How to Create a Successful House Sitting Application

House sitting is fast becoming the travel hack of choice for travellers and vacationers keen to subsidise the cost of their getaway.

When I first signed up to a little over 7 years ago, the percentage of sitters to opportunities was on a much more even keel. Competition was not as fierce as it is today and there wasn’t as much need to stand out from the crowd when applying for a house sit.

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*I pay annual membership to TrustedHousesitters and have used their platform to secure sits in amazing destinations like New York, Las Vegas, Sydney, Barbados, and St Kitts & Nevis.

If you choose to purchase membership through a link in this article a percentage of your payment will go to me. Thank you in advance for your support in helping to keep my blog online!

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With 20 sits on my house sitting CV I’ve developed a portfolio of properties across the globe and received positive references from each homeowner whose property I’ve cared for. Yet despite my vast experience in the field, I am still faced with the challenge of standing out against the competition as ‘the perfect sitter’ each time I send off an application.

Sadly there’s no proven formula for success.

Each house sit is unique and each homeowner is looking for a different set of qualities in a house sitter. And while there are a number of things you can do to improve your chance of securing the the sits you apply for, the reality is that the fate of your application sits in the hands of the homeowner.

So what can you do to give yourself the best chance of putting together a successful house sitting application?

Optimise your house sitter profile

I’ve spoken before about how to create a successful house sitting profile. When you first join a house sitting service your profile should be your first port of call prior to beginning your search for a sit.

Many first time sitters are unaware of just how important your profile is. A window into your suitability for the oportunities you apply for, your profile can make or break your application.

// Grab the homeowner’s attention with a catchy profile heading. Ideally it should inspire the reader to look at your profile while offering insight as to why you are a grade A sitter.

// Provide a positive illustration of yourself through the images you upload. Make sure they are smiley and depict you engaging in activities that showcase your responsible and caring nature.

// Take the time to upload a video. Homeowners are more likely to respond to your application if they have had the opportunity to hear from you detailing why you feel you are a suitable sitter.

// Fill in every section of your profile. The more comprehensive the description of your character, hobbies, suitability to house sit, the better equipped a homeowner is to consider your application.

// Treat your profile like a CV, maintain a professional tone but offer insight into your personality. Have someone proof read your profile for spelling and grammatical errors.

// Upload suitable references from people who can verify your ability to care for a property and pets.

Create an engaging presence online

It’s no secret that having a website or travel blog detailing the fact that you house sit, or even just offering insight into your character and lifestyle, can assist in securing house sitting stays.

Taking the time to set up a simple tumblr or wordpress site that you can include in your application will pay dividends when competition for those Caribbean stays heats up.

Angela Laws the blogger behind House Sitting Perfected is a great example of this. Her site showcases her house sitting CV and she regularly publishes updates from her international sits.

Research the local customs and lifestyle

Now that your profile is in tip top shape you can start the search for your dream house sit. While excitement can get the better of you when you find a sit that suits, don’t rush into sending off your application.

While we all lose the ability for rational thought at the prospect of a house sit in paradise, researching the locale can help in your initial application.

When sending off your application to the owner you’ll stand out from the crowd if it is clear that you have taken the time to research the local area, consider any factors that may affect your ability to house sit, and ensured that you are comfortable stepping into their shoes.

Prior to constructing your application you should;

// Ensure you are eligible for a visa which covers the full term of the sit.

// Research and consider the cost of travel to and from the property.

// Research current political and economic factors which may affect your stay.

Tailor your initial application email

It’s no secret that your application email is where you win or lose the attention of the homeowner.

The most popular sits can receive over 100 applications and with so many interested sitters to sift through, the homeowner may get to the point where they read only the first few sentences of your email.

Make those first few lines count.

// Read the owner’s advert thoroughly and make reference to an aspect of their listed requirements which will show them you’ve considered each aspect of their listing.

// Be succinct in your description of your suitability for the sit but ensure you highlight relevant experience and skills.

// Detail the fact that you’ve researched the local area and give reason as to why you wish to spend time in the region. Reassure the owner that you have researched the costs associated with travel to their home and that should they offer you the sit you are in a position to commit and book your travel.

// Some sitters choose to address the email to any animals for whom the successful sitter will care for. This can help to catch the owner’s eye.

Invite further conversation by phone or skype

Give the owner your contact details and invite further discussion. If you make it easy for them to contact you with further questions they are more likely to do so.

Follow up on your application

Don’t be pushy but if you feel it appropriate don’t be afraid to contact the owner requesting an update on your application.

