House sitting can be a great way to stop paying rent and help you save your deposit. Here is a basic guide to house sitting.
More and more people these days are finding it extremely difficult to save a deposit either to purchase their own home or to go ahead and purchase an investment property. One of the options to save money to help you achieve that goal is actually house sitting. Reducing your rent by sitting in someone else’s house basically rent-free.
So, today, I have Robyn on from comparehousesitting.com.au to talk about this new trend that is happening where people are house sitting as a way to save their deposit.
Ryan: Hey Robyn, thanks for coming on today.
Robyn: Good day, Ryan.
Ryan: So, why don’t you talk through what exactly house sitting is for those people who aren’t completely aware of it.
Robyn: Sure. House sitting is a booming worldwide trend where homeowners open their home to house sitters to live in while they are away and care for their property, home, gardens, whatever they have. It might be just an apartment with a cat. And particularly, caring for their animals. This enables animals to remain in their familiar environment and not have to be put into pet prison and be cared for and loved and have their familiar routine and it doesn’t cost anybody a cent.
The homeowner doesn’t pay the house sitter and the house sitter doesn’t pay the homeowner anything because it’s a fair exchange – a mutual exchange of services. House sitting, the communities are made up of people who cooperate for mutual benefit, rather than financial gain. And, from my experience, it’s a really nice way to live.
Ryan: Yeah. And people who have pets and who want to go on holidays, it can be very difficult to find accommodation that will accept your pet. So if you put your pets in those pet hotels or pet prisons, as you called them, they can be quite expensive. I remember my mother-in-law needed to do it and it was like, $40 or $60 a day or something like that, and that was to have her dog go and stay with another family.
It can be very expensive so I understand why people would want to have people come and house sit and look after their pets. Because it saves them money, allows them to go on holidays. And then, obviously, for the person house sitting, they get free accommodation, basically, in exchange for looking after pets or the gardens or the house, etc.
So, obviously, we can see that this can be very beneficial. Did you say that this is a trend and more and more people are house sitting these than they used to?
Robyn: It’s a booming worldwide trend and particularly booming in Australia because people are increasing home ownership. People are living longer, they’re more healthy, they’re traveling and they’re internet savvy. Also increased mobility in the workforce, more and more people are location independent, work-from-home; which is perfect for homeowners because a lot of homeowners do like the house sitter to be around quite a bit. But, that’s all negotiable.
That’s not always the case. Often, in a city, there are homeowners who just want someone living, coming and going out of their home. They may not even have pets or they may just have a pussy cat. You can go to work full time because the homeowners go to work full time and the animals are accustomed to being home alone.
So, yeah, there’s all sorts of house sitters for all sorts of reasons and the house sitting websites featured on my site – Compare House Sitting. They’re really easy to follow. You can put your preferences in, the dates, whether you want the location in the city or in the country. And it’s a win-win-win situation, I say. It’s a win for the homeowner, a win for the house sitter and a win for the pets.
Ryan: I think in the past, with house sitting, it used to be just friends or friends of friends. If you were going away, you’d try and get one of your friends to stay at your house to look after your pet. But now, obviously, with introduction of things like Airbnb, people are more happy to have other people stay in their homes. It’s becoming more commonplace. And so, there’s now a bunch of websites out there that can connect people who want to house sit with people who are offering out their houses for sitting.
So, if you go to comparehousesitting.com.au, there is a tab that I clicked on called, “Compare Websites” and you can go ahead and you can see the different websites on there.
One of the things that I would worry about if I was house sitting, obviously, having free accommodation is great, that can help me save a lot of money. Are these generally short term house sitting arrangements? Like, staying for a week? And then, what do you do in-between one house to the next if you are the house sitter?
Robyn: I’m very glad you asked that question. That’s an interesting question, Ryan, because this is something that is not well understood. I have been house sitting Australia for 5 years. It started as initially, a stop-gap measure between vacating my lovely little flat on the seashore in Manly and deciding where to live to move out of Sydney. I commenced house sitting to look at other areas. Sorry, I’ll get to your – I’m not addressing completely.
Ryan: No, no. It’s good. I like to…
Robyn: To look at other areas outside Sydney and live in them and experience them for a while with the view to moving there. But, it just kept going. Now, to answer your point, I moved 4 times last year. I had 4 sits of 3 months. All in beautiful locations, beautiful homes, gorgeous animals, lovely homeowners, all for free, all amazing!
