House Sitting Canada: Travel and Live Rent Free
Are you looking for a way to live rent-free or explore Canada in an affordable way? If that’s the case, then house sitting might be the perfect solution for you! House sitting in Canada is becoming an increasingly popular way to travel and manage households.
House sitting involves watching someone’s house while they’re on vacation or taking care of their pets.
If you work from home, you can blend the best of both worlds.
You can save more money by lowering your household expenses while earning in your pajamas.
Continue reading to learn more about house sitting in Canada and all the information you need to become a professional house/pet sitter!
What is House Sitting, and What are the Benefits?
House sitting is when you live and look after someone’s home while they’re away on vacation or a business trip.
House sitters / Pet sitters usually take care of the pets, farm animals or plants while the home owners are away, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The benefits of house sitting are that you get free accommodation and often free utilities, as well as the chance to live in a different city or country.
Accommodation in Canada can be pricey, especially in major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto or Halifax, so having a house sitting arrangement can be a great way to save on your travels, see new places and enjoy your holiday without breaking the bank.
What a fun and affordable way to travel!
Another benefit is being able to spend a lot of time with dogs and cats if that’s what you love doing.
It’s a dream side gig for any cat or dog lover!
How to Find House Sitting Opportunities in Canada?
There are some wonderful house sitting opportunities across Canada. Here are a few tips for you to get started:
- Word of Mouth
One of the best ways to find house sitting opportunities is through word-of-mouth. Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who is looking for a house sitter, or put up a flyer in your local community center or supermarket. You never know who might have a lead for you.
- Check out House Sitting Websites
House sitting websites can be a great source of leads, as they often list available house sitting opportunities all in one place.
You can filter your search for house sitting by location and dates.
For example: house sitting Vancouver, house sitting Toronto or house sitting Ottawa.
There are often reviews of both homeowners and house sitters. This can help make your decision on where to house sit.
You can browse the house sitting opportunities for free.
The only downside is that most of these websites require an annual membership fee if you want to have access to the other features.
The fee is usually the equivalent of what you would pay for a one-night stay at a hotel, so if you can live rent-free somewhere for more than a night, you’ll get a good return on your investment.
The sites are free for house owners to post their ads.
- Contact a Professional House Sitting Agency
Another great way to find house sitting opportunities is to contact a professional house sitting agency. These agencies will have a database of homeowners who are looking for house sitters, and they will match you with an appropriate homeowner.
- Search on Kijiji or Workaway
Kijiji is mostly used for buying and selling things in Canada, but you can also find house sitting opportunities or advertise yourself as a house sitter there.
You can filter your search by typing “house sitter needed” or “house sitting”. Most of the house sitting opportunities seem to crop up around summer and other holidays, such as Christmas. This is the time when people often travel and need someone to house sit or pet sit.
Workaway is a website where people can find volunteering opportunities all over the world, including Canada. In most cases, you get free accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours of work around the house. It could be tasks such as gardening, taking care of animals, babysitting, etc.
This is a slightly different concept because the home owners are usually present and give you a room in their house or some other form of accommodation. But I also found a few house sitting jobs on this site.
I decided to include Workaway because, overall, it’s another great way to save money on accommodation while you travel and meet locals.
List of Best House Sitting Websites Canada
- HouseSitters Canada ($59 per year)
This site offers house sitting opportunities in Canada. It includes a search tool that allows you to browse house sitting assignments by city. The site is free for house owners, however, as a house sitter, you’ll need to pay a yearly membership fee of $59. If you use this code – VMC8BK, you can get $10 off your membership cost.
- Nomador (free discovery option or $99 per year)
Nomador is an international house sitting site that is gaining increasing popularity because of its free discovery membership plan. As a house sitter, this will allow you to contact house owners and apply for house sitting jobs for free.
To have your profile appear on the front pages of search results, you’ll need to upgrade your membership to ‘the confidence option, which costs $99 per year.
Nomador has also come up with the idea of stopovers. This is usually a free short stay for a night or two. It’s a great way to connect with locals on your travels or fill the gap between your house sits if you’re a full-time house sitter.
The site also comes with an app.
