Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.
Never Pay Rent Or A Mortgage Again
You may have heard some buzz about "The Best Job in the World." That was a live-in position on Australia's Hamilton Island -- an island of the Great Barrier Reef -- that paid AUD$150,000 (about $115,000 U.S. dollars) for a six-month stay in a three-bedroom home, where some of the most important tasks included writing a weekly blog, clearing the stray leaf out of the pool (while swimming in it, of course) and collecting the mail. Yep, that's property caretaking.
Of course, most property caretaking positions aren't quite as cushy and don't pay that well. Still, based on years of experience as a property and estate caretaker, I highly recommend the field in general.
And it is a general field, as I'll explain here. Property caretaking jobs run the gamut from basic, seasonal house-sitting arrangements to permanent, salaried positions in a range of locations and with employees and employers as varied as can be. But there's one thing all of these caretaking situations have in common: free housing of one kind or another.
So, if a job that comes with a rent-free, mortgage-free home sounds appealing to you, read on for more information about how to get started and what to do (and maybe not do) if you do get hired.
Types of Property Caretaking Jobs: From the Rustic to the Elegant
From farms to estates to retreats and inns and even yachts, caretakers and house-sitters live and work on a wide variety of property types all over the world. Some positions come with lots of perks, and salaries and benefits too (we received health insurance with one of our caretaking jobs), while others are merely an exchange of work for free housing. Some require full-time hours and some only a few hours per week.
Property caretaking can encompass tasks such as landscaping, gardening, building and equipment maintenance and repair, even milking cows. Every job is unique and so are the people you'll work for. Sometimes the owners are present, oftentimes not. Some caretaking jobs are year-round, some seasonal.
Here are a few (old) sample ads from the Caretaker Gazette, the publication we used to find our own property caretaking jobs:
CARETAKER NEEDED late September to May on a self-sufficient Aleutian homestead. Free housing and stipend. Orcas, eiders, sea otters, caribou, hydroelectric power, Internet, loom, hot tub. Writers and naturalists have prospered here.
CARETAKER(S) NEEDED. Responsible, competent single man or couple, with strong body and alternative-minded. Must be enthusiastic about rustic jungle life and have experience with off-the-grid living and solar equipment. No tobacco or alcohol users please. Maintenance of a homestead in a beautiful coastal jungle area in an eclectic neighborhood on the Big Island. Care for orchards, garden, and cats. Small but comfortable cabin provided.
HELP WANTED year-round to caretake home, property, and pets (one dog, six cats). 37-acre property midway between Santa Fe and Taos, bordered by the Rio Grande. Two-bedroom, recently remodeled, unfurnished home plus utilities offered, as well as a negotiated salary.
YOU ARE INVITED TO SHARE in the benefits of our growing nature retreat, organic farm and alternative teaching center. Our 10-acre primitive retreat is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Home of a developing healing arts center, we are only 2000 feet from the Caribbean, safe, secure, and private. The farm has a running river and Artesian springs. We grow almost every tropical fruit and vegetable imaginable. We are registered with environmental groups and agencies worldwide as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. Live rent-free in exchange for light maintenance work such as weeding, raking, gardening, maintenance of fences and buildings, shopping for supplies, rototilling and weed-whacking. Applicants should be in good health, handy, and resourceful with a common sense understanding of the hazards of nature.
Benefits of Property Caretaking Positions
Both the direct and indirect rewards....
- Rent-free, mortgage-free housing is the obvious one, and free utilities often--usually--go along with that.
- Caretaking can allow couples and families to spend more time together.
- Caretakers and housesitters are often afforded significant amounts of free time to pursue other interests, which makes these great situations for artists, writers and photographers, among others.
- Some caretaking positions, particularly those that require only a minimal number of hours per week, allow for the caretakers to work off-property as well. That salary, combined with the free housing and other perks the caretaking position may include, can really help one become financially fit and even debt-free. Of course, you could also do other work at home and online for additional income.
- Many caretaking positions offer a stipend or salary along with the free housing. There are often other perks as well, such as space to garden, use of tools and equipment, and sometimes use of a vehicle.
- Caretaking and housesitting can give you the chance to live for extended periods in all sorts of interesting places around the world, without having to buy or rent property there or spend money on lodging.
How To Find A Property Caretaking Job
Step One: Get The Caretaker Gazette
Are you interested in pursuing a property caretaking job yourself? In my opinion, there's really just one great resource. Sure, you can try other avenues, like putting a "situation wanted ad" in newspapers in an area you're interested in living. And there's always Craigslist perhaps and a number of websites related to housesitting, but, to me, the Caretaker Gazette is the #1 source for caretaking and housesitting jobs around the world.
