Do you want to save more money while traveling, travel more sustainably, and make real local connections?
Maybe you want to save money on home and pet care while away traveling?
We’ve saved over $15,000 in travel accommodations by housesitting (and this is a modest estimate – see review for details).
House sitting checks all of the above boxes, and like responsible tourism, has become one of the latest travel trends, especially for budget travelers – homeowners and potential house sitters alike.
Homeowners and potential house sitters – this review is for both of you.
If you came here looking for a TrustedHousesitters review, chances are you already know what house sitting is.
On the off chance that you don’t: housesitting is an exchange in which a person, the housesitter, stays at someone’s home and cares for their pets and property while they are away. Usually, no money is exchanged between parties. If you’re still confused about what house sitting is and isn’t, read our article, Common Misconceptions About House Sitting.
So if you’re sold and you’re on board – what’s the next step?
The most definite route to tackle house sitting is online. As more people are trying to get on the house sitting bandwagon, even more people are writing articles on how to house sit, despite the fact that they’ve done only one or two house sits or none at all.
There are a variety of TrustedHousesitters reviews floating around online, but they’re usually super positive as people try to reap affiliate benefits, haven’t been updated in years, or sourly negative because the site didn’t work for them. Regarding the latter, there’s always some excuse – no one contacted them to offer a house sit (that’s not how it works), they were too young (guess what, we started house sitting at 23 and 28)…the list goes on.
Is TrustedHousesitters Worth it? Absolutely – if you apply the right strategy and attitude.
We’re firmly of the belief that before you start giving advice – have some experience.
We’ve done over 20 house sits through TrustedHousesitters in over 2.5 years. We are currently house sitting on a return sit (meaning we house sat for them before and they asked us back), and have another one lined up. Almost every house sit we apply for – we get. We’ve house sat both full-time and part-time, and in various countries in Europe as well as the United States and are currently house sitting full-time (meaning we do not rent an apartment anywhere). Here’s a listing of some of our completed house sits so you can see where we’ve used TrustedHousesitters:
Our point? We know a thing or two (or several) about house sitting. We also have picked the brains of all the homeowners we have sat for, in order to provide the homeowner perspective as well.
So let’s get into it – the pros and cons of using TrustedHousesitters and how to balance them to use the platform to your advantage.
Btw, this weekend only (November 23 – November 27, 2018), TrustedHousesitters is having their biggest (and one of their only) sales of the year. They rarely have sales and this is honestly the best time of year to join. If you plan on traveling for the holidays and need someone to take care of your pets, why not try house sitting? And if you want to get started as a house sitter, there are more opportunities this time of year than any other time, making the competitiveness of TrustedHousesitters much lower for new house sitters.
Our Comprehensive TrustedHousesitters Review
We will focus solely on the user experience of the website – for more info on house sitting, see our many articles below.
TrustedHousesitters is a platform that connects people looking for house sitters with people looking to house sit. It’s important to understand that they are simply a matchmaking website – they do not personally vet each of the homeowners or house sitters, which is why communication between both parties is so important.
Overall, Trustedhousesitters is your best bet to get into house sitting whether you’re looking for one per year, several, or to house sit full time. TrustedHousesitters is the biggest resource for finding house sits and house sitters around the world.
Note: throughout the review, we’ll refer to TrustedHousesitters as THS to keep things short.
By the way, let’s just get this out of the way now: this is NOT a sponsored (aka paid for) post. We personally have used THS for the past 2 years and get a lot of questions about how it works, so we thought it was high time to write this dedicated review with our honest opinions and experiences.
PROS of Using TrustedHousesitters
These are the best features about THS, how to use them, and why they’re better than other house sitting websites.
The Biggest House Sitting Website Worldwide
Don’t just take our word for it – check out Housesitsearch.com, a search aggregator that lists house sits available across the main platforms. A quick search yielded 5001 available house sits on this particular day. When we subtracted all others and searched only for TrustedHousesitters, that number went to 3632. That means that THS has more than 2.5 times the number of sits than all other sites combined!
