Landing your first house sitting job is difficult and can sometimes take months. However, after completing five house sits (in Asia, Europe, and North America), we are confident in passing along our proven tips to get your first house sitting job!
We applied for our first house sit in October of 2014 and two weeks later were booking flights to Bali. We were elated to be chosen for the first house sit we applied and couldn’t believe how easy it seemed. While it seemed to come easy, we realized the steps we took BEFORE applying made a big difference in landing the job. House sitting has led us to some beautiful parts of the world, and more importantly has created lasting friendships.
We are part of a Facebook group for house sitters and often read about the frustration others have in finding that elusive first house sit. While we are sitters and not homeowners in this equation, we do understand the different points of view. First, homeowners might not feel comfortable selecting someone who has never house sat before. Second, hopeful house sitters are frustrated because they can’t find a house sit without experience.
So, we want to share with you what worked for us and help you get your first sit. After talking with homeowners for whom we sat, we were told directly how some of our methods helped put us over the top as their final choice. Read along and see how a little effort and thoughtfulness up front can really make a difference in the end!
Pick a House Sitting Website
Your first step should be choosing a house sitting website that fits your needs and preferences. Are you looking to house sit in Europe? In the U.S.? All over the world? There are lots of sites that specialize in specific locations, so make sure you find the one that works for you. Our preferred site is TrustedHouseSitters.com.
TrustedHousesitters has listings from all over the world, which is exactly what we were looking for during our global travels. Like most sites, you have to pay to be listed as a house sitter, but don’t let the fee stop you from signing up. House sitting pays for itself after your first sit!
We prefer TrustedHousesitters because of its solid reputation in the industry, and how it interacts with its customers (both homeowners and sitters). And as I mentioned before, the listings for sits are literally all over the world! While it tends to have a lot of United Kingdom, Australian, Canadian and U.S. sits, we’ve started seeing more and more listings for Asia and Africa. You’ll even find some listings in the really sought-after Caribbean region.
A huge plus for becoming a registered member of TrustedHousesitters, is that you can view listings 24 hours before unregistered members. More on why that is important to follow.
Create a Killer House Sitter Profile
So, you now have your preferred website picked out. The next and most important step to get your first house sitting job – create your house sitter profile.
This may seem obvious, but be sure to fill out your house sitter profile completely. Don’t leave any part blank. Other than your application message, this is all the homeowner knows about you. If you can’t be bothered to fill out a profile, you probably can’t be bothered to take good care of a their house and pets.
This is your opportunity to show off who you are and why you are the perfect choice for watching their home and pets. Be unique and stand out, in a positive way. Let your personality shine! Don’t just list your qualifications, but share your interests and dreams. Write about your story and why you would make a great candidate for house and pet sitting.
Our unique story included being two American 30something travel bloggers, who decided to leave our corporate jobs and sell our belongings to travel and explore the world. We wanted to travel while we were young and able, because nothing is guaranteed. (And wouldn’t you know it; the first homeowners who chose us to sit in Bali were American expats who did the EXACT SAME THING in their 30s!). Be open and honest in your profile, because you never know what might happen.
Showing yourself honestly and in a memorable way will help a homeowner remember you. Don’t be cocky and don’t lie, open up your heart and let them know how awesome you are. 🙂 Homeowners often receive 50+ applications, so find your own way to stand out!
Listed below are some ideas/specifics to include in your profile where applicable:
- Plenty of photos (of you and your own pets)
- Short intro video (if platform allows)
- Name of blog (another way to open up, but don’t include URL as it may be censored out)
- Speaking multiple languages
- Active and enjoy the outdoors
- Previous/current homeowner (type, size, location)
- Enjoy gardening
- Pool owner
- Prior animal owner/include breed type (dogs, cats, bunnies, etc.)
- Previously/comfortable administering medicine or shots to animals
Ask for Recommendations
Never house sat before? Don’t worry, neither had we. However, finding solid recommendations to prove all those great things you said in your profile is important.
While we hadn’t house sat, we have rented apartments and stayed in plenty of vacation rentals in the past. So, contact previous landlords or homeowners who have personally had you stay in their buildings and ask for a reference (this is called a Landlord Sitting Reference on TrustedHousesitters). You can request an email link to be sent directly to an ‘External Reference’ via the TrustedHousesitters dashboard.
If you’ve used Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO you probably have reviews from property owners. Another way to allow homeowners to hear from others about you is to direct them to your reviews on these other websites.
One last option to get solid recommendations on your profile is to house or pet sit in your local area and request a review of your services. Get the word out by posting on Facebook or let your friends and family know you are available and interested in sitting. Chances are high that someone would be happy to take you up on a long weekend of house and pet sitting.
After you do a fantastic job (obviously, right?) sitting, this person can now be your first house/pet sitting reference on your profile! This is done similarly to the Landlord Sitting Reference noted above, using a direct link sent to them with the ‘External Reference’ request via the dashboard. In this instance, you simply tab it as a House/Pet Sitting Reference and not a Landlord Sitting Reference.
Check For New Listings Regularly
New house sits come out daily. So, if you are serious about wanting your first house sit you need to be checking the listings frequently.
Remember when I mentioned that registered TrustedHousesitters members get to view listings 24 hours before non-members? Here is why that is important. When a listing goes up, homeowners will often receive dozens of applications within the first 24 hours (one of the sits we did in Turkey had 40+ applications in the first 24 hours!). As a homeowner that can be very overwhelming, so they will simply pause or stop accepting applications. At that point, all those unregistered members are out of luck.
Most house sitting websites send out daily emails with new listings, which we used to wait for as non-members. However, we kept finding ourselves interested and clicking over to apply and finding the sit already filled. Turned out the members and the 24 hour advanced window had the jump on us. Don’t miss out on the perfect sit opportunity, be proactive about looking for new listings if you really want one.
Make Your Application Personal
You’re signed up, have an awesome profile, and found the perfect house sitting opportunity. What’s next? Time to wow the homeowners with a meaningful and personal application message.
When writing your introductory message that is sent over with your profile, be sure to read and re-read the homeowners listing and address all the points the homeowner makes. Do they prefer someone handy around the house? Tell them about your skills. Do you have personal experience with the breed of dog they have? Be sure to note that of course. If they use their pets names in the listing, be sure to use the names in your message. And if you’ve visited their city before, let them know you are familiar with the area.
Lastly, let them know you’ve looked into transportation options and would not have any issues being available for the dates specified in the listing. Do everything you can to make the homeowner truly understand how interested and qualified you are for the sit.
Make Yourself Available For Skype Interviews
Many homeowners will narrow down the pool of applicants and want to conduct a Skype interview to get a better feel. So, make sure you have a Skype account (it’s free if you don’t have one, so no worries).
Always make yourself available at the homeowners convenience and treat it like a regular job interview. Don’t look like a slob, but you also don’t need to be wearing a suit. Be prepared and research the area and necessary flight information, and be sure to have questions for the homeowner. This shouldn’t be an issue as listings can be brief, just make sure you are comfortable and get everything answered that might be in question on your end. And finally, BE YOURSELF and let them see the real you.
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There you have it! Our secrets are out and now you have our proven tips for getting your first house sit! Good luck and happy sitting!
Have you house sat before? What is your number one tip for getting accepted for a house sit?
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