The Professional House Sitter
What’s the first thing to pop in your mind when you think about becoming a care taker?
If you’re into horror movies like me, it might be the classic film The Shining with Jack Nicholson, where he and his family are cooped up in an enormous, deserted, and haunted ski lodge for an entire winter. Under such circumstances it’s no surprise that one of them eventually snaps.
But that is not the type of house-sitting jobs I want to talk about. In fact, the jobs I want to tell you about are about as far from that spooky ski lodge as possible.
If it’s ever been your dream to live for a few months in a cottage in the south of France, to take up temporary residence in an Italian villa on the Riviera, or to lounge poolside in the Virgin Islands at a beachfront mansion, then house sitting might just be your dream job.
On the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, I know plenty of folks who pay no rent – because they’re house sitting for wealthy Americans who have vacation homes there. The owners come once a year for a couple of weeks – that’s it.
Imagine waking up in someone’s beautifully furnished cottage in idyllic French cow country, where your only responsibilities are to water a few potted plants.
Doesn’t sound like much of a job, right? Well, it really is your real job as a house sitter to simply live in the house. You see, there are literally million of people with enough money to buy two or more homes – one is their permanent residence and the other is their vacation home.
And during those months when the vacation home is utterly vacant, collecting cobwebs and becoming a target for fiendish thieves, it gives the homeowners a tremendous amount of peace knowing that someone is living in that house, sometimes overseeing its maintenance, landscaping, and such.
That is a very valuable service many homeowners desire.
House Sitting as a Job
Now let’s talk money. As a house sitter, you’ll find as you browse the various house-sitting jobs that compensation is usually not included. In other words, you’re not getting a paycheck.
Your compensation comes in the form of traveling to new and interesting – even exotic – locations and submerging yourself in the local culture like no tourist is able. Because you live there!
After all, you won’t be staying in a hotel, you’ll be living in a nicely furnished residential home…with all the amenities that entails. Hot tub? Swimming pool? Goose down comforters? I’m not saying these are guaranteed, but they’re definitely a possibility.
I’ve seen listings from homeowners looking for a live-in house sitter for a month to two years. And these listings can found be all over the world.
Are you an avid surfer who would love nothing more than to spend a few months surfing the epic swells of Hawaii but never thought you could cover all the expenses? Check out the house-sitting listings…and you may very well find a property right on Waikiki Beach, rent free.
Another bonus from house sitting is that the owners – who, let’s face it, have enough money to own two homes, one of which is lived in sporadically – employ gardeners, maids, pool guys, pet walkers and groomers. So, in many cases you’re not on the hook to do any of that.
Sure, you may have to get out of bed at noon so the maid can change the goose-down comforter in the master bedroom, or open the door for the electrician, but those are small prices to pay for living in luxury for absolutely free.
Here are a few listings I came across on www.luxuryhousesitting.com that might pique your interest:
Location: Allier, France
Description: Beautiful, cozy detached cottage with own garden – adjacent to owners farmhouse. Both set in peaceful countryside. Cottage has all mod cons, 3 bedrooms, open plan kitchen/sitting room. Privacy and calm.
Location: Belize, Central America
Description: You can explore the jungle, fish, snorkel in the coral reef, or take some canoe trips. I need a house sitter for the month of June. Have your own bedroom, living room and bath on 3rd floor overlooking the Caribbean
Description: HOUSE GUEST(S) wanted to occupy a mountain cottage(s). Full time. Located in the foothills, one hour from Sacramento. Bottom of canyon. Four miles from freeway. You can fish off the porch. Keep all gold found in the river. Must love outdoors, remoteness
Location: U.S. Virgin Islands
Description: positions available on St. John in a hillside community. Free housing and a 40% meal discount are available. Anyone aged 18 to 80 is eligible to apply. We have short and long-term time frames available.
As you can see, the possibilities span the globe. Ever wanted to spend an idyllic season in Fuji? How about rugged Alaska? Every possible geographic location contains folks looking for a good, reliable house sitter to look after their home.
I’ve even seen a beautiful country estate in West London that is in desperate need for a house sitter. The only catch? Looking after an elderly cat.
The Duties of a House Sitter
Essentially, your main occupation of being a house sitter is to enjoy yourself – and make sure the place doesn’t burn down. Do you play a music instrument? Bring it along. Always wanted to finish the screenplay that’s been bouncing around your desk for ages? Bring it along and finish it.
And consider this… this might be the perfect time to start that online business you’ve had on the back burner for so long.
The truth is, as a house sitter, you will have free time. To some people – specifically, those who hate vacations and would prefer to spend every waking minute in their office cubicle – this might seem terrifying. But to people looking to slow down the insane pace of modern life and take a few months out of the system of constant emails, phone calls, deadlines, text messages and worries of career advancement, house sitting could very well revive a tired, burned out soul.
How Do You Qualify?
You may wonder how you could possibly be hired to house sit in a luxurious vacation property. Aren’t homeowners flooded with applicants? Actually, no.
Just by being one of the few to apply, you’re halfway there. But there are a few things you can do to boost your chances:
- Send character references and a police background check to homeowners.
- Create an ad on the house-sitting directories listed below.
- Scan listings on the sites below regularly – new gigs are being added regularly
- Whenever you complete a gig, ask for a referral or letter of recommendation.
Okay, you’re ready. Now go out there and find your dream home for the next few months.
I wish you the best of luck!
P.S. House sitting may not make you any money. But think of the money you’ll save, the places you’ll see, and the time you’ll have to truly enjoy life. You’re ready to get started as a successful house sitter. But here are a few more resources to help make your dream a reality.
House Sitting and Caretaking Directories
More House-Sitting Tips