Here are my 8 expert tips for landing a house sitting job. If you’re looking to enhance your travel experiences, whilst saving a fortune on accommodation costs, house sitting could be the perfect solution. Knowing how to find and secure the perfect postings can be tricky. But, by following these handy tips you could very quickly be living the house sitting dream.
8 Expert Tips for Landing a House Sitting Job
I’ve been using house sitting sites like Trusted Housesitters for 5 years now and have over thirty 5-star reviews. I travel the world full time as a digital nomad using house sitting as my primary source of accommodation. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so here are my 8 expert tips for landing house sitting jobs.
1. Build Your House Sitting Reviews
It’s tricky to get accepted for a sit when you don’t have any reviews. In fact, some hosts even state in their listings that they are specifically looking for applicants with a good number. Although most house sitting sites allow for character references, many hosts are looking for verified reviews from the platform they use.
Applying for dream beach sits, or 3-month stays in a European capital may seem like the perfect place to start, but your profile may require an element of development to attain them. So, look closer to home and find quick and easy listings to obtain a handful of 5-star reviews before you start applying for the big ones.
I kicked off my profile by finding 4 easy sits in my small hometown in the East of England. They were so local in fact that I could still go to work as normal. One was even across the street from my best friend! My 5th sit was then a 6-week house sit on a ranch with a pool in Tucson, Arizona, and they said they chose me because of my great review record.
2. Write Personalized Applications
This is a big one. I’ve heard from numerous hosts that receiving a generic copy-and-paste application is an instant no-no. Some reported receiving applications with the wrong pet names, the wrong city, and even the wrong country, (big mistakes!). It shows a lack of actual interest and intent for the sit that you’re applying for.
This isn’t to say you can’t have a rough template ready to fire off quickly when you see the right listing. Just be sure to double-check the names and make sure you personalize it to the specific listing. Refer to the town, the pets, or something the host may have mentioned in their post.
Some users of house sitting sites send floods of applications and then pick and choose from what comes back. Hosts don’t like this, so stand out from the spammers and write personalized applications for every listing you apply for.
3. Be Flexible
I’ve found that hosts generally prefer to allow for a day or two overlap on either side of their listing dates. This ensures that you as the sitter arrive safely, they likewise return safely, and any travel delays or disruptions are mitigated. Offering a degree of flexibility in your dates can set your application apart from others.
This means that you can have a handover period which allows you to speak to the hosts in person, understand the animal’s routines, and generally get to know the ins and outs of the home. In my experience, hosts prefer a 1-2 day handover. It’s a great way to get to know them, and gather some insider info about the area, firsthand.
It’s not always possible, but offering up your availability a day or so on either side of the listed dates can be mutually beneficial. I’ve been invited to a sit weeks before the start date on more than one occasion and the same for afterward too. It can really enhance the duration and experience of a house sit.
4. Set Alerts and Be Quick
Most house sitting sites such as Trusted Housesitters and Housesitters America have features that allow members to set alerts. This is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on the perfect listing when it comes online. You’ll be surprised how specific you can be and still get a match.
I constantly have numerous alerts set up. My Trusted Housesitters app will ping me the second someone posts a listing matching any of my specific set criteria. This allows me to get my application in quickly and ensure I’m one of the first to be considered.
Trusted Housesitters recently changed their policy and now allow only 5 applications per listing. So, with that in mind, being on the ball with applying is key to landing house sitting jobs. The home will be relisted if the host doesn’t choose any of the applicants, but this is relatively rare.
5. Build a Thorough Profile and Keep It Up To Date
Your profile is your advertisement for any house sit you apply for. Make sure you build a thorough, in-depth, and verified profile to let hosts know exactly who you are. The more information you can provide, the more comfortable a host will feel having you in their home, (and taking care of their beloved pet/s).
Take time to add photos and videos of you and the pets you have sat for previously. Add character references and social media links wherever you can. Write honestly about yourself, your experience, and your reasons for wanting to house sit.
Time flies and I’ll admit to letting my profile slip now and again. However, I make an effort to sit down every few months and ensure all of my details, current and future locations, and other relevant information are up to date. Having outdated or incorrect information can show a lack of involvement with the site and put a host off.
An important thing to remember is that the majority of hosts will only list their homes on one website, so the perfect listing for you may be on a different platform. I highly recommend you have a couple of active profiles with different sites to increase your options.
Trusted Housesitters is my go-to site but given its huge number of listings, it’s also the most expensive. I keep my options open with Workaway and Housesitters America, which have significantly lower annual costs that I barely even notice. Both sites have given me choices when I’ve needed them.
Even with a couple of active paid memberships, my yearly costs are still lower than a weekend stay in an average hotel.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, and continue to learn as I house sit around the world. Community forums on the house sitting websites are a great way to learn about other people’s experiences firsthand. You can see what others may be doing right, and in some cases, doing wrong.
I recently read on a Trusted Housesitters forum of a host complaining about a sitter arriving for a sit empty-handed. Now although I personally feel you shouldn’t have to arrive baring gifts, I figured grabbing a bottle of wine or some flowers moving forward is no major hardship. It may just serve me well if I come up against that host from the forum one day!
Speaking to hosts about why they chose you and even why they rejected others is also a beneficial profile-building exercise. This is a change I made recently as I continue to try and improve my skills as both a sitter and a guest in someone else’s home.
8. Be An Outstanding House Sitter
This is an obvious one but I feel it does need to be emphasized as I’ve heard a few horror stories about house sitters. Caring for someone’s home or pets is a huge responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly, under any circumstance. You’ll be in charge of someone’s whole world, so be worthy of that honor.
Although I’ve found that many hosts want to ensure that you also have a great time house sitting for them, keep your responsibilities at the forefront of your mind. Always follow the exact guidance of the host regarding house, plant, or animal care and leave them delighted with you as a sitter.
You’ll only be as good as your last review so every listing is a new chance to show how good you can be. Do your best to ensure your reviews leave your next host without reason to look any further than your application.
House sitting has been a game changer in my life and it now allows me to travel the world full time. Some of my best experiences have come from landing house sitting jobs in truly magnificent locations such as Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Australia.
But everything started in my little home city back in England. By sticking to the 8 tips for landing house sitting jobs that I’ve outlined here, I’ve built my profile up to a level I used to only dream about. It can be done, and in some cases, done quickly, so I encourage you to follow these tips and get house sitting today!