How to Become a House Sitter in Australia

🏡 How to Become a House Sitter in Australia: 10 Steps!

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House sitting while travelling Australia is one fantastic way to not only enjoy free accommodation, but also experience a range of different locations. Consider incorporating house sitting into your accommodation repertoire as you’re travelling.

Here I share how to become a house sitter in Australia, so that you can enjoy the extra benefits and experiences for yourself.

House Sitting is essentially where you stay in someone else’s house (or camp in their yard) in exchange for looking after their property while they’re away. There may be pets that need to be taken care of or even some yard care to tend to.

House sitting offers a great way to immerse yourself in a local town or culture, enjoy bonding with other people’s pets, plus enjoy free accommodation among other benefits. 

There are probably hundreds of good reasons to incorporate house sitting as an accommodation option either as a lifestyle choice or while travelling. Here’s how to become a house sitter in Australia.

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How to Become a House Sitter in Australia

Be happy to do gardening/ property maintenance

Gardening, Property Maintenance, Yard Work

First and foremost, it’s important to be keen to do some gardening and yard maintenance while house sitting, if that is what’s required of you.

If a home owner is going away for an extended period, they benefit from having a house sitter staying who can do some basic lawn mowing and watering of plants. There may be extra tasks required, such as collecting dead palm leaves or maintaining the pool.

If property maintenance isn’t your thing, do not despair. Not every house sit requires these tasks of sitters, just make sure that you’re not signing up to mowing lawns if it’s not your thing or you’re not physically able to do so.


Have a love for animals

Warm Bed Dog Blanket

One of the most common reasons people get in house sitters in Australia is to look after their beloved pets. A main rule on how to become a house sitter is to have a love of pets and animals. Being an animal lover will mean you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of pet sitting.

The usual tasks for pet sitting is to feed the animal/s, walk them (if relevant) and tend to their general needs. Obvious pets to be looking after are dogs, cats, fish and birds, but you may find yourself looking after chickens, guinea pigs or even horses!

Make sure you get the owner to write down all details, or take notes yourself when organising pet sitting.

Pet sitting information to note:

  • How often to feed the pets (times)
  • What exactly they eat and how much
  • Where the pet food is stored
  • The local Vet’s phone number
  • When/ where to walk them
  • Where they sleep
  • Where they’re allowed to go on the property
Travelling Australia with Dogs →

Gather references

Reference Letter

The first formal step in how to become a house sitter in Australia is to acquire some good references.

Getting together references can be a bit tricky if you’ve never done any official house sits before, but it is something that people like to see before agreeing to have you stay on their property.

Consider asking someone to write you a reference who’s seen how you perform in a leadership role where you’ve had trust or expectations placed upon you. Alternatively, it could be a character reference from someone you know.

Ideas for references:

  • Friends or family – if you’ve ever looked out for their house while they were away
  • Friends or family – if you’ve had experience with their pets/ animals
  • Babysitting reference – to demonstrate your character
  • Pet sitting reference
  • Employer reference
  • Airbnb reference
  • Camp host/ caravan park reference – if you’ve had experience working around a campground or caravan park
  • Upstanding community member reference – if you personally know one (e.g. police officer, doctor, school principal)
  • Community group reference – if you belong to one (e.g. church, scouts, sporting club)

Get a Police Certificate

Checklist

The next part in how to become a house sitter in Australia is getting a Police Check done.

A Police Certificate is a document you can request via your local police or government agency. The legal document displays the results of a background check on your criminal history (if relevant).

Example of information that will show up on a police check:

  • Court outcomes
  • Findings of guilt
  • Arrests
  • Sentences
  • Penalties
  • Pending charges
  • Good behaviour bonds
  • Community-based orders
  • Suspended sentences

Having an empty police check is going to put home owners at ease with having you stay at their property with their valuables and precious pets.



Join House Sitting Websites

When looking at how to become a house sitter in Australia, it’s important to join up with some (or all) of the Australian house sitting websites.

You can access all of the available house sitting positions on their websites for free, but to be able to contact the owner and apply, you will need to join up and pay the annual membership fee.

Put some time into creating a really detailed profile to increase your appeal to home owners.

