House Sitting: The New Way To Save For a Home Deposit?

July 12, 2017
House sitting save for a deposit

In a time when housing affordability is part of daily news and conversation, many Australians are turning to alternate avenues to break into the property market, especially in our capital cities.

Rentvesting, buying with friends and family and, increasingly, house sitting are just some ways young Aussies are getting in on the great Australian dream.

Is going homeless the best way to save for your own home?

House sitting – as its name suggests – is when a “sitter” lives in a house temporarily and looks after it while the owner is away.

This is usually rent free in return for various house chores such as looking after the owner’s pets, tending to their beloved garden while they’re away or simply looking after the house.

While sitters enjoy the obvious perks of living rent free, the home owner also benefits from the arrangement. They have the peace of mind that their home is being looked after (if it’s a trusted sitter, of course) and they themselves can save on various expenses, such as pet boarding.

A house sit is generally arranged through a recognised house sitting website or independently through family and friends, social networks and connections.

If the exchange is between strangers, it’s advised that a meeting take place beforehand so the sitter can see what the house is like and the owner can decide if they trust the sitter to stay in their home.

House sitting jobs vary in length and can be as little as a few days or weeks, to months or even over a year in some cases.

When you consider the money than can be saved by doing this and living rent free, it’s not surprising that house sitting is becoming a popular way for Australians to save for a deposit for their own home sooner.

Before leaving your rental and packing all your belongings into storage, there are a few things to consider when deciding if this approach is right for you.

Pros of house sitting

  • The most obvious benefit is the cost savings, which can help sitters save to buy their own home sooner. For example, say you’re paying $400 per week in rent, that’s over $20,000 extra you could be saving per year to put towards your own home
  • Alongside saving money on rent you’ll also save on electricity bills, internet and sometimes even food, depending on the arrangement
  • You’ll get to experience living in different neighbourhoods and types of properties, which may help you decide the features you’re after when you buy and the area you want to live in
  • You may also get to stay in places you’d never be able to afford to buy or rent in yourself
  • Being this thrifty, you’ll develop skills in saving and budgeting, which will assist you later on to manage the ongoing costs of home ownership
  • You might have a few “interesting” experiences living out of other people’s homes but you’ll no doubt also have some great stories to tell
  • There’s more freedom and privacy compared to other accommodation options when you’re trying to save, such as moving back home to live with parents

Cons of house sitting

  • Not having a permanent residence can be difficult, tiring and stressful at times
  • You may need to find an ‘in-between’ place to base yourself between jobs. It could be a family member or friend’s home, but it you don’t have a base you might find yourself caught short if there’s a few days or weeks between house sitting jobs
  • You might find yourself living in a place you don’t necessarily like. It could be the neighbourhood, the neighbours or the actual house. While it’s good to check these things out beforehand at a meet and greet, some things you don’t really discover until you live in a place
  • The inconvenience of living out of a suitcase and not having all of your belongings with you
  • It may be hard to establish a routine if you’re moving around every few weeks (which night is bin night in this suburb again?) and you may not be nearby your regular services such as gyms, sports, work or your doctor for instance, which may be an inconvenience
  • You mightn’t be able to partake in your usual hobbies if the home doesn’t cater for them. For example it may be hard to pursue your passion for baking of you’re living in a granny flat with a simple, tiny kitchen. Furthermore, your drum or keyboard playing may fall by the wayside if these items are locked up in storage
  • Everyone lives differently and each home has its own nuances. While not necessarily a deal breaker, expect to find yourself searching for where the teabags are kept or questioning why the cereal is kept in the same cupboard as the pots and pans. You may also not know how certain things work, like the coffee machine or washing machine, so it’s always a good idea to get a run-down of appliances beforehand if you plan to use them
  • You might have to do chores you don’t necessarily like in return for free accommodation. This could include pet sitting, tending to a garden or even looking after livestock or farm animals if on a rural or semi-rural property

Looking for your dream home? 

Soho can help you find it. Set up your profile on Soho to find properties for sale and properties for rent in your favourite suburbs. But don’t just stop there, download our app to get access to more features. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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