The Caretaker Gazette is a family-owned and operated publishing business that's been run by founder Gary Dunn since 1983. The Gazette is approved by Consumer Reports Web Watch.
If you want to be sure a property caretaking advertisement is legitimate, this is the source to use. You can even submit your own "situation wanted" ad.
The Gazette can be mailed in hard copy or you can receive the listings, along with new ads submitted between publications, by email.
For more information and to look for a property caretaking job, visit the website of The Caretaker Gazette
A Message From Gary Dunn - Publisher: The Caretaker Gazette
Gary has been publishing this newsletter dedicated to property caretaking for three decades and counting, so he knows as much about this lifestyle and line of work as anyone.
Gain An Edge On The Property Caretaking Competition
Making A Great First Impression
I found that the number one skill which gave my husband and I the edge over other applicants was our ability to write a really good, down-to-earth letter.
Often, property owners will ask for applications in writing, either by snail-mail, e-mail or fax, rather than a phone call. And this was how I preferred to make a first impression as well. Letter-writing gave me (because I did most of the writing for the both of us) the chance to express myself, to explain our backgrounds, skills and experience and relate what we were looking for in a property caretaking position.
I suggest making your letter personal and personable, not like a formal business letter. Property owners are essentially inviting you into their homes and entrusting you, the caretaker/s, with some of their most valuable possessions, often including pets, so they really want to know who you are. A detached bit of correspondence is really not going to do the trick in most cases, and you may never even get a response.
If spelling and punctuation aren't your forte, it would probably be a good idea to have someone proofread your letter. A goof here and there would be no big deal, but a letter riddled with errors can and will detract from your message.
Also, attach a resume to your letter. Yes, gear that resume towards caretaking, meaning add any skills you think will apply but that may not have been included when you used your resume for other types of jobs, but, at the same time, keep all or most of your prior work experience on the resume, too. Again, owners want to know who you are and where you've come from. Even though you may be applying for a farm caretaking position, owners will be interested to know your background as an accountant, for example. After all, caretakers often have to manage money. So you never know when skills you've acquired and used in other types of work will be appealing to property owners.
Provide references, just like you would with any other job application. In fact, references are often very important to property owners, who will likely check with one or more of them. So contact your references first and make sure they're okay with being used as such. Tell them they will likely get a call or email from your perspective employer and explain what type of position you're going for. Usually, property owners request three references, but I always provided more, including family and friends, previous or current employers, and other types of contacts who could provide good character references.
You might even provide a photo or two of yourself. Just make sure it doesn't look like a driver's license photo ... or a mug shot. Send a picture taken of you in a location or doing something you enjoy or, if you're a couple, of the two of you together.
And if or when you finally get on the phone and then meet the property owners, be yourself. Try to relax. For the most part, you can dress casually. (Just make it neat-and-clean casual, of course.) These "interviews" generally aren't the type where you'll be sitting across a desk from the employer. Rather, you'll probably end up walking around the property and maybe even jumping in to help, possibly getting your hands and clothes dirty in the process. Happened to us more than once.
A Suggestion From "Caretaker Gazette" Publisher, Gary Dunn - A message about providing references
After all, if someone were housesitting for you, you'd want to know you can trust this person in your absence. Providing a good number of references -- references that are easy to check -- really is important.
How To Make The Most Of A Property Caretaking Job
And Pitfalls To Avoid....
Image is in the public domain
Having been caretakers for seven years, we learned a thing or two about how to make the experience the best it can be for both caretakers and property owners. Here are some things to consider:
- Communication is key: Keep the lines of communication open at all times, even if the owners are absent. Be sure to let them know that you want to know right away if they aren't satisfied with something or if you're not doing something the way they'd like. By the same token, you as the caretaker/s need to let the owners know what you need. If things are left to fester on either end, nothing good will come of it and very minor and manageable issues can easily get blown out of proportion.
- Be clear about what's expected by each party, right from the get-go: Discuss not only the tasks the caretaker is expected to perform but how many hours of property-related work are expected each week or month. Do you get days off? When? How many? How about vacation time? When can you or should you call in outside vendors or contractors to take care of problems? What can or can't you use on the property? And so forth. Make a list of questions for the property owner, and encourage them to do the same for you.