Ryan: So are you house sitting right now as we record this?
Robyn: I am. I don’t expect to be doing it for too much longer. But, every house sit I do, there’s new things that become evident, new issues and I’ll be addressing all these things on my site in free information. But, I will be doing some e-books and having them for sale on specific issues.
Ryan: So, with your experience, you said you moved 4 times in the last year. So you sat at 4 places. Were they all within the same region or have you moved all over Australia?
Robyn: No. I’m staying in Sydney, I’m in Sydney. My house sitting buddy works as a hire car driver. So, he’s doing from Sydney airport so we need to be in Sydney. On house sitting sites, you can search different criteria. You can search by area, the dates, whether you want pets or no pets and type of pet. We look to prefer to house sit by the ocean because that’s what we’re familiar with.
Ryan: Yeah. Why wouldn’t you? It’d be great to have free accommodation on the ocean.
Robyn: If you can, you know, if you can – and you can.
Ryan: That’s the thing. To rent a 2-bedroom apartment in Manly or on the beach anywhere, I’m originally from Cronulla in Sydney, you’re looking at $500, $600 or more a week for a 2-bedroom place.
Robyn: A 2-bedroom? $800 now. It’s crazy.
Ryan: Yeah. And so, to get that for free, obviously, $800 times by 52 weeks, you’re looking at upwards of $40,000 a year or something that you could be saving.
Robyn: Plus utilities!
Ryan: Oh, you don’t have to pay electricity or water?
Ryan: Oh, that is so good!
Robyn: Yeah. It is amazing! I’m sort of itching to make a point before I lose it because it’s just so lovely. Quite a few homeowners that I speak with in the last year, they are looking for a house sitter now because they no longer have their regular house sitter who they’d had maybe for 4 years who has now bought their own home. These are all Gen Y who are house sitting to save a home. They might live at home for free in some cramp share accommodation but look to house sit so they can move out and have their own space and they just have that other place as to go to in-between. Maybe to store their things.
They might live at home for free in some cramp share accommodation but look to house sit so they can move out and have their own space and they just have that other place as to go to in-between. Maybe to store their things.
Ryan: Do you have a lot of in-between time between houses?
Robyn: I don’t have any.
Ryan: No? How do you line that up? Is that stressful?
Robyn: It can be. But, I do have it down to a fine art and I will sharing this information on my website. It’s difficult – house sitting is seldom [inaudible 9:42] perfectly. From to time, when we started, we had somewhere to stay in-between. But, that’s really, really hard moving out, cleaning up, moving out, moving somewhere else and then moving again a few days later. Oh my goodness, that is really hard work. Because it’s too averse, we overlap.
My house sitting buddy, tomorrow, about to go to another house sit. He’ll be there a week. I’ll be here in Clovelly, actually, lovely downtown Clovelly. Not downtown, up by the beach. And, I’ll stay here and clean up and get out of here and move gradually into the other place where we’ll be for a month. We go back to the same homeowners about 4 months of each year.
We go back to the same homeowners about 4 months of each year. Because a lot of people go away the same time every year, that is so nice because it’s like going home. You know the people, you know the house. You just go back. You don’t even see each other, you just move in and out in the dead of night. It just all works beautifully.
But, I think I missed a point. What do I want to say? Oh yes. The point I wanted to make was, these homeowners who I’ve spoken with particularly in the last year, who have said, Oh, they’re looking for a house sitter now because their previous one that they’d had for 4 years has now bought a home and they’re no longer available. Because of my website, I probed on trying to get to the bottom of things for my website. These people, most homeowners do prefer someone to be around a lot, so they might be looking for people for work-from-home or don’t work at all – retirees. But, these lovely homeowners people are just so, so lovely. Because they say, “Oh, well, you know, the dog was home alone a bit because she worked full time in the city. But we wanted to help her.” Oh, how nice is that?
These people, most homeowners do prefer someone to be around a lot, so they might be looking for people for work-from-home or don’t work at all – retirees. But, these lovely homeowners people are just so, so lovely. Because they say, “Oh, well, you know, the dog was home alone a bit because she worked full time in the city. But we wanted to help her.” Oh, how nice is that?
