HOW TO BE A HOUSESITTER

How we saved $11,500 on Accommodation in Canada?

When we first started planning our temporary move to Canada our biggest concern was how we were going to afford accommodation. We spent a few weeks looking at a few things, such as house-shares or even a private room in an airbnb, but somehow another option seemed to pop into our minds – housesitting. After a bit of research on the topic, we found a few websites which were exactly what we needed and had a few sits that suited us perfectly. In the end, we were fortunate enough to get two house sits covering the duration of our 2 months on the island with surprisingly no days in between. Here is how all the information you need to start your houseitting experience!

WHAT IS HOUSESITTING?

Housesitting is a service where a homeowner wants someone to care for their home, pets and plants whilst they are away. Generally, there is no money exchanged between either party. The homeowner allows you to stay in their home for free and use their utilities, in exchange for you doing chores and managing their home.

HOW DO YOU FIND HOUSE/PET SITS?

There are a tonne of housesitting/petsitting websites out there now. All of the sites allow you to see what housesits are available, you just can’t contact the owners until you have paid the subscription. This is a good choice to see the availability and how much choice there is for the area you are looking.

HOW DOES GETTING A HOUSESIT WORK?

  1. Search the database for a family that is in the location, for the dates you want with a home/pets that you are able to look after.
  2. Send a private message to the owner. Make it personal and explain why your experience/personality is best suited.
  3. If the owner likes your response they will reply and from there the communication make continue via email, phone or skype.
  4. There are usually a few people applying for the same ‘job’ so hopefully after making a great impression they will let you know if they would like you to come or not.
  5. Most owners, if possible, prefer to also meet their sitters prior to the dates to show them the house and what needs to be done.
  6. Enjoy and be responsible!

WHAT SITE DID WE USE?

  • HouseCarers.com
  • $50 one-year subscription
  • Lots of options for Canada, USA, Australia, France (some others)

WHY DID WE CHOOSE THIS SITE OVER OTHERS?

We felt the cost was more reasonable that other sites and still had plenty of options in Canada for us to choose from. Before paying for the subscription we were able to make a profile and search what was available. After a few days we decided that there was enough opportunity for us to at least get one housesit. No matter the duration it would be worth $50, anything after the first night would be a bonus.

AFTER USING HOUSECARERS.COM WHAT DID WE THINK?

The website is not as modern looking as other house-sitting websites but we were able to use it with ease. It was a much better price for us, with plenty of house-sits to choose from with daily emails according to our preferences. The people we have sat for have all been super nice and inviting of us.

OTHER SITES

MINDMYHOUSE.COM

  • $20 year
  • less options

HOUSESITTERS.COM

  • $1…. year
  • lots of options
  • the most popular site out there

What turned me off this site (beside the price) is that after starting to make the profile and getting all excited I got the page that told us we had to pay before our page could be saved at all. It would have been much better if at the start of the process they told us the price and to pay before putting all the effort it.

TIPS FOR ACTUALLY GETTING A HOUSESIT

  1. Make sure you have a good description introducing yourselves.
  2. The main photo must show your faces clearly (also make sure it is respectful)
  3. Include a video on your profile showing your love for animals and travel – all of our owners commented on how they liked our video. We think it made us more relatable and showed that we were actually interested and passionate about taking good care of their homes/pets.
  4. Give prompt and professional replies – show you are responsible
  5. Focused on how taking care of their home/pets is our main priority and why you are the best to do so

Here is what our profile video looked like.

OUR HOUSESITS ON VANCOUVER ISLAND

1. Cowichan Valley – 2 Border Collies – 5 weeks

2. Nanaimo – 2 ragdolls – 3 weeks

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