Tips for Housesitters
What are the benefits of becoming
Depending on who you ask, the benefits will vary from one housesitter to another.
Besides the money saving aspects of living rent-free as a housesitter, many of
our subscribers tell us that housesitting enables them to explore a new
location through the eyes of the locals by actually living in a place rather
than as a tourist staying in a hotel. Other housesitters report that becoming a
housesitter has enabled them to live in beautiful homes in exotic and
interesting locales. For others, housesitting has provided them with the
opportunity to learn gardening, horseback riding, or a new hobby or sport. A
majority of our subscribers who are housesitters tell us that housesitting is a
lifestyle that gives them the freedom and time to pursue their passion for
travel, art, writing, etc.
What are the minimum qualifications that I need to become a housesitter?
At a minimum, homeowners are looking for reliable, honest, responsible people
to care for their homes. In most cases, years of housesitting experience are
not necessary. Good common sense, flexibility, and the ability to learn are three
important prerequisites. If you have taken care of your own home, either as an
owner or a renter, you probably have acquired a variety of skills and
experiences. The ability to communicate, both with the homeowner and with
contractors or service people, is another important qualification.
How do I apply for a housesitting position?
When they write their ads, homeowners will ask for different things from
prospective housesitters. Some may initially provide only an email or a phone
number and ask that you contact them that way when responding to their ad.
Other ads will specify that applicants should send a copy of your resume and a
list of references, both personal and professional. The people on your list of
references should be able to provide a letter to the homeowner or be available
to speak with them over the phone. Property owners have the option of running a
"blind ad" where, for security reasons, the responses are sent to The
Caretaker Gazette and then we forward them directly to the homeowner. Once they
have received your call, email, or resume, the homeowner will let you know if
additional information or a follow up phone or in-person interview is required.
What kind of compensation should I expect to receive?
At a minimum, you will receive free living accommodations. Housesitters find
the free accommodations to be one of the most valuable forms of compensation as
it saves them from paying for rent or making mortgage payments. The Caretaker
Gazette does not accept any ads for positions that do not include free housing
for the housesitter or caretaker. In addition to free housing, the homeowner
may offer additional compensation such as a small salary, use of a vehicle, or
a bonus at the completion of the housesitting assignment.
How long does a typical housesitting assignment last?
Housesitting assignments can be as short as a week or two or as long as a year
or more in duration. Sometimes a homeowner will utilize the services of a
housesitter on a short-term, trial basis. If they are pleased with the service
provided and the housesitter is happy with the arrangement and compensation,
the two parties may agree on a future assignment for a longer time period, or
the same short-term time period, year after year. Many homeowners have to be
away at a certain time each year and like to find a trustworthy housesitter to
watch over their place and pets for the same period of time each year.
Since the homeowner is going to check my references, should I do the same with
It is a good idea to ask the homeowner if they have used the services of a
housesitter previously. The Caretaker Gazette always keeps records of
homeowners who advertise in The Caretaker Gazette. Since we began publishing in
1983, we have not heard of any serious problems between a homeowner and
What if there is an emergency that I am not qualified to handle?
During an orientation or tour of the property, you should ask the homeowner to
provide you with a list of service people and people to contact in the event of
an emergency. Most homeowners will have such a list prepared and include
contact information, such as phone numbers for service people. There should
also be a flashlight and a fire extinguisher on hand. You should also ask the
homeowner how they can be reached, via email or phone, in case of an emergency.
Is there anything else that I should know about housesitting?
The homeowner should leave you a list of instructions for daily, weekly, or
monthly tasks that need to be performed around the house. These may be a simple
as weekly watering of plants or more complicated, such as vacuuming the
swimming pool. They should also let you know where the electrical, water, and
gas shut-off valves are located and if there are tools nearby.
I've never done any kind of housesitting. How do I get started as a
You will find helpful housesitting articles and housesitting positions listed
in each issue of The Caretaker Gazette. You can also run an ad about yourself
in our Situations Wanted section. You are welcome to email or mail your ad to
us. We are always happy to review and edit an ad and will make suggestions that
will improve your ad's effectiveness. For additional information, please visit
our blog: http://caretakergazette.blogspot.com/