Aussie House Sitters

Aussie House Sitters

Browse Positions: FREE

Membership Cost: $84

Membership Duration: 12 months

  • Largest Australian house sitting site
  • Email house ad alerts
  • Member rewards
  • ID verification

Browse Aussie House Sitters →


Mindahome

Mindahome

Browse Positions: FREE

Membership Cost: $59

Membership Duration: 12 months

  • Email house ad alerts
  • Free ‘Guide to House Sitting’ eBook

Browse Mindahome →


Happy House Sitters

Happy House Sitters

Browse Positions: FREE

Membership Cost: From $59

Membership Duration: 12 months (or can opt to purchase 4 month, 12 month or 18 month membership)

  • Email house ad alerts
  • Home owners can search your profile & contact you
  • Guarantee: $30 cash-back + 3 month free membership if you don’t get a house sit within the first 12 months

Browse Happy House Sitters →


Trusted Housesitters

Trusted House Sitters

Browse Positions: Free

Membership Cost: From $109 (extra benefits for premium memberships)

Membership Duration: 12 months

  • 24/7 Vet Advice Line for pet sitting
  • Alerts for saved searches
  • Accident & third party liability protection (with premium membership)
  • Worldwide house sits (1000+ in Australia)

Browse Trusted Housesitters →


The House Sitters

The House Sitters

Browse Positions: FREE

Membership Cost: $60

Membership Duration: 12 months

  • Choose who can view your profile
  • Free ID check for each adult in your house sitting party

Browse The House Sitters →


Join House Sitting Groups & Pages

An additional way to find House Sitting positions is by joining relevant Facebook groups.

It’s amazing how many people advertise directly through groups without having to worry about formal checks and membership fees.


Apply for Positions

Now that you’re all set up with your references and memberships, it’s time to hit the most important step in how to become a house sitter in Australia – start applying for positions!

Make sure that you thoroughly read people’s ads and that you’re only applying for positions that will suit your location and skills.

When you’re applying, be as detailed as you can with introducing yourself and sharing your experiences. Home owners will feel more comfortable if they feel that you’ve specifically replied to their ad and not just sent through a generic ‘copy & paste’ reply.

Be honest with why you want the position. Maybe it’s for free accommodation while you’re visiting an area, or it could be because you just miss having a pet to cuddle. People always appreciate honesty.


Organise a ‘Meet & Greet’

Meet & Greet

Once you’ve snagged a house sitting position, the next stage is to organise a ‘meet & greet’ with the home owner.

If you’re in a different location and can’t physically do a meet up, organise to do a video call instead (through Skype or WhatsApp etc.).

The purpose of the meeting is for all parties to meet each other and see if everyone is comfortable. As well as that you want to have a look at the house and gather all of the information needed for the house sit.

Get all of the information:

  • Howe owner’s contact information
  • Vet’s phone number & address (if pet sitting)
  • Real Estate’s phone number (if renting) – in case of building or property emergency
  • Pet feeding – what to feed them, how many times per day, where’s the food kept?
  • Pet care – where do they sleep, where are they allowed to go within the property, how often to walk them?
  • Yard maintenance – mowing, gardening, pool etc.
  • Where to leave collected mail?
  • Where are the household cleaning products kept?
  • WiFi/ Netflix/ Foxtel passwords
  • Is there an alarm/ entry system – how does it work?

Stay in Contact

Text Messaging

It’s important to stay in contact with the home owner during the house sit. This keeps them at ease with how everything’s going at home, so that they can enjoy their trip.

If the lines of communication are open, it makes it easier to contact them in case of emergency. We were house sitting in Townsville when a cyclone warning came through. We had to stay in contact with the owner throughout the process so we knew where to house the dogs if it hit, plus how to prepare the house.


Get a Reference

The final step in how to become a house sitter in Australia successfully, is to gather references from each of your house sits.

If the home owner was happy with how you looked after their pets and property and you were happy with your experience, be assertive and ask if they would be happy to write you a reference for future positions.

Leave the house cleaner than how you found it!

A positive experience will also result in the home owner keeping you in mind for future house sits, plus they may even refer you to their friends and family!

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Benefits of House Sitting while Travelling

Free Accommodation

This one’s the most obvious, but it’s a huge deal. When you’re travelling, one of your biggest expenses is accommodation. Whether you’re on the road for an extended period of time or you just want to get away for a short break, house sitting while travelling Australia is a great accommodation option for holidayers and long-term travellers alike. 

House Sitting in QLD

House sitting is also a very viable option for alternative living in Australia. In this day in age, is it really necessary for every second person to have their own house? Houses are expensive and draw a lot to maintain (financially, mentally and physically). 

