Retired couple housesits: Cave homes to Cathedrals
We increasingly find that housesitting is becoming a thing to do as a retired couple. Traveling the world for the first time without dependents, without mortgage or job worries, housesitting or pet-sitting enables you to exchange your years of experience as a home owners, pet owners and professionals for free accommodation around the world. In exchange you earn free accommodation wherever you are housesitting. Mary and Ray a retired couple from the UK found themselves housesitting in Spain to help some friends. Three years later they have caught the bug seriously and signed up with HouseSitMatch the housesitting network have secured 3 housesits in the UK so they can discover their homeland from a secure home, in a neighbourhood in counties they want to discover all with free accommodation. This blog describes their experience of housesitting.
Three years ago, when Mary and her husband Ray were called in last-minute by their friends to housesit in Spain, they had no idea what to expect. Now with 7 housesits completed, and 3 more with HouseSitMatch coming up this year, this retired couple share what they’ve learnt.
Whilst first prompted out of necessity, housesitting has now become a perfect way for the couple to take a well-deserved break during their retirement. Wanting to broaden their horizons and enter the realm of housesitting in a more formalised way, they asked around for recommendations. One friend in particular was struggling to find success with larger websites, in one case there were 140 applicants for the same housesit! Frustrated that she wasn’t getting any of the homes she had applied for, she turned to HouseSitMatch and encouraged Mary to do the same. Thinking it would be great if she managed to even get one, she applied for 3 and got all 3!
The Real Spain: Mi casa es su casa
Mary and Ray started in southern Spain, about 2 hours from Alicante. The house was a traditional Spanish casa in beautiful surroundings. This lovely home came with its very own orchard, complete with luscious lemon and orange trees, for which Spain is famed. With only one friendly labrador to look after, this was definitely a fuss-free housesit. Perfect for a retired couple who wanted a break!
Were there any problems with the language barrier? Although neither could speak Spanish, Mary and Ray didn’t face any problems in getting by. They took language classes which helped picking up some handy phrases. Although Mary did note that the Spanish accents change with every mile you move along the coastline, which made it a little bit trickier to understand everything which was being said!
The housesit sounds idyllic so it must have been tricky to leave. However, Mary said that they made sure they took day trips and went exploring along the stunning Mediterranean coastline. With the kind use of their host’s car, they used local recommendations, discovering magnificent cathedrals, to the architectural wonders of cave houses. All of course along a backdrop of near-perfect sunny weather!
So what’s next?
The couple have a very busy year coming up, with three housesits back to back! Mary and Ray have traded the heat of the Spanish coast for the history of Nottingham. They are currently housesitting in a stunning three-story Georgian manor house in Worksop, a large pre-historic town on the edge of Sherwood Forest.
Next they are jetsetting off to West Sussex, following by a sojourn in Pembrokeshire in February. All of which were found with HouseSitMatch! Not only will the latter provide the chance to explore a beautiful part of the Welsh coast, but also provides them with the perfect opportunity to visit Ray’s sister who lives in Pembrokeshire!
What tips can they share?
- Agreement: The biggest piece of advice that Mary had for new housesitters is to reach mutual understanding. If you come up with an agreement or a list of the kind of petcare and housecare you would like from a housesitter, it means that the whole housesit will flow easily.
- Treat it as your own home: Look after the gardens, fill your time, keep it clean and tidy. For longer-term housesits, treat it more as if you’re living somewhere else, rather than simply a holiday.
- Meet the owners: If you can, arrange a meeting with the homeowners, particularly if you’re undertaking a long-term housesit, it can be beneficial for both sides. For example, for their current housesit, Mary and Ray travelled up to Nottingham the week before so that they could meet the owners, and as importantly, the adorable jack russells that they were going to be looking after! After all, happy dog, happy life! Or something like that…
Want to follow in this retired couple’s footsteps?
Fancy swapping England for Spain’s sunny weather? Visit HouseSitMatch.com, to have a look at some of the very locations Mary and Ray stayed. Or if you fancy something new, there’s plenty to choose from. Asking Mary what her dream housesit location was, she quickly replied New York! Whilst we don’t currently have any housesits available in the Big Apple, we hope by the time Mary and Ray finish up in Wales, we can make this retired couple’s dream a reality!