- MindMyHouse Canada ($20 per year)
MindMyHouse is a well-established website that connects house sitters with homeowners who need someone to care for their homes while they’re away. There is a variety of house sitting opportunities available, from short-term stays to long-term commitments.
To get started, simply create a profile for an annual fee of $20 and start searching for house sits in your area.
Most of the listings are available in the United Kingdom and the United States but you’ll find also a few listings in Canada.
- Trusted House Sitters Canada (CA$169 per year for the basic plan)
This membership fee is on the higher end, however the site is very user-friendly and has available listings globally, including in Canada. I find it has the most house sitting listings in Canada compared to other international house sitting websites.
There is also a forum and blog with extensive information about house sitting and pet care.
The site comes with an app that makes it easier to access all the listings and keep an eye on your inbox.
- HouseCarers Canada ($50 per year)
HouseCarers is a worldwide housesitting membership site that was launched in 2000. It was the first house sitting website on the market.
There are many house sits available in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America, including a few listings for house sitting in Canada.
As a house sitter, you can upload your ID, background check, and references and even include an introductory Youtube video to increase your credibility.
- LuxuryHouseSitting ($25 per year)
International house sitting site with most of the listings available in Europe and the US. The membership fee for house sitters is quite reasonable. However, the number of listings for Canada is quite limited, and the site is a bit outdated.
List of Best Pet Siting Websites Canada
- Rover ($35 profile review fee)
Apart from pet sitting, on Rover you can also offer other pet care services such as dog walking. All you need to do is create a profile and start earning. Just something to be aware of, Rover takes a 20% commission from each booking that you get on a site.
- PawShake (free)
The best part about Pawshake is that the platform is completely free to use. Similar to Rover, besides pet sitting, you can offer other services, such as dog walking and doggy daycare. Pawshake takes a 19% commission on your bookings.
After inserting Vancouver, British Columbia, into their search tool, I discovered many local sitters who charge between CA$20-100 per night to look after pets.
You can also find many listings in Ontario or Alberta.
What Do you Need to Know to Get Started as House Sitter?
If you’re thinking of house sitting in Canada, there are a few things you should know to get started.
—> Create an Eye-catching House Sitting Profile
There is only one chance to make a great first impression. That’s why creating an eye-catching profile plays a big role in your success as a house sitter.
If you love cats and dogs, show your enthusiasm and make sure to sound responsible, trustworthy and friendly. Are you tidy, organized or reliable? Highlight any relevant qualities that will make your profile stand out.
Nice photos also make a big difference. Needless to say, a picture of you with fur babies and smiling can help you to catch homeowners’ attention.
In your profile, include:
- personal info: name, age, hometown, job
- the reason you want to house sit
- whether you’re a solo sitter or a couple
- your hobbies and interests
- any relevant house sitting or pet care experience
Many house sitting websites will also require you to complete the verification of your identity.
—> Be Prompt to Apply for House Sitting Opportunities
Many other house sitters are registered on the sites, so it helps to be prompt in applying for house sitting jobs.
When you apply, you can include an introductory message.
Personalize your message to homeowner-specific needs and include any relevant information.
For example, if the owner requires you to take care of their cat, you might mention how cute the cat is and how much you love animals.
—> Include References
It can be nerve-wracking to leave a house in the hands of strangers.
That’s why having good ratings from your previous house sits will increase your chances of getting selected.
The more positive references, the better because it will boost your credibility.
It’s a simple but effective way to earn the owners’ trust and make them feel more at ease when letting you take care of their place.
If you haven’t done any house sitting before, don’t worry. You can include external references from your former landlords in your profile. If the site doesn’t allow external references, you can mention in an application message to the owner that you would be happy to provide any references.
Consider some short-term house sitting gigs in your area in exchange for a good reference.
This will help you to land more lucrative house sitting jobs in the future.
—> Get Ready for the Interview
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before the house sitting job starts.
For this reason, it’s a common practice for homeowners to have a virtual meeting with potential house sitters via Zoom or Skype before agreeing to anything.
This is an excellent opportunity to ask about all the details and get to know each other. Simply put, the interview helps to tackle all the nitty gritty stuff.
What Types of Housesitting Assignments Can You Expect?