- Don't get in the habit of doing a lot more than is expected: "Over and above" can become expected, if you know what I mean. Do what you're asked to do and do it well and with good attention to detail, but be aware that continually going above and beyond may lead to it seeming like the norm. That's not to say you can't or shouldn't do extra tasks you're not asked to do on the property, to be helpful and nice. Besides, unexpected needs arise and sometimes they arise often. But it's prudent to be aware of what overdoing it on a frequent basis can lead to, including resentment and of feeling of the work versus the compensation being out of balance. It happened to us.
- Treat the property as if it were your own: That is, the caretaker has a vested interest in the property, too, and owners will notice and appreciate that frame of mind in their caretaker/s.
Read this article from the New York Times about a New Wave Of Caretakers
- Caretakers Go Professional - NYTimes.com
Some intrepid souls have found that leaving the rat race can mean living in a dream house, with mortgages, taxes and utilities already covered.
Our Own Property Caretaking Jobs
From Connecticut to Pennsylvania to Arizona
Before we learned of the Caretaker Gazette, my husband and I had decided we wanted to live on a small, working farm. So we put our own "situation wanted" ad in an organic farming newsletter and soon began receiving correspondence from around the eastern U.S., with offers of all kinds. One response came from a Buddhist retreat, while another was from an off-grid homestead tucked in the very green mountains of Vermont.
Where we ended up, though, was on Howland Homestead Farm in South Kent, Connecticut. There, the owners raised rare-breed, grass-fed cows for both meat and milk, along with chickens, pigs and eventually sheep, and grew their own fruits and vegetables. Steve and I were offered the upstairs apartment in their historic farmhouse, more than an acre of land for our own garden, a share of the farm's produce, and use of the equipment.
This first arrangement wasn't exactly caretaking, because we did pay a reduced rent. At the same time, though, we were paid for working on the farm, earned some additional income from selling our own produce at the farmers market and a self-serve roadside stand, and received meat, milk and eggs from the farm. We also had time to work off the property if we chose to do so.
After about a year and half at Howland Homestead, we discovered the Gazette and learned what kinds of property caretaking jobs were out there. We then decided to move on. After meeting and interviewing with several property owners in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut, Steve and I settled on a caretaking situation in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.
RamCat Farms was more of a "gentleman's farm," because it really didn't produce any income for the owners. (Quite the contrary, actually.) On the farm were horses and a pony, angora goats (which did require sheering--something we learned to do the hard way), lots of rescued dogs and cats, and eventually, once Steve and I built the chicken house (pictured right), a dozen hens and one very happy rooster. The owners, a doctor and his wife, lived about two hours north in the city of Pittsburgh and would come to the farm for a day or two at a time, roughly once a week, while Steve and I lived there full-time.
In exchange for free housing in our own spacious apartment above the garage, free utilities, all the garden space we wanted, use of a truck and any and all equipment and tools on the property, a monthly salary, and health insurance, Steve and I cared for the animals, made hay, mowed the grass (a lot of it!), did building and equipment maintenance, and kept an eye on the property--about 180 acres of it. We didn't have a set number of working hours; we just did what needed doing. Otherwise, our time was our own.
During our years at RamCat Farms, Steve did a lot of art--particularly artistic metalwork (like the branch-patterned railing pictured left), which provided extra income--and worked as a river guide on the Youghiogheny. Our caretaking position also allowed me the time to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail for six months. And I had the chance to write two novels. Caretaking gave us both the opportunity to pursue other interests, both individually and as a couple, and to enjoy more time together.
We stayed on RamCat Farms for more than five years, until the doctor/owner retired, and he and his wife made the transition from their city home to the farm. We could have stayed on, but Steve and I decided to move back to Arizona, where we took another caretaking job, this time at a remote property in the Bradshaw Mountains.
That last property caretaking job of ours began in April, 2003. Our duties included basic grounds work, upkeep of the pool, some minor animal care (the owners only had a few dogs, a few pet goats and a few chickens), building maintenance and some easy house-cleaning. In exchange, we received free housing in two casitas and a monthly stipend of $800. Ultimately, though, we decided the property was a bit too remote for us, and we ended up moving back to Flagstaff, Steve's hometown, six months later.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Deb Kingsbury
Comments Or Questions About Property Caretaking Or Housesitting?
Rossana SR on April 26, 2016:
The first time time I heard about house-sitting was from my sister in law's boyfriend 30 yrs ago. I thought it was neat. There is baby-sitting, pet-sitting, and know house-sitting. I might do that some day if I decide to travel the world.
