House sitting is a cornerstone of the booming sharing economy* and its popularity continues to soar—one of the most active house sitting websites has grown 300% every year since it began in 20101.
A win-win arrangement
The way house sitting works is pretty simple: home owners invite people to stay and look after their house and garden—and invariably one or two furry friends—and offer free accommodation. It’s designed to work for everyone involved. Pet owners avoid paying kennel costs and can travel knowing their pets happily stay at home. Sitters live rent free and have the chance to experience new places and build savings or cut living costs.
Freedom for first home buyers
More than 25% of prospective home buyers live with parents or family members to save money for a first home2. House sitting can help young people save while providing independence.
Here’s how you could use housesitting to buy your first home:
- Use our home loan calculator to work out how much you’ll need for a deposit—remember the more you save, the less you’ll need to borrow.
- Calculate how long you’ll need to live rent free to save the deposit.
- Plan house sitting arrangements to help you reach your goal.
Downsizing or looking for a change?
If you’re a home owner thinking of selling your home, or you have already, you may be aiming for a tree change or a home near the sea. House sitting can give you opportunities to live in new areas before buying. And while you’re at it, you have the potential to save on living costs for a period of time, while trying out a new area.
Is it right for everyone?
You really need to consider your own needs before house sitting. Here are some things to think about:
- How can house sitting work for you—will you aim for back-to-back house sits or sporadic breaks as you need them?
- Living out of a suitcase can be tiring no matter how young or old you are—how long would you do it for?
- If you’re an animal lover there are many opportunities. If not, search for house sits that don’t include animal care.
- Where will you stay afterwards—if buying a home, can you time settlement with a final house sit?
Find out more
If house sitting sounds like an option for you, speak with friends, family and neighbours about house sitting opportunities they may have or know about. A word of mouth referral can be a good place to start. Two websites—charging from $65.00 for annual membership—provide details about all that’s involved if you’re keen to venture further:
- Take a look at aussiehousesitters.com.au for opportunities in Australia.
- Visit TrustedHousesitters.com for international house sits in over 70 countries―many people travel the world without paying for accommodation!
*The sharing economy is based on the collaborative consumption model used in emerging sectors like social lending, peer-to-peer accommodation, peer-to-peer advising and car sharing.
2 RAMS First home buyers pulse check survey 2012.