As we head towards our first house sitting assignment of the year many of our friends have been asking us just what house sitting is, how we got started, and just which house sitting site is best for them to join themselves.
Today we’re happy to breakdown a few of their questions.
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”…
An extension of that and the reason so many other travellers like ourselves are such big advocates and supports of house sitting is that it enables the sitter assigned to the house to live their rent-free in exchange for monitoring the house whilst the home owner is typically away on holiday or for work.
The basic responsibilities of the house sitter are ones of security and maintenance, but can also include pet sitting – one of the biggest perks for us both as big animal lovers.
What’s the cost?
In most cases staying in the house itself is free to the sitter in exchange for the added security they’ll be providing the home plus comfort to any animals that are still on the property, but there are a few costs which are worth noting.
Typically the only cost involved is that of joining fee to one of the many house sitting sites online from which most of today’s sitting assignments are advertised which can range anywhere from $25 to $150 (though rarely that high).
At first glance the price of membership may be daunting to those holidaying or travelling on a budget, but once broken down the price is not only incredibly fair, but enticing. For example, a annual membership with TrustedHousesitters.com is $95, but split that cost across even a week spent house sitting and per night you’d be spending under $14 a night on accommodation.
That’s even less than some of the best budget hostel dorms or choices on airbnb! – and should you do more house sitting throughout the year you’re per night spend could easily go down to less than $5 a night.
It is of course worth noting that there will most likely be some extra costs involved which are worth bearing in mind, and they are:
- The cost of transportation to the house sitting assignment
- Expenses such as buying your own groceries
- For longer sits, some contribution towards the utilities may be agreed between the house owner and sitter
“Which house sitting site is best?”
By far the most frequently asked question by our friends both online and in the real world is “which house sitting site is best?“, and it’s one that we always try to answer fairly and without prejudice as we have had fantastic success with TrustedHousesitters, but also with one other.
In an effort to help people find the best house sitting website to choose we’ve taken a look at a number of house sitting sites to assess which gets you and our friends the most for their money.
When the time came to renew our membership with TrustedHousesitters recently we didn’t give it a second thought. Most of our assignments so far have come through this house sitting site due to the high concentration of new house and pet sitting assignments that are added each day.
With anywhere from 100-300 new assignments each month across the world there’s no wonder that the site has become one of the most used and often recommended house sitting sites amongst nomadic travellers such as a ourselves.
It’s incredibly easy to both navigate and set up a profile on thanks to it’s easy-to-follow forms and guidelines that help you to craft a good profile to get you started.
One particular function of the TrustedHousesitters website that we both make regular use of is it’s daily email alert system which notifies you of all the new assignments from the past 24 hours since you last had a chance to log on.
The ease of use is one of the best qualities of this house sitting site, but without doubt the high quantity of daily additions to its assignments page that make the annual membership more than worth the price.
Membership fee: $95 Annual (Combined Home Owner & House Sitter Account)
This is our second most successful site and was the one from which we found our three month house sit in Spain.
Though perhaps not as beautiful to the eye as TrustedHousesitters might be, the reason we are always quick to recommend MindMyHouse is due to the regularity of new house sitting assignments which the site receives each week.
With about a third of the weekly new sits that TrustedHousesitters is able to advertise MindMyHouse might seem on the surface to be a shadow of the more popular site, but due to the smaller user base it’s much easier to climb to the top of the pile of potential house sitter prospects for each new assignment.
The biggest draw for MindMyHouse is the remarkably cheap yearly membership. It’s one of the cheapest amongst the international sites and once split across nights spent house sitting could give you a nights accommodation for less than a $1.
Membership fee: $20 Annual
Though we’ve yet to sign up for House Carers we’ve always been impressed by recommendations from other travel bloggers like Dani of Globetrottergirls who always seems to find incredible house sitting assignments where a beach is never far away.
It’s no wonder that other house sitters are quick to mention HouseCarers given their cheap fee and high quantity of assignments.
With around 300 active assignments per month they’re still a little behind TrustedHousesitters and their rolling monthly total of 1000+ available sits, but they boast the most amongst the house sitting sites that aren’t restricted to geographic locations like may other sites tend to be.
Membership fee: $45 Annual
As the newest addition to the house sitting landscape, Nomador is still finding its feet amongst the older and bigger boys, but isn’t shying away from the challenge.
Started in 2014, what makes me consider this house sitting site the best amongst competition is the interface. It’s hot, slick, and certainly put together by someone who has an eye for modern day internet design – and for that reason alone I love it. I’m a sucker for a well designed website.
Nomador is aimed at the French-speaking online community for the most part and a large selection of its assignments are either in France or in French-speaking parts of the world, but as they continue to grow as a company, so does the distribution of its assignments.