This cannot be overstated. The odds are in your favor here. More options for finding your perfect sit. And vastly more sitters than sits, so homeowners will have plenty of great choices. Often homeowners tell us it’s hard to choose as they receive many great applicants.
When we were first choosing which house sitting site to sign up for, a quick look at all the options showed that TrustedHousesitters had house sits listed in the most countries. So wherever we wanted to travel, we’d have a better likelihood of finding a house sit. They have many listings across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, throughout Europe (mostly Western Europe), and the United Kingdom.
Occasionally sits pop up in Asia, South America, and Central America, but these are less common (across all house sitting websites) as the idea of house sitting has still not caught on in these cultures.
Sleek Website and Easy to Navigate User Interface
Getting around the site is intuitive with a clear layout. Searching for house sits is easy, as you can filter by country, animal, length of sit, and dates. Last minute house sits are highlighted with a blue banner (these are great to jump on if you can when you are first starting out as they are likely to get fewer applicants). On all listings, there is a map of the approximate location, so you can research the area a bit before you apply.
A benefit of using THS over other websites is that once a pet owner finds a house sitter and accepts them through the site, that listing is immediately closed for applications.
This is what the search function for house/pet sits looks like (when logged in):
Pet owners can search for house sitters by location and view their availability calendar on their profile to see if they are available before messaging. You can also narrow the search by relevant pet experience, gender, age, and if they travel with children. If you don’t want to put up a listing but instead prefer to contact house sitters directly, this is a great feature and option. However, you don’t need to use this feature unless you want to, as homeowners tend to get enough applicants just by posting a sit alone.
We do get contacted by homeowners now and then, but it is usually very last minute and we are already booked. Often, experienced house sitters have already lined up sits months in advance, so keep that in mind when putting up a listing. The sooner the better!
Homeowners and house sitters alike have the option to include a lot of photos and a description of their needs and skills.
Applying for a sit is as easy as clicking the button and sending a tailored message. Read our guide How to Make Your First House sitting Message Win for more tips on what to include in this initial message.
Useful Tools like the Welcome Guide
The welcome guide is easily one of the best features of TrustedHousesitters, as it helps both homeowners and sitters tremendously. We always check with homeowners of a future sit if they’ve filled out the welcome guide.
This is an area where the owner can write down all the information about the house sit. There are 6 tabs: Welcome, My Home, My Pets, Transports, Neighborhood, and Emergency. Here owners can choose how descriptive they need to be, but ultimately provide all information necessary to carry out a successful house sit. This means homeowners can enjoy their time away worry free and minimize interruptions during their vacation while knowing that their house sitter has all of the resources they need to care for their home and pets. House sitters can sit easy knowing that all the necessary information to perform the sit is available 24/7 without worrying if they can reach the homeowner.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
Throughout the process of applying, confirming, and performing the sit, a lot of information is exchanged. Having everything in one place is much easier. House sitters can refer back at any time throughout the sit to double check feeding schedules or things like when the garbage goes out. Pet owners can share the welcome guide with future sitters, so it only needs to be done once!
Doesn’t Require Extensive and Unnecessary Verifications
Unlike some other websites, TrustedHousesitters does not require that you have a police background check in order to house sit. There is a verification section with the option to add one, but they won’t bar you from being able to get house sits without one, like Nomador (another house sitting website).
For us, a police background check doesn’t quite equal a trust check. Just because someone doesn’t have a criminal record does not mean they will be a good house sitter. It’s up to you, sitter or owner, to read a situation and effectively communicate your needs and expectations. Also, if this is suggested for sitters, then why not homeowners?
Ultimately, we appreciate that THS gives users the option to include different levels of verification, but not prohibit anyone from the use of their website if they choose not to. In all of our house sits, we have only been asked for a background check once. While we provided it, it left us with an uneasy feeling that we were guilty until proven innocent, and we have since decided to decline any house sits that require this. This is a personal decision and one that many experienced house sitters make, but only you can decide what you feel comfortable with, whether you are a homeowner or a house sitter.
