Not all retirees retire with super and assets.
Recent press releases highlighting the travels of retiree house sitters are showing that becoming a senior is not a ticket to boredom, or a sedentary lifestyle. Retirees from around the world are finding house sitting to be the key that opens the door to unique, authentic and free travel to destinations that they had once only dreamed about.
Unfortunately, many retirees do not have the liberty of spending their retirement egg on pleasure items or excursions, such as traveling.
Many individuals and couples who live on a fixed income have found that their funds usually only cover the basics of living. After a lifetime of raising families, running businesses and being everything to everyone, retirees are finding there is a way to travel and experience the world on their terms.
House sitting sites is allowing them to connect with home owners who are in need of house sitters. In exchange for a valuable service, retirees are able to enter into new worlds, that would otherwise be closed to them.
Professional house-sitting agencies connect owners and sitters through their websites – in fact, the whole process is a lot like online dating! CHOICE looks at what’s involved, how much it costs and how to minimise the risks for both parties.
How house-sitting agencies work
Homeowners and house-sitters can check out each other’s profiles (with descriptions, references and photos), post notices or sign up to be alerted when the agency finds them a match.
They can make contact with each other through the site then swap details and arrange to talk on the phone or meet up in person to inspect the house, meet any pets and get to know each other.
We told you it was a lot like dating!
House-sitters can come from all walks of life – from students on a budget to couples saving for their first home, or retirees travelling the country. As long as you’re responsible enough to keep a plant or pet alive, you’re a potential house-sitting candidate.
If you’re thinking of becoming a house-sitter, here’s what you should know:
- Put some effort into creating a good profile with a friendly picture and a detailed description of yourself. Remember, you’re a stranger and you’ll need to establish trust in order to get a house-sitting gig.
- Gather some personal references from employers, friends or previous house-sits.
- It’s worth getting a police check, as many homeowners will ask for this.
- You won’t get to choose the exact dates or locations of your house-sits, so you’ll need to be flexible.
- If you’re hoping to live the rent-free dream long-term, remember there will be gaps in your calendar. Make sure you have somewhere to stay when you don’t have a house-sit.
- You may be asked to contribute towards household bills, and you may be asked to pay a bond. You should nut these details out beforehand and put them down in writing.
How much does it cost?
- For homeowners: It’s usually free to create a profile and place an ad.
- For house-sitters: Membership fees can vary from $65 to over $500 per year. Some agencies charge an Australia-wide fee, while others charge per zone – for example, if you’re looking for house-sits in Sydney you’ll pay more than somebody looking for house-sits in rural Queensland.
These are just some of the house-sitting agencies available online. To find others try an internet search for ‘house-sitting’ or ‘house-minding’.