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Here’s Five Ways To Become A Professional Housesitter

Why pay rent when you can become a pro at sitting in someone else’s house?

By Jeff Vasishta September 6, 2016
Photo courtesy of thestudiobydeb.com

The only thing better than living the high-life in a luxurious NYC apartment is staying there for free. But, short of being born into a family of spectacular wealth, or some good old fashioned breaking and entering (just a misdemeanor unless you steal something), most of us don’t have a chance. Unless… House sitting.

Related: Blame It On Rio: Olympic City Is Airbnb’s Most Expensive Place to Stay

Think of it as Airbnb but without the money. That’s right, you could get to stay in people’s houses—for free.

The two main house sitting sites are TrustedHousesitters and HouseCarers.com. Potential sitters pay a yearly subscription (Around $120) to be a member. You can set up your profile and wait for the offers to come in. One good stint as a house sitter, with an immaculately cleaned house and a groomed, contented pet awaiting the owners could have them booking you for the same time next year. Do the same thing for all 12 months and you’ll be living rent free in NYC.

If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. Here are some tips that will put you on speed dial for multiple home owners as they refer their friends to your services.

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Photo courtesy of acj.com

1.  Be More Than A House Sitter.

If you can throw in other services such pet grooming, house cleaning and gardening, you can go above and beyond the call of duty, becoming a real asset to the homeowner.

2. Get On With The Neighbors.

Once the neighbors see you trimming the rose plants and power washing the stoop, they’ll likely get chatting about who you are and what you do. You can add to that by just being your charming self all over the place. The neighbors will ask the owners about you when they return and may schedule you in for something similar.

3. Join Trustworthy Organizations and Network.

Trust is a delicate thing. If a homeowner has met you through their church, synagogue, temple or at some charity event, chances are there will be an in built degree of trust there. I’m not suggesting to be mercenary about going to church but it might help to keep your eyes open if you do. Print up some business cards that say that you offer House & Pet Sitting Services. Also get a web site made that has references and shows all the other services – house cleaning, gardening, dry cleaning drop off etc.—that you throw in the pot for free.

4. Don’t Rely On House Sitting To Cover You in NYC for 12 Months.

Inevitably if you want to be based purely in New York, you’re going to have a month or two where you haven’t got a house sitter lined up for accommodation. That’s when you might have to resort to crashing out at a friends or family member’s or even, heaven forbid, shell out some cash for an Airbnb rental. If you open your options up to the larger Tri-State area, your chances to enjoy a 12 month rent free existence improve.

5. House Sitting Is Perfect If You’re Living On The Gig Economy.

If you live a freelance lifestyle, where a Wi-Fi connection and cell phone are all you need to earn an income, then house sitting is a perfect accoutrement. If you don’t need to be in NYC 12 months of the year, you may find yourself globe trekking and taking house sitting assignments from far flung destinations. The key to regular work are great referrals, either online or personally. Always be prepared with the charm offensive and throw in the house keeping extras and you could find yourself in the lap of luxury. For free.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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