Hi everybody and welcome to our January BLOG. A very happy New Year to one and all, and we hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Here at Professional House Sitters, we’ve been espousing the advantages of house sitting for pretty much as long as our company’s been up and running. So we thought we’d try a slightly different angle this month. Instead of our normal self-congratulatory musings, we are going to hear the words of a couple of house sitters who’ve been there, done it and well and truly got several tee-shirts about their experiences. Over to you guys:
How We Saved Over $5000 Thanks To House Sitting
We are Jayden and Brittnay, aka The Travelling House Sitters. We discovered each other’s passion for travel a little over three years ago in the Snowy Mountains, in the alps of Australia. Our first adventure was off to London to do a two-year stint on a working holiday visa. Our visa was quickly coming to an end and we were fast approaching decision-making time, and I mean fast! We decided to make the move over to Dublin. Visas were easy, as were jobs, but the housing situation over there is a whole different ballgame.
We starting looking for a rental and we quickly realised that we had a couple of options: move into an old, dirty and roommate-packed house for €1500 (Euros) per month, or get an apartment on our own which was looking to be about €3000 per month for somewhere respectable. Another thing we did not realise was how hard it was to find somewhere as a couple in Dublin. As soon as the landlord found out we were a couple, they automatically almost doubled the rent or just said no.
We had previously done some house sitting in London, so we had a brainwave and stepped up our game. We did everything we could to try to become the world’s best house sitters; we even took a pet first-aid course, although to be honest, as pet lovers, that was not so hard to bring ourselves to do.
We set up profiles on several house sitting websites and applied and applied and applied. Our hard work paid off and we managed to land a house sit for a full month! And what’s more it was in one of the more affluent suburbs of Dublin.
Three months later and four more house sits under our belts, we were quite chuffed with ourselves, and our bank accounts. We had managed to save over $5500 on rent! Below, we have pieced together some of our favourite moments while house sitting. We’ve also outlined how we managed to save so much and how you too can use house sitting to save. You will also see that house sitting is not only about saving money. It’s about the people you meet, the relationships you build and the enjoyment of being around pets while travelling.
What exactly Is ‘House Sitting’ and how does it work?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with house sitting, it’s a really great concept. House sitting is a win-win situation for everyone involved – the homeowner, the house sitters and even the pet! Homeowners don’t have to worry about their pets being stuck in kennels, catteries or pet hotels while they are away, the costs of these services, or the below-par conditions of a lot of them. As an added bonus, they can be sure that their home will be secure, well looked after and maintained while they are away. The animals get the benefit of staying in their own familiar environment and not having the stress of other animals at the kennels, catteries or pet hotels.
The benefits also extend to the house sitters however, not just because they are able to live rent free, but also because you get to have pet interaction, and for people like us, that is great. We both grew up with pets and long-term travelling has not allowed us to own pets, so house sitting is the perfect chance for us to feel the pleasure of snuggling up with a cat at night or playing with a dog at the beach. It is something that we have both really missed. Also in situations where your rental agreement does not allow pets, this is a great way to get real pet interaction without getting in trouble with your landlord!
There are hundreds upon hundreds of house sits around the world, in every location imaginable. For house sitters, it is a great way to see unique parts of the world. It is also a great way to get interaction with different animals. House sitting does not stop at your everyday pets like cats and dogs: we have looked after chickens, tortoises and even mini horses!
Our House Sitting Experiences
Our first house sit in Dublin was only a short four-night sit. The home was situated an hour west of Dublin right in the middle of nowhere.. and we absolutely loved it! After two years in London, this was exactly what we needed. We were looking after a lovely Dutch couple’s house. This was a beautiful home, a Scandinavian-inspired cottage. It looked right at home in the Irish countryside. They had two Scottish Terriers, two amusing cats, and two very aggressive hens. One morning while I was out fetching the eggs, the hens were not too happy with their new intruder. They both started pecking at me and chasing me around their enclosure, much to Brittnay’s amusement who was in stitches laughing from the kitchen. This house sit was over in a flash and we headed back to Dublin for our next house sit.
Our following house sit was located in Killiney, South Dublin. This area is known as a hideout for the rich and famous. It wasn’t the fact that Bono was a close neighbour, or that Enya lived in the area that came to us as a shock. It was the fact our homeowners only remembered as they walked out the door for their month-long holiday to mention there was a rather large tortoise in the backyard! They told us not to be too concerned and that Google would tell us how to take care of it. This home was a really beautiful home and had the location we could only dream of living in full time one day!
