House-sitting as a lifestyle choice

While looking at overseas accommodations options online, I started to see a few mentions of house sitting as an option for longer-term stays, and it’s something that seems popular among RTW and long-term travellers. I mean, what better way is there to extend a free stay?

House-sitting isn’t just for travellers, though. I know someone who lives in Auckland and house-sits, going from place to place every so often, as a lifestyle choice. (Imagine how much you could save if you eliminated housing from your budget.)

Upon Googling some house-sitting sites, I noticed that one mentioned that many of its house-sitters are professionals saving for a deposit on a house (which is darn near impossible in this country). So how would one make house-sitting work as a long-term lifestyle?

  • You’d need to be good with animals, as lots of people are looking for a pet sitter
  • You’d need to not have a lot of stuff, because moving is a bitch and carting tons of items from house to house frequently would be beyond tiring
  • You’d need to have a car – in a sprawling city like Auckland it’s unlikely you’d be able to stay within your preferred area all of the time, and would probably end up jumping all over the place
  • You’d ideally have somewhat flexible work arrangements – it’d be ideal if you work from home
  • And of course you’d need to be okay with the frequent picking up and moving, packing and unpacking. No doubt there are long-term assignments out there – the woman I know seems to stay put for a couple of months at a time – but nonetheless you’d be always looking for the next place. You’d definitely need some kind of backup plan should you need somewhere to stay between assignments in a pinch (hostel? Friends or family?)

I briefly thought about signing up to one of these sites, mainly because I spotted a great West Auckland property available over the holiday period and thought ‘what a great way to spend New Year’s without going away!’ But in addition to needing to find someone to take a chance on a first-timer to get your foot in the door with house-sitting (again it’s that whole how do you get experience when nobody will give you experience? conundrum, except it’s even harder because you can work for free to get experience, but you’re house-sitting for free and there’s nowhere to start below that), there’s a membership fee. Too much work for a throwaway thought.

And as for house-sitting as a lifestyle? I just don’t think it’s feasible for us – that would require buying a second car, cancelling out a lot of the cost savings – and adding the other inconveniences into the equation, it’s not the right path for us at this time. But it’s definitely something to consider. Lifestyle alternatives FTW.

Have you ever been a house-sitter? Would you consider it as a lifestyle?

10 thoughts on “House-sitting as a lifestyle choice

  • Reply mmarinaa October 22, 2012 at 23:54

    I never understood why anyone without a pet would need a house sitter. How do people not have a friend or neighbor who can just check in on the place and water the plants or whatever? If you have a weirdly needy pet, fine, but house sitting seems like a very strange concept to me.

    • Reply Katie C. October 23, 2012 at 13:25

      It’s probably more of an option for people with dogs who don’t want to pay the expense of putting the dog in a kennel. They need to go on walks and such, so it would be easier to just have someone there full-time to watch the pet. (Cats = so much simpler.)

  • Reply Mo' Money Mo' Houses (@momoneymohouses) October 23, 2012 at 11:41

    Now that sounds interesting! I would love to work completely remotely so I’d be free to do something like this!

  • Reply Katie C. October 23, 2012 at 14:32

    I love that you wrote about this! I had a doctor who told me that one of his friends was a professional house sitter. She actually moves all over the U.S., and I thought it would be such an adventurous life! I wouldn’t do it just because we have our cats, and it’s nice to come home to our own place.

    I absolutely love the thought of living out of a suitcase though. When I was a young girl, I loved keeping all of my toys in my bedroom. My brothers would leave theirs everywhere, but I always rounded mine up and kept them in one place. So having everything in a suitcase is super appealing to me. 🙂

  • Reply Yakezie (@Yakezie) October 23, 2012 at 16:55

    I’ve considered house-sitting at my friend’s houses in Hawaii and other vacation spots. Why not right?!

  • Reply The Asian Pear October 24, 2012 at 04:59

    I can see young people doing this for awhile. Those who want to travel and are relatively free… But I can’t imagine people doing this on a long-term basis.

  • Reply Tiago October 24, 2012 at 13:47

    You have just given a globetrotting financial planner a thought and I’m kicking myself for not knowing about such matters. I’m lucky in life in so much that I have been successful enough to have my own business which means I can go off from time to time for a few months leaving my business in good hands.
    In my younger days I used to travel on a budget more so than now. I wish I had known about this then. But at the time I was reading the post, I thought the writer must be mad. Who on earth is going to let a stranger into their home for a period of time and do what they like.
    Seems I should have researched before I thought that as it seems it’s a thriving business. What a great idea for travelers. I’m inclined to agree that it won’t suit that many settled types as it would involve constant upheaval.
    I plan to research a little deeper as my son has the traveling bug. I’ve told him I can’t finance it so his going to have to be a man and make his own way. I will pass this tip on to him for him to research also. What a great read, but still wish id found it 30 years ago when I was a backpacker.

  • Reply My Broken Coin (@MyBrokenCoin) October 24, 2012 at 16:30

    I know someone who chose to do it for a living. He moves from house to house, gets paid and spend time in the most remote places that I’ve imagines. The last time got to talk to him, he was house sitting some cabin in Wisconsin, a remote location with no Internet. He is a loner, never married, has a dog and loves his house-sitting life. He never felt lonely.

  • Reply Ornella@Moneylicious October 25, 2012 at 16:20

    I’ve never met anyone who was a professional house-sitter. I would imagine it’s for one who enjoys traveling. Can you invite friends over if you house-sit?

  • Reply Stephany (@stephanywrites) October 26, 2012 at 13:27

    This is interesting… I’m not sure I could do it! I would not relish the idea of moving around so much and never really having a HOME. I really need a place that feels like home to be comfortable. And I don’t have much wanderlust. I’ve never heard of this, though! I guess it would work for some people with little possessions and just want to see different places of the world.

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