One way to help combat the ‘housing crisis’ in Australia might be for people who are willing and able, to incorporate house sitting into their lifestyles. 

Travel Expense Tracker Spreadsheet

Travel Expense Tracker

Spreadsheet designed for logging & tracking expenses while travelling Australia!

  • Automatically calculates totals
  • 16 categories
  • 150 subcategories
  • Summary & Pie Chart visuals
  • Monthly + Year-to-date sheets

Adopt-A-Pet

If your kids are anything like mine, then they probably really, really want a pet (namely a dog or cat)! While I just love dogs, we weren’t able to commit to having one of our own on the road.

I know I would have been worried whenever we had to leave it somewhere while we went exploring, which meant I might have chosen not to explore as much or for full days at a time.

When you’re house sitting to look after someone else’s pets, you’ve got the best of both worlds. You get to play with and adore the pets, the kids get to learn about the responsibilities that come with pet ownership and then you get to carry on with your journey without the added worries of actually having your own pet.

Don’t get me wrong, a dog brings so much joy to a family and can totally enhance the travelling experience as a whole, but if you’re not ready for that or you know it’s not going to work for you for various reasons, then pet sitting is an awesome alternative.


Access to Laundry Facilities

Whenever we were House Sitting while travelling Australia, I always made the most of having a full sized washing machine on hand. That meant all towels, sheets, blankets, jackets, you name it, get to enjoy wash day (or week).

Washing

The things is, washing on the road can add up rather quickly at an average of $4 per load in caravan parks and laundromats.

I was so grateful to have a caravan washing machine on board, so we don’t have that expense, but it did mean that the big blankets and jackets went a lot further between washes.

It’s also nice to know that the last person who used the machine didn’t just throw in their hair-covered pet blankets!


Ability to Borrow Resources

If you live in a van or camper, then your space will be just as limited as ours was. 

Anything that we didn’t use regularly just didn’t get a home in the van, which is where borrowing those occasional-use items was very handy for our minimalist lifestyle.  One such item is the humble household-sized vacuum cleaner. 

Vacuum Cleaner
Large Vacuum Cleaner (eBay) →

We did eventually get a small, handheld 12 volt vacuum and it was the best thing since sliced bread! However, after living without a vacuum for the first two years, I can say that they’re not necessarily essential. Our floors would get the once-over most days with a Norwex Dry Mop (which doubles as a Wet Mop) and it did the job pretty well.

Black & Decker Dustbuster
12 volt Dustbuster (eBay) →

But, that’s not to say that we don’t show full appreciation for a real, legit vacuum cleaner when we had the chance to use one. So, whenever we house sat (or visited friends and family) while travelling Australia, we’d definitely borrow the vacuum to give the van a really good clean before heading off.

Christmas Tree

Something else that we’ve been able to borrow while house sitting around Australia is a christmas tree. Yep, one year our house sitting gig was over the christmas period and the owner was only too happy to let us borrow the chrissy tree and decorations! 

If we couldn’t borrow those things during the holiday season we would either use what was around us (a nice branch with homemade decorations) or get a few items from an Op Shop, which would then get donated back after the season was finished.


Help Others Out

The whole concept of House Sitting is about being a part of a sharing community. One where you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours in return. It makes total sense to get someone in to keep your house running while you’re away, in return for them enjoying an all-expenses-included stay.

Mail

Generally mowing the lawns, feeding the pets, collecting the mail and keeping the house clean and occupied is a fair exchange for free rent, electricity and use of the facilities on the property. It takes things back to the basics of the age old bartering system.

NOTE: Some house sits do pay if it’s a particularly tricky or involved situation, but that is not the majority.


Reduced Household Stress

Let’s face it, owning your own home is expensive. You need a decent deposit to get you started, a good, consistent income for the next 30+ years to pay it off, not to mention all of the associated costs in between. Having a home to maintain can also be a lot of work, taking up your precious time, energy and money. 

Believe it or not, there are many people around Australia who are Professional House Sitters. They move from one position to another, which provides them with full-time accommodation for free (well, in exchange for their services)! While this option wouldn’t work for everyone, it’s a very viable way to live.

Feet Up

Other people just like to use house sitting as a chance to get away for a holiday, without the cost of accommodation fees. What a fantastic way to take a break, help someone else out and enjoy a completely different location for just the cost of your fuel or flights in getting there. 

Holidays don’t need to cost a fortune – literally, a change is as good as a holiday!

