When we talk about housesitting, which we do a lot, and we tell people we get to live in luxurious homes for FREE, the immediate question is – What’s the catch?
And I guess it’s a fair question because it really does sound too good to be true doesn’t it?
We have had the pleasure of living in beach houses, million dollar homes, island homes, quaint English cottages, European rural properties, inner city apartments and so much more! All for FREE!
So I thought Id explain exactly what the catch is so you can decide if this housesitting gig is really worth your time.
We’ve spoken about the benefits of housesitting in detail, and there are many of them! But let’s talk about what’s involved or what’s expected of you while living in these luxury homes shall we?
Most homeowners do not ask a lot from the housesitter. They have two main concerns; their home and their pets.
They are looking for someone responsible, someone who genuinely likes animals (if you are applying for a sit with pets) and someone who can take charge if something should go wrong (like a burst pipe or a sick pet). Their only concern is they will come home to happy pets and their home the way they left it.
This usually means they want you to keep the house clean and tidy, to bring in the mail, take out the rash and maybe pull a weed or two out of the gardens.
Most importantly they want you to love and care for their pets as if they were your own. They want you to cuddle them, dote on them, feed them, walk them and clean up their boo boo’s.
Does that sound like hard work to you? To me that sounds like a very fair exchange to live in their lovely home RENT FREE!
You do get some homeowners that may want you to step up a little more and mow the lawns once a week or trim some hedges or maybe scoop the leaves from the pool. That’s not so bad is it?
You are probably thinking “there must be more to it than that”. But there really isn’t!
Okay, you might get a homeowner who wants a little more from you in return for living in his home free of charge but these things are discussed up front so if its something you are not comfortable with, you just don’t accept that sit.
Housesitting really does mean that get to live in someone’s home for FREE. It isn’t a trick. It doesn’t mean you will be sleeping on the couch and it doesn’t mean you will be treated as a slave by the homeowner. It is what it is – FREE ACCOMMODATION!
Let me show you some of the sits we have done and what was required of us by the homeowner… Just to give you a better idea of what happens in a house sit.
Vero Beach Florida
About the property:
- Million dollar home
- Use of 2 cars
- Pool and lovely outdoor area
- Beautiful kitchen
- All the mod-cons
- Beautiful landscaped gardens
What did we have to do in return to live in this luxurious home?
- Feed and walk 2 of the most adorable dogs who stole our hearts
- Bring in the mail
- Keep the house tidy
We didn’t need to clean – There was a regular cleaner
We didn’t need to mow the lawns – There was a weekly lawn guy
We didn’t need to keep the pool clean or put in chemicals – There was a weekly pool guy
I am not kidding you!! We had 10 days, then another 6 weeks at a later date, of living in one of the most beautiful homes we have looked after to date and it cost nothing but a little love to two gorgeous dogs!
San Francisco California
About the property:
- Beautiful refurbished home
- Use of car – A Lexus to boot!
- The most amazing hot tub – Under the stars with garden lights (Magical!)
- The most comfortable bed we’ve ever slept on (including our own!) – King size with memory foam thank you very much!
- A fireplace which came in very handy on the cooler nights
What did we have to do in return to live in this beautiful home?
- Feed a gorgeous dog called Charlie and a very lively 16 year old cat, Terry
- Walk Charlie every day
- Give Charlie his medication and Terry her insulin needle (which was very easy!)
- Put a scoop of chlorine in the hot tub after use
- Mow the very small lawn area
- Keep the house clean and tidy
- Clean out the litter box and removed Charlies boo boo’s in the garden
I could give many more examples from recent housesits but they will all read the same – FREE accommodation for very little in return. It’s almost criminal that we get to stay in these homes for so little effort.
Here’s some of the more common chores asked of house sitters:
- Pool maintenance
- Lawn care
- Weed removal
- General house cleaning
- Feeding pets
- Walking pets
- Cleaning up number 2’s on the lawns
- Cleaning out a litter tray
- Watering gardens/lawns
- Bring in mail (or forward to another address)
Now, I’m not saying you wont be asked to do other things that might require a little more effort, but its not usually something unreasonable and if it is, you don’t have to take the sit. Or maybe you are up for a new challenge and welcome the idea of trying something new! (Like a ride on lawn mower – That’s not work, that’s fun!)
What I do suggest is you ensure you have a clear understanding of what is required from day 1. When we are Skyping (or emailing) with the homeowner, before we have accepted the sit, we make sure we ask them exactly what they require us to do during our time there. It’s always good to get it in writing just to be on the safe side. If something is asked of us that we are not comfortable with (which hasn’t happened yet) we would simply decline the offer to sit for them.
So yes, when I say its FREE accommodation it really is free.
And while it all sounds too good to be true, keep in mind, it’s not all in the housesitters favor – The homeowner also gets a lot out of the arrangement too. They get peace of mind knowing their home will be lived in, looked after and clean upon arrival home. And most importantly, to most homeowners, they know their pets will be loved, cared for and have someone there in case an emergency should arise.
This is definitely a win-win for both parties.
Have you done any house sitting while you travel? Would you agree this is a good method to use for long term travel?