Tips for Successful House Sitting in Australia
How to Become a House Sitter in Australia
House sitting in Australia can be a great way of keeping the cost of staying and travelling to a minimum. It implies taking care of a house and pets while the homeowners are away on their travels. In a few words, being a house sitter in Australia means having a home for yourself and staying free.
I had heard a lot about housesitting from fellow travellers, and in 2014 I finally started my first housesit in Sydney as a solo traveller. Since then, I’ve been housesitting a few times in Perth, the Gold Coast, and I loved it.
In cities like Sydney and Melbourne, hotel room rates for solo travellers come with a high single supplement. Private rooms in hostels are not always cheap and sustainable in the long term. It is where house sitting comes in as a great way to save money on Australia’s accommodation and experience a more intimate stay.
That’s why I share my experience about how housesitting in Australia work and my tips on becoming a successful house sitter.
For housesitting in Australia, I recommend Aussie House Sitters.
The four cornerstones of housesitting
While there are different ways of approaching house sitting, these are my four cornerstones for getting housesits in Australia. They have helped me find great house sits over the last two years without too much effort. I hope they can help you.
Of course, they may not suit you 100%, but I hope they will show you how to get started and get it right from the beginning. Once you have these few things in place, everything will be more natural, and house-sitting opportunities will start rolling into your mailbox.
1. Why housesitting? Know your purpose
Why do you want to become a House Sitter? If you save money on accommodation, your answer takes a minute to consider your response. If you feel this more profound, you will see your primary purpose. Either you are travelling long-term or working independently, taking a career break, wandering around Australia to find a new place to settle, or enjoying retired life and the benefit of no fixed address.
No matter your purpose, the common denominator is the willingness to live in someone’s home, take care of their house and house pets, and enjoy the freedom of moving around without worrying about renting a place. This results in free accommodation and zero-cost rent. House sitting gigs are unpaid, so there must be a fair balance between the mutual exchange of free stay against the house and pet care.
2. Pros and cons: identify a good fit for you
Always consider house-sitting gigs that are a good fit and perfectly match your skills and capability of handling it, no matter how experienced you are with pet-and house-sitting. In a few words avoid taking on work you are not 100% sure you can manage and commit to. Also, the length of the house sit does play an important role. And I’m telling you a bit more about it towards the end of this guide.
3. Communicate your strengths with a killer profile
As good as a house sitting tools are, websites will not trigger miracles for you. You must communicate, sell yourself, and make the most of the platform’s functionality. The best tip I can give you is to create a killer profile that can convey all crucial information about your person, i.e. your purpose, personality traits, skills and experience. You don’t need fancy tools; you need a short and effective presentation of yourself. Maybe a house sitter video presentation is a great idea. Your profile must stand out among the crowds and get the eyeballs of many suitable homeowners.
4. Grow your connections and network
It may sound a bit daunting if you are not familiar with housesitting yet. So reading blog posts about house sit and learning from fellow travellers or bloggers is, in my opinion, essential. I read a lot of articles that finally made me take the plunge. You can also search for a House Sitting Facebook Group to familiarise yourself or clear up doubts and fears. It took me a long time to get my first gig, as I had no house-sitting experience.
How to get started with house sitting
A few reputable house sitters operate online, but some are overpriced, and some are not targeted at House Sitting in Australia. After robust research, I signed up for Aussie House Sitters, an Australian website that specialises in house sitting only in Australia and New Zealand. For these countries, I only use this website. I like the functionality; the platform is easy to use, straightforward and practical. And it’s best if you only want to house-sit in Australia.
For housesitting in Australia, I recommend Aussie House Sitters.
Things to consider when choosing a housesitting website
There are a few things that you need to check before deciding where to sign up. Most sites offer a free sign-up that allows you to browse through all housesit adverts, but if you want to contact homeowners, you need to pay for a yearly subscription.
What is an excellent subscription for a house-sitting website? It depends on the website’s functionality and services. On average, the rate is between 40-65 USD/year. And I wouldn’t invest more.
