The concept of house sitting has been around for a long time but in recent years it has experienced real growth in popularity. This is largely due to the introduction of an ‘international’ element as cost-conscious travelers have realized a way to reduce their expenses dramatically by offering to look after other people’s homes while those homeowners are themselves away.
For the homeowner, having a housesitter stay in their home is an economical way of protecting their home (and pets) while they are away.
There are a number of ways in which both homeowners and housesitters can go about finding each other but I want to talk to you about just one right now and it’s called housecarers.com.
As a house and pet sitter with over ten years of experience, as well as being a current member of housecarers.com I feel uniquely qualified to tell you about this excellent house sitting website.
What is Housecarers.com?
Housecarers.com is an online platform, operating worldwide, that matches would-be absent homeowners with housesitters who are prepared to look after the owner’s home (and possibly pets) for free during the owner’s absence.
Who is it For?
If you are a house sitter; anyone who is seeking free accommodation in a private home for a limited period of time in exchange for looking after the home and any pets left there during the owner’s absence.
If you are a homeowner; anyone who is planning to be away from their home for a period of time and who doesn’t want to leave their house empty and/or needs someone to look after their pet(s).
One of the best things about house sitting is that age is not a factor. In particular, retirees are in high demand. Read more about this in Colette’s article, House Sitting in Retirement – An Exciting Opportunity.
Housecarers.com at a Glance
Owner: Ian White
What’s included: Housesitters have online access to details of homeowners currently seeking people to look after their homes and pets while they are away from their home. Homeowner members can post details of available housesits and can search a registry of housesitters who are available in their area.
Price: $50.00 per annum (payable by the house sitter, the house owner registers for free)
Rating (out of 10): 9.3
What Does a House Sitter Do?
Essentially, and as a minimum, a housesitter agrees to live in the homeowner’s home while the owner is away. Anything beyond that is for the housesitter and homeowner to agree beforehand but there are certain obligations on the house sitter which are going to apply in every single case including:
- Keep the home secure
- Keep the home clean
- Collect the mail and either store it or redirect it to the homeowner
Other common obligations include:
- Clean the pool
- Make essential repairs (or arrange for them to be done)
- Mow the lawn(s)
- Plant care
- Notify the homeowner immediately of any issues arising with the home
While home security is an important consideration for most homeowners, it is estimated that pets are the primary reason for around 80% of all house sitting arrangements. So if there is a pet involved there are going to be additional obligations including:
- Veterinary visits
Housecarers.com Review – Features and Benefits
Housecarers.com was originally launched in 2000 and was the very first worldwide house sitting membership website. The owner, Ian White, is based in Australia.
The website itself is well designed and easy to navigate:
From the Home Page, you can search either for available housesits or available housesitters. But first, you need to join up.
Join as a House Sitter
Joining as a housesitter is simple and fast:
As a housesitter, you have the option to try the program out for free. As a free member, you can browse available house sitting opportunities and will receive email alerts as new situations arise. Your profile will be displayed on the website and interested homeowners can send you a message. However, you cannot contact any homeowner nor are you able to upload your photograph, references, police clearance, etc. If a homeowner has sent a message to you, you can see it but not respond. The free membership is just an opportunity to explore the program and decide if it is going to be a good fit for you.
If you elect to take the paid membership, either as you first sign up or later, you make your payment and right away become entitled to the full benefits of paid membership. These are as follows:
Right after you become a paid member you will want to upload some photographs and more information about yourself. References (if you have some) will be a big help, particularly as you get started, as will a police clearance, although neither is required as a condition of membership or as a prerequisite to arranging a house sit.
Don’t underestimate the power of a personal video. Even if you have no prior experience, personal videos are really easy to do and upload to TouTube. You likely already have everything you need to do this already installed on your computer, including a camera and microphone.
As a paid member you gain access to your member dashboard:
Everything you could possibly need to do is done from this page, including apply for house sits, upload photos and references to your profile, set your preferences (preferred locations, pets you are prepared to look after, etc.) and make changes to your profile.
The dashboard has clearly been very carefully thought out and designed and is extremely easy to use.
Join as a Home Owner
Joining as an owner is just as simple and fast:
Just insert your information, hit enter, and you are done. After you have signed up you will be given the opportunity to add more information about your home and pet, including uploading photographs.
