Saving a deposit to buy your first home can be extremely difficult, especially for those paying exorbitant capital city rents while trying to save.
But why pay rent when you can add thousands to your saving potential and sacrifice next to no lifestyle perks, by living for free, in some of the most sought after suburbs in major Australian cities?
This may sound too good to be true, or like the kind of thing where there is an unsavoury catch, but do not worry, you won’t be squatting; or working as a live-in butler…it is simply a matter of getting creative.
If you have no existing lease or obligations and are happy to be around the odd animal, you can join an increasing number of Australians registering to be house sitters.
There are a growing number of social media sites that match house sitters with people who need their homes and pets looked after while they are away.
Most jobs last for between four and six weeks, but some can carry on for months. And there are added bonuses. Namely, not only do you not pay rent, but you can forget about electricity bills and other household expenses. You will not have to worry about getting stung with that quarterly energy bill, just as you were starting to get on top of things.
One young couple managed to save $25,000 in seven months, while living in inner-city Sydney suburbs. At the end of their planned year, they will be closing in on a deposit for their own apartment.
So, if you don’t mind moving around a bit, it might be worth a shot. Just make sure that the service is legitimate. All website users should be registered, with a screening process in place and payments conducted securely through administrators. You should also check terms and conditions and make sure you are covered in the event of some kind of mishap or administrative mistake.
You would not want to suddenly become homeless if a sitting job falls through.
You must also be prepared to take care of animals. Most home owners that engage sitters are doing so to ensure their furry, feathered, fishy, and in some cases scaly friends are looked after. Money is no object when it comes to a lot of people’s pets and they want peace of mind. So house and pet sitting can be win-win arrangement.
Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and News.com.au.
Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.
His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au.