TrustedHousesitters Review: Our Experience And Success Tips
Our TrustedHousesitters review is overwhelmingly positive, and we share our real story. We were very grateful to learn about this opportunity through our friends. The goal of our article is to pay it forward to other travelers.
In this article, we’ll share our TrustedHousesitters experience from our first year of housesitting, where we spent 11 months housesitting across three countries for five families with 11 cats and dogs. Included as well are our best success tips to help you launch your housesitting and petsitting career on TrustedHousesitters.com.
Our Experience With TrustedHousesitters
Our review of Trustedhousesitters is that it’s a fantastic opportunity. We wish we knew about TrustedHousesitters years ago. Our experience single-handedly revolutionized travel, as well as our happiness, stress level, and the friendships we have made in the process.
Not to mention, housesitting has saved us $7000 this year. But, those savings are chopped liver compared to all the other benefits of housesitting. If you’re not housesitting, you’re not maximizing your travel experience!
Whether or not you’re full-time travelers, like us, or just looking for a few weekend getaways a year, we highly recommend searching through TrustedHouseSitters.com. Most housesits come with pets, although a few are homes only. So, next time you’re in Washington D.C. or London or Dubai, why not stay like a local while caring for a sweet pet.
Traveling Before Becoming Trusted Housesitters
In March 2018, my husband and I quit our engineering careers and set off for a few years in South America. We planned to travel and build our health and wellness business remotely. We decided to live in a new South American country every three months, which is the duration typically given on a tourist visa.
Settling down for three months helped us get in a work routine, make friends, join clubs, and integrate into the local community. We sincerely wanted to live and experience each country at a deep level. So, we bought a one-way flight to Ecuador and hit the ground running for our house hunt.
We Lived In Rental Apartments
In Cuenca, Ecuador, we found a 3-month apartment rental on an expat Facebook group and moved in 8 days after we arrived. The cost: $525/month.
Next, in Bariloche, Argentina, our house rental was found through an agent after five stressful days of non-stop searching when several offers fell through. It took an additional two weeks to install wifi. The cost: $780/month.
After that, in Cusco, Peru, we found our 3-month house rental through AirBnb, after laboriously searching newspaper classifieds and Facebook groups. We moved in 6 days later. However, we spent the next week scrubbing every inch of the filthy place, and it took one month until a hot water heater was installed in our shower. The cost: $550/month.
Apartment Searching Was Stressful
Other things not mentioned above? Prolonging our hotel bookings, night by night, until we could confirm our move-in dates. Waiting for hours for flippant agents and homeowners to meet us. The hours poured into looking at listings and managing meeting upwards of 6 agents a day. And then after three months, we had to repeat it.
Plus, we were moving into homes with no idea of their actual working condition. Was there hot water? How would the mattress hold up? Was there an unforeseen bug problem? Is the wifi reliable? Our experience finding a home base before TrustedHousesitters was stressful and filled with uncertainty.
In the grand scheme of things, we learned a lot about the culture by going through the process of looking for apartments. But without fail, it was the most challenging part of our trip, and nothing was ever “move-in ready.” We typically still had to upgrade the internet or clean the place, top to bottom which could swallow up another week.
Housesitting in Costa Rica. Not a bad view.
Our Introduction To TrustedHousesitters
Our lives changed when we met an American couple at lunch in Peru. Linda and Brad had traveled the world over for the prior six years, moving to a new country nearly every month, ping-ponging from Chile to Australia to Portugal to Peru. They casually mentioned that they spend $10,000 a year on travel.
Our jaws dropped. Ten grand a year for two people?! Our brains quickly did the math. In less than a year, our inexpensive rent alone was over $7000. Ryan and I estimated that we were closer to $30,000, including transportation, food, vacations, and other necessities.
How were they traveling for one-third of that?! They didn’t look like they were roughing it on a shoestring. The answer? You guessed it: TrustedHousesitters.com.