CaretakerGazette on June 09, 2014:
Dear Ramkitten, thanks for positing about The Caretaker Gazette! If you would like to read what our subscribers and advertiser have to say about using The Caretaker Gazette, please go here to read their comments:
Take care, Gary C. Dunn, Publisher
THE CARETAKER GAZETTE
2503 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78702-1448 USA
Phone: (206) 462-1818
Celebrating The Gazette's 32nd Year of Publication!
IndiaKai on April 23, 2014:
I'm 34 and recently widowed. I'm looking to change my life completely and stumbled onto this blog. I've been searching for new ideas for living/working, maybe new places to move, and looking into build ing new life experiences for myself. It's intimidating to try and find a new path for life, but I wondered after reading this blog if this might be a good fit for me. I've never been a caretaker to another persons home/ranch/farm, but I do own my own home. My late husband and I bought the house when we were in our early 20's. It was a beat up 100+ yr repo home and have worked hard to bring back to life. So I have some personal experience in house repairs, remodels, and I'm an experienced gardener. I'm just not sure if those type of experiences would be enough to get hired to be a caretaker. How does one get into doing this on a regular basis? Are there specific skills sets required?
terri-m-henderson-1 on April 21, 2014:
what is an average pay like?
Chefmel on April 07, 2014:
Personal chef,my partner and I want to do the couple caretaker job accept we do not have the experience together just separate we both have great backgrounds great refrences and very hands on the only thing we have done together is housesitting and petsitting how do you think we should peruse this we really want this for us so we can peruse other things or long term caretakers
ThePetSitter on December 05, 2013:
This is such an interesting read. Definitely worth exploring since the experiences out of town for extended period seems enticing...
anonymous on August 28, 2013:
This is a good article. My wife and I are considering care taking and this article is a good place to start. We are both teachers, and would consider an alternative school with way less stress than we currently have in public school. Thanks.
sierradawn lm on August 23, 2013:
I was a property management caretaker for the condo, Hale Kaha Kai in Hilo Hawaii for many many years. It was a DREAM JOB! Thank you for sharing your dream job and telling others how to find one of their own. I was thinking about doing the same sort of lens but I see you have completely covered everything here in your beautiful lens!
anonymous on July 05, 2013:
I was the caretaker of a great little building here years ago after I retired from hairstyling. I was outside landscaping, this was where I met my hubby. I loved caretaking especially that building...the owner however decided to hire a small property management company for all of his buildings and the caretaker were all let go. I still think of doing it again...I really did love it- and I'm a very handy woman!
anonymous on May 13, 2013:
This is interesting - I have not herad of it either
GeckoShack on May 07, 2013:
Nice lens, Ramkitten. I've been on the other side of the coin by having someone taking care of my home while I was away for 6 months. I can honestly say that it's far less stressful than renting your home out and I believe that in general, you're far less likely to run into any problems.
mariacarbonara on May 05, 2013:
Ive never even heard of this kind of thing before but will definitely look into it as I have time on my hands right now
anonymous on April 08, 2013:
I love this...I have been taking care of peoples properties during the simmer months and love it!
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 03, 2013:
@anonymous: I wish I knew what to suggest, but the Gazette really is the best resource I know of for finding property caretaking jobs ... or "situations," as I like to call them. Have you tried contacting the Gazette to see what options there might be? Perhaps they might offer you a free starter edition (I don't know; I'm just saying you can always ask). Or you could post a situation-wanted ad on Craigslist in the areas you might be interested in living. Even a situation-wanted ad in the Gazette might work, and that might be less expensive than buying a subscription. With social media, there's always lots of networking to be done -- word of mouth can work wonders. Just keep trying is all I can suggest. But I do think putting out some money, if you can manage it, for the Gazette would be a very good investment, especially if you're pretty flexible about where you'd go.
anonymous on April 03, 2013:
I have been looking everywhere I can think of, the gazette seems like it would help. But most of the time there's nothing in the areas I want to go, I'm on SSI and to pay even the subscription for the gazette is hard for me. So I check Craigslist all the time, the other sites I have found also have nothing in the areas I want. I'm a new empty nest mom, who needs to be in the sun. And to try and rent with my income ! Is a joke. I'm desperate to find a place in the country with sun, where I can just live. If needed gardening help around the ranch etc. I'm not very strong, but I would try. I have run out of ideas as to how else to search ? I'm looking for a perm situation, no more moving in my life. I need stability. Help !
geosum on April 02, 2013:
Worth looking into.