If you travel long-term in Australia, house sitting can provide somewhere free to park up or the chance to get out of the van for a bit. It also saves on caravan park fees if you’ve stopped for work.

Caravan Park Memberships – Are they worth it? →

New Experiences & Locations

While House Sitting, you can put your hand up to do things that you have never done before, like feeding horses, collecting chook eggs, helping out on a farm or station, maintaining a pool, walking dogs and trimming rose bushes. 

Townsville House Sitting
House Sitting in Townsville

You may find yourself ‘living’ in a nice, fancy suburb that in a previous life you could never have afforded. You could be staying in a beautiful cabin, nestled in the mountains or in an ultra modern apartment in the middle of Melbourne. 

Maybe you’d like to see what it’s like to live right on the beach in a coastal town or check out a place that you’ve never been to before. 

How to Make Friends on the Road →

When you House Sit, you also get to slip in and be a part of that community for a short amount of time, which means you will get to see and experience that location in a completely different way to that of a tourist.


Fresh Perspective

Finally, one of best parts of house sitting is the fresh perspective you always walk away with. It often gives a renewed sense of gratitude for your own home and lifestyle (whatever that may look like).

Wuruma Dam, Eidsvold QLD

For you, the fresh perspective might be about new changes that you want to make in your life or gratitude for what you’ve already got. Or simply being thankful for the amazing opportunities that are available to you as house sitter.

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House Sitting FAQs

Why do home owners use house sitters?

• To keep the property occupied (for insurance reasons or theft prevention).
• To look after pets/ animals.
• For basic property maintenance if going away for long periods (e.g. lawn mowing, plant watering).

Do house sitters get paid?

Generally house sitting is an unpaid gig. The home owner exchanges short-term free ‘rent,’ power, water and use of facilities for services at their property. Occasionally, a home owner may offer a paid position if the house sit is particularly tricky or unusual, but it’s not the majority.

Do house sitters have to pay for power and water?

House sitters are not expected to pay for power and water usage, unless that has been otherwise agreed to with the home owner. House sitters spend money in getting to the house sit and offer services in exchange for the rent, power and water for that short period of time.


This is how to become a house sitter in Australia. Now it’s over to you to get organised and start staying in some amazing locations around the country!

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14 thoughts on “🏡 How to Become a House Sitter in Australia: 10 Steps!”

  1. I love this positive outlook and there are so many valuable points you’ve mentioned! I love the free accommodation part (Australia is so expensive) and my kids absoluely love animals so they’d be more than happy to look after pets for a few days.

    1. Australia is super expensive, which is really sucky, so any way to ease the budget is a plus. Getting to hang out with cute pets is a great bonus.

  2. I had never really entertained the idea of
    House sitting as part of my travels before, but this seems like a really great accommodation alternative. What better way to really immerse yourself into the area than to stay at a locals house?

    1. I love your post and I can’t wait to housesit. No more Air BnB!

      With the house finding sites you’ve recommended, do you have a favourite? Do you find they’re prompt with taking down ads that have been filled?

      1. Definitely worth looking into House Sitting to save yourself some money. Aussie House Sitters and Mind-a-Home are both good, reputable sites with plenty of listings. Don’t forget to join some of the House Sitting Facebook groups as well for some opportunities. I’m not actually sure how prompt they are with removing ads that have been fulfilled.

  3. Though I haven’t tried house-sitting, the concept has fascinated me for a long time. It’s really nice to help someone around the house in exchange for a free accommodation, ultimately saving loads of money. Love your expert pointers on same.

    1. We’d never considered House Sitting until we became travellers. Now I look back and wonder why we never did it before as a way of experiencing different holiday locations.

  4. Never ever experienced Housesitting, but looking to traveling in Austraila as expensive affair the house sitting seems economical way to travel around. For me this seems great way to see new locations which may be offbeat too.

    1. Travelling around Australia can definitely be pricey. It’s cheaper for us to go to some other countries than it is to holiday in our own country in some cases! House Sitting definitely cuts some of those costs.

  5. What a great tip, especially for families! If I were to travel through a country for a longer period, house sitting would definitely be an option I would look into 🙂

  6. Lorraine stanton

    I do house sitting but want to travel and do house sitting to see different places in our beautiful country

    1. It’s a really great way to travel on a budget and have a totally different experience. There are a few different Facebook groups where you can see House Sits advertised, plus Aussie House Sitters.com and Mind A Home.com are great too.

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