In exchange for free housing and free utilities, they were house and pet sitting around the world. And they weren’t just staying in random houses. Instead, they were caring for luxury homes that occasionally came with housekeepers, gardeners, and even cars.
They were pet lovers who loved to travel and spoke highly of their experience housesitting through Trustedhousesitters. They shared their 25% Off TrustedHousesitters Referral Code (code: RAF243464) with us before we parted ways. We are so grateful to have met them and learned about these housesitting opportunities.
We wrote this article to pay it forward. So, if there is something we don’t cover here, leave a comment or send us an email at [email protected]. We’ll do our best to help.
Petsitting the playful pups, Lassie and Dougie, in Costa Rica.
Signing Up For TrustedHousesitters.com
That night, we read a couple of other reviews of TrustedHousesitters and browsed through the website. There were thousands of listings, predominantly in Europe, North America, and Australia. We filtered by country and looked at all of the listings in Colombia and Panama, our next two destinations. There were about a dozen listings, ranging in duration from 1 week to 2 months.
In South and Central America, the listings looked to be retirement dream homes owned by retired Americans, Canadians, and Brits. Many homes featured pools with beach views and a full-sized kitchen. In other areas of the world, like Europe and Australia, the listings looked to be the main family home.
Then, we saw our dream listing: an island beach villa in Bocas del Toro, Panama, for the exact dates we wanted to go. The owner was leaving for Canada and needed someone to care for her pet cat for two months. Her home had high-speed wifi and beach access.
We quickly bought a membership using their 25% Off TrustedHousesitters Referral Code (code: RAF243464), created a login, and signed into TrustedHousesitters.com to click “apply.” But wait, her listing already closed! That was fast, and we weren’t expecting that.
We poked around the site more. Most attractive listings were getting 30+ applicants on the first day. The number of applicants wasn’t a metric that we could see when we weren’t logged in. Many owners would then close off their listing to review the dozens in their inbox. Applying was going to be more competitive than we thought.
Success Tip: There is no TrustedHousesitters free trial, but you don’t need to have a membership or a login to search for listings. You can search by location and see the feature photos, housesit dates, description, and the city. Feel free to explore before you pay, but if you plan on doing it, commit. More details are visible when you have a membership, and then you won’t miss the perfect sit. We started with the annual house sitter membership for $119 but, since we had our friends’ 25% Off TrustedHousesitters Promo Code (code: RAF243464), we paid $90 for the year.
Applying For Our First Housesit
Elevating Our Profile
After a disappointing start, we knew that we needed to step up our game and beat the competition. Therefore, we crafted the best and most thorough profile. I listed out all of the pets we’ve ever watched and shared an introduction to who we were.
We made a video on YouTube to introduce ourselves “in person.” In our video, we talked about our motivation to housesit, which was being integrated into the community, having a solid daily routine, and loving someone’s home and pets.
I also shared our business website (which you’re on) and our LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook profiles. On top of that, we asked for ‘external references’ from Linda and Brad and two recent housesits.
Timing Was Critical
Since we knew opportunities would close quickly, I subscribed to TrustedHousesitter’s two daily emails of new listings. I also downloaded the TrustedHousesitters mobile app and stayed on top of every match in Colombia and Panama. I was stunned at how many new listings came up a day (100+). All of the exotic locations, from a castle in England with baby goats to a condo in downtown Nairobi with a pug to a pair of bunnies living in Stockholm.
Finally, I saw the one we needed: a 4-week condo sit with a hairless dog and a fat, gray cat living in Playa Coronado, Panama. High-speed wifi, a car, a beach, four swimming pools, and a gym. I logged in and drafted up an introductory message with a few paragraphs, introducing ourselves and explaining that we would already be in Panama during their 4-week vacation. I held my breath and hit “submit.”
A few days later, I rechecked the listing. Nearly two dozen applicants! But there was a message in my inbox on the TrustedHousesitters app – the Panamanians wanted to interview us. We scheduled a Skype call for the next day.