VineetBhandari on March 23, 2013:
This could be an adventure (new experience)
anonymous on March 05, 2013:
@anonymous: The Gazette is great, but you should also try Workingcouples.com, coolworks.com, and any number of google searches for RV Jobs, etc...
My wife and I are currently on our second job found through workingcouples.com.
RinchenChodron on February 15, 2013:
Wow it sounds like you have some primo situations! I have not done this but it does sound like a great way to "see the world".
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 17, 2013:
@anonymous: The Gazette really is THE best resource for finding property caretaking jobs, as far as I've ever found. But since you have an RV, you might consider camp host jobs. They'd most likely be seasonal, but you might find one place for one part of the year and another campground for the other part. Or maybe just part of the year would be all you'd want. Anyway, it's an idea. You can really get to stay in some amazing places.
anonymous on January 17, 2013:
Would you reommend the Gazette or can you find these jobs on your own? Where would you look? We live full time in our RV so we would bring our own lodging, are there jobs that provide RV hookups?
FreedomGrrl on January 08, 2013:
What a very interesting lens. Very informative. I'd heard about caretaking jobs but hadn't thought much about them. I think I will now after reading your great lens!
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 19, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi, Janet.
Well, since you won't be living on the property--you won't have the benefit of free housing--it's not really property caretaking in the sense that I've written about here. So it's really more like regular employment. But will you be actual employees or self-employed contractors? (This makes a difference at tax time, and if you're going to be doing this on a self-employment basis, you'll need to keep track of all related expenses.) Will you receive any benefits at all? How much time per week do you estimate this job will take for both you and your husband? And how much is that time worth to you? Will you have to work at night/on weekends/holidays? These are all things I would take into account, write them down, and then come up with a salary or hourly wage--whichever you and the own prefer--that you feel is fair. I really can't be more specific than that, I'm afraid, since I don't know the details.
anonymous on December 18, 2012:
Hi, my husband and I have recently been asked to manage a guest home (with guests coming in and out). We don't know what to ask for financially. We will not be living there and a list of 'to-do's' has been provided. Do you have any suggestions? They need a quote from us. I'm looking around but though you may have some helpful suggestions. Thanks for your post, I have received some tips.
StMoores on November 18, 2012:
Awesome lens, loads of detail, thanks!
uneasywriter lm on November 05, 2012:
i have heard of this before but never seen it put altogether like this. Great work on this lens!
anonymous on October 24, 2012:
Great info; and the free rent is Awesome.
myspace9 on October 24, 2012:
Vow! nice opportunity, I heard this first time. Informative and helpful lens, for those who are interested to this kind of jobs. Thanks for sharing it with the squidoo Community.
anonymous on October 19, 2012:
This sounds like an incredible opportunity! I would love to babysit a house in Hawaii!!
loyddonald on September 18, 2012:
It's really great not having to think about mortgage or rental fees, nice lense!
anonymous on September 16, 2012:
Very helpful lens, squidliked and G+1
alex89 lm on September 15, 2012:
I actually know several people who do this, but I think the most interesting is my cousin cares for a property in rural Australia, and they are also renovating the house for the owners. Their main duty is to set controlled fires to prevent big forest fires on the property.
click2CYtoday on September 15, 2012:
Very well written and helpful lens! This type of work appeals to me although I have not had a chance to try it yet, but then, who knows what will be around the next corner...
VladimirasRiabcevas on September 15, 2012:
Ruthi on September 13, 2012:
I wish I had thought of property caretaking as a career in my younger years. What an informative lens and I so enjoyed hearing about your personal adventures as a property caretaker.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on September 13, 2012:
@Stephen Lewis: Thanks for your comment. Actually, many property caretaking jobs/situations don't involve drifting around at all. They're very long-term and even permanent in some cases.
Stephen Lewis on September 13, 2012:
What an interesting vocation! I could never have done it. I am too much of a packrat to drift around. But for the unfettered, it sounds ideal.
ismeedee on September 13, 2012:
So I have been looking into communities which strive to live off grid and towards self-sufficiently and discover here an old advertisement illustrating there is such a community in one of my fav places, the Big Island, Hawaii!!! OH!!!!!!
Gayle from McLaughlin on September 10, 2012:
What an interesting article. I have really never heard of care taking on this level. Thanks for the info.
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on September 09, 2012:
Congratulations on a well deserved front page feature and you are so right. Caretaking can be a great way to reduce what you pay in housing costs. Rent can be so very expensive and many people now live on fixed incomes.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 09, 2012:
I have heard of this before. I enjoyed your stories.
