28 November 2014

Would you trade in stability for free rent?

| Krystal Sanders
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With a big question mark over future stable employment for some Canberran’s, it has seen the rise of a new, but old kind of trend. There is no doubt and well documented that there will be potentially a whole generation that will struggle to ever be able to own their own piece of the world; with big deposits and lending criteria getting harder and harder to achieve. Enter the solution- house sitting.

Instead of locking oneself into a long and sometimes arduous rental agreement, more and more of you are giving it up for some freedom and flexibility, not to mention the lure of free rent. What’s a better way to be able to save for that house deposit each week? Or for that dream holiday?

Twice in the past week have I heard two examples, with different motivations to housesit. One was a woman, with no husband or partner at the time, roughly mid 30’s, staying with her elderly parents, but struggling with the closeness of actually living with them. Suggested by a friend she signed up her interest to house sit on a house minding website. With many professional qualifications and references she soon found herself lucky enough to be landing a multi million dollar property in Red Hill for a fairly prominent business person in Canberra. Enjoying the life of Riley with tennis courts and giant tv’s overlooking the swimming pool it’s not hard to see how living there for free, for the odd chore or two looking after pets compared to squeezing oneself into a share house in any given suburb is a lot more appealing.

I myself, also had a friend in Western Australia that signed up through house minding websites, through her work intranet and basically word of mouth, booking out an entire year of house sitting in different suburbs throughout Perth. I know this because I spent a lot of the time with her during this period. It was a fantastic experience, seeing the way other people live and present their homes, from clutter full houses, to clutter free and minimalist, there was always having a new suburb to explore and throughout the year she saved enough for a deposit on her house.

Meet Josh, on the other side of the coin, mostly farm sits with his partner. Starting out through the place where they kept their horse, soon enough word of mouth spread and they had more to continue with. Majority of the farms and properties are based in Canberra, but also including properties around Canberra, they have essentially made a part time career by looking after others houses, horses, stock and pets. From old country cottages to huge mansions it’s always different and that’s a great appeal to them. All this for simply, feeding the animals and a bit of animal wrangling here or there in exchange for free rent.

Given, It’s not always guaranteed and it’s becoming increasingly more competitive for those wanting to just start out, so you might want to look at having a safety net of having your parents or a good friend in town that you can crash with in between gigs, but it’s a fantastic way to experience a variety of homes and lifestyles whilst at the same time having an opportunity to save for the one you are looking for.

Have you ever housesat and what are your experiences? Would you put your property up for strangers to live in?

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Sounds good to some I’m sure, but do you really want to live this way? I did 4 months out at Googong for someone – and it was a lot of hard work treating an alpaca like an alpaca, especially since it had been raised a lapdog. If you can tolerate this, you’ll be okay…

However, you’re esssentially moving without your possessions frequently. I was very happy to get off the rental hamsterwheel into MY OWN stain carpeted, non functional kitchen with bad 70s lime olive green and orange bathroom. Key words MY OWN.

pink little birdie12:51 pm 27 Nov 14

I currently live in a share house but we housesit for varying lengths of time around Canberra. I loved house sitting when I lived in a bad sharehouse. My partner have decided to cut back on our housesitting especially on the south side. Housesitting is good if you are younger but once you are older and you have a home you like (even if it’s a sharehouse) housesitting becomes harder. You don’t have your bed or your stuff and it breaks your routine. Being sick while housesitting is also hard.

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