go through their application process, take an interview and of course be accepted. Their rules are pretty strict and include not doing any form of work from home but they have a number of happy members, particularly couples in their 60s who enjoy the gigs. Homesitting is FREE and your travel expenses to and from the property are reimbursed to you.
House Carers (Worldwide)
House Carers was set up in Australia but now caters for clients worldwide. The standard agreement is that house sitters get to sit for FREE but homeowners may ask for a contribution towards utilities – particularly on a long term sit. It’s free to register on the site which allows you to browse house sitting opportunities and get the daily alerts, however if you’d like to apply for sits you need to be a paid up member which costs $50CAD a year.
House Sitters UK (UK only)
Most jobs are FREE (a straight swap – free accommodation in return for house sitting) but sometimes if it’s an undesirable job, or if there’s a fair amount of upkeep involved you may be offered a bit of money to sit. Registration on the site costs £15 for 12 months membership.
Mind My House (Worldwide)
Mind My House are based in Wellington, New Zealand but connect homeowners with housesitters worldwide. Registration is just $20NZ or £11 and members can then set up an advert and start browsing house-sitting jobs. The site is well built, easy on the eye and pleasant to navigate. At present there are around 8,400 active homeowners registered on the site (and 5,083 house sitters). The usual deal applies here – most house sits are free.
Right that’s it!
I hope you enjoyed this article. If it inspired you to try house sitting or if you’re already a house sitter and have any experiences you can share with readers please leave a comment below.