Let’s Compare House Sitting Platforms

These are the platforms we have joined:

housecarers.com
luxuryhousesitting.com
mindmyhouse.com
housesittersamerica.com

Before we get into details about these choices, please consider the part of the process that may take the most time.  You need references to get started, so ask for these early on to give folks time to write them for you.  If you have experience, certainly ask for those references.  However, if you have no experience, no worries.  Everybody has to start somewhere.  Character references are fine at the start.  Anyone who can speak to your level of maturity and responsibility can do this for you.  This includes mentioning your work history, homeownership and pet ownership.  I also requested references from the animal shelter where I had volunteered.

housecarers.com

The yearly fee is $50 and we have obtained two housesits from them.  I believe the general public can see all listings without joining.  So again, you can just watch the listings for a while if you are just thinking about getting started.  The only downside to this is that when you find an opportunity you want to apply for, you then must create your profile, upload pictures and upload references. Based in Australia, this is the longest running platform, starting in 2000.

luxuryhousesitting.com

This is a world-wide platform that charges $25 per year.  We secured our amazing Tonga island sitting adventure here.  We applied for another South Pacific opportunity here as well as a house sit in Botswana, Africa!  The timing on the latter two turned out to not work for us, so we had to politely decline pursuing them further. There are exotic opportunities on all of the platforms, but this is where we have found the best ones for us.

mindmyhouse.com

This world-wide platform charges $20 per year to join. While we personally have not secured any opportunities through this site, I check it daily and see plenty of great activity.

housesittersamerica.com

The cost to register is $30 per year. We have not secured any house sits through this site, but interestingly we have been contacted by a number of homeowners directly. They approached us before posting on the website. I beleive all the platforms allow this option. It is nice when a homeowner asks you, instead of you competing with other housesitters. This is the only major platform I am aware of that is focused solely in the US.

The Basics of Housesitting

Greg and I started house sitting in November 2015.  There are several websites that bring together homeowners and sitters.  Most have a membership fee for potential sitters, but are free for homeowners to join.  We do not charge for our services, but exchange them for lodging. House sitting is more popular outside the US than inside, but there is plenty to choose from.  Whatever location you choose, you are responsible for travel expenses.   Initially we registered with TrustedHousesitters.com.   It is the most expensive site to join, but also has the most activity (let me know if you would like to join, I have a discount code for you).  Most house sits involve taking care of pets while the homeowners are away.   With all of the websites, you create a profile including pictures and lots of details about yourself:  why you want to house sit, experience, work history, what makes you trustworthy, etc. You can also include references.   I monitored additional websites, but only paid to join them if I saw a listing I wanted to apply to.  The other sites are much cheaper to join.

We decided to try this while waiting a year for our new boat to be built.  Our house sold Summer 2015 and we just closed on our previous boat.  I have two suggestions for getting started.  First, begin with a less popular location.  Perhaps something you can drive to for a long weekend.  This increases your chances of being chosen for the position, thereby earning positive reviews that you can add to your profile.  Second, check the websites at least once a day and respond immediately.  Time is of the essence in securing these positions.  Here’s where we have gone so far:

Loganville, GA – near Atlanta, very large new home in a subdivision, three indoor cats for one    week (our son was with us for this one)

McMinnville, TN – near Chattanooga, modest old farmhouse with lots of charm, one indoor cat, one indoor dog, two outdoor cats and one outdoor dog for ten days

Pass Christian, MS – near New Orleans, elegant Acadian cottage two blocks from the beach, one indoor cat for seven weeks (our son and his girlfriend came to visit for a few days during this one)

Eueiki Island, Tonga –  caretakers at small eco-resort while closed for the off season, care for two outdoor dogs, transport five workers by boat once a week, for two months

Merrimac, MA – beautiful, three bedroom home near the ocean, one indoor dog, one indoor cat for ten days (our son will be with us for this one)

These are the additional sites that we have joined (much less expensive, ex:  $30/year)

mindmyhouse.com

housecarers.com

luxuryhousesitting.com

housesittersamerica.com

Additionally we are house sitting for friends and acquaintances in our former home town for the summer.  All of those opportunities were secured through word of mouth, Facebook, etc.  Our son will be joining us for all of those.

Tonga – The Adventure of a Lifetime

housesitTongaProfilepicVGHogHeavenExotic locations, such as the one pictured in the banner at the top of the page, are often available to house sitters. In March and April 2016, we traveled to the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific, as we had agreed to house sit for a small eco-resort in Vava’u on a private island. This was way beyond what we imagined when we decided to travel and house sit for a year. It was the perfect match for our skill set, having lived aboard our sailboat for three years. You see, remote locations and liveaboard sailboats have much in common. They are both likely off-the-grid situations that require knowledge of solor panels, generators, batteries, water catchment and conservation. This particular opportunity also requried boat handling skills, which made it an even better fit for us. While we certainly enjoyed our time on the spectacular beach and snorkeling off the reef out front, it was the authentic experience with this unique and uncolonized culture that was our favorite part.

Housesitting Our Way Across the US and Abroad

 

Arrival Dinner for The Salty Dawg Rally - Hampton, VA to BVI
Arrival Dinner for The Salty Dawg Rally – Hampton, VA to BVI

See that amazing photo in the banner?  We actually lived there for two months for free!  The owners of this tiny eco-resort wanted to visit family in the US and needed help watching over it while they were closed for the off-season.  It was the experience of a lifetime!

We can’t wait to tell you about this and our other adventures in housesitting.  People are always asking us how we got involved in the first place.  Happy to share that knowledge too.  It is all coming soon!

This all started for us in November 2015, when we sold our home of twenty years and our sailboat of eight years.  We bought a new boat but it would not be ready for a year.  We thought about renting a place, but we wanted to travel!  And we had a new boat to pay for.  House sitting seemed like a perfect solution – an even exchange of lodging in return for home and pet care.  So far we have completed six house sits and we have five more scheduled.