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How Does Housesitting Work? (2019 Update)

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“Wait…How does housesitting work?” I get the question all the time, so I wrote this post to help y’all out! We started house and pet sitting in 2016 and continue to use and love this lifestyle.

Maybe you’re a homeowner and a pet parent or maybe you’re considering housesitting for yourself. Whatever the case, I hope this information helps you better understand the system.

Jump straight to the good stuff! Find a fabulous house sit on TrustedHousesitters right now.

How Does Housesitting Work?

House sitting works for travelers, homeowners, pet owners, and people all over the world.

How does house sitting work? Essentially, if you own a home and are going away, you ask someone to live in your home so it doesn’t remain unoccupied while you’re gone.

You might be thinking, ‘Why would I have some stranger live in my house instead of asking a neighbor or family member to just check on it?’ Sure, that absolutely works for some people!

But house sitting is an easy solution for people who might not have that sort of network nearby at home.

House and pet sitting especially works for pet owners. Our furbabies usually need more than just the occasional stopover from a sister on her way home from the office.

It also works for people who are leaving home for a longer period of time. It’s a lot to ask the neighbor to take care of the house and plants for two months straight!

Read next: 11 lessons I’ve learned house sitting with TrustedHousesitters

House sitting works because a housesitter promises to live in and care for your home while you’re away.

It works because a homeowner offers a place to stay in an area a traveler might want to explore.

House sitting is an agreement between two people who know that each one benefits when the other follows through on a promise.

How does house sitting work - sample homepage screenshot for TrustedHousesitters

How Does the House Sitting Application Process Work?

Most house sitting is arranged online via specific websites. Homeowners post a house sitting opportunity.

The details include specific dates a housesitter is needed, plus information about the home. A listing should also detail any responsibilities the housesitter will have while there.

Most homeowners will also offer some insights into the surrounding area, too. After all, most sitters aren’t local!

Housesitters can peruse these posted opportunities and apply for ones that are a good match.

A good match means that the dates fit within a housesitter’s available schedule.

More importantly, the house sitter will have read the requested responsibilities and agrees to adhere to them.

Get some tips for creating a quality listing for house- and pet-sitting in my article for Women Who Live on Rocks.

Housesitters create a profile based on experience and interests.

Upon application, the profile gets submitted to the homeowner, along with a personalized message about the housesit.

Most homeowners will want to chat with potential housesitters further by phone or video chat. That enables both parties to get a feel for each other and to see if it’s a good match.

If you think this sounds like online dating, you are not alone!

Screenshot of a house sitter profile for Amanda & Jonathan on TrustedHousesitters
Our online dating – I MEAN – House sitting profile. Please love us!

Some housesitters prefer to complete local housesits while others use house sitting as a means to travel.

Some homeowners prefer a housesitter to have their own vehicle while others provide a car with the property.

Every house sitting opportunity is as different as every homeowner and home.

The crux of this house sitting popularity is the agreement made between two people. It’s people helping people, which makes me incredibly happy!

House Sitting Benefits for Homeowners

House sitting has multiple benefits for homeowners, including added security, maintenance of the house, and – most importantly – care for all living things on the property.

That might mean dogs, cats, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, or any other animal. It would also mean landscaping and houseplants.

Check out our experiences taking care of a smallholding in northern Spain for 3 months!

Who hasn’t gone away for a week or two and returned to wilted and starved houseplants and gardens?

It’s depressing, and could also be a massive financial investment gone to waste!

If anything should go wrong, a housesitter is there to handle the problem.

There can be issues at any time of year – from pipes bursting to tree branches falling to mold growing.

The last thing you need is to come home to find major problems have developed! With a house sitter staying there, these issues can be dealt with right away.

Homeowners benefit from housesitters caring for their home, their furry friends, and their gardens.

Leaving your home for an extended period of time can be unnerving. You can only hope you come back to find it as you left it!

House sitters can ensure that all is well, taking away your stress so you can have fun.

homeowners use house sitters while away on vacation

House Sitting Benefits for Pet Owners

Homeowners with pets truly benefit from housesitters coming to take care of them in their own home.

Kennels or shelters can be incredibly expensive and also very stressful for your pets. They are surrounded with unfamiliar smells and sounds and have no idea when you’ll be back.

If you leave your animal alone for a few days or weeks, that can feel like complete abandonment.

That’s a very lonely experience!

Pet owners have to remember that our pets don’t understand time the way we do.

Read about my experience petsitting 5 cats in southern France.

Asking someone to check on your cat can be just as lonely and scary for your furry friend.

On the flip side, asking a friend or family member to live in your home can be too much.

They have their own normal responsibilities – getting to work, social events, other obligations.

A house sitter staying in your home is better for your pets. They can stay in the comfort of their own territory, which is far less stressful for them.

How does house sitting work? Find out from these five french cats

The reason we love TrustedHousesitters, in particular, is because of their focus on pets.

All housesitters who sign up for that specific site know that animals are part of the package deal.

It is important to note the responsibilities involved with house sitting! If you’re traveling, you might want to use house sitting as free accommodation.

That’s fine, as long as you understand that caring for pets can inhibit your tourism opportunities.

