Finding the perfect house sitter is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are so many factors to consider such as experience with animals, the willingness of the house sitter to travel, references, and reliability. These are just a few of the things a homeowner should think about.
As professional house sitters with over 10 years of experience, we have learned that house owners have certain expectations concerning the care of their beloved pets and home.
The last thing you need to worry about is the welfare of your pets and/or the care of your home while you are vacationing or travelling.
Here, we will go in-depth on how to find the perfect house sitter for your next house sit and what to look for.
Consider using a House Sitting Service
Unless you have a trusted friend or relative, consider using a reputable house sitting service such as Trusted House Sitters, American House Sitters, or House Sit Mexico (be sure and use Coupon Code thetr6210d47b7cc90 for 20% off).
This is valuable for you, the owner because most of these sites provide a section where you can input most of the information mentioned above.
Some of these sites also have security levels for sitters such as police checks, references, etc. Often, they provide a ‘community’ where you can share advice, talk about experiences, and offer or receive support from others.
Now that you are ready to go on that much-deserved vacation, check out our article here on Why You Should Use a House Sitter. You will be glad you did!
Know Your Expectations
Make sure you outline exactly what you expect from your sitters. This includes the care of your home, any bills that need to be paid (or have been paid in advance), security measures when leaving the property, the feeding and routine care of pets, veterinarian information, medications for pets if required, sitters having visitors, what are they allowed to have access to (food, computers, etc.), and any maintenance expected (pool, watering plants).
Perform Due Diligence
For your own peace of mind, follow up on references that the sitters have provided. If anything raises a red flag, probe deeper.
Some sitters like to have a simple contract. Again, most house sitting services provide an easy-to-fill-in form. Personally, my husband and I have only completed one contract in all the times we have housesat. However, we have excellent references and 5-Star reviews. You must do what is comfortable for you, the owner. Listen to your gut.
If this is a paying house sit, be sure that the rates are discussed upfront.
Reviews are good because they aren’t usually one-sided. House sitters and owners both have the opportunity to provide a review. If reviews are consistent for the sitter, this should give you a good idea of how well-perceived they are by house owners.
Meet and Greet (if at all possible)
To us, this is very important. After the sit is tentatively agreed upon (usually by phone), we always try to meet the owner and pets as soon as possible. That way, the pets recognize us when we come back to actually do the house sit.
We always bring a list of questions that might not be covered in the original conversation such as:
Where is the main water shutoff
What to do if a pet emergency arises (such as an illness or death) – who to contact
Who do you call if there are household emergencies – plumbing, electricity, pool issues, etc?
Stay in Touch
Just because the house sit is confirmed, don’t assume that everything will go smoothly. Legitimate issues could crop up such as flight delays, unforeseen emergencies, etc.
Stay in contact with your potential sitters to make sure everything is proceeding as it should be. Respond in a timely manner to any questions or concerns the sitters may have.
Preparing for the House Sitter’s Arrival
* PROVIDE SOME SPACE
Clean out some space for their belongings and food. There is nothing more frustrating for a sitter than not having a place to put their stuff. If you expect them to provide their own food, they need a place to store it. A few hangers and a couple of empty drawers will make life so much simpler.
If possible, provide a workspace should they require it and reliable internet service.
* ALERT YOUR NEIGHBOURS/CLOSE FRIENDS
Let your neighbours know you will have house sitters in and for how long.
Consider leaving a spare key with someone you trust. This really comes in handy if you have doors that automatically lock when sitters close the door accidentally and they are on the outside and can’t get back in!
* EXPECT YOUR HOME TO BE THE WAY YOU LEFT IT
If you expect a sitter to have your place neat and tidy when the house sit is completed, make sure it is in that condition before leaving. This has never been an issue with us. We even do the laundry and make sure they have clean towels and sheets when they return (especially if we are sleeping in their bed!). Sometimes I take photos just to remind myself how certain things looked when we arrived.
*SHOW ROUTINES/DOG WALKS
If you have not been able to have a meet and greet with the sitters beforehand, suggest they come the night before so they can meet the pets, learn the layout of the house, where they will be sleeping, and go over any concerns or questions they may have.
Take them on a dog walk so they can observe how the pets behave, where they like to go, and what their routine is.
* EXPLAIN ALARMS AND DISCLOSE CAMERAS
If you have alarms, show the sitters how they work!
Cameras should not be installed inside or outside the home unless you disclose them BEFORE the house sit.
Some house-sitting services actually have policies covering this, for example, Trusted House Sitters says:
· No internal recording or monitoring devices should be enabled.
· It’s permissible to have cameras fixed on the exterior of the property/doorbell for monitoring areas such as driveways, gardens and porches.
· ALL devices must be disclosed to the sitter BEFORE the sit commences.
While security is important to you, the house sitter must feel comfortable in order to do the sit properly.
* A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
We have had some amazing sits where the owners have gone out of their way to treat us with respect and have provided for us in different ways such as leaving us some wine or inviting us to have dinner with them if we arrive the night before.
I remember our very first house sit well with Anita, Brian and Pipi. It was also their first experience with having sitters. They had the most beautiful bouquet of flowers (the photo doesn’t do it justice), and a card sitting on the table for us. It was so thoughtful and something we will never forget!