Housesitting, although not new, is becoming more and more popular. There are many different kinds including sitters paying owners (usually for utilities), owners paying sitters (if there is work involved) or, my favourite kind, free!
There are of course pros and cons to being an owner or a sitter, and as I am actually both I can look at both sides.
Housesitting is enabling us to go on holiday when we have struggled to have anyone look after our pets and give them the attention they deserve. It also saves us money because we don’t need to pay for boarding fees or pet sitters.
However, it is of course worrying to have someone come and stay in your home and look after your pets. There is a lot of trust involved. It can also be a bit of a slow process. Personally, I won’t book flights until I know the sitter has their flights and visa but this can mean that you watch the prices go up and up while waiting on the sitter. We have also had a sitter pull out on us which, for a while, made us believe we wouldn’t be able to go home for Christmas. It was a long stressful time contacting over 200 people in the hopes they would sit for us. We had people say they were interested without actually looking up the flight prices so they later pulled out. It can be tricky.
Housesitting can be easy and save you a lot of hotel fees. For some animal lovers who are unable to have their own pets, it enables them to have the best of both worlds. If you have a free schedule or are able to stay for longer durations, then the choices are overwhelming. I have seen homes in paradise, mansions, city apartments, farms, chalets and all kinds of dream like locations looking for housesitters but unfortunately my schedule wouldn’t allow it.
For some sites, depending on how appealing the location is, you can find yourself competing against tens of other applicants and it can be hard to set yourself apart from other candidates. It may be better to try and sit locally first so that you gain reviews before trying more adventurous sits. As a sitter it can be frustrating if you are waiting for replies and not sure whether to book flights or get visas.
It can also be daunting as you need to ensure that you look after the home and/or pets while enjoying yourself and trying not to make the house sit a job while you’re meant to be on holiday.
There are of course horror stories from both sides of the tale but personally I have been able to reap the rewards. There are many forums or facebook pages that can help offer advice.
Coming soon: I will be posting about the many different websites that I have used looking for house sitters (and sits) so that if you are looking, you could take my opinion on board (if you want to, of course).