Paid house sitting jobs may seem like a fairy tale.
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Imagine living in mansion-like homes all by yourself for weeks or months.
You get to enjoy marvelous bathtubs, fluffy beds, and all the amenities of a home on the beach, in vineyards, near sugar plantations, and other exotic locations.
Plus, you get paid while enjoying free luxury accommodation not just locally, but around the world as well.
Okay, now snap back to reality.
While the chances of living in a mansion and getting paid to be there are quite slim, many people are discovering that paid house sitting jobs can open up doors for them to travel and explore one city or country for extended periods.
Read on to learn all about house sitting, or scroll further down to find the best sites to look for paid house sitting jobs.
What Is House Sitting?
As the name suggests, house sitting is the practice of entrusting one’s home to one or more “house sitters” who are allowed to stay in the property for as long as the owner requires.
House sitting is a win-win for both the homeowners and the house sitter.
Homeowners prefer hiring professional house sitters mainly because of their pets. They’d like to leave their pets at home but the cost of pet care in vets, kennels, or pet hotels can be costly. House sitting is a more economical alternative.
Aside from their pets, homeowners want to ensure their homes are secure by having someone physically there. Home alarm systems aren’t exactly deterrents if burglars discover that there’s no one in the house alerted by these alarms.
Yet another reason to get a house sitter is so that the household is maintained even when homeowners are away. Going home to a dirty, unkempt house after a long time away can be a huge downer.
As for the house sitter, traveling in another city or country or living nomadically can cost less because they save money on accommodations. House sitters can also experience “living like a local” while working a legitimate job.
What Does a House Sitting Job Involve?
The tasks of a house sitter vary depending on the homeowner’s needs.
Some hosts just need general house maintenance, while others require their pets to be taken care of.
Generally, paid house sitting jobs involve:
Occupying the house. Insurance companies in countries like the UK reject claims if homeowners leave their houses vacant for over 30 days. However, if house sitters are occupying the house when a break-in occurs, homeowners have a chance to make an insurance claim.
Taking care of pets. If agreed with the homeowner, house sitters may also be tasked to take care of pets. This includes day-to-day pet care like walking the dog, providing food and water, scooping poop/cleaning litter box, and even taking them to the vet when necessary.
Taking care of plants. Homes with either an indoor or outdoor garden may require help watering and pruning plants, mowing lawns, and so on. In some cases, pool cleaning may be included in the job description as well.
Basic housekeeping. The house sitter doesn’t necessarily have to scrub the home from top to bottom the whole time they stay in it. However, they are expected to tidy up the rooms, do the dishes, and wash and change the beddings they use.
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Other duties. Organizing mail, forwarding phone messages, overseeing home repairs, and other similar duties may also be assigned to the house sitter.
Although tasks could change from one client to the next, house sitters are generally aware of what their duties will be even before they apply to the position.
Non-paid and Paid House Sitting Jobs
In your search for house sitting jobs, you’ll encounter two kinds of opportunities:
1. Non-paid house sitting jobs
In this case, you get free accommodation in exchange for taking care of the house.
Some homeowners ask the sitter to pay half or all of the utilities while staying at the house.
Others even require sitters to pay a deposit to cover any damages or losses during the house sitter’s stay.
2. Paid house sitting jobs
This is the opportunity most people want.
If you’re given a small apartment at the back of a mansion with all bills covered plus an allowance to boot, why wouldn’t you grab it?
I know I would.
Some homeowners even look for a “couple sitter.” If you and a loved one are on a nomad path and would be up for paid house sitting jobs, this kind of opportunity is priceless.
How Much Can You Earn House Sitting?
In the U.S., the average annual salary of house sitters is around $29,062 (Source: Salary.com), with the lower end at around $22k and the higher end at around $38k.
The biggest factor that dictates house sitter salary is the amount of time required to care for the house. Does the sitter have to be at home just a few hours each day, or 24/7 until the homeowners get back?
The good thing about paid house sitting jobs is that they continue to be highly negotiable between the owner and the sitter.
10 Places to Find Paid House Sitting Jobs
House sitting jobs listed online do not often display the salaries, but if you’re a traveler or follow a nomadic lifestyle, free accommodation can be very well be considered as an “income.”