House sitting assignments vary, but they all include taking care of the home in some way. This can involve tasks such as watering plants, collecting mail, and keeping the house clean and tidy.
Some house sitting assignments also require the house sitter to take care of pets. This would include feeding them, walking them, and providing them with companionship.
You may also be responsible for maintaining the property while the homeowners are away, doing tasks such as mowing the lawn or shoveling snow.
Generally, the house sitting ads will have all the requirements listed.
The length of time that each house sitting assignment lasts also varies. Most house sitting jobs last between one week and 4 months. But you might also find more long term house sitting Canada options for six months upwards. Although, those are less common.
With a little bit of planning and research, you can easily find house sitting assignments that fit your schedule and needs.
Do You Get Paid For House Sitting?
While house sitting is a great way to save money on accommodation, paid house sitting jobs in Canada are less common. In most cases, you can expect free accommodation in exchange for your services.
However, there are some situations where house sitters may receive payment on top of free accommodation.
For example, if the homeowners require additional services such as pet care or property maintenance, they may be willing to pay something extra.
It really depends on the specific assignment and the needs of the homeowners.
For paid house sitting jobs in Canada, you can check House Sitter, Rover or PawShake.
As a house sitter, you can set your own rates. People charge for one night of house and pet sitting anywhere between CA$20 and CA$100. That’s pretty epic, considering you’ll also get free accommodation.
House sitters sometimes may also receive other benefits, such as access to a car.
As with anything, it’s always best to ask the homeowners what they are willing to provide before you agree to take a house sitting gig.
Managing expectations will help ensure that both parties are on the same page and that there are no surprises down the road.
Tips for Successful House Sitting
—> Get All the Info
Although the idea of house sitting in a new place can be exciting there are also some more mundane things to consider.
Make sure you clearly understand the house sitting arrangement before you agree to a gig.
Here are some things to consider:
Who will be responsible for paying utility bills and dealing with any repairs or maintenance issues should they arise?
In most cases, the homeowner covers the utility bills, but it’s better to clarify that in advance.
Other important questions to ask are:
What are the assignments?
What is the location, and is it easy to get around?
Are there any public transport options available?
If the car is provided by the house owner, is there any additional insurance cost or coverage you need to get?
Is there a wifi connection? This is especially important to know if you work from home.
Is there any contact in case of emergency?
Some homeowners require you to sign a short house sitting contract. This helps to prevent any miscommunications regarding house sitting arrangements. The contract lays out all terms to protect both parties.
—> Make Your Research
Before you make a house sitting commitment, make a bit of research about the area where you would like to house sit.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in some place that you don’t enjoy.
If available, you can also read reviews from previous house sitters to find the perfect fit for you.
—> Ask Questions About the Pet
If part of the house sitting arrangement is looking after a pet, you will want to find out some important details about your new companion.
You can ask questions such as:
What is the pet’s daily routine?
What does the pet like, and how often should you feed it?
Does the pet have any allergies you should be aware of?
What is the pet’s temperament?
Can the pet be left alone, and if so for how long?
—> Have Fun but Be Professional at the Same Time
House sitting can be a great opportunity to experience a new place as a local in an affordable way, but at the same time, it needs to be taken seriously.
You’ll need to be comfortable with being in someone else’s house. This means respecting their belongings and keeping the house clean and tidy while they’re away. It’s important to stick to any house rules provided by the owner.
You should also get ready to deal with any messes or accidents that may occur, such as chasing the off-leash dog or cleaning up after the pet pooed on the floor.
Although some house sitting moments may be a bit challenging, I’m sure the positive experiences far outweigh them.
House Sitting Vancouver
After doing some research, these websites seem to have the most house sitting listings in Vancouver, BC:
Paid house sitting jobs in Vancouver:
Vancouver, Canada is not only one of the largest cities but also one of the most beautiful.
With a picturesque view of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding nature, it’s no wonder that housesits in Vancouver are very desirable.
Prime areas for house sitting in Vancouver are downtown, Kitsilano, UBC, Gastown, trendy Yaletown and West End. These neighborhoods are super convenient locations to explore Vancouver.
But you don’t have to stick to central Vancouver. Areas such as Richmond and New Westminister are great for house sitting too. If you can land a house sitting gig close to the SkyTrain route, it will make it much easier to get around town without a car.