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on September 09, 2012:
I think this would be a great way to "see the world" a bit and live a bit more frugally in the right circumstances. I love your tales of caretaking!
anonymous on September 09, 2012:
Is there any scope for those who residing out side Australia and desire to work as a care taker over here ? Can he apply ? How much one can earn from here ? Irrespective any religious can apply ?
durbs26 on August 09, 2012:
This would be an awesome job. Good post.
anonymous on July 24, 2012:
I would love to find a position where I could take care of a property/household. I'm a single mother with a preteen son and a college age daughter, so I have a lot of experience running a household, and I can also do light carpentry, gardening, etc. The ability to save some money on housing while working in a nice location would be a dream come true!
anonymous on July 17, 2012:
We're currently caretaking in Southern Spain with a position we found through Caretaker. It is our first caretaker job and many of the things you outlined above were instrumental to us in getting the opportunity, including the letter of introduction. We have overtime developed a very good relationship with our property owner â they know our reliability, commitment and integrity, we know whatâs most important to them.
We are seeking another position which provides a stipend or salary in exchange for additional work expected. This opportunity asked little of us on the surface, requiring daily feeding and care of three dogs, and updates and reports about how the house/house systems were running (off grid) , as well as full security and upkeep. Being a very large finca, the upkeep and reconditioning from previous caretakers was a bigger job than at first glance. And as the property was for sale, we maintained it at all times a near ready for viewing as possible.
The location is stunning and the opportunities to live in another eco system/culture/country a tremendous experience.
We are anxious to secure another caretaking position which offers a stipend, or salary or use of the car/land so we can continue to minimize expenses, do the things we love and improve , maintain the property. We think that caretaking allows us to offer our intentions for the way we live carefully in the world, honoring resources and others to of ourselves as house whisperers, offering caring, intentional to people who have property for sale, or just can't be with their property and pets all the time.
We have most definitely taken our established work ethics and homeownership mentality and brought these very strong, ethical ways of being into our work for our caretaking! Who you are does travel with you in all work you do. Caretaking provided an opportunity to combine more of who we were in one place!
What we learnedâ¦we do best with land to grow food on, some stipend, use of tools and/or use of a vehicle, or an opportunity to earn some local income, either from the caretaking arrangement and our work there, or from the local economy.
If you have the chance to caretaker, donât pass it up! Be selective and be clear on and trust that what you feel you need you can ask for, even if the situation seems irresistible.
Storytutor on June 20, 2012:
Great! Thank you so much!
anonymous on May 06, 2012:
I truly wish I had the pesos to get a subscription, however that pays my food for a week, as I live in Mexico...
puppyprints on April 25, 2012:
looks like a great job!
anonymous on April 04, 2012:
This is a job opportunity I hadn't considered before. It sounds like a great way to explore new locations and enjoy a different way of life for a time and a season.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on April 03, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi, Rebecca. I don't know if there IS such a thing as "usual compensation" when it comes to property caretaking, since each situation is unique and there's such a wide range of arrangements. But, if I were you, I'd think about how much time you both will most likely need to devote to the tasks you've been asked to do, whether or not you get guaranteed time off/vacation, and the overall value of what you're being offered (home plus salary). Are utilities free also? Can you work off the property if either of you want to? What is the market value of the apartment? How much free time each day/week will you have? Is this part-time work for you and your husband? Do they care how you split the tasks? Those are the kinds of things I'd consider. If you're comfortable with the arrangement, though, and it feels fair, then that's what's most important. Some of the tasks you've listed seem a little vague (ie. prepare for events Thurs-Sun), so I hope YOU know what those things entail and that you AND the employer/owner are on the same wavelength. I know from experience that if the expectations on the parts of the owner/s and caretaker/s don't match, it can lead to bad feelings and problems. But if you ARE clear about what's expected, property caretaking can be great. Hope it works out. Feel free to come back and let us know.
anonymous on April 03, 2012:
Thank you for the information. I found it very useful. My husband & I are considering a caretaker position. We have never done it before and are wondering what a reasonable salary for this position is. The hiring agent is a place of worship. The job description is to open the building every morning (6 am) and close it up every evening. Clean and stock the bathrooms, general upkeep of the building, wipe down the 2 kitchens, prepare for events Thurs - Sun every week. Also they require that we take care of the grounds, mow the lawn in the summer, shovel in the winter, etc. They offer a large apartment, rent free and about $7,000 a year. Does this seem like adequate compensation? Can anyone with more experience offer any advice as to what the usual compensation is for this kind of arrangement? Thank you!
