picture of professional house sitter

Interested in Becoming a Professional House Sitter? 3

So…last week I wrote a blog about making money in Panama. It’s amazing how the subject of money intrigues people so much. Within that blog post was a small section about house and pet sitting which, based on the emails I’m still catching up on, caught the attention of quite a few people!

You see, my wife and I can now call ourselves ‘Professional House Sitters’.  It’s a funny thing to say, to say the least. In fact, the first time I heard it was while we were enjoying pool time at a condo during one of our aforementioned house sits. We were talking with another guest and the conversation led to this dialogue:

GUEST: Oh, you live in Panama, what do you do?
WIFE: We’re professional house sitters.
GUEST (smiling): SHUT UP!

The guest then proceeded to ask as many questions as there are Dalmatians in a popular Disney flick.

And how did we stumble upon this amazing little gig? We did what I said to do in the post from last week. We networked and listened for opportunities. An opportunity arose to watch a dog…then a cat…then another dog…then a house which contained a cat…then a house with three cats and two dogs…then a house with a cat, dog, and five hens.  As you can see, it steamrolled into something pretty steady.

picture of bob and doug steamroller


The best part of this ‘job’ is that we were able to stop paying rent and live rent free while house/pet sitting. Sometimes making money is about finding ways of not spending money too!

To be brutally honest, it’s not always $#!T’s and giggles. On more than one occasion we’ve had accidents to clean up, and being we live in a hot climate, there are always ticks and fleas to deal with.  Sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with it.

Another downside is that we’re kind of homeless. At one point we had nowhere to house sit for four days, so we went on a mini vacation to Punta Chame and El Valle. Other times we’ve had to adjust to OPS (Other People’s Schedules). The joke amongst our friends in town is that nobody ever knows where we live, which leads to dialogues like this:

picture of dude where's my carFRIEND: So, where are you off to after this house sit?
ME: No clue dude.


House sitting is becoming an increasingly popular thing to do. There are sites popping up like crazy that a home owner can list their home on, usually for free. And house sitters can register for said sites, usually not for free.

We’ve registered on a few sites, one being Trusted House Sitters (THS), the other being HouseCarers.com. It helps cover a wider range of potential sits.  It’s not something I ever thought I’d do, but it’s such a great idea of something to do if you’re looking to explore a certain region. You do have to be home for the pets, so you can’t stay out late – but that’s not such a bad thing. Plus, you get to enjoy so many pet personalities; all of them are so different!

Professional House Sitting is great if you don’t mind:

  • Lugging your food and clothing around (this leads to a minimalist lifestyle)
  • Seeing different parts of a town/city/country/planet
  • Occasionally having to eat other peoples remaining food that will spoil if you don’t eat it
  • Feeding other people’s pets (OPP)
  • Taking OPPs for a walk
  • Playing with OPPs
  • Watering plants / gardening
  • Cleaning up OPPs poopies and puddles once in a while. Yeah, I said poopies, and you probably giggled.
picture of professional house sitters Shelly and Al

Shelly and Al with our buddy Taco!

So if you’re down with OPP (yeah you know me) then you might enjoy house sitting. But if you struggle with any of the above, maybe being a Professional House Sitter isn’t for you, and that’s okay…more sits for us!

And if you are interested, the House Sitting Academy has a great deal on how to get started as a house sitter!

This post has been BTY (brought to you) by…acronyms.

Later Dudes!

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3 thoughts on “Interested in Becoming a Professional House Sitter?

  • markdeafmcguire

    Aye, it is a concept that I am trying out in a few weeks for the first time, a house with a pool and OPP. It will be my first professional assignment and you are right, it’s about networking, showing that you are capable (through reviews and referrals), etc… It this point, my biggest question is how to handle “distant future” assignments, meaning 6 months or more down the road?

    The reason I ask is because I realized during my first interview the owner was seeking proof of travel. This makes sense…. With a flexible schedule, however, how can one handle such distant future assignments without proof of travel?

    I can only guess the answer lies in having a long and proven track record of housesitting? Any suggestions would help.

    • Panama Dude

      That’s understandable your owner wants proof of travel from you if you’re travelling abroad. We often ask of their booking dates to give ourselves some assurances that they are actually going away. One of our house sits fell through because the owner hadn’t even booked their trip, and they never did! Luckily we landed another house sit of longer duration to replace it!

      If you have other area house sits lined up, that could help your cause. If so, you could reach out to the other house sits for a confirmation that you are going there. Conversely, if you need a visa (more than a tourist visa that is) and are going through that process, maybe you can advise them of that and offer some proof?