Our First Interview
Our 30-minute video call was incredibly friendly, and we spent the time learning about their pets and schedule. We shared our experience watching dogs and cats previously as well as the fact that we spoke Spanish. They thanked us for the call and told us that they’d make their selection that evening.
Five minutes later, I got a text — we had it! We both approved the match through the TrustedHousesitters website, and just like that, success. It was still four months out from the sit, so we exchanged WhatsApp numbers and kept in touch.
Success Tip: This is a two-way interview. Make sure that the sit meets your needs as well. For us, no matter how perfect the location or beautiful the house, if the wifi isn’t up to par, we have to pass. If you’re not sure, have the owner run a speed test for you. Anything less than 5 Mbps is not workable. We prefer 10 Mbps for our business and website.
Enjoying the unexpected perks of cooking in someone else’s high-end kitchen.
Continued Success With TrustedHousesitters
If we only used TrustedHousesitters for that one housesit, it would have been worth it. However, after booking our Panama sit, we moved to Medellín, Colombia, where we booked three more amazing pet and housesits through TrustedHousesitters. Since we were already living there, we had the benefit of meeting the owners over a cup of coffee. With these in-person interviews, every application was a success.
What’s more, we became genuine friends with all of them. Before our sites, we met up with them at farmer’s markets and had dinner parties with their friends. It was wonderful knowing them beforehand because it also made it easy and flexible to schedule in the sits.
We could drop off our stuff early or stay an extra day or two. We loved all of the pets we sat for, and each home was many levels above any rental that we had.
In two months in Colombia, we were able to accrue three 5-star, ‘internal reviews’ through TrustedHousesitters, which count for a lot. You see some luxury listings, from time to time, that require all applicants to have five or ten 5-star, ‘internal reviews’ to even consider their application.
We also were able to review the owners we sat for, making it mutually accountable. Our experience with TrustedHousesitters is top ratings all around.
What We’ve Learned As Trusted Housesitters
We share such a positive review for TrustedHousesitters because the range of experiences we’ve had are overwhelmingly positive and happily unexpected. We even made some lifelong friends to boot. Below is what we have learned in our first year of petsitting and housesitting.
1. You Can Hit The Ground Running On TrustedHousesitters.com
Even as a new sitter, you will be able to get a housesit. And, you’ll be able to book quality housesits right off the bat with ‘external references’ without ‘internal reviews’. So, don’t worry about signing up and not getting a housesit!
As we mentioned, some housesits were more competitive than we anticipated, with dozens of applicants. It helped that we did our first few sits in the city where we were living (at the time, in Medellín, Colombia) so that we could interview in person. Although with that said, our first two housesits were booked solely on a Skype call, so it goes both ways!
2. We Trust TrustedHousesitters
Yes, there are other housesitting websites out there that are less expensive to sign up. But, we put our trust in TrustedHousesitters because they post more sits every month than any other site. It’s not just us, the masses trust TrustedHousesitters and, because of that, the opportunities are brighter. Being able to review the owners makes it mutually accountable.
3. We Love Having Pets
We got to care for a wide range of pets and in all combinations, cats, dogs, big, small, and multiple all together! After all of our housesits, it was hard to say goodbye after you’ve grown to love them. For the last ten years of our lives, our travel schedules have been too hectic to allow us pets. It was so special to have spent the time with them. Plus, now we know what kind of pets we want in the future.
4. We Love A Nice Kitchen
As I said, some of the things we learned with Trustedhousesitters were unexpected. We loved trying out dozens of new appliances. From a milk steamer for our coffee to incredible ceramic cookware to a marble mortar and pestle to an Instapot. Living in someone’s home gives insight into their favorite things.
We benefited from that on so many levels. Presently, it allows us to cook amazing meals. In the future, we’ll have a clear idea of how we want to furnish our kitchen. Never would we have had so much insight without living in the homes of others.