Stephen Bush from Ohio on March 24, 2012:
A very well done perspective of a refreshing occupational opportunity. Thanks!
kathleencl on March 13, 2012:
Thnaks for nice information :-)
anonymous on February 19, 2012:
WOW, I would love to be as talented as your husband! I LOVE the railing he made! I haven't housesat or been a caretaker before.....but I was kinda near that with maintaining a trailer park, maybe near that? LOL. No, I didn't live in a trailer, but lived in the only house within the park.
prathibac on February 12, 2012:
i have heard about this kind of job and would really love to find a couple of properties where i can care take and get paid, but i would just wonder why would anyone had over their properties to an unknown person, they can hand them over to a agency who can give them most out of it? and also wonder how the working conditions in australia be for these type of jobs.
Wilson-Eli on February 03, 2012:
Great lens! Property management is definitely the way to go. I did it for several years and never had to pay rent. Not only did I save a ton of money I was able to learn a lot about DIY home maintenance. If you ever have the chance I would say to do it.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 04, 2012:
What a resourceful couple you are. This gives plenty of detail for anyone considering this kind of opportunity.
baby-strollers on December 13, 2011:
Just when I was thinking all you did was fleece! Very informative lens.
whelanpro on December 12, 2011:
Thanks a lot Ramketten for such a nice and informative lens about how to mentain your property accurately. I really enjoyed a lot.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on December 08, 2011:
@anonymous: Hi, Dave. Actually, all of the suggestions I've outlined here would apply to the "older new caretaker." Caretaking jobs are each unique, so it's just a matter of finding the one that's the right fit for you, while you're the right fit for the property owners and what they're asking of you. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for "older" folks who are just getting into property caretaking. In fact, some owners may prefer that. Best of luck in your search.
anonymous on December 08, 2011:
Have been thinking about this for some time and am to the point of investigation. Read your article, signed up for Dunn's magazine and will be learning as much as possible between now and 08-2013 when my job is done. Will appreciate hints, tips and suggestions applicable for the older new care taker (57 now, but banged up a lot on the job as a volunteer EMS/firefighter/peace officer/security dude).
anonymous on December 08, 2011:
Have been thinking about this for some time now; got a subscription to G.Dunn's mag and hope to learn as much about this life style as possible between now and the end of the job I'm working (about 08/2013). Appreciate any and all hints, suggestions and tips to finding and keeping the "dream Job". email@example.com thanks in advance
skefflingecho from Tobermory Ontario on November 20, 2011:
Great lens. Squidangel Blessed!
anonymous on November 20, 2011:
I have been the caretaker of a property for the last 8 years I provide farming and care for some animals in exchange for free rent, though I pay for my own utilities. Over the years my grown kids/friend would stop in to say hi or id have family over for dinner on holidays but never went beyond that. Never big blowout parties or gatherings at all. as Ive never abused my stay there. Ive recently been told that I am not allowed to have any visitors. As I realize I am an employee and have no rights to this property...I do live here and find that to be ridiculous and unfair. I wouldnt have a problem if they specified only to have visitors during certain hours etc, but to say none at all is a bit extreme! What do you think?
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on November 20, 2011:
@anonymous: Sorry, Susan, this is an article ABOUT property caretaking, not a place to find caretaking or housesitting jobs. You should look into the "Caretaker Gazette."
anonymous on November 19, 2011:
I am a real property caretaker and house-sitter with experience and impeccable references. Please contact me if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org
ErHawkns7100 on November 15, 2011:
Now this is a dream job.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on November 03, 2011:
@anonymous: Hi, Susan. The article has several links to the Caretaker Gazette, which is where I and many others found our property caretaking jobs. The Gazette lists positions all over the U.S. and in other countries. That's your best bet.
anonymous on November 03, 2011:
Hello, my name is Susan and I am looking for a caretaking job for myself (my dog included). I specifically need one in the Big Bear Lake, Calif. area. How do I go about finding one in this area? Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Susan Sullivan e-mail :email@example.com
jinggaberseri on November 02, 2011:
nice lens, i get a lot of info from this lens
elijahv on October 19, 2011:
Keep up the good work!!! Very interesting. ;)
elijahv on October 19, 2011:
Thanks for the info. ;)
adamfrench on October 08, 2011:
Impressive lens, thumbs up
Jenny18 on September 09, 2011:
Very useful information and I never thought about that before, thanks, great job done......:)
agoofyidea on September 05, 2011:
I am currently a property caretaker and thought your lens was very interesting. I didn't know there was a newsletter about this job. I'll check it out. Excellent lens.