Functionality is critical, and a key to finding the right house sits. You will not need any fancy techie platform. You need a profile where you can upload your photo, write your bio, and add your contact details (including phone numbers and Skype-id), your interests, skills, availability, and desired locations.
The best house sitting websites in Australia
Once you have decided to tap into the realm of housesitting and try out a nomadic life, you need reliable tools to put it into place. It would be best if you had good ways of promoting yourself to start with the house sitters lifestyle. You need a trusted website with a large pool of diversified homeowners located all over the territory in Australia. Some sites cater for house sits.
I have used Aussie House Sitters to find a top house sit in the last three years, which helped me much. In my opinion, this is the best website for finding a house sitting job in Australia. If this is the only country you mainly want to housesit, this site comes in very handy, with an affordable yearly fee and excellent service.
How to set up a compelling housesitter profile
The house sitter profile is the most important because it gets homeowners’ eyeballs and sells you as a trusted house-sitter. Your profile is what your potential homeowners see first and what makes them choose you or not choose you. You must get the prospective home owner’s attention for a housesit search.
Some people worry about being too selective or not bringing experience. You will be surprised, but it does not work that way. Homeowners do have in mind the type of person that is a good fit for them.
- Check carefully what the house sitting websites offer concerning functionality and services (profile set up, personal details, alerts) and ensure Australia is the targeted market. She is what my house sitter profile looks like.
- The more specific you are in your profile, the better. Don’t be afraid of being too selective.
- Be honest and be yourself. Being new to house sitting doesn’t necessarily mean no one will offer you a house sitting job. The reality is that you don’t need any special skills or previous experience to house sit. Everyone can do it.
The only thing homeowners look for is a good fit. They want to feel good about handing their home and beloved pets to strangers. They must be sure they will have peace of mind while away. Your character is what counts, how reliable, committed, and trustworthy you are; you are what matters in the end.
- Be personal and honest in your bio. Say why you want to house sit, why someone should pick you and what you expect from house sitting.
Hot to get the attention of prospective homeowners
First, you need to create a compelling profile. Then you must find suitable house-sits and browse through all house-sitting adverts.
- Be flexible. Create your specific alerts with the desired locations and timing. For instance, if you plan to stay in Sydney, make a map of which areas you are prepared to house sit in Sydney by adding surroundings and setting up alerts for the desired period. House sit alerts allow automated notifications into your mailbox whenever new adverts that match your criteria enter the website database. It is the best way to access adverts before they go live.
- Read carefully through the advert and reply with a short mail. As a general rule, you shall reply when the advert is fresh, within 2-3 hours, after getting a reply decrease rapidly. Attractive house gigs will go quickly. Unfortunately, there is no magic rule on how to make it work. You don’t know how many competitors for that house sit are there. The homeowners will get dozens, if not hundreds, of emails and have to wade through them. So bear in mind that out of hundreds of emails, they may pick only 3-4 potential suitable house sitters to which they will reply.
- Write a compelling house sitter title on your mail. It makes your letter stand out, what homeowners read first, and what makes them click through. It only takes 10 seconds for the homeowners to shortlist house-sitting candidates. In the beginning, my reply rate to adverts was low. I hoped to get homeowners’ attention and get contacted directly to skip the tiring read-and-reply cycle. It is how I got two of my house-sit assignments. At first, I thought my profile was not compelling because I prefer to care for cats. On the contrary, this proved to help me.
- Less is more. Write a short reply and always add your references.
What if you don’t have any house-sitting references?
It is the issue all would-be house sitters face at the beginning (me included). I would use good references you have collected over the years from landlords, B&B hosts, volunteer work, etc. Review from friends is also helpful if you have taken care of their house or pets. My Airbnb reviews helped me to get my first house-sitting job in Australia.
For Australia, I recommend Aussie House Sitters.
Engage with the potential homeowners
Engaging is critical, but it is also the most challenging part. It would be best if you tried to break through the email barrier. Try to get hold of homeowners on the phone and talk to them.
