I am living in a beautiful 4bdrm home that would cost $500 – $2000* per week. I have my own office, stable internet and few expenses beyond the costs of my weekly supermarket shop. This is the potential of long term house sitting in Australia.
Want to wake to the sounds of the ocean and the quiet snores of a dog knowing that this is your home, rent free, for the next year? Sound good?
I will share with you my 3 top secrets to success and how you can use them to secure long term house sits of your own
*All prices quoted in this article are in AUD (Australian dollars). Prices based on average rental and AirBNB prices in the local area.
My house sitting story
When I started house sitting three years ago, I had no idea that long term house sitting in Australia was even possible. I signed up for a few websites, filled out my profiles and started sending out applications.
It wasn’t long before I secured my first few ‘sits’ …but they were only a few weeks at a time and it was difficult to fill in the gaps that occurred between them. I was moving around more than I was house sitting (and getting little work done). I tended to stay in a small area and to only say “yes” to sits that fit in well with my existing bookings, with no clear plan or strategy.
After 25+ house sits, I’ve learned a few tips to make house and pet sitting much more sustainable, enjoyable and financially savvy. After leaving my previous 4-month‘ sit’, I am now here for 10+ months. You can do it too.
My top 3 long term house sitting secrets for success in Australia:
1) Maximise your use of house sitting websites.
There are almost 20 Australian and International websites available to connect with owners who are looking for someone to take care of their home and pets while they travel.
I’ve found that they have the highest number of long-term local opportunities and have been using these two exclusively for the past three years.
Memberships for house sitters are $59 (MAH) and $84 (AHS) per year respectively. With the average AirBNB costing $185/night, it very quickly pays for itself, in my opinion.
My secrets to maximising the sites:
In order to find the longest opportunities, you can sort search results on mindahome.com.au with the “Job time length – longest first” filter (see image). Look for the green ‘New’ tag on house sits to indicate that they have been recently posted.
I add good opportunities to my favourites (with the heart icon) and monitor the ‘Reply Rating’ carefully (shown with clock icons). If a new sit has a low reply rating (1-2 clocks out of 5) soon after posting, this likely means that the homeowners have been bombarded with applicants. It’s still possible but if I don’t get a reply, I understand that I may simply have not have been quick enough.
On the aussiehousesitters.com.au website, you can ‘Refine search’ by Sit length. You can then see sits of 2+ months (see image).
The best feature is the Save Search and Save Alert features, which will allow you to “Receive alert emails when new house ads are listed, which fit this search”.
This means that you can be ready to apply before others have a chance to.
2) Be prepared to act fast and to travel to meet with the owners ASAP.
When looking for appropriate gigs/sits, I:
- Check my email and alerts EVERY morning and if I see an opportunity, I email them IMMEDIATELY. Many times, after the morning alert/email – I have emailed and then spoken to the homeowners within only a few hours of their post – sometimes even securing the sit over the phone that day.
- Take time to read the ad carefully, respond with exactly how I can meet the needs of the owner and provide my phone number.
- Let the homeowners know that I can provide a number of recent references and offer to discuss this and anything else that they need on the phone or on a video call.
- Attach a copy of my current AFP (Australian Federal Police) check.
- Make notes of any questions that I have about their requirements and have these by the phone, ready to go.
After you’ve spoken to each other, and if you and the homeowners feel that the sit is right for you, I try and organise to meet with them in person as soon as possible.
Yes, this can be tricky if you are already on a house sit and is much easier if you are a couple, as one person can stay and the other can make the visit. Yet, as a solo sitter, I drove over 900km in two days to meet with the owners of my current home during a brief window between two short sits.
This visit achieves a few things:
- It shows homeowners your commitment to the job.
- It allows you to make sure it is right for you. You can ask questions in person and observe how things work with your own eyes. If it feels wrong, it’s better that we know this before I commit.
- It builds trust.
- It increases your chances of success immensely, as people are much more likely to say “yes” to someone sitting at their kitchen table with their pet lovingly asleep on their knee.
3) Go above and beyond the others who apply.
House sitting is amazing. I love it.
Yet, it is in many ways, a job.
In order to attract the best long term house sitting ‘gigs/sits/jobs”, you simply have to be the BEST LONG TERM HOUSE SITTER. You must be professional, committed and willing to go above and beyond to make sure that the home and pet/s that you mind are in (near to) the exact condition that you found them in. Only commit to a long term house sit if you believe in good faith that you can complete it.
I have MANY excellent reviews, a thoughtfully written profile (with a video) and lots of photos of the 50+ pets that I’ve taken care of. I have my own website and business cards.
This puts me at the front of the line most of the time and it will for you too.
Imagine what long term house sitting could mean for you...
The work that you do now could pay off in the form of waking up every morning to the sound of the waves accompanied by the tender nudging of a sleepy dog. You might have to pinch yourself as you pick fresh strawberries from the garden to eat once you’ve finished your work, knowing that (for 10 months at least) you’ve got freedom from rent and bills while you watch the sunset over high tide.
So what's stopping you?
Now that Australian international and state borders have re-opened (or are re-opening), there are more opportunities than there have been for a while, so it’s a great time to start!
Do you have any other long term house sitting secrets? Comment below!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link (at no cost to you). I personally use all the services that I recommend and promote them based on my own positive experiences.