How to be a great property sitter.

How to be a great property sitter.

How to be a good house sitter.

How to be a good house sitter.

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Home » Travel tips » How to be a good house sitter.

How to be a good house sitter.

People who travel often like someone to stay in their home, and care for their house and pets.



Increasing numbers of people are travelling, and many have pets that need care while they are away from home, and often security for their house is required too.  I have been a house sitter on and off for over 5 years now, and will continue to do so until I am ready to settle down.  Some pets do not settle well in kennels which can be expensive if there is more than one pet and the period is a long one.

Who should house sit?

House sitters are responsible adults – of either gender, who will take on the responsibility of doing what the house owner wishes to take away the worry away from the owner. It is a good idea to gain some experience looking after a home for a friend or family member, which will give you some idea of the challenges of house sitting.

How do you find house sitting opportunities?

Word of mouth is an excellent start, or visit one of the many websites.  Go to and key in “house sitting” and visit websites to get further information. Once you start doing house sitting, and let family and friends know, you may find you have a increasing number of offers. 


It is a good idea to get written references from the owner of houses that you have been caring for, and also ask them if they are happy to speak with a potential house owner, should the need arise. 

Decide when and where you will be available.

Short term house sits are more frequent, but long term ones often occur, so you need to be vigilant with dates and places.  At the moment I prefer long term house sits because I am at university, and I am free to go anywhere, though ideally in my own home state.

What does the home owner supply?

It depends.  This is always something that is negotiable.  I make a list of my preferences and try and find a house that mostly fits the criteria I have written down. I do not pay for any utilities, I do not use the house phone, nor do I pay for Internet.  I must have my own room, with some cupboard space.  I choose to supply many things for myself, but home owners often supply linen, use of all facilities in the house and cleaning equipment.  The home owner buys the pet food, and I like a list of instructions with contact phone numbers of people that I may need to call on for assistance.  e.g. Veterinary Clinic number, prefered electrician, plumber etc, and family member to contact.  I like to be able to contact the home owner if I need urgent advice.

What pets, if any, will you care for? 

I have cared for birds, fish, cats, and dogs (smallish ones), but I refuse pet snakes, rats, etc.  Will consider horse, goats etc.

What about the garden?

I have on occasions mowed lawns, and I do general garden maintenance.

What housework do I do?

I am prepared to sweep, dust, vacuum and  clean as if is my own home.  I like to leave the house better than it was when I arrived.


It does take a while to get familiar with a different house – where things are, and how they work.  I have had a number of interesting challenges which I will relate below, but after a week I settle in well, and can almost feel at home.  I do have friends visit, and occasionally stay overnight, but I am particular about caring for the home, so don’t have parties, or in any way risk causing any damage or concern.

I am aware that some house owners want to charge the house sitter, but I settle that in the beginning. I do not pay.  I know some house sitters like to be paid – and I would make that judgement based on the work I have to do e.g. lots of animals, other duties.

What things to do I take to a house sitting job?

I pack quite a few things.  I prefer my own bed sheets, towels etc, and I take my own computer and printer, as well I have two big boxes that I load with items that I think I will need. I tend to collect  quite a few things for a long house sit – so often have to get other plastic boxes to take my items with me.  I choose to use little of the food in the house, and replace all items I use.


Some funny/intersting experiences:

At one house on Christmas eve, while I was out, the neighbours broke the fence down to use the swimming pool, leaving a gaping hole.  I found out which neighbour and pointed out that their act was illegal and as it was a security issue with the pool (now unfenced) I would report it to the police if the fence was not fixed up.  I listened to the men hammering in a vain attempt to repair the fence at 11 pm!  Subsequently they paid for it to be repaired professionally.

I was sitting having lunch when I heard the sound of lots of running water.  When I investigated a large pipe in the neighbours yard had broken and water was flowing into the property I was in charge of.  Luckily I found it quickly and there was minimal damage.  If there had been no one home, it may have been rather ugly!

There were two cats – outside cats – and one disappeared while I was at work.  The missing cat was never found, but the remaining cat was very distressed and needed a lot of extra care.  The owner did not blame me – indeed I was not to blame, and I continue to house sit for them.  I had doorknocked the neighbourhood, checked with animal welfare agencies all to no avail.

The house owners also owned an adjoining house which they were trying to rent out, but their son, who had the key, had a BIG party in it.  It did not wake me but I saw the young drunk people spilling out of it in the morning.  I reported it to the parents.  Luckily no damage was done, but their son was not popular!

A power proplem occurred in the car port and the light was on 24 hours and would not turn off.  I had the light disconnected and called the electrician who fixed it – a faulty switch.

One cat liked to terrorise me – and would hid on top of a cupboard and would pounce on me as I walked past – with sharp claws clinging to my clothes. It would also sit on my book or newspaper to stop me reading!

Tips & Warnings

Housesitting can be very rewarding, but remember to respect the privacy of the house owner, and take care to leave the house EXACTLY as it was (or better/cleaner) than when you arrived. Take special care with all their belongings.

If you need to be away from the house for any time – let the owner know.  If pets are involved you must stay and care for them as you have been instructed.



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Comments (1)

robertsky, 6 months ago

Very nice post thanks for sharing, have a look at Pakistani Girls

“How to be a good house sitter.” is managed by Tottie



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