New App Feature on iOS
THS is one of the only house-sitting sites that actually has an app. This has been a very necessary addition for a long time, as not everyone takes their laptops with them, and could reply to applicants in a more timely manner if they can do so through their mobile phone. iPhone users – rejoice! We haven’t personally tried this yet as we have Androids (see more on that in the cons section below).
BOTTOM LINE OF PROS
THS has the most sits and sitters, the best user interface experience over other sites, handy features like the welcome guide, search functions, and iPhone app – all of which allow you to get right onto house sitting asap.
Note: It’s important to stress – THS helps provide you with the means to facilitate this process, but they do not take responsibility for your experience beyond the website. Having a positive experience falls on your intuition and judgment.
CONS of Using TrustedHousesitters:
THS is far from perfect. We’re not going to lie and sugar coat things. There’s a lot of room for improvement. We may have more gripes in number than pros, but the PROS heavily outweigh them. THS makes it possible for us to house sit fulltime.
In the next section of our Trustedhousesitters review, we include our tried and true methods for coping with each con, to make sure you get the best user experience, but ultimately, succeed in landing that perfect sit or sitter.
Most Expensive Membership Fee
“You have to pay for this? That’s a scam!”
This is usually the first thing people say when we tell them about how we house sit.
Imagine for a second, that it was completely free. Now imagine you’ve got a house sitter planned for your remote cabin in boreal Canada, only to find out your sitters canceled last minute. If they haven’t paid a dime to get that house sit – what do they have to lose on canceling? Sure, there are people who honor commitments regardless of cash. We like to keep money out the equation as much as possible. However, when it comes to honoring commitments, a price tag weeds out the less serious people and flakey folk. This goes beyond house sitting.
That being said, THS does have the most expensive membership fee out of any other house sitting website. People naturally are surprised when they see the $100+ annual membership fee. Currently, it is $119 for either a homeowner or sitter membership (it is possible to get a combined membership).
If you’re wondering, “Is TrustedHousesitters worth it?” keep reading.
How to Make it Work for You
The most immediate solution? Sign up with our 10% off reader discount and you’ve already saved a ton!
Regarding homeowners – we’re sure you already know how expensive kennels and paid pet visitors are. You’re here to save and get the best possible care for your pets. Get a sitter for more than a few days and you’ve made it worthwhile. Truth is, there are vastly more sitters than sits – finding a good sitter is almost a definite.
For sitters, recouping the membership cost is pretty simple – house sit for even just a few nights a year and it pays for itself. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll find a sit.
How much does the average hotel or hostel cost? Let’s aim low and say $50 a night? Then consider that when house sitting, you’re getting an apartment or house for the same price as a couple of nights in a sterile hotel room. And you get a cozy place and sweet pets!
In the end, this price is negligible for us. We have already accumulated over 7 months worth of house sits, so if we even give the modest price of 50 a night, we’ve gotten over $15,000 worth of accommodations for the price of 2 years of membership.
And that’s not even considering the fact that in many places we have house sat, we would have had to spend way more than $50/night (we’re looking at you, London and NYC). Not a bad deal in our book. Even if you don’t plan on using TrustedHousesitters long term, it’s easy to balance out this cost.
In the end, the most important thing to remember: you get out of this what you put in. Don’t expect to hear from your ideal sits or sitters if you put up a rushed profile. Homeowners will definitely have an easier time finding sitters, while house sitters will have to do a lot more cold calling. Key is persistence – which leads to our next CON.
Biggest Site = More Competition
While the fact that TrustedHousesitters is the biggest site is a pro, it can also be a con, especially when you are first starting out. If you’re new to house sitting, it can be demoralizing to see that you’re up against 20+ people for a particular sit. You could begin to feel it’s not worth the effort.
How to Make it Work for You
Homeowners: you’ll likely have a good amount of sitters to choose from and many will be great. (Though note that if you put up your listing last minute and/or around busy times like the holiday season, you will likely have less sitters to choose from). This is more of an issue for house sitters.