Our next house sit was in the same suburb, looking after a whippet, a Chinese Crested dog (the hairless kind) and two gorgeous chihuahuas. It was quite a sight to see us all walking down the street and we got many great looks and comments! This was the most memorable house sit we have had thus far, not just because of the animals but because of the relationship we have built with the homeowner. We have since been invited to many of her family events and we even celebrated her birthday with her recently. We are even still in contact as I write this from halfway across the world.
How To Become A House Sitter
For those of you out there who would like to jump into the house sitting world, we have made an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to finding your first house sit. These are the same steps that we had taken (and still take) to find house sits.
Sign Up For House Sitting Sites
There is an abundance of sites that link up house sitters and homeowners. One of the ones we recommend is www.professionalhouse-sitters.com. As with other sites, there is a charge to become a member (on either an annual or monthly basis), and we were a little bit apprehensive at first. However, the membership fee was recouped after the first night of house sitting.
Getting A House Sitting Reference
Reviews and references can make or break. Before any homeowner gets in contact with you, they will want to read reviews. If you don’t have any reviews, get creative. Think Airbnb reviews, work references, or even your grandma when you looked after her dog. Anything will help.
Over the holiday period, demand usually outweighs supply, so you will more than likely be able to pick up a house sit to build on your references.
Some homeowners will want to know why you want to house sit their house. The key here is to be honest. If you are wanting to house sit for free accommodation to save for a house, tell them. If you are traveling and need a place to settle for a while, tell them. If your own rental accommodation where you live doesn’t allow pets and you just really miss animal interaction, tell them! You never know what will appeal to people.
Ensure you have an up-to-date and clean police check. This could also push you towards the top of the pile and will also give your potential homeowner some peace of mind.
Apply, apply, apply!
Start applying for house sits in the area you desire as soon as possible. You need to be quick and stand out from the crowd. Depending on the location, some homeowners receive dozens of applications. Show the owners that you have really read their listing and understand their needs.
We aren’t going to sugarcoat it – it can be competitive. We used to check all the sites religiously. First thing in the morning, a few sneaky times at work, then once in the evening. It can become a little addictive. We would advise learning as much as you can about the process of house sitting if you’re interested, because ultimately you are trying to sell yourself over everyone else.
Here is a guide of how to become a house sitter and we believe that this can help anyone get started. Your next house sit could be a beachfront villa in Bali or in a small village in Austria overlooking the snowy mountains.
How Did We Save Over $5000 House Sitting?
During one house sit, we were given access to the owner’s mini cooper. Having transport really allowed us to explore Dublin. We were also able to actually save a great deal by cutting out public transport. Dublin’s transport system is super expensive so having access to a vehicle meant we were only spending around $7 each per day.
A single tank of gas would last about two weeks and cost us $30. Previously to house sitting, our transport costs were a staggering $84 per week. Working out at $15 per week for fuel, we managed to save $69 per week, saving around $276 that month.
Over three months, the majority of the money we saved was on the cost of rent. According to average rental prices in Dublin, we were saving at least $1450 per month. Over the three months, that amounts to a whopping $4350.
And that’s not all: we were also able to live in suburbs and homes that we could never dream of living in, let alone pay to live in. With castles, stone harbours and beautiful beaches. Dalkey was our favourite area to live in. No wonder Bono and Enya chose to have homes there.
We noticed a large decrease in shopping bills while we were house sitting. All those small items such as shower cleaner, washing detergent, toilet cleaner and toilet paper start to add up. Another surprise was that we now enjoyed cooking at home. In London, we were used to dirty, pokey kitchens. However, having access to a kitchen a chef would envy, reduced the times that we felt the need to go out for meals. This was saving us on average
€80 per month.
Having no bills at the end of the month is a great feeling. We didn’t have to budget for electricity, water, gas, phone or even internet bills.
Compared to our current bills at our rental property in Dublin, we saved around $100 per month. Therefore over the 3 month period, we saved $300.
As you can see house sitting has provided us with an amazing connection with Ireland. We have discovered places we would have never had the opportunity to stay in on our own and built great friendships we would not have built otherwise. We would highly recommend housesitting to anyone who is trying to save some money, long-term traveling, up for an exciting adventure or would just love an animal to snuggle up with in the evenings. If you would like to find out more about us or follow our house sitting adventures around the world please check us out on our website www.thetravellinghousesitters.com or Instagram thetravellinghousesitters
So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth or at least a couple of house sitters (haha!). Don’t just take our word for it.
It all seems so simple. It is. Don’t delay – join Professional House Sitters today!