When both homeowner and house sitter have signed up they can start looking for each other.
Find a House to Sit
As a member, you can, if you wish, just sit back and wait either to be contacted by a homeowner who has seen your profile or for the regular emails you will receive notifying you of newly posted opportunities. However, you are likely going to be more proactive and regularly search the housecarers.com database for current offerings.
To search for available housesits on housecarers.com Click on “Browse Houses to Sit” and enter the date you are available from. Next, select your area, which can be as broad as you like (USA, Europe, Asia) or you can narrow it down to a country, state or City. Next, indicate approximately how long you are available, click “Enter” and the results will be displayed including photographs, a description of the home, location, and details of any pets involved. Make your choice and click on “Contact [username of homeowner]”. All subsequent communication is done via housecarers.com unless both parties want, and agree, to have direct contact.
Be aware that the entire concept of house/pet sitting was, until very recently, virtually unknown outside of Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the U.S.A. As a result, the majority of the housesits that are posted are in those regions. One exception to that general rule are countries where there is a large expat population so you will find housesits in, for example, Mexico and Central America. This is not, of course, limited to housecarers.com but applies to all house sitting agencies.
Also, at any given time there are going to be more housesitters seeking housesits than homeowners seeking housesitters which means you are likely to encounter competition, particularly at the beginning and in the more popular areas. You can give yourself a significant edge on the competition by creating an excellent profile and closely following the excellent advice offered on the website. You can minimize the competition by looking, at least in the beginning, in less popular areas. After completing a few housesits, and with a few good reviews posted to your profile, you will soon find homeowners actively seeking you out.
Find a House Sitter
To search for a house sitter click on “Find a House Sitter” and enter your location, the period for which you need a sitter and whether pet care is involved. When you click “Search” several things will happen. First, you will see information on all house sitters who are currently seeking a situation based on the search criteria you entered. If you see someone who might be suitable, click on “Contact [Usernam of house sitter]” and begin the communication process. Second, your information will be added to the housecarers.com database and will show up on any subsequent search for houses to sit. Third, an email with details of your available housesit will be sent to all registered housesitters whose availability, pet preferences, and length of stay preferences match yours.
The Legal Stuff
The details of every housesitting arrangement should be recorded in a written contract. This is for the protection of both the homeowner and the housesitter. This may seem like a hassle but, believe me, you would be very ill-advised, whether you are a homeowner or a housesitter, to proceed without one.
The more important areas that a contract will cover include the following:
- The length of the housesit and the housesitters obligation to remain in the home for the duration
- Who will be responsible for what in terms of the care and maintenance of the home
- Who is responsible for payment of such things as utilities, pool maintenance, yard maintenance, etc.
- If a pet is involved, what is expected in terms of feeding, walking/exercise, veterinary visits, etc.
- Emergency procedures
There is always the option to use lawyers each time but this would likely be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, particularly where shorter housesits are involved. Because they have most at stake (their home and the welfare of their pet) it usually falls on the homeowner to come up with a document although experienced housesitters should also have something that can be used, particularly when working with an inexperienced homeowner.
Housecarers.com provides a sample contract that can be easily adapted to any given circumstances. It is only available in Microsoft Word so if you have a Mac you will need Word for Mac to use this contract. I have gone through the contract and (as a former lawyer) I can confirm it covers all the necessary points.
Guides/Information for Homeowners and House Sitters
Housecarers.com provides a “House Sitting Guide” in the form of a FAQ that is intended for both homeowners and house sitters. On the same page are links to FAQs on a series of more specialized topics. Between them, these cover almost any question you could possibly have about housesitting or housecarers.com.
Because the website is so comprehensive and user-friendly, you likely will not need additional support too often, if at all. If you do need additional help then the response is fast and effective. On the two occasions that I have contacted support, the first time I got an answer inside an hour and the second time I heard back early the following morning (remember they are based in Australia and do not purport to offer 24 hour support). On both occasions, my query was answered by the owner, Ian White.