People naturally tend to trust house sitters in the country or maybe on the spot. They can speak and also meet them in person. However, thanks to the digital world, phones and skype help us all break that wall.
- Be available to chat on the phone (better) or on Skype (if overseas). You can add your phone number every time you write a reply to an advert. Now that you have clicked on the Send Button, you’ve got to wait, and you’d better arm yourself with patience. It will not happen straight away. It took me a few weeks before I started getting some replies. Usually, I get a response within 3-24 hours. Sometimes it may take longer, up to 3 days. And after that, it means you will not get any. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get replies at the beginning. That’s normal. Keep trying. It will work; it’s just a question of time.
- Be polite, don’t be pushy. Don’t follow up on emails unless they have come back to you first.
What if homeowners offer you to house sit
So, what happens when you get your first house-to-sit job? Once you have accepted it, show your commitment and add the booked house sit dates to your profile. This way, you will no longer be available during the reserved period. It shows them that you are taking it seriously!
I still remember the excitement when I got my first housesit. I couldn’t believe that I had got it. 🙂
- Show commitment and the homeowners that you have taken your house sit job seriously. Make an appointment to meet up before starting. If you are overseas, keep in touch via mail or skype and arrange to arrive a few days before the house sit starts.
- Keep in contact with the homeowners while they are away, give them updates about their pets’ welfare, send them photos, tell them how you are going, etc.
- Keep the house tidy and clean and return it to the homeowners in the same state or even better.
- Stick to the arrangments regarding the house sit tasks, i.e. feeding pets, walking dogs, collecting mail, watering the garden, etc
Not getting house-sits – How to handle rejections
As said before, the demand for housesitting is rapidly growing in Australia. The offer is higher than the market, though. So you may be finding yourself struggling to get your first gig. And you are likely to get lots of rejections at the beginning.
So what to do? Don’t despair. It’s not the end of the world. As long as you get a reply with the rejections, that’s always a good sign.
That means you have been shortlisted – out of hundreds – and notified about it. Building rapport and thanking people for getting back to you belong to the best practice. I appreciate people and ask them to stay in touch for future housesit needs. Remember that homeowners always pick the ones who – in their eyes – are the perfect fit for them.
What you shall know before considering a house sit
House sitting may sound like a fun and exciting experience. It has many pros but also cons. However, it also brings a high level of commitment. Here are a few things to know before choosing the housesit experience you want.
Short-term house sitting vs long-term housesitting
If you are new to housesitting and planning your first house-sitting gig in Australia, I suggest starting with a short-term house-sit. One or two weeks will give you an idea of what it is all about. And if you like it in the first place. I wouldn’t start with a long-term commitment to your first house sit gig.
When you’re house-sitting as a solo traveller, chances are that the homeowners will prefer you vs a couple to look after their house and beloved pets if the circumstances are a good fit. It depends on the required work and the number of house pets to take care of. While one pet is perfect for the single house sitter, two or more pets – and more housework – best suit couples or travellers with a companion. The number of homeowners seeking female solo travellers to housesit is rising.
Long-term housesitting requires a higher level of commitment, and it can be risky to start with a few months’ houses sit if you haven’t done it before. A short-term test is always an excellent way to start. While on the one side, you can see if this is the right thing for you, it will show you what you like and don’t like.
Meeting in person before starting
As a long-term house sitter, you must commit to the requested work and the time, and it is best suited when travelling long-term. Once you commit to timing and tasks, you cannot change your mind and must stick to the work involved. Your responsibility is to clarify doubts and fears before accepting a house sit.
That’s why meeting in person is golden, and you shall always plan it. However, it may not always be possible, so a conversation over the phone, on ZOOM or Skype can be the right way to get to know each other and ask questions.
Signing a house sit contract
While on one side, you must be 100% sure that you feel confident with the job, you must also make sure that a safe and free stay and all things ticked off your list are guaranteed. Signing a house-sitting agreement can be a good thing to consider. I am not a fan of house-sitting arrangements, but if this makes sense for you, go with it. There is a standard form on any house-sitting website that you can download and adjust to your homeowners’ needs.