Most owners send out some form of response within the first few days but if you do not hear anything I don’t think it’s out of line to inquire as to the progress of the selection process.

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Have you any top tips for house sitting success? Share your comments below.

Travel Blogger & Photographer
  1. Great article and so well organized to hit all the points, Charli! We agree with all of these suggestions. I think it is important to not have too professional looking a video, though. We saw some that were very polished, but decided to share our human-ness and make a “home movie” type of look. There is so much that is about people being able to relate to us that seems to help them picture us in their home. Cheers! Laurie

    1. That’s a really interesting suggestion Laurie. I agree that personality is key in this kind of video, we’ve yet to construct our own video – I should practise what I preach! So I’ll keep your suggestion in mind!

  2. Good advice. Do you get most of your house sitting assignments through TrustedHousesitters? We haven’t actually needed to use a house sitting website to find a house sit yet, though we did try using Mind My House in the beginning. Where are you house sitting at the moment?

    1. We do tend to have the most success with our Trusted House Sitters applications. They have a great portfolio of properties and we’ve found that every assignment has been a superb experience. If you’re planning to sign up take a look online for discount codes. We’re currently house sitting on Barbados, another assignment we secured through THS! Great to hear you’re getting word of mouth gigs!

  3. Despite not having any housesitting experience yet I would consider this piece quite a comprehensive guide indeed! Can’t wait to start exploring the fabulous opportunities of housesitting around the world. I just put this post into my “pocket”, hoping it might be a good source at some point…
    Keep enjoying your gigs and the life on the road! Best wishes, Oliver

  4. Hi Charli! Great article. Loved the tips as we just recently signed up and are currently creating our profile. I realize you started HouseSitting before it was as popular as it is now, but do you think since there is now increased competition, it will prove to be difficult for us to get our first assignment? (Since we won’t have any previous ‘experience’ with it…). Thanks!

    1. Hi Anne, thanks for your comment. I think increased competition is making it harder for everyone to secure the house sitting assignments they apply for. We’ve noticed that our success rate is falling, there’s just so many more awesome house sitters vying for the same assignments!

      My advice would be to really hone your profile, create a video, upload great photos, read and re-write your profile until you feel it perfectly portrays why you are the perfect sitter, and if possible, get some experience with friends and family. Offer to house sit over night or for a weekend when your neighbours are away, ask your current landlord and employer for character references. Anything that will show that you are a responsible and caring individual is going to help. Do you/ have you ever volunteered? There’s another opportunity for a character reference.

      Don’t be put off by the fact that you’ve yet to find your first assignment, I’m a firm believer that these things are left to fate, if you’re the right match for the home owner they will choose you, simple! If not, then it probably wasn’t the right assignment for you anyway. Apply for every single sit that you feel suited to, in any location that inspires your sense of wanderlust – and of course you can get to economically etc – the more you apply for, the greater your chance of success!

      Good luck! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  5. This tips are really helpful. I managed to get my first house sitting assignment in Australia after months of searching and applying. I think housesitting is all about the perfect match. It’s not going to work if you don’t fit into the assignment, so you need to be prepared for rejections as well as declining offers when you don’t feel 100% comfortable with the assignment.

    1. Do you know I think you’re spot on regarding house sitting being all about the perfect match. It’s all about that first contact, does your application click with the owner, if not, you’re probably not best suited to the role. Apply for new opportunities and move on! So thrilled to hear you’ve secured your first sit! We’re currently on our 25th…. I think!!…and we’re having a blast! I know you will too!

  6. Not sure how I came upon this but I am looking at it from the ‘homeowner’s’ side. You two sound fabulous! I live in a great neighborhood in LA and will use this site when I go away. As a travel writer having a couple like you staying in my space would give me great peace of mind. And my persnickity pup would probably love you too! He’s a momma’s boy, what can I say….I know, it’s my fault 🙂

    1. That’s so great to hear Nancy! House sitting is all about the relationship and trust between the sitter and owner. We’re fortunate to have had a wealth of experience house sitting in 9 different countries over the last four years, and some of our best experiences have come about through the owners of our house sits and the people they’ve put us in touch with during our stay. We’ve sailed on Sydney Harbour at sunset, dined with Michelin starred chefs, and scuba dived remote wrecks! Just amazing! Great to hear you’re contemplating using, you’ll have to let us know when you’re planning to take a vacay!

  7. Hi Charli. Love your article! We (my husband and I) have been traveling the world for over 10 years but never really got into to house sitting before. We have been talking about doing so for a while now and because of your lovely tips we’re finally going to make a house sitting application. Thanks so much for sharing. Greets from a fellow traveler and blogger.

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