Although we all love to go away on vacation, a lot of us feel uneasy leaving our precious home empty for an extended period of time. While it's a well-known fact that many break-ins occur during the holiday season, other areas of concern are the care of our much-loved pets and garden. If we don't have friends or family living close by who can check on our home, engaging the services of house-sitter is a great alternative way to ensure that everything is taken care of during our absence.
Image courtesy of Michael Otto (user Mayquel)/Wikimedia Commons
While house-sitting can offer a solution for those who are uneasy about leaving their home unattended, for budget-conscious holiday-makers, house-sitting is also a terrific way to stay in a particular place, without paying for pricey hotel accommodation. Similarly, many budget-conscious locals, such as seniors or students, have also taken up house-sitting as a way to avoid expensive rentals. Some people, saving up for a deposit on their dream home, also choose to house-sit for a few years, to give themselves a head-start before they make the big commitment of taking out a mortgage.
Image courtesy of Nyttend/Wikimedia Commons
People seeking the services of a house-sitter are located in every part of Australia (and abroad), and their motives are many and varied. Many are fly-in / fly-out workers who are employed in remote outback locations (often the mines), although their family home is situated elsewhere. Work contracts vary, and therefore such people are usually wanting a house-sitter for two to four weeks, until they're next rostered to return home.
Gardening is an important part of a house-sitter's duties. Image courtesy of Dguendel/Wikimedia Commons
Other clients are professional people who are spending a year or more on a long-term contract interstate or overseas, or families who are on long-service leave and travelling away from home for an extended period, usually a few months or more. Finally, there are also many shorter-term gigs available, during school holidays or when homeowners feel the urge to simply escape the city for a few days. In a nutshell, house-sitting gigs can range from a few days to well over a year.
It's advantageous for house-sitters to be animal-lovers. Image courtesy of Lgovindprakash/Wikimedia Commons
Although many kinds of people take up house-sitting for a wide range of reasons, there are several character traits which are essential if you want to find good positions regularly. Impeccable honesty is the first characteristic that immediately springs to mind. As you'll be caring for someone's most valuable investment, homeowners will want to be assured that you're totally honest and trustworthy. In most cases, you'll need to provide photo ID, contactable references and a police clearance to verify your character. An online personal profile is another good way to let homeowners know a bit about you and convince them why you'd be their perfect house-sitter.
Cleanliness, responsibility and a good work ethic are other important assets. Also advantageous is a love for animals and gardening. As a house-sitting placement involves caring for the homeowner's precious house and garden, these qualities will reassure the owner that you're willing to care for their home, garden and pets in the same way that you'd want your own to be looked after. Many people have spent years cultivating their gardens, and want to avoid the heartbreak of having them die during the hot Australian summer. Similarly, for many families, their pets are a much-loved part of the family, and they want them to be protected, well-fed and cared for while they're away. While you'll receive free accommodation as a house-sitter, your side of the bargain is to responsibly ensure that the needs of the homeowners are dutifully met.
Throughout Australia and overseas there are many online house-sitting companies that specialise in connecting homeowners with would-be house-sitters. To find out more, take a look at a few websites to see what their requirements are. In Australia a few reputable ones are Aussie House-sitters, House-sitting Australia, Trusted House-sitters and The House-sitters. There are many other companies as well. If you think you'd like to give house-sitting a try, go online and research them all to find one that perfectly suits your needs.
In a nutshell, if you're wanting to save money on accommodation, either in your home-town or while travelling, house-sitting may be the perfect arrangement for you. While a certain amount of detachment is required due to the regular moving it involves, it's a terrific way to save a substantial amount of money quickly or to visit a wide variety of beautiful places, in Australia and abroad. If you're honest, reliable and hard-working, with good character references, thousands of homeowners could be vying for your presence on their property. According to some insiders, there is such a demand for good house-sitters, that you can easily pick and choose where you want to go. Due to their reputation for trustworthiness, responsibility and common-sense, mature-age couples are particularly sought-after.