How to Become a Housesitter and Find Housesitting Opportunities

Learn some pointers for how to become a housesitter, such as getting great references from your clients.


| January/February 1976



037-022-02

 Housesitting provides the opportunity to travel and enjoy a lower cost of living. Pack your bags!


ILLUSTRATION: DIANE AZEVEDO

Although the history of house sitting has yet to be written, it's reasonable to assume that the practice has been going on so long that it was probably originally called "cavesitting". Still, the idea of earning shelter by caring for a house while its owners are away on leave or extended vacation may be as new to you as it was to my wife and me when we first stumbled on this constructive answer to our own housing problem.

Our incentive to enter the home minding business came a few years ago, when Diane and I were looking for a way to save enough money so that we could eventually buy our own place in the country. However, with me tied to a low paying university C.O. job and Diane — who couldn't get a teaching position — clerking at a small store, we were already living close to the cuff. So close that — stranded as we were in a college town with its built-in minimum wages and maximum prices — saving any money at all after our day-to-day bills were paid seemed out of the question.

The solution: Cut out one major expense — rent — entirely by moving out of our apartment and into a house that would cost us nothing, so long as we maintained the building and its grounds. (This was really great for us because the arrangement had the added advantage of giving Diane and me an education in gardening and home upkeep before we bought our homestead.)

Please don't think, though, that the benefit was all on our side. Housesitting is no rip-off, but a service that's of equally mutual use to the owner — whose residence is looked after in the manner to which it's accustomed — and the caretaker, who receives low-cost (or no-cost) shelter.

The gains to both parties are more than material, too, because substituting a service for cash rent transforms the notoriously difficult landlord tenant relationship — with its deception, fraud and begrudged upkeep — into one of trust and cooperation.

From the landlord's point of view, you know, the trouble with leasing his property is that he relinquishes his rights to it for the duration of the contract with little guarantee that the house or apartment will still be in one piece when he gets it back. (Frequently, the rental income doesn't even compensate the owner for the wear and tear on the building — a fact which discourages him from making repairs or improvements.)

john johnson
8/25/2011 10:48:43 AM

Thanks for writing about rent-free living as a housesitter. I have tried all the housesitting websites and have found www.caretaker.org to be the best for housesitting assignments. I recently started using www.caretaker.org and have found two housesitting opportunities there so far. John


jane_28
1/4/2008 9:08:45 PM

You can find great housesitting opportunities at www.caretaker.org


evelyn_8
8/2/2007 12:09:11 AM

How much should be paid to house sit a cat 24-7?






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