Maybe you’ve been house sitting for a while or just venturing into these waters. Either way, knowing how to navigate through the process can help immensely in your overall success.
I do want you to know up front that the process of seeking out and finding the right house sitting assignment can take several months. Give yourself plenty of time to sort through all the details and personalities so you make a solid decision based on reason – and not based on a too-hurried timeframe.
Conrad and I have enjoyed some of the most rewarding and life-changing adventures while house sitting – I get a bit crusade-ey when it comes to this fantastic way to see the world. I want everyone to experience the wonderful world of house sitting!
To that end, I want to share with you my philosophy of how to apply to house sitting assignments. And in particular, should you apply to more than one at a time?
The answer is Yes!
Here’s the bare-bones procedure of how the application process works:
- Set up email alerts from your chosen house sitting website(s) where you have a membership.
- Each day you receive notice of assignments that meet your parameters, such as what countries you want to house sit in, and if you’ll watch after pets.
- Respond to the house sits that look good.
- Start a communication with homeowners, to see if everyone is a good fit.
- Accept the assignment.
Okay now let’s look at the procedure in more detail, and with a bit of my experience thrown in. When the email alerts start coming in, they can be very exciting with all the romantic and charming photos and descriptions. Apply to all that sound good and meet your criteria.
But here’s the important thing – each and every letter of proposal must be stellar. Just because you’re sending out multiple letters to homeowners doesn’t mean you scrimp on your professionalism or level of attention. Make each one personal to the specific assignment. Always mention something, (or several things), about the homeowner’s description or photos. For instance, one posting I applied to had photos of the home’s interior. A doorway had interesting metal scrollwork in the corners. In my introductory letter, I mentioned how pretty that metalwork was. Other times I have made comments about the homeowner’s pets, like, “Those two guys look like they are sweet and cuddly.” Adding personal responses to their post will put you on the top of the homeowner’s list of possibles for the assignment.
I will also make comments about the post itself, like, “I like that you took a lot of time describing your home and surrounding area. Your descriptions sound like the same way I would describe my own home. It makes me feel like I know you.” Or, “I like that you posted your need for a house sitter so far in advance. I like to get everything all set up ahead of time, too.”
In other words, find a common ground between you and the homeowner. These honest and forthright approaches will make you stand out amongst the other applicants.
Applying to more than one house sit at a time allows you choices. By having several possibilities in the works, you have a better chance of getting a desirable assignment.
The truth is that this whole process of applying for house sits can be quite fluid. Some homeowners reject you. You reject some. You may have five potential house sits one day and lose them all the next. I may have 10 – 12 applications out there at one time. I find that the narrowing-down process works fairly organically, resulting in the right fit eventually. There is no right number of house sits to apply to. Just apply to all posts that fit your needs. If it’s 20, fine, work on those. If it’s 3, just as well. Make one of them work.
So let’s say you’re applying to multiple house sits. How do you keep them all straight? I use a wall chart. I write down each assignment I’ve applied to with information about it, such as where it is, for how long, and any other pertinent information on one row of the chart. That way, I see the chart every time I walk through the room. Not only that, but when I Skype with a homeowner, I have the wall chart handy so I can see information about other house sitting possibilities. For instance, if I am in contact with two possible assignments and both have said they want me, I have all the notes and information right there on the wall chart for making an informed decision.
I enjoy the challenge posed by the application process. By keeping the information organized, my decisions result in the best house sitting assignments for me and Conrad. I take my time, too, so that all the details can be hashed out between us and the homeowner before the two of us commit to any travel plans.
I’d love to hear from you house sitters out there. What does your process look like? Is it the same as mine?
I wish you happy and safe travels always and all ways.
I love to offer tips on house sitting. Click here for a menu page of more tip-related articles.