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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Mellor

Setting Up Your House Sitting Profile

Updated: May 8, 2023

Practices for setting up your house sitting profile and looking good on any website.

 

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Now that you know what house sitting is, it's time to talk about getting a house sitting job.

When Darcy and I first decided to start house sitting, our questions began to flood in.

How do we get started?

Where do we actually travel to?

Do we need to get reviews first or will people trust us without them?

Do we need to be part of a house sitting agency, if there are house sitting agencies? Or is having a profile on a website good enough?

How do we set up a house sitting profile?


Here’s what we learned:

The easiest way to get started is by starting where you live. -Nathaniel, just now.

Put out a Facebook post, or an Instagram post, telling your friends and family that you're looking for an open house sitting job. Someone leaving town for vacation, or maybe someone who works in another city half the week who needs someone to take care of their pets while they're gone.

Better yet, respond to people looking for a house sit in your city, or within an hour away. Big cities, like New York or San Francisco, always seem to have a handful house sits active at any given time. This can give you the opportunity go over there, introduce yourself, and make a connection. House sitting is a fifty-fifty connection, we find. It's half up to you to make a good impression, but it's also half up to them. The rare times we've gotten weird vibes over a couple of messages, we call off the sit. Of course, it goes both ways. If they don't like us upon messaging, they find someone else. If a connection isn't made, no harm, no foul. At least no one wasted a plane ticket.


We found that the people who will trust us the most, especially for getting those first few house sits, are the ones who already know us. This also extends to friends-of-friends, long-lost family, and people you saw once in the grocery store but can't quite place them. If people even vaguely know you, they will inherently trust you more (and, hopefully, you will trust them more).


At the end of the day, house sitting is all about trust.


Helpful Hint: I recommend getting a few of these local house sits under your belt. They don’t just have to be house sits; they can be plant or dog/cat sits as well. Not to mention, these might also pay you since you won’t have to stay there overnight. A rule of thumb is: if you're staying the night, it's free; if you aren't, it's paid.



Didn't you say in the last post that house sits don’t pay?


Yes. That’s true. But in the case of you house sitting where you live, you aren’t gaining anything. After all, do you want to pay rent on your apartment and then go house sit, in your own town, for a month? I guess a stay-cation would be nice, but it's not great to pay rent on a place where you aren't living.


Once you have a few house sits completed, you can ask them to be references. They will probably have to send an email, maybe make a phone call, and explain their experience with you. I was lucky and had a few pet sits under my belt already, and Darcy had a few overnight babysitting clients ready to sing her praises. With these references, we were ready to apply. (Disclaimer: We ending up not needing the references. Our first house sit went incredibly well, no interview process or references required. They basically said "Y'all seem great" and we were off to the races.)


Of course, you can just give it a whirl and see what happens.


Now that you have a few clients under your belt, you’re ready to go house sitting! Where to?


What are you interested in? There will more than likely be a few house sits that suit your interests. In the city or in the country? In a country that speaks a language you’re familiar with? A country with great food? What about a country with camels or emu? Do you want to be centrally located to other cities for day trips, or do you prefer isolation? Beaches or mountains?


A palm tree, sail boat, and umbrella on a beach at a potential house sit.
If this is what you're looking for, it's within your grasp!

Some websites, like Nomador, allow you to search by traits such as "city", "beaches", "mountains", and so much more. Most of the other sites prefer you type in a city, or search using their map function.


Let’s talk about the description for your house sitting profile

Once you’ve found a house sit that you want to apply to, it’s time to reach out to them! I tend to make an account after I find a house sit, mainly because most websites will let you search for house sits without an account (read: free).


Setting up your profile is a the most important step. Just like anything else these days, your online profile is incredibly important. It's a thin-slice way for someone to tell who you are. Pictures of you smiling with animals? Seriously photos with crashing waves in the background?

Personally, I have trouble with it. I tend to be a private, anonymous person when I'm online. I have every adblock, location-disabler, VPN, what-have-you app installed. But this doesn’t work so well with house sitting. A house sitter needs to be outgoing, personable, and inviting. So their profile needs to reflect that.


Who are you, and what do you do?