THS is a matchmaking site – you get one shot and you need to make it count. Write a winning personalized first message, giving all the reasons why you’d be the perfect sitter. Think of it as a job application and your profile as a résumé.
Also, don’t choose super popular travel destinations for your first sits – you’re guaranteed to lose out to sitters with more reviews. These places are hugely competitive. Homeowners frequently don’t look past the first dozen people (contrary to what THS believes), so you’ll be wasting your time. Landing a housesit on Trustedhousesitters is entirely possible – you just need the right strategy.
Need more tips? Read our post How to Start House Sitting and Save Money Traveling.
Lackluster Customer Service That Favors Homeowners
Homeowners – no worries here unless you’re a social justice warrior. Potential sitters – take notice.
The issues have ranged to user functionality of the site to downright favoritism to homeowners. We’ve repeatedly messaged them only to get canned, generic responses that condescend or play down issues.
Now someone might come to their defense and say they’re just being careful with their words and such, but it’s easy to read between the lines and see “Yes we understand this is important, but not enough for us to care.” Unfortunately, THS seems to default to homeowners complaints and regularly deflect the concerns of sitters. While we haven’t personally had this experience, we are members of various house sitting Facebook groups where people have shared their disconcerting experiences.
How to Make this Work for You
As we keep stressing, house sitting is an exchange: both sides are vulnerable in different ways. Homeowners have property and pets to protect. Sitters need to be wary of homeowners taking advantage. Both would be left in a tight spot at last minute cancellations.
If you need assistance, still message them a ton on their chat function. They need to step up their customer service. They’re growing bigger and bigger every day, so the only way they will listen is if their customer base shows up in sheer numbers.
Ideally, you can minimize any need to use their customer service function by communicating expectations and needs with the person you are house sitting for or the person that is house sitting for you. Only choose to sit for homeowners who recognize this is an equal exchange.
Not confident you can tell? Read our post, 5 Tips for Avoiding Bad House Sits.
Same goes for homeowners – don’t settle for a sitter who’s only concerned with what they’re getting out of the deal – check out how to avoid bad sitters.
The TrustedHousesitters Review System Sorely Needs Work
Recently, THS updated its review system to allow for homeowners to be reviewed – not just sitters. While this sounds like a nice idea, it is less useful in practice. First-time homeowners with no reviews receive dozens of applications for their posted sit, while first time sitters with no reviews struggle to receive even a response after messaging several homeowners. The fact of THS life is this – reviews mean everything for getting sits. Reviews need to weigh more importantly for homeowners too.
If you’ve ever used other sharing platforms like Airbnb or Couchsurfing, you’ll know that immediately after the experience is over, you get an email reminding you to “review” the other person. Usually, these are double-blind reviews, where you each review the other person within a time frame, and then the reviews are published at the end of this period.
Trustedhousesitters sorely needs this functionality, yet is reluctant to adopt it. When pet owners return from their vacations, often they have a million things to catch up on, that leaving house sitters a review isn’t exactly at the top of their priority list. We totally understand this and feel awkward having to remind homeowners to take the time to leave a review. While some do so right away, we had one couple take 6 months to leave one! We are tired of hounding homeowners for reviews, when THS could simply code this functionality into the platform.
Sitters heavily rely on reviews, and this is where things get lopsided. A homeowner with no reviews will still get house sitters, yet a house sitter with no reviews will have a much harder time.
How to Make this Work for You
First, give pet owners a chance to review – we usually wait a couple weeks after a sit ends before reminding them. Often, after finishing a house sit, we will have a thank you exchange, and sometimes there’s a chance to slip in a reminder. After a couple weeks, shoot them something nice, like: “Hey what’s up, hope all is well, how are the kitties, I know you’re busy, but when you get a chance, could you leave us a quick review?”
Maybe a third time, you do the same, but also add in that reviews are a house sitter’s lifeblood, and you’d really love to help them out again someday if they need it. In the end, we got a review from each person we reminded – these first few are important, so don’t give up!
