Housesitting is a fantastic way to travel, especially if you work remotely.
It can save you money, give you an insight into what it’s really like to live in the place you’re visiting, and often means you get to spend time cuddling some very cute dogs.
I’ve been housesitting for about two years now. For me, it’s been a fantastic way to see more of Spain without spending a fortune, whilst getting plenty of work done into the bargain.
If the idea of a free holiday that involves bonding with a furry friend sounds like your idea of heaven, then you’ll be keen to try your first house sit.
Of course, you can get house sits without the help of a housesitting site. Ask around and see if any of your family, friends or colleagues that live in nice places could do with a house sitter. Last summer, we spent two weeks looking after my best friend’s gorgeous house in the Austrian Alps.
But if you’ve run out of contacts to take advantage of, housesitting sites are great.
When it comes to getting your first gig, though, it can be tough. When you’ve got no reviews on your profile to back you up and there are so many sitters out there for owners to choose from, then your chances of getting picked, especially for the most appealing sits, can seem slim.
Keep scrolling for some tips for getting your first house sit.
1. Invest time and energy into your profile
Like anything in life, if you want something then you’ve got to work for it. I personally am a member of TrustedHousesitters, but the things you need to include in your profile will be fairly similar no matter what housesitting site you opt for.
Set aside a good chunk of time to write the best profile you possibly can. Sell yourself. Talk about any experience you’ve had with housesitting for friends and family in the past.
Talk about your pets, or the pets you grew up with. Talk about what makes you someone that a house and pet owner can really trust.
If you’re relatively young, then mention it rather than shying away from it and explain why you’re far more mature than your age might suggest.
Think about what sets you apart from other applicants. Do you speak the local language, meaning you’d be able to communicate with the neighbours if, touch wood, there were a crisis?
If you’re a location-independent freelancer, then you could talk about how all the work you have to do will mean you’ll be keeping their dogs company all day long.
Go to town on your profile and cover all the bases you can think of.
2. Put plenty of personality into it
In situations like these, some people clam up and seem to think they need to be all formal, but the reality is quite the opposite.
Make sure you show off your personality. Write as you’d speak, and add in plenty of personal touches.
Just like in the world of sales, people that are considering choosing you as their housesitter need to feel a personal connection with you to be willing to let you into their home.
3. Add relevant photos
You can add a whole selection of photos of you to most housesitting sites, so take advantage.
Share photos of you with your family and friends, photos of you doing the things you love, and preferably some photos of you cuddling some cute animals.
Try and give a rounded idea of who you are as a person, and make sure you’re smiling.
4. Get some glowing references
On TrustedHousesitters, before you get reviews, you can get references. That means absolutely anyone can write all about why you’d make an amazing housesitter.
Only their first name shows up, so I actually got my mum to write my first reference as she’s a fellow copywriter, so has a way with words, and knows what people are looking for in a housesitter as my parents often use them.
5. Apply for short, local house sits
A good way of boosting your profile and getting one step closer to a month in a luxury lake house in Canada is to start small. Look around for housesits near you that you could easily do and get a review out of.
6. Apply for last-minute sits
If someone’s advertising for a housesitter for a jaw-dropping house in July, and it’s January, then they are going to be utterly spoilt for choice. But someone who’s going away next week isn’t going to have all that many applicants.
If you’re a freelancer that has the luxury of flexibility and location-independence, then take advantage and do a last-minute house sit to build up those reviews.
7. Don’t send generic messages
You wouldn’t (or I hope you wouldn’t) apply for a job with a one-size-fits-all cover letter, so you shouldn’t apply for house sits that way either.
Remember, you’re asking these people to trust you with their home and beloved pets. It’s a serious business!
Take the time to write personalised messages for each of the sits you apply to, explaining just why you think you’d be their dream housesitter.
8. Be warm and friendly
Again, just because it’s a serious business doesn’t mean you have to be formal and reserved. Be yourself when you’re contacting them. Want to gush about how gorgeous you think their labrador is? Go right ahead.
Connect with the owner on a personal level. If they like you, they’re far more likely to pick you and leave you a 5-star review afterwards.
With a great profile and a few reviews under your belt, you’ll have the pick of the world’s best housesits.
Whether you use it for a cheap holiday or end up travelling from one house sit to the next, you’ll never regret putting the effort in to get the ball rolling.
Have you ever used housesitting as a way to travel? Have I missed any of your tops tips for getting your first house sit? Leave a comment and let me know.