We recently joined an organization called Trusted Housesitters, a global organization that lists house sitters/pet sitters. You pay an annual fee of $119 as well as the persons seeking to be house sitters. It is a network for finding someone who wants to travel (on their own dime) to your destination and housesit/pet sit with no costs to yourself except that they are living in your house, using your utilities and using your staples to assist them in food preparation. These people are vetted and have criminal background checks. Many of them are what you would call a professional house sitter. When you look at their profiles, you see why they do this professionally: they have traveled all over the world and lived in some gorgeous homes along the way, made new friends in exotic places, and often have repeat stays in the same homes.
The largest number of members are from the UK, then USA, and Australia.
You have to post a profile of yourself, photos of your home and why you enlisted the help of the organization. This site attracts people who love to travel. When you are planning a trip, you post your dates which you want to travel and see if anyone is interested. We took our first trip, posted our dates and got 12 people who were interested. Two from Australia, one from New Zealand, one from Switzerland, one from the UK, and the rest from the United States. In one case, one was a mother who wanted to visit her son but not stay with him. (Something about not wanting to be a 24-hour babysitter.) One was a gentleman from the UK, who wasn’t available for our dates but we wanted me to save his info and let me know about our next trip. He was looking for a month long stay which is something we are planning later this year. Actually, we had two people who asked us to save their profile for future trips.
When you review the profiles of the house sitters, you see all their reviews from past “gigs” and you also see a world map that shows all the places they have house-sat. The ones who have been at this for a long time have been to places like London, Paris, Provence, Beijing, Thailand, Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo, etc. Obviously, the more reviews you have, the better the locations. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
So how did our first house-sitters do? Well, first of all, we selected a couple from Austin because we figured it would be easier to have locals since this was our first booking. They came over a week before we left and spent an hour with us. Lovely, young couple, named Nathan and Bunny. Bunny had a web-based business so she was home all the time with Sofi, the roving escape artist in our neighborhood. Nathan is a senior technician at pool company and took very good care of our pool, even giving us tips on how to improve the performance of our spa heater. The both were conscientious, thoughtful, asked smart questions about our home and I would love to hang with them any day of the week.
So, excited to have taken the leap and tried this organization. It is going to make retirement and traveling so much easier and without the outrageous kennel fees. Sofi will be so much happier and the house will not be vacant while we are exploring new places. Sitters will get to experience the beauty around Lake Travis and be close enough to Austin to enjoy the food and music scene.
If anyone is interested in joining, please consider mentioning us so we can win some points they will go toward the annual fee.