How to house sit internationally

How to house sit internationally

What is house sitting?

According to Wikipedia: “House-Sitting is the practice whereby a landlord (or ‘homeowner’), leaving their house for a period of time, entrusts it to one or more ‘house-sitters’, who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live there rent-free in exchange for assuming responsibilities such as taking care of the homeowner’s pets, performing general maintenance (including pools, lawns, air-conditioning systems etc.), keeping trespassers off the property, readdressing the mail, and in general, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if the owner was at home.”

Have you considered house sitting as a way of travelling the world?

Have you considered as a house owner with pets using websites like House Sitters ?

So, how did we start?  

Ad. Article continues below.

We have been house sitting for three years and two of those years have been internationally in Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, France and coming up we have Barbados for three months and two house sits in Spain over the European summer.

We joined two house sitting sites in Australia whilst we were in Thailand after 11 months of travelling around the world.  We had sold up everything and had no home to come home to. We knew that we would hit the road again within a few months and to lease an apartment was not on our agenda.  Our 2 adult sons were not keen for us to couch surf with them.

There are many house sitting websites around the world, some country centric and some global ones, it really comes down to where you want to house sit. You need references, police checks and a “kick ass” profile. 

Why is a profile so important? 

Homeowners can have over hundreds of applicants apply and you need to stand out in the crowd. You want to catch the eye of the home owner as soon as the assignment is posted.

Ad. Article continues below.

House Sitting Academy runs a course on creating the best-profile possible, tips on house sitting, pool and spa maintenance as well as pet health etc.

If I have no experience in house sitting how can I have references? 

Have you sat for family and friends before? Ask them to write a reference for you or look out in your local area for house sitting opportunities first. We started in our local area and ended up house sitting for 12 months before we hit the road again. We believe having local knowledge really helped us in winning those assignments.

How do you get a police report?

In Australia, we went to our local police station with our drivers licenses for identification purposes, completed a form with our details, paid a fee and within two weeks we had our police report.

Ad. Article continues below.

Our top tips to secure an international house sit:

  1. Register for a global house sitting site such as Trusted Housesitters they can have up to 60 new house sitting assignments listed daily
  2. Sign up for their latest email alerts
  3. We check three times a day if we are looking for a house sitting assignment
  4. Be one of the first to apply – take into consideration time zones of the country where you are keen to house sit
  5. Have an eye-catching title to your response
  6. Read the responsibilities carefully. Can you care for four dogs, as an example, and walk them?  If they require medication, are you comfortable in administering tablets or injections? Are you a whizz at home maintenance, things do go wrong. If they require house sitters to care for a pool or spa, have you had experience?
  7. Do you speak the language? We have had staff to care for in Spanish-speaking countries, so we undertook Spanish Lessons to assist us.
  8. Check whether homeowners will leave you their car. If you are up in the mountains or a distance out of town and there is no car available you may have to use public transport.  What are the disadvantages?
  9. If you rely on WiFi – you will need to check on their Internet package, will it cover your needs?
  10. Check on visa requirements and driving requirements. For instance in Panama, Australians are allowed to stay for six months but you can only drive for three months. This means that you have to leave the country for 72 hours to renew your driver’s license, if you are caring for a home and pets this is difficult to achieve.
  11. If you are short listed, set up a Skype call. During the call ask the Homeowners to show you around their home and to show you their pets. You should be able to get a feel for the home environment.  If you feel uncomfortable about the size of the home, or the pets or the requirements after speaking with the Homeowners go with your gut instinct and decline the house sit. 
  12. Once the house sit is confirmed, communication is the key. Keep them informed of your travels, when you will arrive and depart.
  13. We have a mutual agreement where it states emergency contacts for both parties, responsibilities, requirements, utility details and contacts, feeding requirements and medication for all pets etc. We also ask for the travel itinerary of the home owners and the timezone they will be in, in case of emergencies.

House sitting allows us to live like a local in countries and cities that we never thought we would travel to. It is a great way to make new friends, even our new four-legged friends become our close friends.

What do you think? Have you given house sitting a go, or has this inspired you to give it a shot? Let Jane and Duncan know in the comments section below.  

Ad. More articles below.