Discovering House Sitting, a happy accident
House sitting has become quite the phenomenon with thousands of listings right now. But what is it? And why is it so popular?
We stumbled upon house sitting by accident a few weeks before we left New Zealand. We thought we could probably stretch our travel fund to 18 months, perhaps two years. House sitting changed all that. Like a light bulb moment for animal lovers like us.
Well, how else could we -
- Live in a traditional Balinese villa three minutes from a semi-deserted beach while caring for eight rescue dogs
- Learn to prune and tend to vines on a hobby vineyard overlooking the majestic Sibillini mountains
- Cozy up for winter on an organic farm in Portland, Oregon where elk stop by the bedroom window, and coyotes sing you to sleep
The numbers: Two and a half years later, we have 73 weeks of house and pet sitting under our belts. We have cared for 170 animals in USA, UK, New Zealand, Italy, Thailand, and Indonesia. Including 32 dogs, 60 cats, 68 poultry and birds, 2 sheep, 6 fish, 2 guinea pigs, and 240 grape vines!
But it isn't always easy. Things can, and do go wrong. Like the time we lost a dog to poisoning in Bali, or chickens to a hungry hawk in Portland, or getting electric shocks from a gas hob. Challenging times.
That said, we wouldn't change a thing. It’s rewarding. It enables us to lead a life we love. We get to meet interesting new people and get our animal fix. House sitting has so many benefits. It’s a win-win-win situation for all.
You can see why it has become so popular. It has even become quite competitive. But is it for you? And how do you find a house sit or a house sitter?
We have created this page to give our honest thoughts, tips, and recommendations to both potential house sitters as well as home owners. (We will add more useful information over the coming months.)
But for now, here is the lowdown on the house sitting sites we have tried.
House Sitting Sites - Our Recommendations
We recommend joining TrustedHousesitters plus at least one other site. Although they are the most expensive, they are also the best. US$99 is the price of one or two nights accommodation or a couple of days of kennelling fees. So your investment will pay back quickly. It is also worth chatting to family or friends too. The perfect house sitter or home owner may be someone you already know.
Referral & Repeats
Number of sits: 4
Total length of sits: 8 weeks
Friends and family are a top source of house sits. And should not be overlooked. We have lost count of the number of requests we get. Unfortunately, only four sits (19%) have tied up with our dates as we are usually booked well ahead. We also get asked to return by home owners which is also something to consider.
What we like: Personal connection, you know each other.
What could improve: Planning well in advance is always helpful.
Number of sits: 18
Total length of sits: 73 weeks
Looking for house sitters you can trust? Look no further!
You can read our full profile and feedback from home owners we have sat for on TrustedHousesitters, or HouseCarers, and mindmyhouse. You can also check out more about Steve & Julie at our about us page.
What we like: Enormous Flat Screen TV's, well stocked wine cellars, king sized beds. Just kidding.
What could improve: Steve's 'Dad jokes', Julie's G&T making skills.
Cost: Open to offers.
You may enjoy reading about our house sitting experiences in our blog posts.