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Long-term house sitting Sydney NSW is an affordable way to travel while surrounded by pets. Here are my house sit Sydney secrets after more than two years of full time house sitting. Shhh, just don’t tell anyone.
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 score long-term house-sitting in Sydney (or further afield).
Long Term Sydney House Sitting Secrets
New South Wales (NSW) and Sydney 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 Sydney, 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/NSW Public Holidays||Date/s|
|New Year’s Day||January 1*|
|Australia Day||January 26|
|Easter (Good Friday, Easter Saturday/Sunday/Monday)||Early-Mid April|
|ANZAC Day||April 25|
|Labour Day||1st Monday in May|
|King’s Birthday||1st Monday in October|
|Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day)||December 24-26#|
#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.
Sydneysiders (especially grey nomads) often travel north during the colder months (June, July and August), so you may also have luck if you are willing to travel to Sydney during the off-peak season.
House Sitting Sydney Locations
Inner city and beachside Sydney suburbs like Bondi and Newtown may be popular, but applications for long-term 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 Sydney’s west and south). Also consider regional towns within a few hours of Sydney like the Blue Mountains (≈1.5hr), Newcastle (≈2hr) and Wollongong (≈1.5hr) for a wider range of opportunities.
Meet With Homeowners
While Sydneysiders 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.
If you meet with 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, if you want to maximise your chances of getting that long-term house sit in Sydney, here are some tips:
- Apply for a NSW 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 long-term house-sitting Sydney-wide before you know it.
See my Mega-Guide to Australia for Digital Nomads.
See my Complete Guide to 50+ Digital Nomad Visas for Australians.
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Kate is a teacher, writer and CEOh of ohnomad.com and teachenglishonline.com.au. After travelling for years, she became a digital nomad/house sitter in 2019. Offline, she’s patting every dog at the park. Online: Twitter/LinkedIn.