Quick note about house sitting and the pandemic: all of our house sitting content remains relevant, and we wouldn’t change any of our tried and true strategies. However, Covid-19 has changed the game a bit, so we’ve written an article specifically on how to approach house sitting in an ever-evolving pandemic world.
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?
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. If anything, the pandemic pet boom has accelerated the demand for pet and home care now that it seems everyone has adopted a puppy or kitten since 2020. All those pet owners are itching to travel as it becomes more available, and they’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient, quality, affordable option for pet and home care while they travel.
Homeowners and potential house sitters – this review is for both of you.
Considering house sitting right now but not sure where to start? Check out our guide on house sitting safely in the pandemic.
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 sure-fire way to tackle house sitting is online. However, it’s hard to know who’s slinging solid advice and guidance. 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, aren’t actually up to date, or are sourly negative because the site didn’t work for them as they’d hope for. Some of the worst culprits are mega sites with sponsored content heaping unadulterated praise (we’d give our website an A+ too if you paid us to review it).
Regarding the former (actual individuals who tried house sitting who were dissatisfied with their experience), 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 firmly believe that before you start giving advice – have some experience.
We have been house sitting through TrustedHousesitters since 2015.
We’ve house sat both full-time and part-time and in various countries in Europe (in cities including Berlin, London, Madrid, and Florence, to name a few) as well as the United States (in NYC, the US Virgin Islands, Oregon, Utah, and North Carolina). We don’t just have a few weekend sits; many lasted several months. Also, quite a few are repeat sits as well, becoming a part of a yearly rotation.
Here’s a listing of some of our completed house sits so you can see where we’ve used TrustedHousesitters. Sadly, the map view has since been discontinued, so this map is now circa July 2018.
Our point? We know a thing or two (or several) about house sitting.
We’ve got a ton of house sitting experience and that’s still glossing over so much detail. For those looking for a deep dive on how to house sit like a pro, check out our book all about house sitting!
As a pet owner you may wonder: what qualifies two sitters to advise me?
Well, we have nitpicked the brains of all the homeowners we have sat for in order to provide the homeowner perspective as well. It’s an essential aspect of our house sitting success and we can confidently say that understanding both sides of the exchange lead to great house sitter experiences for pet owners. If pet owners didn’t feel we could empathize and relate to them, they wouldn’t give us so many stellar reviews (25+ five-star reviews and counting).
So let’s get into it – the pros and cons of using TrustedHousesitters and how to leverage them to use the platform to your advantage. If you already know you want to sign up, click the link below to sign up.
Sign up with our 10% off reader discount and you’ve already saved a ton!
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 at the bottom.
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.
If you’re a pet owner still not sure about the whole “trusting a stranger” aspect, this episode below of our podcast is for you. We dive more deeply into the issue of trust and trusting “strangers”.
Subscribe and listen to The House Sitting Travel Podcast below or on your favorite podcast app. Just search House Sitting Travel in your app of choice or click these links: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
Or simply listen to the episode below – no need to download anything, just hit the green play button! =)
And now, onto the blog post!
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 TrustedHousesitters since 2015 (it’s still the only website we use) and get a lot of questions about how it works. This TrustedHousesitters review is 100% our honest opinions, informed by our years of house sitting experiences on the site.
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 a 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. And because they’re a premium site, they continue to update and streamline the experience. Compare at a glance to any free house sitting site and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
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 publicly.
We do get contacted by homeowners now and then, but often it is very last minute and we are already booked. Or it’s for someone we’ve already house sat for, and they want to check if we are available first before looking for another house sitter. 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!
You can search by dates available, pet experience, and verifications.
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!
24/7 Veterinarian hotline!
Now, these are the sort of features that house sitters sorely need. The Vet Advice Line is completely free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We can’t stress enough how helpful this is. Sometimes pet owners aren’t available, and sometimes we don’t want to alarm pet owners. If a house sitter observes strange behavior in their pet charge, they can avoid going online in search of dubious diagnoses and instead speak directly with a qualified pet expert.
We actually had to use this once. One of our many cats at a pet sit was exhibiting very strange behavior. They would lay there, not moving, looking exhausted, and completely lethargic if they did try to move. When we picked them up, while clearly conscious, they were uncharacteristically unresponsive. Fortunately, we were able to call up the vet advice line almost immediately. Upon their guidance, we immediately went to the local veterinarian for some diagnostics and were able to solve the matter.
It’s moments like this where we feel like THS really does care.
Easy to Use App
THS is the only house-sitting site that actually has an app. This has been a very necessary addition for a long time! It’s super easy to search for sits or sitters, apply to listings, respond to applicants, and much more. We’ve written a whole post about it so make sure to check it out if you want more detailed information on the app (available for iOS and Android).
