How to live rent free as a property caretaker
Ever wondered what it would be like to live and work on an herb farm, cattle ranch, or quaint bed and breakfast in the country? Here's how you can turn that dream into reality, by becoming a property caretaker.
First off, simplify your life. Before you can become a property caretaker for someone else, you need to have a lifestyle that is relatively baggage-free.
The reason for this is obvious. It will be difficult to care for anothers' property if you need to manage your own house, condo or rental properties from a distance.
Also, if you children still in school or parents who require hands-on care and assistance, this may not be a good option for you.
Get your financial affairs in order, too. Keeping bank accounts, credit cards and stocks and other investments to a manageable level will allow for greater flexibility in being able to travel and pursue opportunities as they arise, because you won't be spending time managing your investments and income.
Write a cover letter explaining why you want to become a caretaker and what special skills or talents you bring to the table. Include any handyperson skills, relevant volunteer work, computer abilities or other assets. Provide three current references (name, address and phone number).,
Now that your personal affairs are in order, it's time to get the word out and find the right opportunity for you. Do this by telling friends and family you are interested in becoming a caretaker; often "friends of friends" act as a referral network that can land you a gig.
Do some research on the web, via craigslist in your city and state of choice. Who is advertising for live-in caregivers? Who has property to swap or a vacation rental they want to lease? These are all possible avenues of work.
Consider a subscription to a property caretaker e-zine (see resources).
Do an online search of retreat centres (see resources). Also check out state directories of bed and breakfast associations. Many B&B's hire interim innkeepers for vacations, etc.
Go to the library, and read up on books that pertain to house sitting, property caretaking, and interim innsitting jobs (for bed and breakfasts).
When you find a position that interests you, ask for references. You may want to make a visit ahead of time to check out the area and see if the job is a good fit.
Some property caretaking positions offer a small salary as well as housing. Since situations vary widely, it's important to know in advance exactly what your duties will be and what the financial arrangements will be too,
- You will need your own health and dental insurance if the property caretaking position doesn't provide these. Have an attorney review any contracts for long term positions, especially if caretaking involves a lot of property or caregiving for individuals as well.