5. Quality Of Life Goes Up, Cost Goes Down
It’s the improved quality of life that drives our positive review of TrustedHousesitters. The cost savings are just a significant bonus!
In 2019, we only had to pay rent for one month. We sat the other 11 months. It’s changed the way we travel. Our priorities were decent wifi (ideally at least 20 Mbps), living in a Spanish-speaking country, having access to a fresh farmer’s market, and living in a quality home where we could comfortably office.
Not only did TrustedHousesitters provide endless options, but we were also introduced to the city and friends of the owners in advance so that we had immediate friends and resources. Plus, we saved $7000 in 2019 to put towards more travel and date nights.
Success Tips For Applying
We are now on our fifth housesit through TrustedHousesitters, all in either Colombia, Panama, and Costa Rica. Since we have all 5-star reviews, owners are now reaching out to us and asking if we’re available to sit their pets!
On top of that, we’ve been offered more housesits than we can accept, including many sits that have 50+ applicants. We credit our success to the following.
1. Fast Communication
Download the app and turn on your notifications. When we get a message, I drop everything to respond. One of the owners told us that was why they chose us!
2. Our YouTube Video Introduction
We were surprised that numerous owners, even some with 50+ applicants, took the time to watch our TrustedHousesitters YouTube Introduction. Another owner told us that our video sealed the deal for them.
3. Our Thorough Profile
We made ours thorough and honest. Yes, we even included our resumés on LinkedIn.
4. Application Speed
Proactive searching and quickly applying for listings helped us to be one of the first 5-10 applicants every time. You never know when the listing will close, and we have a feeling that first impressions count.
5. Our Travel Experience
There are many day to day challenges that come with travel, especially in South America, the language barrier not included. We have a long travel resume. Owners are always comforted that we lived in China for three years and South America for two years. This shows that we’re confident travelers and can deal with extreme situations. Our current owner told us that they selected us because we understood the true meaning of “rainy season” after living in Ecuador!
6. Aligning Travel Plans With The Sit
For locations not close to home, it helps if you tell the owners that you already planned on being there or already have a one-way ticket for the month before. Don’t lie, but share how committed you are to that destination.
If you live in the city where you want to housesit, offer to meet up with the owner for coffee. This opportunity helped us “sweep” all of the Medellín housesits because we were already there in person.
Plus, we got our first housesit in Panama because we were coming from nearby Colombia. Although we didn’t have our flight yet, we told them that we would be in Panama, with or without their petsit.
Success Tips For Earning 5-Star Reviews
The application process is much less competitive when you have internal 5-star reviews. The following are factors that have helped us earn 5-star reviews through TrustedHousesitters.
1. Our Genuine Love Of Animals
We love pets. We equally love dogs and cats and grew up with a variety of pets. Bringing the dogs for a run with us sparks joy. So does brushing and playing with the cat while they’re energetic in the morning. Pet owners genuinely know when they arrive home if their pets were loved versus only cared for. Multiple owners have told us that they knew their pets were loved.
2. Communication And Sharing Memories
The communication doesn’t stop once you get the sit. We send a range of fun photos with the cats and dogs during a petsit. Along with providing frequent updates. Ask in advance how much communication the owner expects and then pass their expectations. One owner got a huge kick whenever we sent quirky photos of her cats in hilarious outfits.
3. Cleanliness And Respect
You know the phrase, “Leave it cleaner than you found it?” Scratch that. We leave it cleaner than they have ever seen it. Okay, we’re neat freaks, but we always clean the home when we arrive, throughout the sit, and then one big deep clean before the owners arrive home. Nobody wants to come back to a dirty place, especially after a long trip.
We also respect their home as if it were ours. If something breaks, we replace it. When home maintenance (like de-clogging a drain) needs to be done, we do that too.
