Retiring Abroad: House Sitting Your Way Around the World
Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Jan 07, 2020
For some Canadian retirees, relocating to somewhere exotic and with milder winters is a dream worth pursuing. There are many ways to realize this dream, from the more traditional “snow-birding” for a few months each winter in a familiar place like Fl
For some Canadian retirees, relocating to somewhere exotic and with milder winters is a dream worth pursuing. There are many ways to realize this dream, from the more traditional “snow-birding” for a few months each winter in a familiar place like Florida or Arizona, to the more adventurous end of the spectrum. Recently we did a blog post discussing one of the more adventurous options: retiring on a cruise ship (see article here). In this case, a person sold their house and permanently moved onto a cruise ship, and even wrote a book about her experiences for other people who might want to follow in her footsteps.
Another more adventurous and non-traditional mode of retiring abroad is international house sitting. Believe it or not, this is actually a very large and well-established sphere of business. Similarly, to the person above, a self-professed expert house sitter has written a book to detail her experiences, and as an instruction manual for others who might want to do the same. Kelly Hayes-Raitt owns a home in California but rents it out instead of actually living there. She spends half the year living in Ajijic, Mexico house sitting for an expat couple. The rest of the year she has house sitting gigs around the world. Here is a link to her book.
Keep in mind, this retirement travel strategy isn’t for everyone, and there are many factors to consider:
- Do you keep your home as a backup plan or sell and go ‘all in’? The most sensible approach would be to try it out and see if this is something you like. To that end, it would make the most sense to find a good, dependable renter for your home in Canada, and then try out the world of international house sitting. Another option is just to do part-time house sitting by taking a job for a portion of the year but living the rest of the year at home.
- Do you like pets? House sitting gigs often involve taking care of the homeowners’ pets, so first of all you should like pets and, secondly, it would improve your chances of being chosen if you had a bit of experience to brag about (maybe dog walking or having had pets of your own).
- Consider travel costs. Being selected to take care of a house in an exotic location sounds exciting but be sure to consider how you’re going to get there, including travel costs, travel time and convenience.
- Know what you’re looking for. Do some research before making the decision to take on this lifestyle. Consider what sorts of countries you would enjoy visiting; consider whether you want to live in a city or in the country, by a lake or by an ocean, near a vineyard etc.; consider if you want to take care of a big house or small condo/villa.
- How do you set about finding available house-sitting gigs? There are actually a few well-established websites that cater to this line of business:
- The most popular is TrustedHousesitters
- There is also Workaway and Nomador
- Or this website, which aggregates several websites into one search site
There are many options for retirees when they consider retiring abroad. International house sitting is a non-traditional, exciting and adventurous option. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are interested, consider reading Kelly Hayes-Raitt’s book, and use the website links above as a gateway to beginning your research.