I am a one-way ticket free spirit, who is on a mission to spread positive vibes and live life to the fullest! I hope to inspire others to do the same!
Housesitters are people who are hired to look after a homeowner’s residence and pets while they are away. The responsibilities of a housesitter usually include feeding and playing with the pets, tending to the plants, and keeping things tidy around the house!
Housesitting is a mutually beneficial agreement on both ends. Homeowners prefer to hire houesitters while away, because it eases their stress, knowing that their pets and house are in good hands. Also, the housesitter will be benefit from this arrangement, as they are able to save money while enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle in a new location abroad. Housesitting is a win-win situation for everyone!
Housesitting is an amazing, cost-effective option for those looking to explore abroad on a budget, without compromising all of the comforts of home! You are able to live life as a local in a unique and affordable way!
Where I HAVE Worked
My very first housesitting assignment was in the sunny, coastal city of Manta, Ecuador. It was a month-long gig, and I was to watch over a beachfront condo and adorable toy yorkie while the homeowners were away visiting family.
The apartment itself was gorgeous! It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom luxury condo, complete with an amazing balcony view, infinity pool and private access to the beach. The condo was also conveniently located a block from the grocery store, walking distance to a variety of restaurants and shops and just steps from the ocean!
Lulu, the 1 year old “teacup” yorkie I was taking care of, was a 1.5kg furball of endless love and energy! We were the perfect companions for each other over the course of the month!
I have held two housesitting positions in beautiful Mexico. Each of these assignments were about 3-4 weeks, and in both cases, I was to watch the dogs, cats, homes and gardens of the homeowners! (The above photo is the view from the kitchen window of the home I looked after in Ajijic, Mexico!)
I picked up a couple more gigs in other locations as well, including Miami, New York, the Bahamas and Bali.
Where in the World does this Job Exist?
Wherever there is a house, there is a potential need for a housesitter!
Housesitting websites are set up so that you can search through available jobs based on location and date. If you have a specific country in mind, you are able to filter through the listings very easily.
On the site that I use most frequently, www.trustedhousesitters.com, it seems that countries with the most housesitting opportunities include the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US.
I’ve also noticed that there are many seasonal positions during the autumn to spring months in countries along the Mediterranean, such as in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. It is common that many homeowners own a second home in these Mediterranean countries, and will only use their properties in the summer season- and therefore, would need a housesitter during other times of the year. It is also possible that even if a homeowner does reside in a Mediterranean country full-time, they will often travel after the beautiful weather of the summer season has finished. No matter the reason, European homeowners seem to be on the hunt for housesitters once October rolls around.
Although they may be harder to come across, there are definitely opportunities in places such as Central America, Mexico and other tropical countries as well. Many of these homes are mountain retreats, or beachfront properties!
How to Get the Job
The first step in finding your dream job as a housesitter in a far-away land, is to join a housesitting website. You will have to pay a membership fee in order to have access to the listings, but in my opinion, if you are dedicated to finding a position, the value of earning free rent abroad will be worth the annual fee!
www.trustedhousesitters.com($27.99/month for 3-month plan, $9.49/ month for 12-month plan)
Once you are signed up as a member, you will have to create your profile. In order to come across as a legitimate housesitter, it is very important to fill out your profile in a complete and thoughtful way! Competition can be stiff, and you want to stand out from the crowd!
Be sure to provide relevant experience and qualifications, as well as personal information as to who you are and why you would make the perfect housesitter! The goal is to provide a complete but concise snapshot of information, which effectively represents who you are on both a personal and professional level. Try to imagine yourself as the homeowner while you are writing up your profile- what kind of characteristics would you be looking for in a a perfect stranger who was in the running to watch over your house for weeks at a time?
After your written profile is finished, take it a step further by adding some photos and even a short video! Try to include photos with pets and, if possible, make a quick intro video to recap and support everything you’ve shared in the written portion of your profile! Allow for the homeowner to envision you in their home, with their beloved pets- the effort will eventually pay off!
So now you have finished up your amazing profile, it’s time to focus on building your references! Each house sitter is able to request “employment” references or “character” references from other people. Although I did not have any directly related housesitting experience, I sent character reference requests via email to family, friends and previous employers. References from others will help to position you as a responsible, trustworthy and qualified housesitter, so definitely try to get as many references as possible!
House sitting is a fairly easy job, and if you consider yourself to be a responsible, trustworthy, animal-loving person, you fit the description of an ideal candidate!
Homeowners will be looking for someone who can demonstrate their reliability. It would be good to showcase your previous employment experiences on your housesitting website profile, to ensure that they understand that you are qualified.
It is also a requirement that you love animals. This is very important, as homeowners will surely want to leave their pets in the hands of someone who truly cares about their wellbeing.
Some housesits will require more work than others, and therefore, one may need to be more qualified with certain things than the average housesitter. For example, some housesits will require someone with farming or gardening experience, while other may need someone who can double as a handyman or even manager for the property.
At the end of the day, your personality is the most important thing to show-off when applying for hostel jobs; the duties themselves are fairly simple to learn, but you have to be the right fit to get the job. Show that you are happy, good-natured and fun, yet responsible and reliable as well.
Availability & Pay
Most positions offer free accommodation as payment. Although you will not be receiving a wage, the value of not worrying about rent in a comfortable home is a pretty nice trade-off in my opinion!
You can find housesitting positions year-round, although during the holidays, the demand is much higher! Also, as mentioned before, certain countries in seasonal locations (such as those along the Mediterranean for example) will be more likely to have available jobs during the low-season.
This is not the type of job to go for if you will need a wage- it is for someone looking to extend their stay in a place that they love, looking for a minimal cost of living while abroad. When you work in a hostel, you eliminate most of the expenses of traveling (accomodation, transportation, food)- so you are able to have a base for a bit, and have all of the benefits of staying in a hostel, without having to pay for it! Also, you will likely get discounts at local bars, restaurants and shops. As a bar crawl leader, I was never paying for drinks for example!