Housecarers.com Pros and Cons
The oldest operating worldwide housesitting website, they have a lot of experience and it shows
- Very large selection of available housesits
- Inexpensive, one of the cheapest worldwide membership sites out there
- No charge to register as a homeowner
- Free (try out) membership available to housesitters
- The website has a clean, modern feel and is very user-friendly
- The member dashboard is comprehensive and well organized
- Comprehensive security and privacy protection for both homeowners and housesitters
- Excellent and responsive support
- Relatively few housesits available outside Australia, New Zealand, Europe and USA
- Housesitters will encounter a lot of competition, particularly in the beginning
Housecarers.com has nineteen years of experience in matching homeowners and house sitters, a very large database of available housesits and housesitters, and an excellent system for protecting the security and privacy of all its members. Add to this the fact that the user-friendly website makes it super easy to facilitate homeowner and housesitter getting together and you have a clear recipe for success. The icing on the cake is that it also offers one of the cheapest membership rates of any comparable service. Whether you are a homeowner looking for a house esitter or a house sitter looking for a housesit, you cannot, in my opinion, do better than housecarers.com.
Ready to give it a try? Remember, homeowners join for free and house sitters can also register and check out the website for free. So, what have you got to lose?
You can join housecarers.com and HOUSESITTERS CAN GET A 10% DISCOUNT ON YOUR FIRST YEAR’S MEMBERSHIP here.
Note to house sitters: you can still start with the free membership and the 10% discount will apply when you switch to full membership (provided you initially register via the above link).
Have you already given house sitting a try? If so I would love to hear from you with your experience.
I hope you have found this review of housecarers.com helpful. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Housecarers.com$50.00 for House Sitters Free for Home Owners
- Large selection of available house sits
- Modern, clean interface that is very user friendly
- Comprehensive security and privacy protection for both homeowners and house sitters
- Free to home owners and free try out option for house sitters
- Relatively few house sits available outside Australia, New Zealand, Europe and USA
- House sitters will encounter a lot of competition, particularly in the beginning
8 thoughts on “What Is Housecarers.com? – An Experienced House Sitter’s Review”
Retired couple in excellent health and active. We have been retired since 2016. Now seeking a job sitting a house for long term. We have lived in many places in USA and the Islands. Love Hawaii and other islands.
We are white. Been married over 50 years. Lived in California, Texas, Arizona and Utah. Very clean and in excellent health. No tobacco and no alcohol use. We believe in Christian ideals of being honest and living a clean lifestyle. Educated in Science, Nutrition, History and English with advanced University degrees. Prefer to work for minimum of one year. Love animals large and small and have degree in Animal Science. Anyone need us to sit your home?
Hello Barry. I am glad you want to give house sitting a try but, unfortunately, I cannot help you find an assignment. Although I am myself a registered house sitter with Housesitters.com, I have no further relationship with that company and only wrote this review to let others, like yourself, know about the it. To find a house sit you will have to register with Housesitters.com or some other like organization. You will find many on the internet.
Well written, Philip!
Thanks for sharing with us.
New to Ian’s site but just recently got a one month sit. I have lots more to add to to my profile but it’s slowly beginning to take shape.
Thank you, Floss, and I am so glad you are finding success with this website. Here´s to many more successful sits and, yes, make sure you complete that profile. A good profile makes a huge difference.
Well, I am not sure if they paid you to do that review but I find out that they do not gave us so much protection. We are the ones that pay when the owners should be the ones to pay the most as they are really the ones getting the help and service for free. We sit the home and of course on exchange of our working hours we get something back instead of money . As result of the same webpage sell the marketing idea of the owners making as a favor by giving us the oportunity to life in a expensive home the next is hapening: They think we are workers for free and they start to make you work instead of just sit the hause like they would when they live with minimum daily care. That means to take care of airb n b business by giving keys to clients , answering for if they need something and cleaning after they leave ( that is a job that gaves them
income, is not haysesitting) . Otherones charge you for suposing electricity ( Example Delalucy young fromProvence charge 10 € day ( 5 per person) for covering electric gas wifi monthly when I know that in Provence for sure that is more of what she spends plus that is not the deal of sitting hauses on change of acomodation FOR FREE.
And examples like this continued happening.