Ready to get started with Housesitting in Australia?
Between 2014 and 2019, I have been house-sitting in Australia six times. One housesit for a week in Sydney, six weeks on the Gold Coast, and five house sit gigs in Perth and the suburbs. I have been fortunate to get unique homes to look after from beautiful people with lovely pets. I am excited and can’t wait to house-sit again and discover new corners of Australia.
House Sitting in Sydney
I know that Sydney house-sitting gigs are on Australia’s top list of many solo travellers. They are, however, not easy to get due to the high competition among the housesitters. Here are my consideration and tips for successfully getting good house sits in Sydney.
- Focus on offers outside of the city. I suggest preferring the surrounding areas; it will be easier to get suitable house-sitting gigs.
- Think about the activities you want to get involved in during the housesit. The Northern Beaches could be a good area if you are a beach person.
- Make sure you are not locked into your place, i.e. public transportation and other ways of getting around must be available if you want to travel to Sydney.
- Check the neighbourhood, i.e. will you be close to amenities, facilities and people to socialise with? House sits far from the city and require long commuting time.
- Ask the homeowners if you can borrow a bike from them or if you can use their spare car to make the most of your surroundings.
Conclusion about getting good house sits in Australia
Either ten days or several months, house-sitting in Australia is a rewarding way of staying for free, thus saving BIG on accommodation expenses. But it’s not only about the saving-money aspect but also about being able to live in a real home, living immersed in a new neighbourhood, becoming part of a community for a while, and exploring Australia differently from the typical traveller routine. It is an exciting and another way to explore Australia Solo.
If you want to dig deeper and learn all the tips and tricks from expert housesitters, you can also get the complete Housesitting Guide and start house-sitting around the world.
For Australia, I recommend Aussie House Sitters.
For global housesitting I recommend
For the US and AUS I recommend
Share it for later on Pinterest!
Go back to Rocky Travel
This article was first posted in 2016 and last updated in Jan 2023.
Suppose you find this article helpful for your trip. In that case, I’d appreciate it if you could support Rocky Travel and purchase the Aussie House Sitter membership using the article’s link or the affiliate links in the box below. Thank you!
TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES
GET HELP WITH YOUR AUSTRALIA TRIP
September 29, 2015 @ 10:43 am
What a great, informative article. My wife and I are in the UK but I’ve got a sister who lives in Sydney and housesitting would be a fantastic way to spend some time with her without being under her feet, as well as see more of other parts of Australia. At the moment we keep our house sitting and petsitting activities to the UK as we run an online gift store, but we are hoping to develop the business in a way that enables us to travel overseas. We started housesitting and pet sitting in March of this year and have used it to explore the Cornish South Coast, Cheltenham, the Pewsey Downs in Surrey, the Pennines in Lancashire, Somerset, the Chiltern Hills, Hampshire and Colchester. At present, we are back in Cornwall looking after the same dog we looked after in March, plus chickens, ducks and geese. Free eggs, a bulging orchard, productive vegetable garden in a beautiful converted mill just a mile from the beach make it good way to end the British summer. We’re off to Royal Tunbridge Wells next and Chichester Harbour shortly thereafter. If you, or anyone else in Australia is thinking of housesitting and petsitting while visiting the UK, please feel welcome to take a look at our website: housesittingandpetsitting.com where I have some catching up to do but am trying to do a blog article of each house sitting assignment we undertake. Good luck with your further adventures!
March 14, 2016 @ 8:34 am
Consider home exchange also, Brian. I live in Sydney, but grew up in Britain and I do home exchanges every couple of years to Britain. We usually exchange cars too, so no need to hire a car!