Success Tip: Go above and beyond to make a great “last” impression when they arrive home. This means leaving some goodies from their favorite bakery in the fridge, turning down the bed, making a scarf for their dog from an old t-shirt, buying a bottle of wine, and leaving a handwritten thank you card. Yes, we have done all of these and literally travel with a pack of thank you cards. It makes us seem professional, personal and shows that we genuinely care for them.
What To Discuss Before A Sit
To ensure your happiness and the best possible experience with TrustedHousesitters, review these with the owner before the sit. Doing so will make your experiences positive like ours.
1. Talk About Expenses
Confirm who will be paying the bills. In all of our housesits, the owners have covered utilities. However, we have seen other listings that ask the sitter to contribute. Make sure you know what to expect upfront.
Also, ask if they will be leaving money for household items, like vacuum bags and Draino, or pet expenses, like visits to the vet or fresh dog food. The owner should cover these expenses. If they don’t want to leave money, keep receipts, so they know what they owe.
2. What’s The Guest Policy
Ask about the guest policy. It seems awkward to say, “Hey thanks for letting me live in your home with all of your cherished stuff! Can I invite my friends?” While we don’t condone saying it like that, it’s a gray area that can cause anxiety. Especially if you’re sitting in a desirable vacation destination and your friends are begging to visit.
For longer-term sits, usually guests are allowed, but it’s something that needs to be made clear. Some may not want any guests, including even having local friends come over for dinner. Make sure you’re clear, so all parties feel comfortable.
3. Do We Need A Contract
Especially if it’s a long term sit, the owner may want to draft an additional contract. It’s never been a problem with us and clarifies a few things, such as if we ever want to leave, we require a 7-day advanced notice.
It can protect both sides, so make sure the things you need are on there as well, such as who covers the utilities. There is a contract template available through TrustedHousesitters.com.
4. Communication Method and Frequency
Understand communication expectations. Some people enjoyed one daily email of their pets. Others wanted WhatsApp photos throughout the day. And some just wanted a brief phone call every week.
Success Tip: Regardless, our strategy was to always treat the owners like business clients. Therefore, we curated the photos and information we sent them. In the end, we wanted happy pets, happy owners, and a 5-star review for us. Even if we were good friends with the owners, we abstained from the hilarious photos of their cat drinking out of the toilet or their dog somersaulting on the couch he wasn’t supposed to be on in the first place. Of course, we were always fully honest but the owners didn’t really need to know that their prized golden retriever ate a pile of crap at the dog park.
5. Pet Training And Quirks
How well-trained are the pets? Some owners may not admit that their pets are wild, especially in South and Central America where many pets are rescue animals.
We walked into one sit where the dogs barked all night and were aggressively energetic. In the beginning, I honestly wanted to cry and leave after being sleep deprived several nights and getting scratched across the face! Ryan and I had to take it back to square one and train the dogs. By the end, we fell in love with the dogs and were able to hand them off to the owner, better trained, and better behaved. She still thanks us because now the dogs in her bedroom. Instead, they stay quiet all night sleeping in the living room.
We also had a dog that behaved perfectly but would occasionally snap and bite strangers. These are things to discuss beforehand. It’s always a good idea to arrive early so you can go on a walk with the owners and their dog to get to know them and their routine.
TrustedHousesitters Review: Final Thoughts
TrustedHousesitters has opened up unimagined doors and created lifelong friendships. In addition, it’s provided an opportunity to learn from others living abroad in the places where we might settle one day. And of course, you get pet companions!
Our first year of petsitting brought us to uniquely local destinations like Medellín, Colombia, Playa Coronado, Panama, and Sámara, Costa Rica. Places that we otherwise may have never checked out.
We hope you’ve found our TrustedHousesitters.com review massively helpful. If you have any questions that we didn’t cover, please leave them in the comments below or send us an email at [email protected]. We’ll do our best to help you. Happy travels!
Don’t forget to get your discount of 25% Off TrustedHousesitters.com on your yearly membership (referral code: RAF243464).
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.