How to become a house sitter (with skills and tips)

Updated 4 June 2023

A house sitter is responsible for taking care of a homeowner's property while they are away. It can be a perfect and unique vocation if you enjoy travelling, love animals and are looking to explore new places. House sitting offers you a chance to save money on accommodation, experience new cultures and meet new people. In this article, we explore how to become a house sitter, including what important skills to have, steps for getting started and tips to help you pursue this job.

What is a house sitter?

A house sitter looks after a property while the owner is away. This could include watering plants, feeding pets, collecting mail and performing other household duties. House sitters may be paid or offered free accommodation in exchange for their services. It's a great way for homeowners to ensure their property is secure while they are away and for house sitters to experience new locations and cultures.

Related: What is a housesitting job and how can you find them?

How to become a house sitter

If you are interested in how to become a house sitter, here are six steps you can follow:

1. Define availability

The first step to becoming a house sitter is to determine your availability. Consider whether you are looking to house-sit full-time or just on weekends and holidays and if any other commitments might prevent you from house-sitting for extended periods. Once you understand your availability, you can look for opportunities that fit your schedule.

2: Build your profile

Before looking for house-sitting opportunities, build your profile. This includes creating a CV, and highlighting any relevant experience. You may also want to add a photo of yourself or create a social media account to help connect with other house sitters and homeowners.

3: Start networking

One of the best ways to find house-sitting opportunities is through networking. Talk to friends, family members and colleagues to see if they know anyone who needs a house sitter. You can also join online communities and social media groups dedicated to house-sitting to connect with other house-sitters and homeowners.

Related: Interesting networking tips for jobseekers

4: Join a house-sitting website

Another great way to find house-sitting opportunities is by joining a house-sitting website. These websites connect homeowners with house sitters and offer a wide range of opportunities to choose from. Use search engines to help find some of the more popular house-sitting websites and read forums to explore what each one offers.

5. Apply for opportunities

Once you have found a house-sitting opportunity that fits your schedule and location, it's time to apply. Read the job description carefully and tailor your application to the homeowner's needs. Be sure to highlight any relevant experience and include references if possible.

Related: 24 jobs where you work alone (with salary information)

6. Prepare for the house sit

Before you start your house sit, ensure you prepare. This includes researching the area you are staying in, making a packing list and communicating with the homeowner about their expectations. You may also want to create a checklist of tasks to complete during your house sit.

Important skills for a house sitter

While no formal qualifications are required to become a house sitter, there are some important skills to succeed in this role. These skills help you create positive relationships with homeowners and ensure their homes and pets are well taken care of while they're away. Below are some important skills.


House sitters are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the homeowner's property and possessions. This includes following specific instructions they may have, such as locking doors and windows, setting alarms and checking on valuable items. Maintaining the home's cleanliness and order is also important as is promptly reporting any issues or concerns to the homeowner.


Good communication skills are crucial for building trust and maintaining a positive relationship with the homeowner. This includes being responsive to their messages and enquiries, providing regular updates on the status of the home and pets and addressing any issues or concerns that may arise during the house sit. Clear and concise communication is essential to ensure the homeowner feels confident in your ability to care for their property.

Related: Why is communication important? (And how to improve it)


House sitters with an adaptable and flexible approach can handle unexpected changes or emergencies better. This may include accommodating changes to the homeowner's schedule, dealing with a sick pet or handling repairs or maintenance issues. Handling these situations easily and without causing undue stress to the homeowner is a valuable skill for any house sitter.

Love for animals

Many homeowners have pets that require care while they're away. If you are planning on looking after pets while you house sit, ensure you like animals and feel comfortable caring for them. This includes understanding their needs, such as exercise, playtime and affection and giving them the required attention. Connecting with and caring for animals is a valuable skill for any house sitter. If you prefer not to work with pets, you may look for house-sitting opportunities that don't require looking after animals.

Related: How to become a pet sitter (including tips and steps)

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is critical when following the homeowner's instructions for caring for their property and pets. Homeowners expect you to remember and execute specific tasks, such as feeding schedules, medication administration and watering plants. Also, being observant and attentive to the smaller details is useful for identifying potential issues, such as leaks or signs of pest infestations, before they become major problems.

Time management

Managing time effectively to complete your responsibilities on time is critical for a successful home sitter. This includes feeding pets, watering plants, performing household duties and any other task the homeowner has designated for you. Good time management helps you prioritise your tasks and manage schedules effectively.

Related: What is time management? (Importance and how to improve it)


House sitters can often experience unexpected challenges that may arise during a house sit. This could include power outages, appliance malfunctions or unexpected visitors or deliveries. Handling these situations calmly and thinking critically can prove essential for finding solutions quickly is essential to ensure a smooth house sit.

Tips for house sitters

With the right skills, attitude and approach, you can build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy house sitter and enjoy the many benefits of this unique and rewarding lifestyle. Below are some tips for how to become a successful house sitter with a fulfilling career.

Be proactive

Creating a detailed profile on a house-sitting website or platform is an excellent starting point. You can showcase your skills, experience and availability and apply for house-sitting assignments that match your preferences and interests. Also, consider reaching out to potential clients directly or by networking through social media and building a strong online presence.

Gather information

Before each house sit, prepare all the necessary information and resources to care for the homeowner's property and pets. This may include written instructions, emergency contacts and a list of local services. Make sure to ask the homeowner any questions you may have about the home or pets and clarify expectations or requirements they may have.

Build relationships

Building relationships with homeowners is essential for your success as a house sitter. Always maintain a positive attitude and try to exceed their expectations. A satisfied homeowner may recommend you to their friends and family.

Related: How to build client relationships with these top tips

Bring your own supplies

Bring your cleaning supplies and other essentials to each house sit to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. Having your own supplies ensures you have everything to keep the home clean and well-maintained. Also, bring a first-aid kit, bedding and towels to avoid using the homeowner's belongings.

Be respectful of the homeowner's belongings

Respecting the homeowner's belongings and personal space is essential when house sitting. Avoid using their things without permission and keep any personal items you bring to a minimum. Also, remember to lock all the doors and windows before leaving the house and put away any valuables or personal items out of sight.

Be mindful of the neighbours

As a house sitter, you also represent the homeowner to their neighbours. Respect their privacy and avoid causing disruptions or noise that may bother them. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the homeowner for guidance.

Follow the instructions given by the homeowner

Each homeowner has their own instructions and preferences for their house and pets. As a house sitter, it's your responsibility to follow these instructions carefully. Ask the homeowner if you have any questions or if anything is unclear. Doing so ensures the homeowner is happy with how you care for their home and pets.

Keep the homeowner's pets comfortable

Pets are often an important part of the homeowner's family. Carefully and explicitly follow the homeowner's instructions for feeding, exercising and caring for their pets. Spend time with them and make sure they're comfortable and happy.

Have a backup plan

Emergencies can happen at any time, so ensure you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. This could be having a trusted friend or family member who can take over the house-sitting duties if necessary or knowing the contact details of a local pet-sitting service. Make sure the homeowner is aware of your backup plan and has the contact details if they require using them.

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