September 30, 2015 @ 2:15 am
Thanks for your reply and your info about your house sitting website and blog, Brian. I like UK, was a student in London 25 years ago and have lovely memories of my travels in the wonderful English green countryside. Scotland was one of the places I loved most and would like to return, so I will definitely use your website for more info about house sitting in UK. All the best to you too and yes if you come to Sydney you will love house sitting in Australia, plenty of homes in fabulous locations. People here are not so fussy about police check like in other countries, because what counts in the end is your character and how trustworthy your are! Happy travels and housesitting around the world! Cheers, Michela 🙂
September 30, 2015 @ 5:59 am
Thanks Michaela, for the very useful guide about housesitting in Australia. We never tried but we would love to. Hopefully next year. We have not signed up to a housesitting website. Your tips will help us to get started.
September 30, 2015 @ 6:07 am
Hi Reni, indeed house sitting is becoming very popular all over the world. In Australia there is a large offer but also a high demand. But worth’s trying out and if you are on long term travel it definitely help you save thousands of dollars on accommodation! Glad you find the post useful. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Red Nomad OZ
October 2, 2015 @ 10:17 am
This is a great article, Michela – and it’s good to see how it worked for you. It’d be interesting to try it as an Aussie traveller too if we wanted a break from the camper trailer! Have a great weekend!
October 2, 2015 @ 1:35 pm
Oh yes, housesitting has worked wonderful for me on my solo travels. I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a go 🙂 It could be great for you too. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!
April 12, 2016 @ 6:26 am
G’Day Red Nomad Oz. Yes indeed more and more grey nomads (sorry…no offence meant…in fact i see you have red hair 🙂 are doing just that – taking a break from the rigours of the road by house sitting from time to time. Michela’s choice of house sitting websites for travelling Down Under was spot on. Aussie House Sitters are one of the four best platforms for house sitting Australia and is featured on Compare HouseSitting – a great one stop shop for house sitting Australia. Happy travels!
April 14, 2016 @ 11:15 am
Hi Robyn, thanks for weighing in. I like Aussie House Sitters better than other house sitting websites with focus on Australia. It has a clear and easy to use interface with all the necessary functionalities. I can highly recommend it. 🙂
April 15, 2016 @ 1:48 am
You’re spot on, Michela! Aussie House Sitters are easier to use than the others – very easy to navigate. Not only that, but Aussie attracts more home owner ads than other house sitting website. They publish their stats for the past 3 months on their home page – impressive! Jan, Feb, March 2016 = 1,225, 1,310, 1,453 respectively. No other site is so open about their statistics.
October 12, 2015 @ 2:11 pm
An incredibly well written and informative article, especially from the point of view of someone who’s house sat extensively in Europe, but not outside of the region.
We’ve been invited to visit Australia so many times but have always been unsure about how the Australian system works, but now after reading this I understand it perfectly.
Michela of Rocky Travel Blog
October 15, 2015 @ 8:34 pm
Glad you found this article informative and useful for your travels to Australia. It’s an easy country in terms of burocracy and there is not the hassle that we are used to in Europe. However all 6 states have their own rules and regulations, somehow this makes it difficult for travellers to understand how things work. Housesitting in Australia is easier than in other countries because home owners are not so fussy like in other countries where you need to get a police check if you want to get started. Happy travels and if you need any tips don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂
April 28, 2017 @ 7:55 am
Another great read thanks to you Michela! I am always amazed at how you are able to write and make your readers feel that they are just talking to a friend. My favorite part is “What you need to know before signing up”. Keep writing please!
February 1, 2020 @ 5:04 am
We have just signed up for Trusted Housesitters and are heading to Australia later this year so this post has been of enormous help. We have completed our first sit and have another lined up for March. They are both in the UK though so great to read tips for getting sits in other countries.
We are hugely flexible in where we go in Australia as we will be there for a few months. Do you think that is a benefit or more of a hindrance??
February 7, 2020 @ 1:07 pm
Hi Paul, lovely to hear you found this post useful and signed up with Trusted Housesitters. I’m not sure if I got your question right, you are asking whether being in Australia for a few months will be more of a benefit or a hindrance? It depends if you have a thought-out plan for it, then the more time you spend the better, who knows when you are going back to Australia again? So try to maximise your time. You can check out this page if you want a great and handy Australia Guide Book, helping you with your trip planning. Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