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How to Start House Sitting - and Live Rent Free WORLD WIDE!

How can I start House Sitting?

How can you start house sitting - and live rent free world wide? 

First things first, if you've stumbled across this page because you want to 'live rent free world wide' and have no idea what house sitting entails, please feel free to check out this post first: What is House Sitting.

Essentially though, house sitting is like baby sitting but for houses and pets, not babies. 

Okay, so you know what house sitting is, but why should you do it? Maybe, free accommodation world wide isn't enough for you, if so you should check out this post: 7 Reasons you Should House Sit

So at this point you should know what house sitting is, and you should be excited to get started with it. 

But why listen to us?

It's no secret we LOVE house sitting. Although we no longer have the time to house sit full-time, our first two years of travel were solely possible through house sitting. House sitting is also the main reason we are able to be in the position that we are today (travelling the world, living off our travel blog, vlog and social media). 

We have house sat in nine countries: Spain, Germany, ItalyAustralia, the UKFinlandPortugal, Greece and the Netherlands and house sitting gave us two years of free accommodation! 

house sitting australia
One of our first house sits - a house with a pool and tennis court on the Gold Coast, Australia

We've house sat villas with swimming pools, homes on deserted beaches, apartments right in the centre of some of the world's most famous cities - you name it, we've house sat there:

Ultimately, with 20 house sits under our belt, and most of those being house sits to die for, we know what we're talking about. We know how to get started properly and how to lay a solid foundation to enable you to house sit well for the next few years. 

But we started off just like you, worse probably, we made lots of silly mistakes when we first started and we're now in the position to understand what they were and prevent you from making those same mistakes!

house sit portugal
Lesson one: learn how to make a dog smile ;) - (Portugal House Sit) 

So, without further ado, let's get started: 

How can I start House Sitting?
How can I find those great House Sits?
How can I live world-wide and rent free?

Step 1. How to find House Sits
A lot of people ask us these questions - where do we find the house sits? The local library? The newspaper? Owl post? 

Actually, house sitting used to mainly be done through agencies and it was mostly done by retired people. 

The reason was two fold: retired people tended to have the time, and money, to go off galavanting and live in any country.

BUT with the introduction of the internet house sitting has had a make-over: 

Firstly: instead of agencies, house sitting jobs are now mainly on websites specially designed for house sitting (i.e. House Sitting websites). 

Secondly: with more and more people working online and becoming digital nomads, younger and younger people are able to 'retire' early. Or, more accurately they are able to work anywhere, anytime - as long as there's internet. (We work online too, but that's a whole other post that can be found here: How can I make money online.)

So, thanks to the internet, in the last few years house sitting has become more accessible to a wider audience. Almost anyone can do it, like you! - or us. 

house sit australia
Fancy your own private beach in Western Australia? 
All you need to do is sign-up to a house sitting website, create a profile and apply to the available house sits. 

Step 2. Which House Sitting website should I choose?

There are a lot of House Sitting Websites out there, these are the main ones:

So which one should you choose? 

For newbies it can be quite confusing, some of these websites are more expensive than others, but generally the more expensive they are, the more house sitting assignments are available.

housesit italy
Bonus of House Sitting: looking after dogs that smell flowers 

Of course, if money were no object we'd recommend signing up to all of them! But house sitters are often budget travellers, where money is an object.

Now we picked Trusted Housesitters, let me reveal to you:

    • Why we signed up with them
    • Why we are very pleased we did (and why we renewed our membership two years in a row). 

Why we signed up with them:

  • It's the biggest house sitting website out there, and bigger means better in the form of more house sitting opportunities than anywhere else.
  • It tells you once a house sitter has been found, so you don't waste time applying to ones that are already sorted (not true for some other house sitting websites).
  • There's great choice in the length of the sit - just for the weekend or for a whole year, no matter how long you want to do it there's always one out there
  • Similarly for choice of countries. On Trusted Housesitters the countries that pop up the most are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Spain. But most other countries pop up too.
  • They send you an email every time there is a new sit, so you can get straight in there and apply. 
  • It's for everyone: retired people, families and young people too! And everyone in between 

But the main reason we signed up to Trusted house sitters is that you can browse the sits before you sign-up, and we found a sit that looked amazing, which ultimately made us sign up!

We want to inspire other people the way we were inspired, so we update this page House Sitting Opportunities which shows you the best sits out there to date. Take a look and see if anything takes your fancy! 