What is then the australian company making for us with all the money he is making with your mensual payement? They should be making sure the owners of the hauses respond to people, take out the add when is no more available, do not make us work instead of daily life take care taskes as garden , animals and cleaning what WE dirt. They just want as many hauses posible so it atrackts housesitters ( money for them is what we are as we pay them the income of the page ) so they do mot care about quality of offers . They also do not check so much on us so the quality of sitters is also not really taked care. Therefore there is not so many problems as when you pass to a payed member you realized a lot of the hauses you could see like available when you can send mesage to owner you realized it was not available for many months before but was not updated. Also only the ones that we have experience and good feedbacks will get the “job” so is useless for new people to pay so much for a maybe you get a hause. This is the REAL true behind even if for my profesion as a gardener I can get hauses quick but not my wife or friends when they try alone so… Think twice.
Thank you for your detailed comment. I can see you took some time to write it and I appreciate that.
First of all, I was not paid to write this review. I am a paid-up member of housecarers.com and have been very happy with their service, that is why I wrote it.
Next, while I agree with some of the points you make, I think it is fair to say the same can be said of every house sitting website out there and not just housecarers.com.
You seem to have four principal concerns, first that some house owners expect you to do far more than simply look after their home, second that they expect you to pay utilities, third that there are some out-of-date house listings on the website and lastly that it is difficult for first-time house sitters to get that first assignment. I will address each in turn.
First, I definitely agree that some owners make ridiculous demands as to what they expect the house sitter to do, especially without any form of payment. But, that is just my opinion, just like it is yours, and I can assure you that even though you or I would not consider taking those assignments there are others that will jump at them, particularly if it is a location they particularly want to go to. In my experience, the owners are usually pretty upfront about what they expect you to do and clearly list their requirements in the posting. You can, and should, simply skip those assignments if you are not interested.
Also, to put your point into perspective, I think it’s fair to say that less than 5% of the listings require the house sitter to do anything more than take care of the house (and maybe pets). I assume you don’t object to doing that in return for free accommodation?
Second, I again agree that some owners do ask for a contribution to utilities, as well sometimes for the house sitter to pay for other things like the housekeeper and the gardener and, like you, I would not be interested in such an assignment. In my experience, such assignments are very much the exception and not the rule, but the fact that they do keep cropping up means there are house sitters prepared to take on those payments otherwise the owners wouldn’t waste their time and money posting them.
Third, you complain about old, expired, listings. Housecarers.com (and every other house sitting website) has to rely on the homeowner removing their listing when it has been filled and in most cases, the homeowner will do this because, if nothing else, they don’t want the hassle of having to respond to inquiries after they have found a sitter. Also, most house sitting websites (and certainly housecarers.com) give the date on which each assignment is posted. As most listings get filled within a maximum of two months you should likely assume that a listing older than this has been filled. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, just don’t be surprised or upset if it is no longer available.
Lastly, it is inevitable that first-time house sitters are going to have more difficulty getting their first few house sits. House sitting involves a huge amount of trust on the part of the owner and they are naturally going to be more comfortable with a house sitter who has been doing it for years and has a string of references from prior happy homeowners. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for a first-timer to land that first assignment, if it did then, logically, there would never be any experienced house sitters. It just means you have to be a little more patient and perhaps find other ways to make yourself attractive to the homeowner. Here are a few ideas:
1. Make your bio more appealing by mentioning any other positions of trust or responsibility you have held
2. Be sure to mention any volunteer or community work that you do
3. Even if you can’t give house sitting references, at least supply some good character references
4. Include as many photographs of yourself as the website permits, BUT NOT OF YOU PARTYING OR THE LIKE
5. If you might be looking after pets then be sure to include lots of photographs of you with animals and mention any pets you have or have had
6. Again, if you think you might be looking after dogs and/or cats then being certified in dog/cat CPR and First Aid can be a huge benefit for a nervous pet owner who is typically more concerned about their pets than their home. It is quick and easy to do and costs practically nothing
I hope I have eased your concerns somewhat about housesit.com and house sitting in general. In case it affords you some encouragement to persevere with it, my wife and I secured our first house sitting assignment on our very first application over nine months ago and have been continuously house sitting here in Mexico since then. We have never been asked to do anything more than look after the owner’s house and pets and have not paid a penny towards utilities or other household expenses.
If you have any further comments or questions please leave them below.
Not my experience.
You appear to have left your comment as a response to ‘a true talk’ so I am not sure if you are disagreeing with something that person said or my original post. If you would care to elaborate with a little more detail I will gladly respond.