Long Term House Sitting Melbourne, Victoria: Secrets to Success

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house sitting melbourne
Long-term house sitting in Melbourne can lead to an affordable and enjoyable trip. Photo by Fabian Mardi/Unsplash

House sitting in Melbourne long term is an affordable way to travel while surrounded by lovable pets. Here are the long-term house sitting Melbourne secrets I’ve learned after 2+ years.

What Is House Sitting?

House sitting is a trust-based transaction between a homeowner and a housesitter, who cares for the home and pets while the owner is away, in exchange for free rent and utilities*.

*A minority are paid, but mostly for short periods, or when the house sit requires additional pet health care or property maintenance.

Homeowners save money on boarding for their pets, while increasing security in their homes by having someone there. You save money on accommodation while travelling or saving, all while receiving endless snuggles and sniffs. House sits can be short-term (a few days) or long-term (up to a year or more).

After house-sitting almost full time for the past two years in Australia, this post contains the secrets that I have learned during that time, so you too can successfully do long-term house-sitting in Melbourne (or further afield).

(c) Kate Zarb - Oh, Nomad! [ohnomad.com]
Do you want to the secrets to travelling and living for free with adorable animals? Image © Kate Zarb / ohnomad.com

Why House Sitting Melbourne?

Melbourne has the largest number of house sits (on average) of any capital city. On Aussie House Sitters, there were 114 Melbourne house sits listed in the proceeding 7 days, compared to 90 in Sydney and 108 in Brisbane.

Australia’s “most liveable city” is the heart of Victoria, with easy access to regional centres such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong. The Great Ocean Road, penguins on Phillip Island and relaxation on the Mornington Peninsula are only a few hour’s drive away.

Melbourne Long Term House Sitting Secrets

Victoria (VIC) and Melbourne Public Holidays

Many people plan their holidays around public holidays, adding any accrued leave from their jobs to the dates on which their workplace is closed. Or, they leave at this time to spend time with friends and family during ‘the holidays’ – especially Christmas and Easter.

If you want to secure a long-term house sit in Melbourne, being available during these times means that you are much more likely to ‘lock something in’ and will have greater choice than at other times of the year.

Australia/Victoria Public HolidaysDate/s
New Year’s DayJanuary 1*
Australia DayJanuary 26
Labour Day2nd Monday in March
Easter (Good Friday, Easter Saturday/Sunday/Monday)Early-Mid April
ANZAC DayApril 25
Labour Day1st Monday in May
Friday before the AFL Grand FinalLast Friday in September
King’s Birthday1st Monday in October
Melbourne Cup1st Tuesday in November
Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)December 24-26#
*If New Year’s Day falls on a weekend, the public holiday may be on January 3.
#The Holidays Act 1983 provides for an extra public holiday to be added when Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day falls on a weekend.

Melbourne House Sitting Locations

Inner city Melbourne suburbs like South Yarra, St Kinda and Brunswick may be popular, but applications for longer house sits in these areas can quickly add up and lead to your application falling to the bottom of the pile. If you are willing to move a bit further out in the city, you’ll find that you’ll have a much better chance (especially in Melbourne’s west and north). You can also consider alternatives such as Daylesford, Creswick, Ballarat and Castlemaine – all regional towns only 1.5 hours or so from Melbourne.

Suburbs in greater Melbourne can be great for house sitting. Photo by Mark Timberlake/Unsplash

Meet With Homeowners

While Melbournians are generally a relaxed bunch – homeowners like to get to know the house sitters that will take care of their home – especially long term. For house sits over a month, as soon as I’ve spoken to the homeowner over the phone, I try and organise a ‘meet and greet’. If I’m in another city, I let them know the dates that I will be near them and schedule an approximate date to meet.

I believe that this shows commitment to the house sit and this gesture will make you stand out from other applicants. It’s a great opportunity to be introduced to the pets and to get a ‘feel’ for the house, the location and what will be required from you during your stay.

A video call is an option if the distance is an issue and offers a slightly more personal interaction to build trust and rapport than phone or email. If you encounter difficult or disrespectful homeowners, I’d rather know this before I spend months in their homes! Yet, you more often meet with people in person only to find that you quickly bond and agree to the house sit.

Finally, to increase your chances of getting that house to sit in Melbourne long-term, here are some tips:

  • Use the ‘Alert’ feature on Aussie House Sitters to be notified via email when house sits of 2-4 weeks/1 month or more are listed and apply as soon as you can – Go to ‘My Account” > ‘Useful Tools’ > ‘My Alerts’ > ‘New Alert’;
  • Apply for a VIC Police Certificate (≈$50AUD) to reassure homeowners of your suitability;
  • Provide a link to your social media accounts and/or full name in your application, so homeowners can ‘Google’ you;
  • Keep it all about them – ask questions about where they are going, how they like things done around the house and their preferences. Read their ad, listen carefully and take notes of these for later. Clarify anything unclear about their expectations.

In a trust-based exchange like house sitting, the more that you show yourself to be a considerate and trustworthy house sitter, the more success you’ll have. Once you have a few good references (in addition to being available on public holidays, meeting with owners quickly and being flexible in your choice of location), you’ll be house sitting Melbourne-wide before you know it.

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