Alternately, browse Trusted Housesitters yourself and see if there's anything you'd like! It's free to window shop :) 

Now, enough about why we chose them - here's why we are super pleased we picked them, and why we renewed our membership two years in a row:

  • All of our Australian house sits came through them - they enabled us to travel all over Australia (Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and Canberra):

house sitting australia

  • In other words, that was nine months of free accommodation in Australia. 
  • Next, all of our European house sits came through them - the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, the UK, Portugal, Germany, Greece and Italy:

housesitting europe

In other words, another 15 months worth of free accommodation.  
  • We now have the next six months of accommodation sorted, again through this site. 
We basically renewed our membership with them because of the success we'd had with them: two whole years of free accommodation in homes which almost always came with a 'bonus' - a pool, a vineyard, a sauna, a whirlpool etc. 

Quick side step - how much does it cost to sign up to Trusted House Sitters?

12 months = just $9.92 per month! (Note, you do have to pay for 12 months all at once, i.e. $119). 

What!? $119 all at once? Wait a minute, hear us out: If you are serious about travelling, accommodation will be one of your biggest (if not the biggest) expenditure of your trip. If you stay in hostels, hotels or even AirBnB, you know $119 isn't going to get you very far. But with house sitting it gets you a year's worth of accommodation! It's only $9.92 a month which is just $0.33 a day (or $0.17 if you're a couple... or $0.08 if you are a family of four.. okay I'll stop now). 

PLUS! If you sign up to our super cool mailing list (where we never send you emails because we always forget to), we will give you a 10% discount for a year's membership with Trusted House Sitters(Subscribe here.) 

But enough side stepping, let's get back to the steps:

Step 3. Getting your first sits
We're not going to lie to you, when we first started house sitting we found it hard to get our first sit - just because you are competing against other house sitters and those without references have less of a leg to stand on. 

BUT the good news is, once we did a few special things we got our first sit, and then after that it was easier and easier to get picked for house sits. 

After a year of house sitting and 8 good references we were in the position of getting pretty much every sit we applied to.

Now, after two years of house sitting we are getting numerous emails from home owners asking us to house sit, and we're booked up for the next six months. 
italy dream view
House Sitting does of course involve some sitting down 
Okay, so my point is it gets easier, but we want to make it easy for you to get your first house sit  - remember we mentioned the special things we needed to do at the beginning? At the time they weren't very obvious, and talking to newbie house sitters now it turns out it's not so obvious to them either. 

SO, to make things easier for everyone we've written a sweet little ebook which reveals all our tips and tricks and guarantees you get your first house sit. 

It's entitled 'House Sitting in Australia - A Guide For First Time House Sitters', but the tips and tricks can be applied to any country you're looking to house sit in first -i.e. it's not just for Australian house sits :) you can read more about the ebook here

housesit netherlands
Simba and Genie - best names ever?
Basically, it has everything you need to know in order to secure your first sits, including:
  • What the application process is like
  • How newbie house sitters can get references - and why it's essential that they do
  • How and why to get a police check
  • How to write the perfect application letter - everything that must and must not be included
  • Why you should Skype with home owners before agreeing to do a sit - and what to talk about 
  • How you can work whilst house sitting (and why you don't necessarily have to)
  • How to groom a dog
  • What to do if a dog gets sick and/or misses its owner. 
PLUS - exclusive email access to two house sitting gurus (aka us). If you've read our ebook and still aren't getting sits, we will give you free help, simply email us and ask :) 

Okay, so you've heard our recommendations on who to sign up to, and how to get your first sit. Anything else? 

horse smiling
Note: horses look funny when they eat apples

How to have a perfect first House Sit
For this, we recommend practise. Practise on your parent's house, or your friends' house or your neighbours'. Any house you can get your hands on really.

Essentially though house sitting isn't really hard, but we find it helps to follow this rule (that we made up):

Be a mixture of perfect guest and perfect tenant.

What we mean by this: perfect guests clean up after themselves and are considerate of the owner. But guests don't clean up dog poop and aren't responsible if the fuse goes off - that's where being the perfect tenant comes in. 

japanese spitz
Disadvantage of house sitting: dogs that are better looking than you
It's not all dog poop and cleaning though. We've found that when we act like this perfect guest/tenant hybrid we are treated like a perfect guest/tenant hybrid - on their return, home owners often treat us to day trips, meals out, fancy gifts and more!

Hopetoun Beach Western Australia
Living here rent free? Amazing

In conclusion: 
1. Sign up to Trusted House Sitters 
2. If you'd like a 10% discount for their annual plan, subscribe here.
3. For insider tips and on how to successfully get your first house sits, read this ebook.
4. Be a tenant/guest hybrid 

And hopefully you'll be house sitting places like this soon:

housesitting spain
House Sitting in Spain 

So what do you think? Would you like to be a House Sitter? 

House sitting has changed our lives completely, if you have any questions contact us on Facebook, Twitter, PinterestInstagram or via email

P.S. If you would like a 10% discount for trustedhousesitters.com's annual membership subscribe to our free mailing list now!

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We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same!


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