You know, because they understand the problem and for the sake of helping a young person get the home deposit together to buy their home, they’re in that. They just want to help them and I just find that really heartwarming.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s great. Obviously, I guess, for single people or for couples, it could be quite easy. I love your overlap strategy where your house sitting buddy can go to the new house, you can stay for the extra week or whatever the overlap is, and then you can meet up and move into the new house. That way, you don’t have any time in limbo.
Is house sitting mainly just for single people or couples? I have 3 children, 6, 4, and 1. Families like me, is there opportunities for us to house sit or is it really just limited to single people or couples?
Robyn: Predominantly, single people and couples. But, of course, there are families that go on holidays [inaudible 12:50]. Lots of pets, chooks, dogs, cats and veggie gardens for the children to play in. They’re setup for a family. They’re happy to have families. Anyone can go on house sitting websites through Compare House Sitting, you can they’re the best house sitting websites for Australia. You can go on to any of these websites and you can search, you can look at the house sitters. You can see their profiles. You can see details of them. A lot of families are house sitting for holidays. They might live in the country and want to a holiday in the city. They might live in the city and want to go for a holiday in the country. Families are house sitting to travel. A lot of families are traveling before children start big school. They might take off for 6 months. I do know a family who plans to travel around and
You can go on to any of these websites and you can search, you can look at the house sitters. You can see their profiles. You can see details of them. A lot of families are house sitting for holidays. They might live in the country and want to a holiday in the city. They might live in the city and want to go for a holiday in the country. Families are house sitting to travel. A lot of families are traveling before children start big school. They might take off for 6 months. I do know a family who plans to travel around and
They might take off for 6 months. I do know a family who plans to travel around and house sits. They just get a house sit for a month somewhere on a farm, somewhere else. And they’re just doing that as a way of getting out of the rat race for a while and having some family time.
Ryan: Yeah. I’m just one of these sites now that I found through your site. And I’m just looking, there’s this accommodation in Freshwater, which is on the Northern beaches in New South Wales. My wife used to live in Freshwater. And someone’s going away for 3 and a half weeks to Europe. They’ve got 2 cats and so they want someone to come and look after their cat. It’s quite easy to just go through and you can browse these houses and see what’s available and obviously apply for them. Obviously, it’s going to be easier if you’re just a single person or if it’s just 2 of you versus if it’s families. But, I think, if you go as a family, you know it’s going to be more challenging. Maybe you need to be more flexible. Maybe you want to do it for holidays, but there’s still opportunities out there. I guess the point that I want to make to people is that these opportunities to house sit are there for everyone. You just need to go and have a look and give it a try and see what you think.
They’ve got 2 cats and so they want someone to come and look after their cat. It’s quite easy to just go through and you can browse these houses and see what’s available and obviously apply for them. Obviously, it’s going to be easier if you’re just a single person or if it’s just 2 of you versus if it’s families. But, I think, if you go as a family, you know it’s going to be more challenging. Maybe you need to be more flexible. Maybe you want to do it for holidays, but there’s still opportunities out there. I guess the point that I want to make to people is that these opportunities to house sit are there for everyone. You just need to go and have a look and give it a try and see what you think.
I guess the point that I want to make to people is that these opportunities to house sit are there for everyone. You just need to go and have a look and give it a try and see what you think.
Robyn: I just might mention something because you mentioned just looking and applying for them. You can look, you can see all the information. House sitters can see information on the homeowner ads and homeowners can browse information of house sitters. But, it’s free for homeowners to contact the house sitters through all these sites. Some overseas sites are charging homeowners to join, but that is not the trend in Australia. And nor will it ever be, I believe.
But, house sitters have to pay membership to the site in order to contact the homeowners, apply for homeowner ads, respond to homeowner ads. But, the membership is negligible. Average is $60 a year.
Ryan: Yeah. I can see on your site the comparisons. One’s $65 a year, one’s $59 a year, one’s $55 a year. When you consider that you might be paying anywhere from $300 to $800 a week in rent, paying $60 or something for an annual to a house sitting website just makes complete sense.
Robyn: No-brainer, isn’t it? And that is for unlimited. You’re not limited to the amount of sits you can apply for that is applying for unlimited number of sits.
