House Sitting on the Darling Downs

Vanlife

Where has the time gone!?…

We have been house sitting in Warwick now for the past 3 weeks! We had lined up this sit many months ago via Aussie House Sitters, and what would you know it… we hit the jackpot yet again!

A beautiful home, stunning garden and lovely couple to sit for. We’ve been feeding a small handful of chooks, and a pet duck in exchange for a spot to park the van. Whilst we still sleep in the van, its been lovely to have a large kitchen top bake in, lounge room with a fire place to snuggle up by, and plenty of space for Barkley to run around off the lead.

 

We’ve spent the last 3 weeks not only exploring all that the Darling Downs has to offer, but Nathen also managed to pick up a bit of work on a road crew doing night shift, which has certainly helped the budget look nice and healthy in time to hit the Sunshine Coast!

The kids are really excited to have their Nanny flying into Brisbane in the coming week, but for now it’s back to prepping the van for departure and getting the most out of having a nice big oven to cook in!!!

 

Families Make Great House Sitters Too!

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If you had the choice between a couple, or a young family to house sit your home, who would you pick? I know who I would have once upon a time chosen…

The couple! BOOM!

Just did myself out of any future house sitting gigs in one fell swoop.

Why is it that we presume the family applicant will be messier, higher risk, louder, rougher with animals etc. Let me share our first house sitting experience with you and hopefully change your outlook on hiring a family to house sit. You know what they say… never judge a book by its cover!

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We picked up our very first house sitting gig off Gumtree. Yep, you read right! We had joined the likes of websites such as Aussie House Sitters and Mind A Home, paid our annual fees, wrote what we felt was a great ad and approached many homeowners seeking sitters, but time after time we were let down. We were constantly met with “you guys sound great, but I might just see who else applies” or “We’re holding out for a retired couple thanks” or worse still, they’d accept us, so we’d go ahead and tell the kids with excitement, only to receive an email a week later telling us they’d found someone ‘better’! What does that even mean when they haven’t met us in person!?

After several failed attempts, and feeling somewhat like we’d never find a golden ticket, we thought we’d have one last try on Gumtree. After all, what did we have to loose!? A short 48 hours later we had our first response and it was a fit! Once we had locked down our first sit, we had no further contact with the owner until around 2 weeks out from our stay. We made sure to send a message 2 days out from arrival and again on the day of arrival to find out a suitable time to pull up. This amount of contact seemed to work well for both parties, no need to inundate with intricate questions, sort out the fine detail on arrival. Download our HouseSittingCheckInForm for more info on questions to ask on arrival.

What makes us (a caravanning family) stand out from other applicants?….

We don’t have to actually stay in your house!

Because we come fully self contained there’s no need to have beds made, worry about mess in the spare bedroom, fuss over how clean your fridge might be, or whether there’s still dirty laundry sitting in your hampers. As caravaners all that we (I’m speaking personally here, others may like an escape from the van) seek in return for feeding your pets, watering gardens or just generally watching your house is:

  • power
  • water
  • a toilet (not essential, but nice)
  • the lend of a bath tub or washing machine (also not essential, but nice)

For us, not sleeping in your home = less cleaning when we leave too!

It really is a WIN WIN situation! 

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Travelling families each come with their own set of skills and areas of experience too. We personally are farmers, first and foremost. Therefore we’re all quite confident with animals, large or small. Nathen can mend a fence if stock get out, fix a trough or feeder for your chickens if it should arise, and the kids are very accustomed to feeding and walking a dog, collecting eggs and generally not afraid to get their hands dirty. You’re getting five sets of hands with us, which can only be seen as a bonus as far as we’re concerned!

Caravanning Australia with three kids also means that we’re quite outdoorsy. We enjoy adventuring through forests, beach hopping, and thoroughly exploring the areas that we choose to stay in. This means that we’re out most days. We’re not lazing around your home for hours on end, chewing power and wifi, we are instead making the most of our time in your community. We’re spending even more money than a couple might in your local stores, visiting your local attractions and using your local facilities.

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And finally, families appreciate the opportunity so very much! As you might have been able to tell from reading above, we don’t get given the opportunity as much as we’d like. We’re often judged unfairly before even setting foot near a property. Many families travelling these days have social media accounts across multiple channels, giving you great insight into their personalities, character and suitability to your position.

So before you go and discount a family for your future house sitting needs, at least hear them out! Ask for their social media links if they have any, and Insta-stalk away. They may just be the perfect fit for you. Would I have a family house sit for me in future? Abso-frickin-lutely!