1. Join a house sitting site
While there are plenty of ways to find house sitting opportunities – from classifieds sites like Craigslist to word-of-mouth – the majority of opportunities get posted to house sitting sites such as Trusted House Sitters, Housecarers and Nomador.
2. Write a great profile
Once you’ve joined a house sitting site, the next step is to write a great profile. This is where you sell yourself to homeowners and convince them that you’re the perfect person to live in their home and look after it while they’re away.
Be sure to give plenty of information about who you are and why you want to house sit.
3. Add some photos
They say a picture is a thousand words. You should add several photos of yourself to your profile, as many as the site allows. It’s very rare that a house sitter will get accepted for a house sit without having at least one photo.
4. Get referenced
References are key to getting accepted for house sitting positions. It doesn’t matter how well-written your house sitting profile is, if you don’t have at least one reference, most people are going to skip over your profile.
The best starting point for getting a reference is to offer to house sit for friends and family that have pets.
5. Get a police background check
In most countries it’s easy to get a criminal records check; a document which states that you have no previous convictions. Having this is usually as simple as going into the police station, requesting it, and paying the associated admin charge which is usually minimal.
Having this document will make a big difference in how trustworthy you are perceived.
6. Start Applying
You may get lucky and get accepted for the house sit that you apply for, but for the majority of people, house sitting is a numbers game. You may need to apply for several before you get accepted for one.
7. Realise its competitive
If the first house sit that you apply for is in the Caribbean, realise that you’re probably going to be competing with a lot of other house sitters for that position. Although there’s no harm in applying for it, be aware that the competition for opportunities like this will be high.
8. Offer to Skype or have a phone call
When applying for house sits, they key is to try and make a connection. This can be difficult to do over e-mail and much easier over the phone. Offer to Skype the homeowner to go through any questions or queries he or she might have.
9. Follow up politely
If you haven’t heard anything back after a few days, there’s no harm in politely following up with an email a couple of days later.
10. Enjoy it
House sitting is a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. Building up a profile, applying for house sits and dealing with homeowners all takes time. If you’re only doing it for the free accommodation, it’s a lot of hoops to go through.