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, vet hotline, and an 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 to our heart’s content.
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. Ultimately though, it’s to help you succeed in landing that perfect sit or sitter.
In fact, we have so much to say that we wrote a book about house sitting! The House Sitting Handbook is your ultimate guide to successful house sitting, packed with all our best tips and secrets that we’ve learned over the years. Click here to learn more and to get your hands on The House Sitting Handbook!
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 of 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. If you want a combination of a house sitter and a pet owner account, they offer a price that’s cheaper than both separately. Furthermore, they’ve recently expanded the available plans beyond basic: standard, and now premium. Each offers much more amenities, such as accident and sit cancellation insurance. While these can definitely help, they are by no means necessary.
If you’re wondering, “Is TrustedHousesitters worth it?” keep reading.
How to Make it Work for You
Sign up with our 10% off reader discount and you’ve already saved a ton!
Get a sitter for more than a few days and you’ve made it worthwhile. 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. Truth is, there are vastly more sitters than sits. Finding your ideal sitter is quite inevitable.
House sit for even just a few nights a year and it pays for itself. Recouping the membership cost is pretty simple. 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 been house sitting since 2015. We honestly cannot estimate the tens of thousands (if not $100K+) that we’ve saved through house sitting over the years.
In many places that we have house sat in, we would have had to spend way upwards of $100/night (we’re looking at you, London, and NYC), for a mediocre micro-hotel room. With house sitting, we get all the comforts of an apartment or house, with animals to boot! 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 with at least one sit per year.
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.
Persistence is key.
This leads to our next con.
Biggest Site = More Competition
While the fact that TrustedHousesitters is the biggest website 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+ applicants 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 fewer sitters to choose from). This is more of an issue for house sitters.
House sitters remember: 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 from 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 asking for too much or exchanging too little. Both would be left in a tight spot with last-minute cancellations.
If you need assistance, still message THS 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 engage persons 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 lackluster sitter – check out how to avoid bad sitters.
The TrustedHousesitters Review System Sorely Needs Work
It used to be that only sitters received reviews. Eventually, THS updated its review system to allow for homeowners to be reviewed as well. 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. House sitting should be about an equal exchange so reviews need to weigh more heavily 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.
THS 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; leaving house sitters a review isn’t likely 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! Some still have yet to leave us a review. We are tired of hounding homeowners for reviews when THS could simply code this functionality into the platform.
Sitters heavily rely on TrustedHousesitters reviews; 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 landing a house sit.
How to Make this Work for You
First, give pet owners a chance to review. We usually wait a couple of weeks after a sit ends before reminding them. Often, after finishing a house sit, we will have a thank you exchange – sometimes there’s a chance to slip in a reminder. After a couple of 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 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.
Considering how essential it is to get your application in as quickly as possible, removing these automatic updates has been a huge blow to frequent house sitters.
Luckily, there is a solution!
How to Make this Work for You
Download the App! Through the app, you can set alerts and receive instant notifications for when listings go up in your chosen countries.
You can also use HousesitSearch.com and use filters to find sits in your chosen countries. However, there is no alert function here, so your best bet is still the app.
Requires Background Check for Sitters only
Unfortunately, THS has begun pushing background checks for sitters. While we don’t like this feature and its implications, it’s now required. And it only further points to the favoritism of pet owners, who by the way, are not required to do the same.
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 required for sitters, then why not homeowners?
Ultimately, we appreciate that THS gives users the option to include different levels of verification, like identification and external references. 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. Only you can decide what you feel comfortable with, whether you are a homeowner or a house sitter.
How to Make this Work for You
Just do it. It’s a simple matter of clicking a couple of times, and at least it’s free. There’s also an option to link your Airbnb profile now, so hopefully, that’s something that can take the edge off the potentially criminal house sitter vibes. That’s also assuming you have good reviews.
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. Don’t be put off by the competition that comes with a larger site. Focus on less popular destinations and you’ll encounter much less competition, which is essential when first starting out.
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 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. Even if you plan to house sit at least once a year, THS is your best shot at house sitting.
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. Overall we couldn’t house sit like we do without it.
Don’t Forget to Sign Up with our Exclusive TrustedHousesitters Discount Code!
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 homeowner option as well as a joint house sitter/homeowner option.
More House Sitting Tips and Resources
We have so many tips and resources for house sitters and pet owners who would like to use house sitters! We are always adding new blog posts and new podcast episodes, so be sure to sign up if you’d like to stay in the loop for current and future house sitting.
For House Sitters
Listen to a rundown of the 10 steps in the house sitting process in this episode:
For 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 updated whenever there are new features or updates on TrustedHousesitters. 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 TrustedHousesitters directly. We do not represent the company and are simply sharing our experiences after using the site since 2015. Happy House Sitting!