Darcy and I both work from home, so to speak. I’m a writer and editor, and she’s an oil painter. On our house sitting profile, we make this the most obvious thing. Why? It tells prospective home owners that we will often be around the house (and their animals, who might have anxiety if people are gone). It also tells them we aren’t here to find a seasonal job at a hotel or ski slope, but we will be available around the clock if anything were to go wrong.


Finding a seasonal job is totally okay, by the way! Some house owners even expect you to come and find a seasonal job, and they’ll make room in the schedule for you to work. (Broadly speaking this is more common in Australia, where house sits tend to be long, and seasonal workers are very common. If you're interested, you can find Australia-specific house sits here.)


If you’re looking for a job wherever you go, make that clear in the description! Most homeowners won’t mind, but you don’t want to skip that little detail and have the homeowners find out in a bad way (like their animal getting sick or breaking something when you’re not there).


There are other house owners who are actively searching for retired couples, usually using the word “spry” or “active.” These are the house sits Darcy and I also apply to mainly because we act like a spry retired couple. We’re usually around the house. Giving plenty of cuddles to the animals. Happy to sit with a cat on our lap or go for a thirty minute walk with a dog. We have no plans, so our day can be the animal’s day.

Retired couples usually have steady income and aren't in risk of running out of money and having to leave the country, leaving the owners in a bad spot.


One major addition to our description is "vegetarian." It seems to be one of those things that doesn’t hurt us, but has helped us. Our first house sit was at a house of vegetarians, and they felt comfortable knowing we weren’t cooking meat in their house. Another, more recent, house sit in France was the same way. The owners were vegan, didn’t want any meat in the house, but were okay with butter and cheese. By sharing the fact we were vegetarian, we are instantly able to build trust with the owners.

A spread of vegetarian food.
Doesn't vegetarian food look good?

I’m not saying go vegan/vegetarian! But if you are, I recommend you make it public, it might help you find connections. If you’re a hardcore carnivore/keto/paleo, try adding that in. I don’t know if those work as well but you can play around with it, see what works best and what gets the most "bites".


The rest of your description should be things that make you, “you.” I would personally avoid the usual list of adjectives that people use “loves pets, outgoing, open-minded,” etc. It doesn’t say much about you as a person. You could try an animal anecdote if you have one, or talk about your pets if you have any.


Everyone who applies to house sits are "out-going" and "open-minded"; it's why we're signing up to live at someone else's house in a foreign country.

You don't have to go over-the-top with your adjectives, but I recommend picking ones that fit who you are. If you're multi-lingual, add that! If you like cooking, definitely add that! Do you go for a 2 mile run every morning? More power to you, and add that in!


What about photos?

Pictures are important. Pictures of you smiling even more so. My own personal philosophy is to use pictures that aren’t “Instagram worthy.” As in, there’s no filter, no setting sun, nothing that might look stock. Darcy and I use goofy, smiling photos. I think we’re eating ice cream in one, and another one is taken after a hike so you can see the view (and also that we're sweaty, out of breath, and red in the face).


Of course, you can use whatever photos you want! It’s your page! However, I’m always wary of bot accounts/fake accounts, and I steer clear from any house sit that uses stock photos/promo photos/drone photos. Not that I don’t trust drone photos, but they usually pop up on accounts that have promo photos. (I cover this more in the article about choosing the right home owners.) Because of that, I make sure my profile looks as real as possible by trying to remove any doubt before anyone is actually doubting.


Home owners are looking for reasons to trust you, just as you are looking for reasons to trust them. That’s the basis of house sitting. Of course, they’re taking the bigger risk, letting you into their house. So do everything you can to help them feel at ease!


When your profile is ready, send them a message! Just a simple “Your pets look cute, your house looks amazing, I can handle the chores you’re asking me to do” is fine. At least, it’s been fine for us. The only time anyone has said "no" to us is when they cancelled the trip. Some people have really in-depth and extravagant openers, but I prefer to use something simple and personal. If they like it, it’s easier to go more in-depth afterward since you didn't use all that information in the opener.


A word of warning before you run off and start applying. Don't apply to too many house sits at once. If you can, try only submitting to one at a time. While many things on the internet encourage simultaneous submissions, house sitting is far too personal and far too serious to send out five separate message to separate house sits.

If you don't hear back from the home owners within a week, that's my personal cut off point for applying to a second house sit. After all, you might not be able to wait too long!


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