Updated August 1, 2019
We are doing this right now on the beautiful Caribbean coast of México!
House sitting in retirement is an exciting opportunity because it is a great way to travel internationally and see the world without paying for accommodation. But you won’t just be seeing the world as a tourist might do, you can actually immerse yourself into a different culture with all the new experiences this entails.
Imagine spending a couple of months living on a Caribbean island, gazing upon a turquoise sea or finding yourself in a chalet somewhere in Switzerland surrounded by snow-capped mountains?
This is not a dream, you can really do this.
What is it?
House sitting is a mutually beneficial exchange between a homeowner and a house sitter whereby the homeowner leaves their property in the care of an individual for an agreed-upon time.
The care of the property owner’s home may entail many things including looking after pets, gardening, pool maintenance, etc. This is pre-determined and defined before the housesitting assignment begins.
Who is it for?
Well, anyone who enjoys traveling and not paying for a hotel could do this type of work, but, it is absolutely ideal for those of us in retirement.
People from the “cool” generation are in very high demand as housesitters. Just put yourself in the shoes of a potential homeowner. Who would you prefer to be taking care of your home and possibly your beloved pets, while you are away? A 20 or 30-year-old or someone in their 50’s and up?
Mature housesitters are sought by homeowners because we have flexibility, wisdom, (or we should do by now anyway) and life experience. We are not going to be throwing wild parties in someone’s home and we know how to deal with emergencies. We have already dealt with many by now in our lives.
What about Payment?
This will vary greatly and depend upon the arrangement you have made with the homeowner. Every job is different.
Before you accept any kind of housesitting assignment, you must clearly define what your duties will be when taking care of someone else’s property. If you are staying in a house with minimal work to do, you may not be paid anything.
Or, there may be multiple pets to care for, basic gardening to do, maybe even overseeing other staff such as a regular housekeeper or weekly landscapers. In this case, you may be paid a stipend of some kind or an hourly wage if you are doing something very time consuming such as paying bills, taking pets to groomers or vet visits or running around doing other errands.
What are the Benefits of Being a Housesitter:
Here are just a few:
- Stay in locations near and far – you can choose to work close to home or decide to travel to places in the world you only dreamed you could visit.
- Save thousands on accommodation because you will not be paying to stay in people’s homes.
- Experience new cultures and meet interesting new people.
- Learn the basics of a new language or practice one you already know.
- Have fun trying new activities in different places such as snorkeling, scuba diving, ocean kayaking, cross-country skiing, visiting open-air markets, touring vineyards or having a pint in a quaint country pub. It all depends on where you want to go.
- Animal lovers will enjoy interacting and caring for other people’s pets which could be anything from a hamster to a horse!
The Benefits of Having a Housesitter for the Owner
There are many and here are a few of the most important ones:
- Taking care of the homeowner’s pets – 80 % of house sits are because people do not want to leave their best friends in a boarding environment. Not just because it is much better for pets to stay in their own homes, but boarding fees can be astronomical these days. Most of the homes we worked in had pets. This is huge for people.
- Security – Having someone stay in your home is a major deterrent to crime. If burglars know there is someone in the house, they will move on.
- Burst water pipe – oh man, this happened to us more than once when we were house sitting. The damage something like this can cause could run into thousands. But if you are there, you can contact a professional right away to come and fix it for the owner. Trust me, they will love you for this.
- Fire – another devastating event that could happen when a home is empty. Even if there is a smoke alarm, how much better it is if someone is right there in the home and can act quickly to summon help.
Our first house/pet sitting experience was on the island of Grand Cayman. We took care of a beautiful home right on the canal for a Swiss banker and his wife. They had two wonderful German Shepherds that we absolutely loved. We ended up becoming friends with these people and we took care of their home and the dogs many times after that.
Years later, we decided to start our own house/pet sitting business because I had to become a caregiver for my mother and we needed something we could do from a home-based location. You can read more about online income opportunities for caregivers here.
We found that the number one reason people hired us was to take care of their dogs or cats in their homes. We also had clients with goats, lizards, fish, and birds and we took care of these critters also. However, we also stayed in people’s homes because they wanted the peace of mind of just having someone there.
We even had some wonderful clients trust us to be in their home while they were gone for an extended period while major house renovations were going on.
So, you never know what people may ask you to do but the beauty of it is that people just down the street and all over the world are needing and wanting house and pet sitters for all the above reasons and this is potentially an incredible opportunity for you.
Anyone who has a property and/or pets is a potential candidate for a housesitter!
Are you starting to see the possibilities here?
How Can I Get Started?
Chances are, you have already helped friends or family by looking after their home or pets for a few days. You may have been a baby sitter as a teenager or maybe cared for a sick grandmother when you were young. Consider this as experience!
Here is a great idea. Volunteer at a local shelter and you will go through some training before you get started. A few weeks working with dogs and cats and you will feel very comfortable. Many shelters also have exotic animals such as reptiles so you can talk with the staff and educate yourself about the more unusual critters. Learn all you can!