Though not the cheapest amongst the options given so far, Nomador is by far the easiest to navigate and has an easy to use search engine, but what’s most fantastic about the site is the little collection of icons they use to demonstrate on each assignment how much land there is to maintain, how many animals there are to cuddle and care for, as well as how well connected the home is by public transport.
Nomador and its design should be what all the others should be aiming to replicate.
Membership fee: $89 Annual
Best of the Rest
Housesit World – Membership fee: $40
Though the website may look like something from the 1990’s, there’s a reason why this site is still up and active. Worth a look.
Luxury Housesitting – Membership fee: $25
For those of you who love a life of luxury during your vacation or nomadic travels; this site is for you.
Housesit Match – Membership fee: $60
Another new house sitting site, but seems to be loved amongst many UK travellers.
You may like to read: How We Spent Less Than £600 on Accommodation This Year
So, which site is best?
If ‘the best‘ is determined by the rate of success then for us the best house sitting site has to be TrustedHousesitters.
Given just how other nomadic travellers and holiday makers are house sitting in exotic and new locations around the world right at this second thanks to TrustedHousesitters, it comes as no surprise that it’s a site so regularly recommended – and each day when we load up the site and see new house sits in destinations we’ve yet to travel to for durations that last from long weekends to six months in paradise, we both realise that the slightly higher cost is worth the extremely higher chance of finding something that works for us and our slow travel lifestyle.
But some questions from our friends still remain.
Get a BONUS 15% off your membership with the discount code ‘angloitalian‘
How do we get these great assignments?
Without doubt the only reason we’ve had success with housesitting over the past few years is down to our trying to be the best house sitters that we can be, and it starts from the moment you sign up for any one of the above sites.
Write an amazing profile
It wasn’t until we got our hands on the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting ebook that we realised that much was missing from our sitters profile listing and it was holding us back.
First impressions count for everything and with a dazzling profile you can very quickly move yourself to the top of the home owners list of sitters applications to reply to.
ESSENTIAL READ: How To Write a Successful House Sitting Profile
Bulk up your references
Another reason we’re big fans of TrustedHousesitters is its in-built reference system.
By sending reference requests to not only the home owners of your past house and pet sitting assignments, but also to credible people such as past employers and friends, you can very quickly build up a list of references on which to rely upon – the more references, the greater the chances of being chosen.
House and pet sit before you travel
One fantastic piece of advice that we both wish we’d have prior to our own travels is to housesit as much as possible whilst you’re still at home.
For friends, family, or via house sitting sites like those above you can fill each spare weekend or week’s holiday time with another assignment that you can add to your growing list of references.
Why is this so important? Without doubt the reference with the most weight is that from a home or pet owner (though references from employers, etc are still important). Getting as many of these as possible before you travel is paramount if you are able.
Get a crime check
A criminal check is priceless to a home owner.
Inviting a stranger into your home is not always an easy thing to go through, and is probably even harder when you know you’ll be away from your home for weeks whilst a stranger remains behind, so knowing that the stranger – or in this case a sitter – has a criminal records check the home owner can look over is a weight off their mind.
Follow the unwritten house sitter etiquette
We all have our own unique set of house rules that we hope that others will follow when you invite them into your home. Some are shoes off in the hallway people, others are completely indifferent.
It’s better not to leave it up to chance.
There are a few unwritten rules of house sitting etiquette that we can all follow to put the home owner at ease, no matter where in the world they’re living.
Get a PDF copy of the 8 Unwritten Rules of Housesitter Etiquette
Be The Best House Sitter You Can Be
Though our own successes have made picking our own favourite house sitting website quite easy, for many others the answer to “which house sitting site is best?” might be very different.
Thankfully there are so many websites to choose from, but no doubt one will become your own personal favourite as soon as you secure your first assignment – but if there’s one piece of advice you leave this article with let it be this – be the best house sitter you can be.
Be head and shoulders above the best for each of your house sitting assignments and you’ll soon boast a collection of references that will have people messaging you about coming to housesit instead of the other way around.
All it takes is a little preparation and smart following of the advice put together by successful global house sitters who’ve not only been doing it for years, but have written great reference guides to follow.
The one we always re-read before every housesit is the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting with is incredibly great value for money, but we’ve heard great things also about How To Become a House Sitter by Hecktic Travels.
FREE BONUS- The Housesitter Checklist
By far the best way to put the minds of the home owner at ease is to ask all the right questions before they leave. No one wants to get bugged with email whilst on holiday.
By asking the right questions before they depart we always make sure that – unless something truly drastic happens – we’re prepared for every eventuality.
Today we’re really happy to share with you our own house sitter checklist for you to download for free prior to your next (or first!) house sitting assignment.
We both hope it comes in handy and would love to hear from you when you put it get the chance to put it to use. Either come back and comment below or drop us an email!
Download the Housesitter Checklist
Which house sitting site is best for you?