House Sitting Toronto
House sitting listings in Toronto, Ontario:
Paid house sitting jobs in Toronto:
Toronto is a very diverse city, with areas that offer different lifestyles and experiences.
- Yonge-Eglington is a residential spot in Toronto, easily accessible by bus and subway
- Eglington Avenue is great for shopping
- North Riverdale offers lots of sports activities.
- Yorkville is a Victorian-themed residential area with plenty of parks, shops and cafes
- Liberty Village is another trendy neighborhood (close to downtown) to explore while house sitting in Toronto
For more information about Toronto, including how to get around and the best places to see, check this post about life in Toronto.
House Sitting Victoria BC
House sitting listings in Victoria, BC:
Paid house sitting jobs in Victoria:
Victoria is a great introduction to Vancouver Island’s laid-back vibe. With lush rainforest and ocean, it’s a perfect spot for any nature lovers.
Victoria’s house sits can range from suburban family homes to cozy cottages and heritage houses on the waterfront.
Downtown Victoria is a great base for exploring the city, but if you’re looking for more of a countryside feel, you can head up the island to Shawnigan Lake or Sooke.
Victoria’s neighborhoods, such as Beacon Hill (the richest neighborhood), Gordon Head, and Fairfield, are all great locations for house sitting.
The Saanich Peninsula is also a popular destination for house sitters who want to experience a rural lifestyle close to town.
House Sitting Montreal
House sitting listings in Montreal:
Paid house sitting jobs in Montreal:
Montreal is one of the most vibrant cities in Canada, with a mix of French and English culture and a wide variety of activities. And, of course, the food is delicious.
When it comes to house sitting in Montreal, Ville Marie, Old Montreal, Griffintown, and Plateau-Mont-Royal are one of the best neighborhoods to explore.
In Ville Marie, you’ll find a modern downtown area with many activities to enjoy.
In Old Montreal, the architecture combined with cobblestone streets will make you feel like you are in a different time.
Griffintown, with Irish pubs and cafes, has made this area popular amongst locals.
Plateau-Mont-Royal has the largest concentration of artists per capita in Canada. You can explore art galleries, eateries and live music venues while house sitting here.
House Sitting Ottawa
House Sitting Listings in Ottawa:
- House Sitting Ottawa
- House Sitters Canada
- Trusted House Sitters
- House Sitter
Ottawa is a vibrant city full of history and culture. The Rideau Canal offers year-round outdoor skating during wintertime, and parks like Gatineau Park are great for summer walks and picnics.
When it comes to neighborhoods in Ottawa, Westboro and Hintonburg are trendy, residential areas full of restaurants and shops.
Centretown, ByWard Market, New Edinburgh, and Sandy Hill are also great for house sitting.
House Sitting Kelowna
If you’re planning to house sit in Kelowna, you should get a car as public transport is not the most reliable and doesn’t have the greatest coverage.
Kelowna consists of two main areas, West Kelowna and Kelowna proper, which includes downtown, Rutland, Lower and Upper Mission, Glenmore and several other neighborhoods.
If you happen to be house sitting in Kelowna in winter, Big White – an internationally renowned ski and snowboard resort, is only 30 mins drive.
West Kelowna is also home to stunning wineries. The city is located in the Okanagan region, which is full of orchards and gorgeous lakes.
House Sitting Calgary
House Sitting Listings in Calgary:
Calgary is just next door to the breathtaking Rocky Mountains – about an hour’s drive from Banff.
The Calgary CTrain is a quick and easy way to get around the city. Downtown Calgary, especially the Eau Claire district, is a great place to stay.
Some other neighborhoods in Calgary, ideal for house sitting because of a wide variety of shops, amenities and their convenient location outside the downtown, are Beltline, Arbour Lake, Sunnyside, Signal Hill, Westside, Bridge Line, McKenzie Town, Inglewood, Bridgeland and Crescent Heights.
In Calgary, there are plenty of options for house sits that range from one-bedroom apartments to detached family homes.
House sits are perfect if you want to explore the city while enjoying the comfort of a home for free.
Have you ever tried house sitting in Canada? Share your experience in the comments below!