Robyn: Yeah. There is a big site out there that’s worldwide that’s based in the UK. It’s a really good site. But, they do charge more. They charge homeowners and house sitters and they do place limitations on the number of house sits you can apply for. Our great Aussie sites, these sites on Compare House Sitting have all been around for 10 years plus. They just love what they do – connecting homeowners and house sitters. And they provide a great service. You can actually talk to most of these people that the owners of the housing websites, you are not limited to online chat or emails. You can ring them up and talk to a real person. Just talk about value-added service in this day and age. But, they’re just doing a genuine job of helping people and they just still love it.
And they provide a great service. You can actually talk to most of these people that the owners of the housing websites, you are not limited to online chat or emails. You can ring them up and talk to a real person. Just talk about value-added service in this day and age. But, they’re just doing a genuine job of helping people and they just still love it.
In fact, one of the house sitting websites I feature, House Carers, it was the world’s first interactive house sitting website in 2000. The gentleman who started it, his name is Ian White, he was an IT guru and he just sort of saw this opportunity and he developed the first interactive housing website for worldwide opportunities and he’s still going strong. So, us Aussies are doing not too bad are we? Pretty good stuff.
Ryan: Yeah. And I can see so many different applications for this, for either investors or people looking to buy a home. Obviously, there’s the – you could house sit for long periods of time, going, jumping to different houses and you can save a bunch of money on rent, which you can use to put towards your deposit. But, I can even see people potentially house sitting for holidays or see people house sitting even though they own a house and while they’re house sitting, they could Airbnb their own house or something like that to get a bit of extra income coming in.
There’s so many different ways you could spin this and change it to fit your own particular needs.
I think we’ve given people the idea that house sitting is achievable, that it’s a great way to save money. What’s the best way that people can find out more information from you, Robyn, about house sitting and that they can get involved in this?
Robyn: Okay. My site, Compare House Sitting has a lot of – I’ve only been online a over a year. So, I’m still have a fair bit to upload, but I’ve just appointment my very first editor-in-chief, actually, so I’m going to go in leaps and bounds now and had a lot of my job content out there pretty quickly. I’ve got free downloads. I’ve got on my homepage,
I’ve got free downloads. I’ve got on my homepage, there’s a free Top 5 Tips for Homeowners and Top 5 Tips for House Sitters. These are not just blah, blah, blah waffle. These are really valuable tips that work if you follow them.
I’ve been, as I said, I think one of the house sitting sites told me that I’m the longest-ever house sitting person. I’ve only had 5 years, oh my goodness! But, it’s been a most interesting, liberating journey, actually. It’s really great not to have loads of money stipend out of your account every month.
Ryan: Yeah. You can bet.
Robyn: I use it. I use house sitting as business collateral.
Robyn: That’s what house sitting has been for me and a lot of people do that – do use it. You can just put your resources into developing a business without freaking out that it’s taking a lot longer than you ever anticipated.
Ryan: Yeah, well, without freaking out that I might not be able to pay my rent next week and might not have nowhere to live because you’re house sitting.
Robyn: Yeah, yeah. Which isn’t conducive to creative thought. I’m going to have a lot of free tips on my site and I will be writing. I’m in the process of writing a couple of e-books. But, yeah, there will be a lot of free information there. I actually am not sure if I answered your question.
Ryan: No. I think that’s great. I think if people are interested in house sitting, if it’s something that they want to do, they should your site, comparehousitting.com.au. They can download the free e-books if they want more information. Or, they can compare the different house sitting websites on there. You can see how much they cost.
There’s links to click them and go ahead and open them and see the different houses out there. So, yeah, just go to comparehousesitting.com.au if you want to find out more information.
Thank you so much for coming on today, Robyn.
Robyn: Thank you for having me, Ryan.
Ryan: I’ve had a blast talking about this and learning about this. The cogs are turning in my head about how I can apply this myself.
Robyn: Jumping in really quickly, another big reason people house sit is change in life circumstances. Things can happen in life and you need to get away from your present situation.
House sitting is so good for that because not only do you get away and have your own space and have people who are really appreciating you living their home and looking after their pot of plants, but you’ve got the pet therapy. It’s so good. I don’t know, I don’t know that I can say. Oh well, the one negative, okay, is packing up and moving out and cleaning up. Sure, that can be tricky. And it might be stressful. But, you do learn to manage these things and that’s a small price to pay for free accommodation in beautiful homes for lovely people with pets for pals.
Ryan: Yup. Awesome. Alright guys, we’ll leave it there today. If your’e interested in house sitting, again, just go to comparehousesitting.com.au. And until next time, stay positive.