Top 5 tips for becoming a house sitter and finding one!

A big thank you again for your questions and comments on House Sitting, the growing travel phenomenon popular with retirees.

It’s great to know many Silversurfers already know the benefits of this win win arrangement. New members can revisit the article which started the buzz, World-wide accommodation for free… here’s how. House sitting is a total travel lifestyle choice or the way to have an inexpensive break. Home and pet owners can travel more than they ever thought possible, whether for more weekend breaks or crossing continents, ticking off “must visit” locations. Imagine free, one on one pet care, wonderfully kept homes and travelling with absolute peace of mind knowing pets and homes are safe and secure with your chosen house sitter. House sitters have the company of loving pets, live as a local staying in the best free, self catering accommodation …. what’s not to embrace about about this altruistic win win!

My husband John and I have been travelling the world house sitting for nearly ten years and today I am going to reveal my top five tips to help you secure that dream house sit, whether it’s a weekend in London, Paris or Rome, a week in the Lake District or rural France, a month in Vancouver or Sydney or six months in Costa Rica.

My top five tips for becoming a house sitter

  • 1.     Join a good House Sitting organisation

There are many, my preferred is simply because they are the largest house sitting organisation in the world which translates to more opportunities for quality house sitting assignments in over 50 countries

  • 2.     Keep up-to-date about the new/latest house sits

With the really good house sitting websites you can request to be sent either real time alerts our a daily round-up of the latest sits via email. You can choose specific locations and/or receive notification of all new listings world wide, it’s my favourite email of the day!

  • 3.     Design an excellent Profile

I use the word “design” to encourage flair and creativity. Tell home owners why you want to house sit, about your background, experience, any special skills and most of all about your love for animals and any practical experience caring for them, 90% of house sitting involves pet care. Be genuine, let your personality resonate through your written word. Add warm and natural photographs, especially ones with animals, a short video is a great intro and of course references and obtaining a police check is a good investment, which you can for about £10. Give the home owner that “feel good about this sitter” factor.

  • 4.     Choose the right sit and apply as soon as you can

The location will grab your attention, especially if its at the top of your wish list. Carefully consider all other aspects including pets, home, dates, duration and home owners expectations remember it’s like applying for a dream job, yours wont be the only application so make the first line catch the home owners attention. Keep it short and simple, let them know why you would be their perfect sitter and I can’t stress this enough, if the assignment involves pet care make positive reference to the pets in the email.

  • 5.     Be Patient

Everyone starts somewhere, I did. Your dream house sit could be in the next email alert you open!

My top five tips for choosing that perfect pet and house sitter

Your holiday is booked and you’re looking forward to getting away from it all, now for the most important part of ensuring absolute travel peace of mind, choosing that perfect pet and house sitter. As a home owner I’ve engaged many sitters over the years, with 100% success. I had sitters in my home for seven months last year and again in 2014, how else could we have spent the last seven months escaping winter in beautiful Andalusia, Spain

  • 1.     Prepare and post your listing is the largest house sitting organisation with over 6,000 registered sitters. Include all relevant information in your listing, be clear with your expectations and your pets needs and care requirements this will ensure the right sitters will reply. Include photographs, especially of pets and if you’re happy to, one of your home too.

  • 2.     Read all messages and profiles

Evaluate and remember it’s not always about having oodles of house sitting experience neither of my last sitters had previous experience but they were home owners, had held positions of trust throughout their working lives, and had a compelling reason for choosing our assignment. Their email, profile and excellent references told me all I needed to know, I felt absolutely comfortable in my choice …. the very best piece of advice!

  • 3.     Draw up a short list

Answer and advise all applicants of the status of your listing, this is usually really quick and easy via multi-messaging. As a sitter knowing whether or not you’re being considered is very important we plan our house sits often months in advance.

  • 4.     Check references and communicate

Contact referees directly and verify information then set up Skype chats with the sitters or a simple phone call. It’s an excellent way to meet everyone involved including the furry family members. Skype is great for giving guided tours of your home and seeing your sitters home, if they’re “in residence”. Make a list of topics to discuss, this is the time for asking questions and for sitters to do the same. I know at Trustedhousesitters they have lots of resources at your finger tips to help you, such as the Home Owners Guidelines, Pet Profile Form and Home Owner Agreement Form.

  • 5.     Use your intuition

I promise the most difficult part of the whole process will be choosing one sitter from the many excellent ones who apply but after taking all the steps and doing your due diligence rely on your intuition. When you feel 100% comfortable with your choice you’ve found that very special house and pet sitter, you’ll never leave home again without one!

Written By : Angela Laws

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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