How does travel with free lodging sound to you? There are no tricks involved, just some personal responsibility and willingness to do a job. The job is housesitting, and home owners worldwide advertise for housesitters to look after their property while they travel. Here are a few tips for how to get a housesitting job that is thoroughly enjoyable.
Enjoy a slice of local life, anywhere
Part of the adventure of travel is experiencing what it is like to live elsewhere, to walk in another person’s footsteps. By agreeing to housesit, you can gain the local perspective on your destination of choice, the kind of truth that a resort or hotel rarely provides. Plus, free lodging in exchange for your watchful eyes and ears is a desirable trade-off, when that lodging is in a city, state or country you desire to experience.
Become a member of various housesitting websites
There are numerous websites – some that require an annual membership fee, others that do not – that enable prospective housesitters to find homeowners worldwide who desire a temporary caretaker . Some sites even connect users with other types of gigs.
A simple Google search can uncover such sites. Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House are two places where one can get started (links below). Become a member, sign up for notifications and wait for word if something isn’t immediately available. Don’t forget to fill out your site profile and use pictures and video. Sometimes, homeowners may just find you first, if you come across as dependable and upstanding.
References are essential
Regardless of which website or service you use to start your housesitting adventure, make sure you have references listed in the profile. This is essential, says Lisa Logan of TrustedHousesitters.com. Previous housesitting gigs and other general employment references are illuminating to the potential employer. Being willing to submit to a background check never hurts, either.
“Put yourself in the shoes of a homeowner and think about the information you would like to have,” said Logan. “Be very clear about what experience and attributes you have that make you a great house-sitter.”
Reply quickly and succinctly
If homeowners contact you, don’t wait to reply. Get back to them as soon as you receive messages because if the location seems good to you, it will also appeal to others seeking the house-sit opportunity. When you reply, be succinct with all details, and make sure you include a link in the email that points back to your profile, if it isn’t already there.
Reassure the homeowner that you are prepared to provide exactly what they’re asking for. Refer back to their ad when you send your reply. If possible, reply via phone or Skype so that they can hear your voice and see your face.
If you ask questions, you show the homeowners that you have genuine interest in them, their home and property. Plus, you can protect yourself before traveling across the world to house-sit from homeowners or jobs that don’t come across as advertised.
Get it in writing
Get the details of your agreement with the homeowner spelled out in writing, including whether the job is paid or unpaid, length of assignment and specific responsibilities. That way, all expectations will be clearly documented so miscommunication can be avoided. Many housesitting membership sites include pre-drafted agreement forms. Just fill in the blanks and change the verbiage as necessary.
“This encourages a homeowner to consider everything from home security to pet care, garden maintenance, emergency contacts, and more. This is a great starting point to make sure you’re asking all the right questions,” said Logan.
Always be flexible
If you are willing to be flexible depending upon the situation, you make yourself a more attractive housesitting candidate. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves for hard work and keep a sense of humor.
And most importantly, enjoy free accommodation during your travel adventure!