Here are the most popular websites that list paid house sitting jobs.
If you look at just one website in this list, make it TrustedHousesitters, especially if you love pets. You will be trading care of animals for free accommodations all around the world.
They have the most extensive list of house sitting opportunities here, with listings in such cities as London, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, and many more major cities.
To find house sitting jobs, you’ll have to purchase a yearly membership, which starts at $129. Note that homeowners have to purchase a yearly membership for the same price to be able to look for a house sitter.
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It’s a small price to pay, seeing as a one-year membership to the site is cheaper than a single night in a hotel room.
Nevertheless, if you’re new to this site, I suggest creating a free account first, as that will let you see every available listing. If you don’t find one you like, at least you’re not out the fee. You can easily pay for the membership when you do find a listing you like.
Other features that TrustedHousesitters offer include a free 24/7 vet advice line and an insurance-backed guarantee that puts both homeowner and house sitter at ease.
MindMyHouse is a New Zealand-based site where homeowners can post their house sitting assignments and house sitters can look for an assignment that best fits them. There’s also a community area where members can swap stories and experiences.
They also have useful checklists for homeowners to tick off before they leave their houses.
A membership will cost you $20 per year, which is the lowest of all the sites here. Also, they don’t renew your membership automatically, so there aren’t any surprises on your statements.
Fewer opportunities are listed here than in TrustedHousesitters, and they’re mostly in Europe.
You can opt to find assignments that don’t require pet care, but that will severely limit your options.
HouseCarers prides itself on launching the first-ever worldwide house sitting membership site, launched in October 2000.
Searching through their listing offers up slightly more exotic locations in places like Bali, Costa Rica, Catalonia, etc. Around 80% of these listings require pet care.
You can browse the site for paid house sitter assignments with a limited, unpaid membership, but to apply for these assignments, you’ll have to upgrade to a full, paid membership, which is $50 annually.
This is an impressive resource if you’re looking for international paid house sitting jobs.
They have a free membership option, which allows you to browse all the available assignments. Their paid membership option costs $99 per year (or $42 per quarter), allowing you to apply to as many assignments as you want, as well as a bunch of other perks.
5. House Sitters America
This house and pet sitting website requires a membership fee of $49 per year and is limited to paid house sitting jobs in the US only.
Most of the jobs here involve a straight swap; that is, taking care of the house in exchange for free accommodation.
As with most other websites in this list, browsing through the available house sitting jobs is free, but to actually apply for them requires a paid membership.
This site is associated with other country-specific websites:
6. HouseSit Match
UK-based HouseSit Match primarily has listings in the UK, as well as some in Australia, Canada, Europe, and a few in the US.
You can join as a standard member, which allows you to browse the listings for house sitters and chat with homeowners. Premium members get more customer support and more visibility to home owners.
A standard membership costs £69 per year, while a premium membership costs £89 per year. These are a bit steep compared to others on this list, but consider this a chance to go to Europe and not pay for a hotel.
7. The Caretaker Gazette
The Caretaker Gazette is an old-school, literal, tangible newsletter that lists property caretaking and house sitting jobs. They have been publishing since 1983.
You have the option of only subscribing to their online edition, which contains the exact same information as the print edition. Online subscription costs $29.95 per year, $49.95 for two years, or $69.95 for three years.
Honestly, it’s only listed here because it does offer paid house sitting jobs, but your money is better spent at any of the other resources.
HouseSitter.com lists paid house sitting jobs from homeowners looking for house sitters, pet sitters, or both.
They pride themselves on their TELESAFE calling system, which ensures everyone’s privacy by hiding all phone numbers when sending and receiving calls as well as tracking and reviewing all your conversations.
Basic membership is free, allowing you to look at listings for free. But if you want to make and receive calls from homeowners via TELESAFE and have your profile be more visible in the directory, you have to upgrade to a paid membership, which will cost you $26.40 monthly, $69.30 quarterly, or $90 yearly.
Pawshake is geared more toward pet sitting, as the name suggests. But they also accept house sitters, especially for pets who prefer to stay in familiar surroundings.
They pride themselves on vetting their sitters, accepting only around 15% of applicants, so make sure your profile stands out (more on this below).
