When people we meet on the road find out we’re living somewhere for ‘free’ through house sitting, their immediate question is, “How does it work?”
After explaining that we get to live in a local’s home while they are away on vacation, in return for looking after their house and their pets, their next question is, “Where can I sign up?”
Mutually beneficial house sitting
House sitting is more popular these days than it has ever been before, which is great because more home owners are learning about the option of getting someone to come and care for their home and pets for free.
Homeowners love it because they don’t have to board their dogs at a kennel or get someone to sporadically turn up to feed their cat. House sitters love it because they get to look after animals whilst staying in (often) lovely homes for free.
But competition can be fierce. For our two month house sit in the Caribbean over Christmas we were up against hundreds of people and were very lucky to win the job. As a result, we got to live in the tropical paradise of Dominica and look after the adorable Biff.
I believe the reason we managed to win the house sit was because we had spent a lot of time working on our profile on House Carers.
Tips for creating a successful house sitting profile:
Include a lot of information about you
But don’t go overboard; you want to sell yourself but you don’t want to seem self-centred.
The homeowner wants to know what your personality is like, so tell them about your hobbies and what you like to do in your spare time.
Remember you want to be seen as trustworthy, as you will be caring for a stranger’s home, so it’s important to show you’re responsible. Include a little about your job history to show you’re reliable and can hold down a steady career. Give reasons as to why you’re travelling now and why you think you’d make a great house sitter.
For example, in our profile Dave and I write about how Dave used to work at the BBC in London and I was an account manager at a creative content agency. Then we go into detail about why we’re travelling now and that we’re running a business as we take the time to explore the world.
This brief history shows we’re both responsible and grown-up enough to earn money while we travel.
Make your profile unique
There are thousands of profiles online and you want to make sure yours stands out. Do you have an unusual pastime? Or perhaps you’ve accomplished something great? You might not have sailed solo around the world but anything unusual you can add to your profile will help you to stand out.
For example, if you’ve done any volunteering or charitable work add this to your profile because this shows you care about your community.
If you have any qualifications, perhaps as a teacher or a yoga instructor, these can help too as it shows you’ve been able to commit to something. (And homeowners want people who are going to be able to commit to looking after their home.)
Talk about your experiences
When you create your house sitting profile for the first time you might not have had any prior experience, but don’t fret. Write about the pets you’ve had growing up and how you cared for them. Talk about friends’ homes you’ve looked after while they’ve been away.
If you have had experience in house sitting make sure you list it and ensure you update your profile each time you complete another house sit. Write a sentence or two about where and when the house sit was, and what you did (gardening, looking after pets, etc.) The more experience you’ve had, the more appealing you’ll look to a homeowner.
Post lots of happy photos
It’s true that photos speak a thousand words and this couldn’t be truer than with a house sitting profile. Make sure in all of your photos you look friendly and approachable – big smiles go a long way!
It probably goes without saying, but don’t include any shirtless or party photos of you holding a cocktail. Avoid the images of you in a bikini. You might look fabulous but it’s not very professional.
And most importantly, include photos of yourself with animals! Most home owners have pets they want looking after, and if you can showcase a collection of images of you snuggling various pets then you’ll be more likely to win the house sits, guaranteed.
Include a short video
Adding a video to your profile will give you a strong advantage over other profiles because not many house sitters bother to take the time to include a video.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – you could even record it on your phone – just say hello and a little about yourself and then upload it to YouTube, sharing the link on your profile.
Some sites, like House Carers, even allow you to embed your YouTube link into your profile.
Home owners love watching a video because it can give them a true sense of what you’re like in about one minute.
Check out our house sitting video we recorded for our profile below:
Don’t forget your blog
Most of the people we house sit for said that it was our blog that won them over. We make sure our blog is included in all of our house sitting profiles as it gives home owners the chance to see our personality displayed in depth over hundreds of blog posts.
Of course, if you don’t have a blog no need to worry about this, but if you do make sure you include it! Also keep in mind that home owners will probably do a Google search of you so if you have a blog that doesn’t portray you in a positive light then consider deleting it.
But stay honest and allow them to see you for who you are. Being deceitful will only cause problems further down the line.
Update your locations
All of the house sitting websites give you the option to pick where you’d like to house sit. It’s important to tick these boxes because some home owners search for house sitters looking for house sits in their location.
Also, some house sitting websites will send you updates whenever a house sit in your chosen location becomes available. This is helpful because home owners often get overwhelmed with applications and might close their ad within a couple of days. House sitters who are first in, best dressed often win the house sits.
Make sure you have references
Even if this is the first time you’ve created a house sitting profile, get references from friends whose homes you might have looked after before. Or if this isn’t possible, ask employers for character references. All of this will help more than not having any references at all.
When you do house sit, make sure you ask the home owner for a reference afterwards. These add up quickly after a few house sits and your profile will begin to look like a professional house sitter’s in no time.