Tips for Hiring an Affordable, Reliable House Sitter

by Reader Contributors

How to Hire an Affordable House Sitter photo

A house sitter should provide you peace of mind when you’re away, not worry that you possibly hired the wrong person to watch your home. These tips from our readers can help you hire an affordable house sitter you can trust.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
You seem to have a lot of great tips on your site for protecting your home while on vacation, but we are going to be gone 15 days over the holidays and we’re thinking of hiring a house sitter to come by while we are away.

I do not want to inconvenience a friend or family member over the holidays. Do you have any tips for hiring an affordable and reliable house sitter? What is a reasonable hourly rate? Should we make sure they are insured or bonded? We will ask for references for sure. We do not have pets and I will be having the post office hold our mail, but I do have some house plants that will need watering.

I guess we’re curious to hear do’s, don’ts, and tips from your readers who have hired strangers to watch their houses and what price they determined was worth their peace of mind while they were away.
Nancy and Bob B.

Ask Around

Ask your neighbors, co-workers, church members, and other groups you belong to and see if anyone is interested. We belong to a hiking group and folks love to house sit for us. It’s like a free mini-vacation for them and a big relief for us to have someone in the house taking care of pets and our property.

I put a message on Facebook asking if anyone would be interested and several FB friends responded. I ask friends to private message me and then I tell them the dates privately.
Bruce from TN

Friends and Family May Welcome Opportunity

Don’t assume a friend or family member would be inconvenienced. Some would be thrilled to be able to help you out any way they could. Don’t rob them of that opportunity.

Some might even enjoy a chance to get away from a busy household!

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House Sitter Shares Experience

I often do house sitting for friends and members of the golf club where I work. My rate is dependent on if I am checking in or staying at the house and whether they have pets or not. I charge $10/day for checking in and $15 to $20 for stayovers with pets. Since I usually do house sitting while I am seasonally laid-off, I can do more than one at a time as long as they aren’t both stayovers.

I am not bonded but usually know the people and ask for all contact numbers, etc. just in case. I get their cell numbers, where they are staying, nearest relative in case of dire emergency, and the name of vet if pets are involved. I provide references from previous clients upon request.
John in MI

Check Out

There is a website called They have a section for odd jobs like house sitting. Last year, my husband and I spent the Thanksgiving weekend house sitting for a family. We had a wonderful time spending time together.

Start with House Sitting Platforms

I occasionally house sit and I have found most of my jobs by using house sitting platforms such as, and These sites allow you to place a profile of what you are looking for, including dates and duties expected. You can browse through profiles of house sitters, including references and background checks. Home owners will view my profile and message me if they are interested and then I try to set up a Skype interview, so we can talk to each other and see if we’re a good fit.

After you get to know people a little bit, it’s pretty easy to get referrals from established house sitters. If I cannot do a job in a particular area, I know many others who can and I am always willing to let a home owner know of a reliable, trusted person to meet their needs.

It’s Worked for Me!

Check with your local homeschooling association or religious organization. Often these groups have a high concentration of responsible teens that have supportive parents and high moral values. If you contact the person in charge and inquire, they are usually very happy to recommend the best of their best to you. We’ve had good success with this in our area.

Enjoy Your Vacation with Peace of Mind

You can find teenagers who need a little extra cash flow from your church or by asking neighbors for referrals.

A good rate for Californians is $20 per day, but we have pets to feed. You can ask them to turn lights on during the evening and off again at a later time, so it looks like someone’s home.

If you’re computer oriented, you can set up cameras in your home (I’m not that great at that stuff, but it’s for peace of mind while you can’t be home yourself).

Ask a neighbor to hold a door key for emergencies while you’re gone. Enjoy your vacation.

Ask Friends for References

Have you ever thought of hiring a young-ish senior? You could get a recommendation from their church. Another source is to contact people who dog sit as they often also house sit (which I am doing soon for a friend). But, a “friend” reference is always the best!

Inquire at a Local Child Care Location

You might inquire at a local child care location about a house sitter. These workers are vetted before caring for children. They also earn very low wages and are thankful for the added income. You could ask the Director for recommendations about their staff and suitability for your needs.

Reviewed November 2022

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