Lousy Email Alerts that Will Hopefully Change Soon
Sadly, this con is recent and still persists, as their email alert system used to be great. In the past, THS would send you the latest listings in your chosen countries straight to your email as soon as they were posted. However, due to some complaints from users who didn’t know how to change their preferences, THS has now disabled this option and only sends one email of random house sits per day. It sucks.
Considering how essential it is to get your application in as quick as possible, removing these automatic updates has been a huge blow to frequent house sitters.
All of us disgruntled house sitters made ourselves heard, and they will allegedly be bringing back this function in 2018. The iPhone app is supposed to have alerts, so if you have an iPhone, this shouldn’t affect you.
How to Make this Work for You
The only way we see to balance this is when you’re actively looking for a house sit, keep checking the website. This is how we landed our Christmas sit in NYC last year.
New THS App is iPhone Only (not on Android)
This is has been an incredibly frustrating development for us. Often, success in house sitting is based on timeliness. Being able to respond right away, or be one of the first few people to see a new sit and apply makes all the difference.
Releasing only an iPhone app puts Android users at a severe disadvantage. Like the aforementioned lack of new sit alerts, having 20 plus reviews doesn’t matter when you’re the 20th applicant – often homeowners have made a choice within the first dozen.
BOTTOM LINE OF CONS
Unfortunately, THS has some glaringly bad problems that unfairly sit mostly on the shoulders of house sitters – homeowners will not experience most of these problems as these issues mostly work in their favor (but they could be fixed and still work for everyone – get on it THS!)
TLDR; TrustedHousesitters Review Bottom Line
For homeowners, using Trustedhousesitters is a no-brainer – this site primarily caters to you and your needs. Expect a plethora of house sitter options and everything you need to assure a successful sit.
For housesitters, this is your best bet to get started house sitting – in spite of its shortcomings, it’s overwhelmingly the best site out there. Other sites just do not have the numbers, regular updates, or user experience like THS does. Hopefully, someday we can say we are proud of using THS, rather than “it’s better than not using it at all.”
Unless you’re looking to sit only in a specific country (e.g. Nomador is great for France), it’s very likely you’ll end up using THS. Ultimately, THS is the only site that truly opens up the entire world to you. Whether you plan to house sit once a year or continuously, THS is your best shot at house sitting.
Whether it’s an almost year-long stay near Vancouver, British Columbia, a 6-month stay in Costa Rica, or a 2-week sit in Berlin, THS won’t limit you to a country or even a continent.
At the end of the day, it’s a match-making service that does its job well. We’ve met lots of incredible people and lovely pets through the site.
Don’t Forget to Sign Up with our Exclusive TrustedHousesitters Discount Code!
When you go to sign up, you do have the option of signing up for free, but this only lets you view the house sits, not apply to them. You also cannot see crucial details beyond the locations and dates of a house sit if you’re not a paid member. Finally, as a free member, you see house sits 24 hours after paying members. These 24 hours are crucial for getting in an application. As noted above, homeowners may be overwhelmed with responses and turn off applications after they get enough. Some house sits may even be filled within 24 hours and you’ll never even see them.
If you already know you want to start house sitting, we highly recommend signing up and getting started right away. Don’t expect to get a house sit immediately – we signed up and applied for house sits for several months before landing one. If you have pets of your own, there is a a homeowner option as well as a joint house sitter/homeowner option.
More House Sitting Tips and Resources
For House Sitters
For Home/Pet Owners
Happy house sitting!
By signing up through our link, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Again, this is not a sponsored post! Affiliates help us keep writing comprehensive and honest reviews like this one – thank you!
*Editor’s note: This post was originally posted in December 2017 and is periodically updated. We have had to close comments as we unfortunately get a high amount of spam comments on this post. If you have questions that we did not address in our post on how to start house sitting or using TrustedHousesitters, please feel free to email us! If you are having an issue with TrustedHousesitters, please contact them directly. We do not represent the company and are simply sharing our experiences after using the site for 2.5 years. Happy House Sitting!