Finding cheap accommodation in Australia can sometimes be tricky. House-sitting provides the perfect opportunity to get cheap or even free accommodation, allowing you to save a lot of money while also spending time with animals and meeting local people. Often homeowners will have a list of requirements as to what you will need to do in exchange for accommodation, but these are usually small everyday tasks – a small price for a free stay somewhere new!
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What is house sitting?
As a house sitter, you are usually employed to look after a house or apartment whose owners are away for a while. For most homeowners, the most important reason to get a house sitter is to know their pets are in good hands, as well as knowing their house is protected against burglary or damage. Usually your main tasks will revolve around looking after pets; feeding them, going for a walk, cleaning out litter boxes and spending time with them. You may also be asked to do things such as water plants and empty the mailbox. In return, you stay in their house without paying rent and can explore the local area. It is a win-win situation.
How do you find a house sitting job?
There are several ways to find a house sitting job:
On Gumtree, you can get a house and pet sitter job by posting your own ad or by browsing through the house sitting ads and contacting the homeowners. Especially during Christmas, Easter or school holidays, house sitters are in demand.
On Facebook there are a few different ways to get house sitter jobs:
- You can write a post in local groups called “Community Board“, “Community Notice” or “Swap and Sell“. These are typical groups where communities post and try to help each other out.
- You could also post in the pet groups of your city, such as “Sydney Dogs” or “Dog Parks Melbourne“, to specifically target pet owners who may need some help during their holidays.
There are also House sitting pages on Facebook, on which you can post your ad.
Tip: Always follow the rules of Facebook groups and clarify with the administrators if you are allowed to post your ad in case of doubt.
Paid house sitting websites
On the Internet, you find an incredible number of house-sitting portals. Trusted House Sitters is an international portal and the most expensive website but also the most promising. A basic annual membership currently costs $109 AUD. Trusted House sitters support is outstanding and they publish requests hourly. Other platforms include Aussie House Sitters, Mind a Home Australia and Happy House Sitters.
You need a meaningful profile that directly appeals to the homeowner. Your profile should show that you’re trustworthy, reliable, and animal-loving.
House sitting: the process
After you have successfully landed a house sitting job, the next step is meeting the owner in person as, although you have probably chatted online, you will need to get lots of information from them. This meeting can either be a few days prior or immediately before the owner’s departure, depending on location and both of your availabilities. The owner will then be able to give you the house keys and give you all the necessary information about the house and the animals and what they expect from you.
Be sure to complete the tasks assigned to you to the fullest satisfaction of the owners. Your goal is to get excellent ratings after completing the house sit so that you will get more jobs in the future. Some of the bespoke house sitting sites mentioned above use these ratings and reviews to build trust in sitters.
The pros and cons of house sitting
The advantages of house sitting are obvious: you live rent-free in an exciting new place and save money to put towards your other activities. You can look specifically for jobs in areas you have long wanted to visit. With a bit of luck you may even be staying somewhere with a swimming pool, but in general the huge choice of places where people are in need of a house sitter is a pro in itself. You also get to spend time with animals and get to know some of the locals (for example, when taking the dog to the park or beach).
However, some may also see some cons to this arrangement. As a house sitter, you are not simply visiting a new area on your own agenda, you are responsible for the house and pets. This can be limiting in the sense that going on a day trip to explore the city or the region is okay, but you can’t go away for a few days and neglect the house and animals. It can also feel strange living in someone else’s house or environment, having to entertain pets you don’t know as well as you may know your own.
Have you gained experience as house sitter? Then share your experiences and advice with us!