Take that into account when signing up for these websites. This is a job with responsibilities, especially when animals are involved.

I love TrustedHousesitters because of the focus on animals.

Homeowners can feel good knowing all house sitters here are animal lovers! We won’t go off galavanting for days on end, leaving the pets alone.

Cats love laptops - Mally the cat sleeping across Amanda Walkins housesitter and petsitter life for digital nomad
This is what happens when you try to work while petsitting for cats.

All the housesitters on TrustedHousesitters know what they’re applying for on that site.

They’re applying to take care of your pets first and foremost. As an added bonus, they’re also hoping to enjoy staying at your home in a new place.

House Sitting Benefits for Travelers

The benefit of house sitting for travelers is obvious: a free place to stay wherever you go!

But I personally think there are far greater benefits. It’s easy enough to find cheap accommodation all around the world now.

Sharing models like Airbnb and HomeAway are very popular, highlighting the preference for staying in unique accommodations over standardized hotels.

Travelers want to experience a destination more intimately than a hotel can usually offer.

Find out what it was like house and pet sitting all around greater London for an entire summer.

Hotels provide comfort and convenience – luxury even! But staying in a local home allows a traveler to get a sneak peek into local life.

You’ll see what local furnishings and home layouts can look like. Perhaps there will be different appliances and maybe you can watch local TV.

Being in a neighborhood that might not have any tourists allows you to explore local life off the beaten path.

It’s a more authentic version of a place as locals see it.

Housesitters who use TrustedHousesitters also get the added bonus of meeting and bonding with new animal friends.

If you’re an animal lover who wants to travel, this is a great option for combining your two passions.

You can snuggle someone’s furry family member, offering them comfort and love while their humans are away.

And all the while, you are in a new place! You’ll have the option to explore and learn locally. You can then launch onto a new nearby adventure once your house sitting gig is done.

dogsitting with TrustedHousesitters

Long-term house sitting offers the opportunity to move somewhere new and try it out for a while.

We did this in Ireland. It’s a way to test the waters before signing a lease and locking yourself into a place.

Considering expat life? Long-term house sitting can help you test the waters first. I have tons of expat resources to help you get started!

There are many opportunities for house sitting long-term.

Spending six months somewhere can offer a fantastic base from which to truly explore an area.

Saving six months’ worth of accommodation costs is no small measure!

There are also tons of options in the 1-3 months timeframe. This is an even easier option for most tourist visas.

How to Get Started With TrustedHousesitters

We use TrustedHousesitters for several reasons. First, I did a lot of research on the various options because I love to research anything and everything.

(Seriously, I could write so many more posts if I stopped getting sidetracked. I’m always looking up random facts that aren’t actually pertinent to my theme…but what fun is that?!)

I love that TrustedHousesitters has such a fantastic rating from users on TrustPilot. I value the opinions of others just as much as you do!

Second, I love that TrustedHousesitters is primarily for animal lovers. The whole community is filled with pet owners and pet lovers. 

After we lost Lina, we struggled for a long time. Being able to spend time with other people’s pets has been monumentally helpful in my grieving process.

I’m not ready to bring another dog into our home. We also haven’t been asked by a dog in need the way that Lina came into our lives.

Unless or until that moment comes, using TrustedHousesitters is our balance. It allows us to share our time and affection with other animals, which helps ease our own pain.

Amanda Walkins house sitting and pet sitting with TrustedHousesitters

Finally, I really love TrustedHousesitters for its variety.

There are housesits all around the world spanning any length of time and offering all sorts of accommodations and situations. You can literally choose your own adventure – I used to love those books as a kid!

The options are almost too plentiful! I find myself perusing the website for far too long, trying to decide if we could swing a trip.

I’m always wondering if we should just move again, based on a long-term sit. (I can’t help it, it’s a constant thought!)

My flexible freelance writing schedule means I also look at last-minute needs to maybe help a desperate pet parent.

I find myself looking for specific dates or for places I want to someday visit. I search for places I’ve never seen to look at photos of a local home.

Sure, it’s a bit voyeuristic, but it’s out there in public view!

Basically, I love everything about the system and rave about it to everyone I know. That includes you!

If you’re considering traveling and using house sitting, sign up for TrustedHousesitters and have a look at the listings.

Get started house sitting by doing sits in your local area first. We’ve done several around my expat home in Edinburgh.

If you’re a pet parent and want to be able to travel, sign up.

Your furry family will be cared for comfortably at home while you’re away. Once on the site, you’ll have access to an enormous range of potential sitters.

You never know where life will take you unless you say yes to opportunities.

House sitting is one that I’m happy we said yes to! And I know it will continue to provide new opportunities for us in travels to come!

 House sitting enabled me to spend an idyllic week in Southern France. We also moved to the Irish countryside for a long-term house sitting assignment. We have done lots of house sitting around Edinburgh and London, as well as a long-term stint spent in Spain.

You can join TrustedHousesitters to see available house sitting opportunities all around the world and enjoy your own travel adventures. Have fun!

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Learn how housesitting works so you can travel and stay for free around the world!
Learn how housesitting works so you can travel and stay for free around the world

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