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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Mellor

How To Get Your First House Sit

Our 3 Best Pieces Of Advice


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After publishing a few articles on Medium about house sitting, one of the main comments I’ve received is, “Any advice on how to get my first house sit?”

They don’t even know what hit them. Any advice? You betcha! Years worth!


Start Locally

As I mentioned in this post, when I first started house sitting, I did so by accident, and I didn’t realize it was called house sitting. A family friend needed someone to take care of their dog while they were away, and because the dog was a little anxious, that someone needed to spend the night there. Who better than an 18-year-old (at the time) who only needs an internet connection to be happy?

An archway under a bridge in Perugia.

This snowballed, my name spreading among the “pet owning people who traveled.” In a college town, this was basically every professor who didn’t trust their actual students.

Now, not only was I making money, but I was inadvertently building up a base of contacts and references. I cannot begin to explain how much this helped us when we first started house sitting.

When Darcy and I made our first profile and started applying for house sitting opportunities, we were able to supply potential home owners with the names and emails of people we had already sat for.

So my advice becomes: look around locally for potential house sits.

Plus, this doesn’t just give you a potential reference. It will also give you the chance to earn some invaluable experience. If you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to work and look after someone’s pets.” I totally understand. But how can you expect to look after someone’s pets while trying to explore a town?

Build Your Profile

It’s sound advice for any website that requires the user to “sell themselves” to a larger audience, and house sitting is no different.

Your profile is your place to show potential home owners who you are. Add photos of yourself with pets! Show them photos of the one time you went hiking in the Andes! If you’re adventurous and out-going, show that! If you’re a homebody and enjoy sitting near the fireplace and curling up with a good book, show that!

In our experience, everyone is different, and this means every home owner is different. Some want to hear about all the fun you had exploring their town as it might be a point of pride for them. Other owners only want to hear about how much time you spent with their pets.

I always recommend adding in a few details about you that might seem strange at first glance, but might help the homeowner relate to you. For instance, if you are a vegetarian, or you like sailing, or you’re a champion croquet player, add that in! People like connecting and relating, and offering common territory will help build immediate trust.

So my advice would be, be honest with who you are, and show that to the home owner.

Above and Beyond

If I had to describe my years as a student it would be, “someone who does just enough to scrape by.”

It’s an attitude that served me well when I started working in grocery stores and restaurants (I like to think I was just ahead of the “quiet quitting” curve).

During my first house sit in my hometown is when that attitude shifted into “Go above and beyond.” At first, it was because I was nervous, and entirely unsure of the expectations the home owners (my family’s friends) had.

And then, when I realized how happy the people who came home from their work trip or vacation were, I knew I was on the right path, and my nervousness faded away.

So, during the last day(s) of my sits, I would clean the house, strip the bed and wash the sheets so they had no laundry to worry about, clean out the food bowls (they often get gunky), clean the litter box and replace with fresh litter, and anything else I would want if the roles were reversed.

Now, Darcy and I made sure to leave the house as clean as possible (without going overboard, of course), so all the home owners stress falls away when they get home and realize they can go straight to bed, rather than having to do laundry, or clean up after us.

Note: I think it’s important to note here that the house sitter doesn’t work for the home owner. The house sitter works with them. We always decline home owners when they message us with the expectation that we are working for them. If anything, we’re working for the pets!


Now that you know how to get the first house sit, consider taking a look at some of our favorite house sitting websites!


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