How to FAIL at House Sitting without really trying

on Thursday, 17 March 2016. Posted in Blog

So you’re thinking of doing some House Sitting, awesome!!


House Sitting has really taken off in Australia in the last few years due to the spiralling unaffordability of houses to purchase or rent.  If you are looking to save for a deposit or on rental costs this could be the way to achieve it.

Depending on what your house sitting expectations are, it could just be what you have been looking for, then again it could just be your worst nightmare if unprepared. Not to put too fine a point on it, House Sitting is not for everyone and there are numerous things that you need to make yourself aware of before committing to the House Sitting experience.


Ok, here are some pointers that, from our experience, and if you follow them, will help to make it a pleasant experience for both parties in the relationship, the sitter and the owner.


House Sitters - You have made the decision to house sit so what next?

  1. References - First and foremost you will more than likely need references or contact details from people that know you and can vouch for your good character, reliability etc. Don’t expect house owners to just take your word as they must feel secure in the knowledge that their property is in trusted and secure hands while they are away.
  2. Police check – You may be asked for a police check so it would be wise to get one before you start. Check online in your state as to how to obtain one.
  3. Pets - A large number of the house sitting jobs involve looking after the owner’s pets so you need to be a dog/cat/bird/or whatever person and be prepared to look after them as the owners would expect you to. You do need to show that you are indeed an animal lover and can care for their most treasured family member.
  4. Websites - Join a House Sitting website and there is any number of them to choose from (this one included laughing) There you can search for properties in the desired areas and within the time frames available to you.
  5. Profile - Ensure you have a killer profile with a lot of detail, one that stands out from the rest that says PICK ME, PICK ME. Include a photo, a good quality close up preferably, so the owner doesn’t have to guess what you look like.
  6. Be proactive - As the ratio will always be more House Sitters to House Sitting jobs it will pay to check the websites for new house sitting jobs frequently and respond promptly to them. Just don’t sit back and expect to be contacted by the owners. You must be proactive to secure that job. Be sure to read what they expect of the house sitter and make a list of questions for the owner. Later on, if you are successful you will need contact details and phone numbers of all the relevant services, plumber, vet, electrical, water, internet etc,etc. Have them make up a folder with all the info if they have not already done that.
  7. Contacting the House Owners - Your introductory emails should be polite and to the point, saying why you would like the opportunity to house sit for them and what experience, if any, you have had previously. Refer them to your website profile. Don’t be afraid if you have not had any experience before as we all have to start at some point. As long as you come across as an honest and trustworthy person you are in with a good chance. Offer to send your references or whatever else you think will be of assistance to the owner. Ask for previous Sitter’s contact details if available and do check with them on their experiences house sitting for the Owner. Go with your gut feelings if something does not seem right.
  8. Meetings - If you get a favorable response from the owner the next step is to arrange a meeting at the property or a mutually convenient place keeping in mind your safety. If in person is not possible at the time then by phone or Skype. Again, sell yourself, as what the Owner wants to hear is that you can solve their dilemma about leaving their biggest asset and their beloved pets in your safe hands. Make sure you answer their questions fully and truthfully.
  9. Expenses – You need to discuss what happens if the unexpected happens and repairs, vet or other expenses are incurred and how they are to be paid for.


  1. After the meetings or calls - After your meeting, if there was no decision made at the time and you feel it went well, phone or email thanking them for taking the time to meet. If you feel it is not for you contact them promptly and decline the job. Don’t just leave it as you may still get the nod if other prospects for the job do not eventuate for the owners.
  2. Try, try again - If not successful don’t worry as your turn will come if you are persistent.

House owners

  1. Insurances - Check with your insurance company to ensure that you are covered when using the services of a house sitter. Most companies see it as a benefit to have the property occupied when you are away but check just in case
  2. References – Ask for references from previous house sitting jobs or character references if the person has not done house sitting before. Most House Sitters can provide a police check if required.
  3. Confirm dates required and timing of arrival etc.
  4. Be sure to fully inform the potential House Sitter of all that is required of them to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes.
  5. Prepare a list of contacts details of neighbours, family, doctor, hospital, vet, plumber, electrician etc in case of problems or unforeseen circumstances that may arise while you are away.
  6. Ask the potential House Sitter to meet with you at the property or at a convenient location prior to deciding on their suitability. Run through with them your expectations of what will be required during their time there. If not possible at the time get to know them by phone or Skype and go through everything with them.
  7. If you decide that they are not suitable promptly advise them, don’t leave them hanging.

In Summary

The most important piece of advice we can give both parties is to prepare a House Sitting Agreement that details the requirements of both the Sitter and the Owner. Without that agreement things are subject to interpretation and could prevent a lot of heartache in the long run. We have an agreement that can be edited to suit each parties needs on our website. (you do need to be a member and logged in to download) Download

House sitting can be a mutually beneficial experience for both parties as long as it is approached with the above points taken into consideration.

Happy House Sitting.

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