Guide to House Sitting in New Zealand

It’s crazy to think that we’ve been in New Zealand for two months now! We’ve already seen so much of this beautiful county, but each new panoramic vista or breathtaking coastline only fuels our desire to see more.

One of the most difficult aspects of quitting our jobs and moving across the world is obvious: the money. We went from living comfortably with two incomes to living dirt-poor on no income. However, the main reason our whole adventure has been possible is house sitting.

Why did we decide to house sit during our year in New Zealand? That’s easy, the money. Well, at least it started with the money. We initially looked into house sitting because the possibility of living for free sounded pretty sweet. However, the more we researched, the more we realized that house sitting is the perfect way to experience a country.

House sitting provides a multitude of benefits:

  1. FREE HOUSING – Yes I know I’ve beaten this horse to death, but when you don’t have to pay rent, your savings stretch a lot farther.
  2. Comfort – If we had to rent a place in New Zealand, you can bet that it would’ve been the smallest, cheapest place we could find. The places we house sit are much nicer than we can afford.
  3. Pets – If you don’t like animals, then you should probably stop reading now because house sitting isn’t for you. However, if you do like animals then you’re in luck, because pretty much every house sit has pets involved. So far we’ve looked after cats, chickens, and fish.
  4. Routine – It’s really nice to settle down in a place for a while and get into a routine. You start to feel like a local when you buy your groceries from the same place each week and walk the dog each morning.
  5. Variety – If you rent an apartment, you’ll likely end up in one part of the country. While that’s fine for some people, we wanted to explore as much of New Zealand as possible during our time here. House sitting allows us to live in a variety of different places all across the two islands.

Are you convinced yet? Check out our guide below on house sitting in New Zealand.

How it Works

House sitting works because it solves two problems for two different categories of people. The sitters need housing, so house sitting allows them to live rent free. The home owners need their home looked after while they are away, so house sitting allows them to get their pets and homes looked after for free. It’s a win-win situation!

House Sitting in New Zealand

Step 1 – Find a Website

There are tons of house sitting websites out there, and there’s not any specific “perfect” site. It’s important to do your research and determine the best website for the place you’re going. However, if you’re coming to New Zealand, I would highly recommend Kiwi House Sitters!

We decided on Kiwi House Sitters because it’s a kiwi site that’s focused almost entirely on New Zealand. It offers great house sitting opportunities, an easy-to-use search engine, email alerts, and an excellent messaging system.

Step 2 – Sign Up and Build a Profile

Most websites work similarly. Home owners can list their home for free in hopes of finding a suitable sitter. House sitters pay a small fee in order to create a profile and view house sitting opportunities. Prices vary, but we paid $40 to house sit on kiwi house sitters for a year.

While this fee may be off-putting to some, it allows for the website to pay for it’s expenses and provide basic security, services, etc. Plus, we essentially paid $40 to live in New Zealand for a year. Not too shabby.

Once you’ve paid the fee and signed up, the next step is to build an awesome profile. Your profile needs to showcase who you are and why you are the ideal house sitter. Be sure to discuss any house sitting experience you have as well as other basic qualities that make you the perfect candidate to take care of someone’s home. Your profile is essentially a resume and the goal is to show the home owner that you will be able to look after their home.

Step 3 – Get References

Another important aspect of building your profile is references. Having strong references helps to assure home owners that you are not a “weirdo.” If you have experience house sitting, try to get references from previous home owners, otherwise ask friends, your boss, or anyone else who might be able to speak to your character.

The main reason that home owners are nervous about house sitting is that they’re letting a stranger into their home. References are a great way to help calm their fears and show them that you’re a normal, responsible person.

Step 4 – Reach Out to Home Owners

Now go! Start searching and messaging home owners who have house sits that look interesting to you. Remember, it’s often difficult to find your first house sit. However, once home owners see that you have been a good house sitter in the past, they will be more likely to trust you to look after their home.

Well, there you have it: a basic guide to house sitting in New Zealand. So far, we’ve got house sits lined up for the first 5 months of our time in New Zealand, and we’re feeling confident that we’ll be able to live in the country for an entire year without paying a dime for rent. If you’ve got tips, tricks, or house sitting experience, please share in the comments section.

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  1. John Thornton November 8, 2016

    I’m convinced. I want to house sit!
    Now if I can just get that sabbatical.

    • Josh November 8, 2016 — Post Author

      It’s a great gig! Plus, you get to stay in some pretty swanky places.

  2. Nz Vacations July 6, 2017

    This is fabulous. I will probably see this soon

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