Fignewton37 on August 18, 2011:
Wow! What an interesting lens. I had no idea that there was such a demand for caretakers. I recall hearing on the news about the one in Australia and thinking that something like that could be great if you like the solitary life. Your lens has given me some ideas. Thanks.
anonymous on August 15, 2011:
Live rent free doing property caretaking, house sitting, pet sitting, or work camping while providing security and care for the owners. Some positions also pay a wage.
home mortgage lenders Chicago
jackieb99 on April 28, 2011:
An excellent idea to live simply and cheaply.
djroll on April 04, 2011:
Interesting information here that I have never considered. Thank you for sharing. I'm now a fan.
digitalpick on April 03, 2011:
Thanks for the information here, though it doesn't directly apply to the sector of my industry e.g kit homes.
pkmcr from Cheshire UK on February 20, 2011:
Very informative and well constructed - Blessed by the Employment Squid Angel and added to the listing of lenses blessed :-)
JeremiahStanghini on January 25, 2011:
This is great! My wife and I have been having intuitions about being caretakers for quite some time, but couldn't find a place where it was collected.
With Love and Gratitude,
JodiVee on January 07, 2011:
What a great idea for employment! I'll definitely file it in my mind-database for future reference. It sounds absolutely wonderful, especially for someone who doesn't mind getting their hands dirty. For those who are not ready to take the plunge into this alternative employment opportunity, consider applying for jobs posted at www.jobvirtue.com
anonymous on December 14, 2010:
I'm a 47 yr. old male...Looking to escape from my humdrum life>>Taking care of my grandmothers,grandfathers, and my mother. I would like something where I can reflect on my past, and enjoy my future with out any more sad endings. I am a quiet person, unless spoken too..then i'm a mouth with in a mouth some say. I consider myself polite. I just need somewhere to re-group. I'm disabled..but still able to do tasks to please the average person or persons...There's much more, but i'll save some in the hope's I get a chance to be a caretaker. I am an animal lover of large and small, and experienced in many types of them. From a goldfish to an alligator, but I prefer dogs and cats.
property_guru on November 21, 2010:
great lens - i wanna be an island caretaker too
C A Chancellor from US/TN on October 25, 2010:
Wow -- this is so interesting! I love the idea of being a caretaker. I may look into this in more depth in the future. Thanks for sharing such a unique topic!
HorseAndPony LM on October 20, 2010:
Wow! This is such a great topic. This would not fit in my life but what a great opportunity. Thanks for sharing!
anonymous on October 19, 2010:
I'm going to suggest property care-taking to one of my sons.
He really needs to get out of where he lives now, and find some adventure.
Great lens and very helpful!
spunkyduckling on February 01, 2010:
Sounds like one of the best jobs in the world. lol. You have moved so many times - Wow, don't know how you handle all this moving and keeping under people's good graces! This lens is really a valuable resource for those undertaking caretaker jobs for sure. Thanks for sharing and I'm sure a lot of people will be a lot smarter now like for instance this tip: Don't get in the habit of doing way more than is expected. It is one that can be overlooked especially someone new to this type of sevice..
sittonbull on November 25, 2009:
Wow ... what a cool thing to do and what a great resource you have laid out for those who want to do it! Sounds like a dream for the creative and self confident individual or couple.
anonymous on October 26, 2009:
this is great information, thanks so much, Cheers, Mario
Astrieanna on June 05, 2009:
I'd never heard of this before. It's really interesting. =)
Bambi Watson on May 16, 2009:
very good info...wonderful lens Deb :-)
Superwife on May 16, 2009:
very informative, great lens! 5* from me :)
Cheryl Kohan from England on May 15, 2009:
This is a really great lens with so much valuable information and written beautifully. Am lensrolling it to my housesitting/petsitting lens.
Jack and I have been housesitting for more than five years but we only accept assignments for no more than a few weeks at a time. We don't charge a fee...we just enjoy the rent-free accommodations. It's like a free vacation. So there's something for everyone out there.
anonymous on May 15, 2009:
I have great memories from our years as caretakers. Thanks for putting this together.
religions7 on May 14, 2009:
Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)
anonymous on May 14, 2009:
It looks like a great way of living. Thank you for sharing it. 5*
Jennifer Sullivan from Chicago, IL on May 14, 2009:
Great lens! I would love to do this someday.