Otherwise, just ask around. You are sure to find people in your network who know someone who may need a housesitter for a night or two or that needs help to walk their dog or check in on their cat for a few days.
I would strongly suggest that you also take a dog and cat first aid course because emergencies can happen. They did for us! Philip had to do CPR on a client’s dog once and I had to cool down a dog when we were working in the Bahamas who was overheating and becoming disoriented.
Emergencies will happen and taking appropriate training with the Red Cross for example, (that is what we did) will give you an edge over other applicants for house and pet sitting jobs.
Now, Where Would You Like to go?
Europe, Australia, The Caribbean?
This is the really exciting part!
You have some experience and you are ready to go. Your next step would be to sign up with a housesitting agency. Philip and I are currently looking for a long-term house and pet sitting job and we have registered ourselves with an excellent company that is highly respected and has a long history of successful matches between homeowners and house sitters. Philip has written an in-depth review of this platform which is called Housecarers.com.
You can literally choose where in the world or in your own country, you would like to be when you are a professional housesitter. There will be competition for these assignments but if you do an outstanding job, you will be in high demand and be able to do this for years, as lots of people, many of them in retirement, are already doing.
What You Need to Know
When taking on these international jobs, you should know that your travel costs for getting there are usually not paid by a homeowner, so that will be an expense. Sometimes, you may be asked to pay for utilities when they are gone, but again, it will be up to you to iron out all the details before you commit to any assignment.
Do your due diligence and create a checklist for yourself so you know what to ask.
What Qualifications Are Needed?
Qualifications are not necessary per se but you should have some experience. You can get this as we talked about above if you don’t have any. However, speaking from years of experience, there are certain qualities you must have when doing this type of work. You must be:
- Trustworthy – People are leaving you in charge of their home and possessions as well as, possibly, their beloved pets.
- Honest – If there is a problem you have not foreseen, or if something unexpected comes up, you must be honest and let the homeowner know.
- Organized – As with any other job, house and pet sitting are not as easy as you might think and keeping things organized such as having all emergency contact numbers and other relevant information in one place, would be advantageous to you.
- Fit – I am not saying you have to be an Olympic athlete, but you must have a certain level of fitness and health when you are taking care of someone’s property. You may have some dog-walking to do or have some light gardening that needs to be done. There won’t be many jobs where you can just sit and do nothing. All homes need some care even if there are no pets. Consider, too, that you may experience great changes in climate or altitude that you are not used to. It may take a few days to adapt.
- Flexible – Things can change. An owner may have a sudden change in travel plans or you may be asked to do something you had not previously agreed upon. If this happens, you need to have flexibility and figure out how you can be helpful and solve an issue rather than complain about it. This ability to be flexible will be very appreciated and possibly rewarded.
- Professional – That is what you are! A professional housesitter and, as such, you should strive for more than adequacy. Any way that you can make yourself more helpful in the eyes of a property owner will increase your value and you will then be receiving 5-star testimonials which will increase your chances of getting more jobs.
- Neat and Tidy – A homeowner doesn’t want to return to dishes piled up in the sink, unmade beds or old newspapers lying around. Being neat, tidy and meticulous will really impress them, I can tell you. We used to make sure everything looked like a model home before people returned. This will gain you points as well.
Travel and Make Money!
This is the part that gets me super excited because, when you are doing this kind of work, even if you have multiple pets to care for, you will still have quite a bit of downtime.
Instead of watching TV or spending hours on idle Facebook chitchat, why not use that time to create some online income for yourself?
House sitting and working on the internet is fast becoming a very popular way for people of all ages to make some money and travel at the same time. It is a perfect solution for those of us who need or want to generate some extra income in retirement while still traveling to places we may not have otherwise been able to afford. This is the freedom we now have thanks to the internet!
There are many options for you to work remotely and you can do so from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. What I recommend is what Philip and I do, namely Affiliate Marketing.
When we were looking around at legitimate companies to learn how to work online, we did months of research to find the best one out there. For less than $50 a month you could have your own online business that will generate passive income for you in the years to come.
I am not offering you a get-rich-quick scheme that will happen overnight, though. Affiliate marketing takes time to learn and requires hard work. The platform we use has an amazing global community that all help and encourage each other plus step-by-step training and tools to help you succeed. Best of all, you can check it out for FREE.
Want to know more? Read Philip’s review of Wealthy Affiliate.
Just Do It!
We are currently living and working on the stunning Caribbean coast of México and we could not do this without our online business. We would not be able to afford to.
House sitting and working online to create income for yourself is the perfect combination, in our opinion, and we hope that you will seize the day yourself and find your own dream lifestyle out there somewhere in this amazing world.
We hope to see you there!
Are you currently a house sitter yourself and working as an online entrepreneur? I would love it if you could share your experience with all of us in the comments area below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope it has given you some food for thought about house sitting and the potential rewards of living a nomadic lifestyle.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller