How to get a house sitting gig in Antigua or anywhere
by Akaisha and Billy Kaderli
Those of us who live in La Antigua Guatemala know its splendid offerings: photo opportunities everywhere, Mayan culture, great weather, international restaurants, music, amicable residents and natural beauty.
Still, on occasion one might want to go to the beach or travel to visit family and friends. What then do we do with our home and pets? We could board up our house and place our pet into someone else’s care, but that idea doesn’t hold much appeal.
What to do?
Recently I was speaking with another expat living in Antigua and I mentioned opening her home up to house sitters. She gasped at the audacity of it.
“What!? Let a stranger into my home? How could I ever trust them?”
But let me share something with you. My husband Billy and I have house sat in Antigua and it was a win-win for everyone. The homeowners spent several months in Canada, and we were able to live in the grandeur of this colonial city.
This is how it works.
There are reputable house-sitting organizations offering memberships to sitters and homeowners alike. Homeowners list their home on the site, naming the benefits offered (large kitchen, wifi, close to the plaza) and the expectation of care (walking the dog, watering the plants, dealing with the maid). Then they choose from hundreds of people who have applied to house sit. These sitters have a repertoire of skills, aptitudes and experience along with letters of reference for their character and for their proven abilities to house sit. Often there is also a police background check.
Maybe you want a non-smoking, professional couple who love dogs to take care of your home and Fifi. You can then write to sitters who fit this description along with your vacation dates. House-sitting arrangements can range from long weekends to months at a time.
House sitters who are interested in staying in Antigua will write back to you and the conversation has begun. You might even choose to Skype them to get a better sense of your applicant. You may have started out as strangers, but after a few conversations, you will gain a sense of whether these people will fit your circumstances or not. Since there is a written code of conduct for both sitters and homeowners alike, the chances are more than excellent that you will find just the right people to care for your home.
Having house sat for people in various locations throughout Mexico and Central America, we have found that friendships form. Since we have done such a good job of caring for their home and pets, we have been asked to return for another sit time and again. This arrangement is good for both the house sitter and the homeowner.
If you are thinking about taking a vacation but are concerned about your home or what to do with your houseplants and pets, you might consider the option of utilizing house sitters. It doesn’t cost anything to browse, and you just might find a villa in Italy or a flat in New York City where you might want to stay yourself!
Why not open your life to the world of house sitting?
About the authors:
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible
Great article and conversation Billy and Akaisha, the same one John and I have with everyone we meet on our global, house sitting journey and the reaction is always the same, one of absolute acceptance of this win win arrangement.
No more doubts just a realisation that house sitters are the perfect solution for more travel opportunities than pet and home owners ever thought possible. Far from a stranger entering a home when we arrive we’re friends meeting for the first time!
Without sitters in our home in BC Canada, for months at a time, John and I would never be able to continue this amazing lifestyle ….. writing this looking out over the Andalusian hills from our third Spanish pet and house sit since October 2013, while our current home owner enjoys a family vacation in Thailand with complete peace of mind knowing her lovely farmhouse and six furry ones are safe, well and happy!!
Often asked where and how we find our assignments and house sitters we always recommend http://www.trustedhousesitters.com the worlds largest house sitting organisation. After nearly 10 years of house sitting our clients ask us back many times over and recommend us to others, if we could we’d clone ourselves, so many house sitting opportunities and so little time!!
Love the article and the points you make Billy and Akaisha… and couldn’t agree more Angela.
After a year of full-time house sitting around the world, it has been nothing but a win-win for both us and the home owners. By volunteering our services to home owners in exchange for staying in their home, it has enabled home owners to visit family, have surgery, take well needed holidays, do business and even go house sitting somewhere themselves, all because they could take their leave knowing their home was safe and their pets completely loved and taken care of. To us it is a beautiful return of the old bartering system where people actually care about each other and give freely. We have felt nothing but welcomed openly into peoples homes and have established ourselves as firm friends right from the outset. House sitting does indeed take trust on both sides in many respects, but I feel it is that required trust that actually solidifies the friendship. We stay in contact with nearly all of our previous home owners now and they love following our house sitting journey.
So whilst bringing in a house sitter saves you tons of money on pet sitting services or kennels, you may be surprised just how many other benefits there are out of such an experience.
We are a Military couple and are looking at doing this. This article solidifies what we have been reading and hearing about. Thanks
In Antigua there is a person I know very well (and so does everyone else) who has perfect references, loves animals, ALL animals including fish, birds, dogs, cats turtles/etc. and house sits in fine homes. Homes, elegant and less formal. He stays sometimes for more than a month at a time (or for a few nights), grooms pets and often pays expenses for owners (electric, telephone/etc monthly facturas or household payments)…he has references, solid/excellent references and this is a must in Guatemala and anywhere lese…security matters and so does peace of mind and a little loving care and plenty of integrity when caring for pets, people and things that one loves. Send me a note and I will refer you. Leonardo Ricardo santosiempre at yahoo dot com.
It depends. A lot. It’s easy to imagine the house sitters willing to take your place for a couple of weeks, even months. But for the owners the risk is at its maximum. You never know what happens in your own house. May be dangerous. Good will is not always enough.