Notwithstanding friends and family, this is our second house sitting gig. It basically involves taking care of a house and usually pets + plants, and instead of payment you get a free place to stay.
While there are many obvious benefits to house sitting, after our experiences, I think the drawbacks outweigh them and I’m not so sure we will be doing this as regularly as I first thought when I found out this was a “thing.”
For one, I don’t like staying in other people’s houses, period. I don’t even like it when I know the people. With house sitting the people are away, so at least I have privacy, but being surrounded by other people’s junk is annoying even when they’re not around. The house we are currently in is cluttered, and so was the previous.
Second, house sitting is more work than I thought. One of the cats we are watching here is a needy motherfucker who screams and scratches on the bedroom door EVERY SINGLE MORNING from before dawn and if you don’t wake up and not only feed it but give it attention, it will NEVER SHUT UP. We had full disclosure, the ladies told us about the cat, but reading about it in an email and actually living it every day are two totally different things.
Another drawback we learned on our first housesitting gig on Bainbridge Island, when the owner decided to return from her camping trip early. Things like that can happen, and because it’s their house and you didn’t pay rent, you don’t have any real rights.
I’m grateful that we tried out housesitting, and I’m happy to be in Sydney, but overall we ended up spending heaps of money coming down to Australia that we would not have spent otherwise. It seemed like a good idea at the time.