Pawshake is available in 20 countries outside of the US, including Canada, Australia, and other countries in Europe and even Asia. So if the goal is to travel internationally, this site may be your best bet.
You can set your own rates, and they do have a handy guide for setting them so you don’t set it too high or too low. They don’t charge membership fees, but they do take out 19% of your pay, so keep that in mind when you set your rates.
SabbaticalHomes targets academics who own houses and can offer temporary accommodations for tenants. Thus, they’re more focused on finding paying tenants for homeowners.
This is understandable, as most of the paid house sitting jobs are for extended stays; that is, one month or more.
However, if you offer house sitting services as a tenant, you may get a discount on rental fees or even get to stay for free, depending on your agreement with the homeowner.
Listing fees are $20 per year for tenants, but if you do find a match, both you and the homeowner pay $50 each.
How to Land Paid House Sitting Jobs
A good house sitter is reliable, responsible, responsive, and has a passion for what they do.
If possible, learn home maintenance skills, such as basic plumbing, gardening, and so on. These skills will be very handy in cases of leaking sinks and other issues that could occur while you’re house sitting.
Know that this industry is fierce, so you’ll have plenty of competition. You have to present your house sitter profile the best way possible, and if you’ve already completed house sitting jobs in the past, be sure to file your testimonials to build an impressive client portfolio.
To get an edge over your competition, learn to do these things:
- Create an eye-catching profile — All the sites above would require you to create a profile. Make yours next-level impressive to catch the eye of homeowners and entice them to contact you first.
- Personalize — In case you do have to contact homeowners to apply, don’t just send the same message to everyone. Instantly create a connection by personalizing your email or message to each and every homeowner you reach out to. Talk about details within their listing that you relate to and call their pets by name.
- Convey flexibility — You won’t be able to control everything about the job, so you should be able to go with the flow, fix issues if you are faced with them. When doing the interview, give examples of how you’d be able to adapt to various situations beyond your control.
- Communicate effectively — Whether you’re sending an e-mail to the homeowner, or facing them during a Skype interview, communicating effectively can definitely land you the job.
- Place their needs first — Emphasize how you can meet their specific needs and requests. Remember, it’s always about fulfilling their needs first.
- Document your references and testimonials — Prove you’re worthy of the job. Word of mouth is still the best way to promote your house sitting services, so document all your past clients, ask for testimonials, or just simply let your past performance do the talking.
- Ask questions — Confirm everything before signing up for the job. You’d have to be 100% committed to the task, so if you’re not sure about something, ask the homeowner about it beforehand. You’d be surprised how asking questions would reflect positively on you.
How to Keep Landing Paid House Sitting Jobs
As I’ve mentioned, word of mouth is the best way to promote your house sitting services, so you need to make sure that you constantly make a good impression on each and every homeowner you work with.
That way, not only will you increase the chances that you’re rehired by the same homeowners should they need your services again; you also increase the chances that they’ll put in a good word for you when their family and friends need a house sitter.
So how do you make a lasting impression as a house sitter?
- Be punctual — Don’t turn up too early and especially don’t be late when you show up at their house. Too early and you might disrupt their routine; too late and they’ll think you’re unreliable.
- Bear gifts — It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be thoughtful. Local food or drink specialty from your home city or region, a small hand-crafted souvenir, or something they can use while they travel will do.
- Be respectful of their home and pets — Whether you’re going to stay for a weekend or a year, make sure that when your hosts come home, they’ll feel right at home. That is, hand back their house and their pets exactly as they left them, if not in better condition.
- Never invite anyone else — On that note, remember that you are not in your own home, and you should never let strangers inside someone else’s house. In addition, never let visitors in even if they tell you they know the homeowners. Always ask first.
- Be responsive — When homeowners call or message you asking for updates, always be available to reply to them or call them back as soon as you can. The reason they hired you is to have peace of mind, and every second you don’t reply is a second they don’t have that.
Paid House Sitting and You
If you’re already earning money while traveling, complementing your journey with house sitting makes total sense.
Despite improvements in smart home technology, homeowners still prefer actual humans to take care of their houses when they go on a trip.
Add the cost of leaving pets behind at the vet and there will always be a demand for house sitting jobs.