How to Make a Lifestyle Out of Long Term House Sitting Jobs

Photo: Thibaultjugain via Pixabay


House sitting has become increasingly popular. It's a great way to visit a foreign country without having to pay for expensive accommodation. I have been doing long term house sitting jobs for many years and it has really become a way of living for me. Do you want to know how to turn house sitting into a lifestyle? I will tell you what you need to know!

What is house sitting exactly?

House sitting means looking after the house of someone who will be gone for a period of time, on a holiday or business trip. Usually, the person house sitting is not only responsible for the house, but also for any animals who may live in (or around) that house.

Many homeowners feel a lot better when a house sitter looks after their property and animals. This way, their precious furry children can stay in their own environment instead of a shelter and the house is being lived in and looked after. House sitters can deal with the upkeep of the house and technical issues if they arise.

Why you should consider long term house sitting jobs

There are plenty of reasons to start doing long term house sitting jobs. It can be a cheap way to get a holiday cottage for your next long holiday, but if you turn it into a lifestyle it can mean a lot more.

1) A serious cost reduction

Living in someone else's house means you will have no costs for rent or mortgage, and no costs for electricity, gas, water, etc. Most often, Internet, Netflix/Amazon/Disney prescriptions are included! Depending on your lifestyle and country of residence that could save you at least US$ 25,000 a year. If you fly all over the world to house sit, you obviously have travel costs, but you don't necessarily have to go far to find a house sit.

2) Lots of traveling

Moving from one house sit to the next means you are constantly traveling around and you get to see a lot of the world. House sits can be as short as just one weekend or as long as 1 year or even longer. Opting for long term house sitting jobs will reduce your travel costs considerably. You can stay in your own country, or travel around the world. It's all up to you to decide how often you want to change houses. I have been house sitting for a number of years now and have been able to stay in many different countries. Mainly in Europe (Portugal, Germany, The Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales) but also in Australia and New Zealand.

3) Furry friends all the time

Most house sits require you to take care of animals. Often you will look after cats and dogs, but sometimes there can be guinea pigs, rats, donkeys, horses, and chickens. It is a great way to surround yourself with animals if your lifestyle does not allow you to have pets of your own.

4) It can be summer forever

You decide where you want to live, so if you dread cold winters you can choose your winter sits in a warm and sunny climate.

Lazy kitty

How to make a lifestyle out of long term house sitting jobs

Of course, turning your life around and giving up a stable life can be a bit daunting. You need a few things to make it a success. There are 2 things that are essential:

1) The Right Mindset

The right mindset is critical. You have to be able to let go of the notion you need to have your own property and all the stuff that goes with it. You basically have to let go of all your earthly possessions (unless you want to pay for storing it somewhere indefinitely) and just get on the road with some clothes, a few basic necessities, and maybe a laptop.

It may not be possible to do all the things you can do when you have a house full of things, but that is part of the charm. You take everything as it comes, the good and the bad. This lifestyle is for you if you can appreciate the freedom that comes with it.

2) Flexible Income

Unless you are a pensioner or a millionaire and you can just spend money without care for the rest of your days, you will need a way to support yourself. Because you are on the road all the time, an online job will be perfect. Any kind of flexible job will do. Perhaps you can work as an editor, a content writer, or a telemarketer. Of course, this is something you need to look into before you quit your steady job and start traveling the globe.

That sounds great, but what are the CONS?

It sounds like doing long term house sitting jobs is a little bit too good to be true. What are you not telling me?

House sitting can be an amazing way to live your life but as with everything in life, it has its downsides:

1)Your sit could be canceled

Sometimes house sits do get canceled. It does not happen very often, but emergencies do happen. A last-minute cancellation might leave you without a home for a short while. It is not much you can do about this, except get back to the website and try to fill the gap with a new house sit. Worst case scenario, you will have to pay for accommodation for a few nights (oh the horror!). In the 5 years I have been doing this, only one house sit was canceled. This was 2 weeks before arrival, and due to a medical emergency of the home owner.

2) There are obligations

You are there to look after real live animals and someone's beloved home. This means you cannot just come and go as you please, or stay away for a few nights to visit a distant city. Almost all homeowners want you to spend the night at the house. It is not quite like a holiday, but close enough.

3) Beggars can't be choosers

When there are plenty of house sits available, you get to pick the ones you want. Sometimes, it is the other way around: lots of people can be "fighting" over the same house sit. If you want a roof over your head you might not end up with the roof you were looking for. But that's the deal. Next time that perfect sit WILL be yours.

4) Long term issues

If you plan to stay away from your home country for a really long time you might experience any of all of the following issues:

  • travel insurance is only valid for the duration of 180 or 365 days;
  • your car might be needing its annual safety check;
  • family and friends may keep asking when you are going back to a "normal life".

Lazy dog #2

I am convinced, where do I start?

There are a number of good websites that offer house sits. Most of them require an annual sign up fee for potential house sitters and homeowners. Once you have signed up, you can start applying to house sits that appeal to you. Depending on what you are looking for, one or more of these services can be right for you:

  • TrustedHousesitters - Offers a wide variety of house sits around the globe. Mostly in the United Kingdom but there are plenty of options in North America and Australia. You can easily filter the search results. The annual fee is €99 (US$135), which includes a free 24/7 vet advice line. This is the website I use myself for most of my house sits;
  • Nomador - A nice website with many house sits to choose from, you can easily filter the results. Most sits are in France but also many options in United Kingdom and North America. You can start with a free trial option, or pay €65 (US$89) for an annual membership;
  • MindMyHouse - Has house sits all over Europe, but also in United States and Canada. You can filter results to select type of pet etc. At an annual fee of €15 (US$20) this is one of the cheapest;
  • Mindahome - House sits for the United Kingdom only. They have a modest website with no filtering options for search results. The membership fee is also very modest at £15 per year (€16/US$18);
  • Housecarers - Website for house sits mainly located in North America, Australia and Europe. The annual fee is US$50.
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All these websites offer you an overview of available long term house sitting jobs. You can filter these results for a desired location, duration, type of pets, etc. After completing your profile page on the website where you introduce yourself, you can apply to specific assignments. It's up to the homeowner to choose which applicant they think is best suitable for the job.

When you have done a number of house sits and have built a list of happy customers, you might be able to get some repeat business. If people are happy with your service during their absence and the way you looked after their animals and property, they might ask you back on a regular basis. In that case, you don't have to compete with other applicants. Here are some great steps to help you secure the perfect long term house sitting jobs.

Ready to Pack Your Bag?

There are a lot of things to consider before giving up your day job to turn house sitting into a lifestyle. It may not be for you to escape the daily grind and add a little excitement to your life. To each their own. I don't regret my decision for a single moment and I hope I get to go on many more adventures and meet many more wonderful people and other animals!