The second most frequently asked question: Do you get paid? Do you pay them? In general, house sitting is seen as more of an exchange so getting paid, especially in another country, can lead to more complicated questions. To put it simply, we have always found that it is best to have a form of income or savings before you go.
Non-Paid: As I mentioned house sitting is more of a reciprocation of sorts. You get to stay in their house, usually at no cost and have the genuine local experience while they go away. In exchange, they have the comfort of knowing their house and pets are being cared for while they are absent. For example us, we had a month off and wanted the genuine local experience of staying in a home in Ireland. Sure we had the responsibility of the ducks, chickens, dog and cat but we were in a fabulous, remote location. For us, it was a no-brainer.
But wait, if this is a “vacation”, why would I want to house sit when I want to do NOTHING? House sitting isn’t for everyone. If we worked the normal 9-5, we wouldn’t want to spend our one or two weeks vacation taking care of anything either. Hotels etc. are a great solution under those circumstances. However, when you have the freedom of going away for a month staying in a hotel might not be your ideal situation. At least, for us, it wasn’t.
They Pay: Yes, there are those who will pay and those who will only sit if they are paid. Through the various research, I have done the average going rate seems to be around $20 per day. There is also some discussion as to what constitutes being paid. For example, taking care of the animals is expected but maybe weeding and mowing the lawn is not. It’s up to the sitter and the homeowner to decide these terms and best if it is done before the actual house sit! You don’t want any surprises.
You Pay: Now, there are circumstances that I have seen, where homeowners ask you to pay them. Why? Maybe some live in more desirable locations, or perhaps it is more of a vacation home where they only want the utilities covered. It’s not completely unacceptable from homeowners to ask sitters to pay for some of the costs just as it is not unacceptable to ask to be paid as a sitter.
As you can see every situation is different and needs to be negotiated until both the sitter and homeowner are comfortable. This is precisely why House Sitting Agreement contracts exist. Also, there are plenty of ways to generate income while traveling, especially these days, so don’t let that deter you from house sitting! (We’ll talk more about house sitting agreements and generating income later).
Again, we would love to hear from you by posting your comments/questions below! And don’t forget to check out our hyperbole stories about house sitting and traveling called Moving Stories.