We have had many friends and friends of friends who have asked us to housesit and unfortunately, we haven’t always been able to oblige, due to prior commitments.  We are always willing to assist them in finding a suitable sitter using one of the many platforms that we have found useful.  As many of these people have been introduced to housesitting through our own adventures, we have put these tips together as a reference point for home owners looking for sitters.

Click on each tip to expand.

1: Be upfront

Be upfront in your description
Be upfront about any specific requirements such as medications for pets, pool cleaning etc.  There is nothing more jarring than a sitter finding out about some crucial element of the sit part way into discussions.  If your dog requires medication, state it.  If the plants need to be watered and lawns mowed, include it in your description.  Sitters like to know ‘the whole deal’ and whilst you think it may be a deal breaker, generally if a sitter knows about such requirements and apply, they are obviously prepared to do what is required.

2: Include photos in your ad

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Just as you will want to see photos of those people who will be living in your space, so do sitters like to see photos of your pets and home.  Including pics of a few key areas of the house (both inside and out) can give the potential sitter a good idea of the style and type of home.  Where photos are not included, we have become suspicious of what the owner is trying to hide.  Discussions amongst house sitters have even indicated that ads without photos means they don’t even read the ad.  Your home doesn’t need to be photographed as if it were a real estate ad but a few general pics go a long way to describing your home.

3: Be prepared for responses

Be prepared for responses
Some homeowners put up their ad and think they will have time to prepare for responses.  Don’t be surprised if you start getting replies within hours, or even minutes.  House sitters are keen to secure assignments so will act quickly when they see something that may be a good fit.  Conversely, responding within a timely manner is appreciated by house sitters who may have a number of applications going simultaneously.  To that end, if you are happy with a particular sitter and want to offer them the gig, do so promptly as they may already have accepted another sit.  This happened to us where a couple were waiting until the end of a weekend to offer us the sit following our discussion on a Friday evening.  By Sunday morning, we had secured another sit and informed them – the early bird catches the worm!

4: Keep your ad up to date

Calendar with clock
If something changes, update your ad.  This can include that you have a shortlist of applicants and are not considering other sitters at this stage.  Once confirmed with a sitter, be sure to indicate the assignment has been filled and respond to anyone who has replied.  A simple standard response such as, ‘Thank you for your interest but we have now secured a sitter,’ is sufficient but definitely appreciated by house sitters.

5: Skype/Facetime calls are invaluable

Video conference call
You can learn a lot about people during a real time chat and it is a great way of connecting with potential house sitters.  Also, it is a chance to see them and their reactions.  As housesitters, we have loved our skype chats and feel it is a great way to get to know the home owners and their pets.  It’s always great to introduce the pets too.  We’ve even had a tour of the house on one call.

6: Reviews are key

As a homeowner, reading reviews are a great way to get to know potential house sitters. Look for a variety of reviews and don’t be afraid to ask for references if needed.  Reading between the lines can also be required in such instances to see what has not been said.  It’s sort of like a job application/hiring someone (in a more relaxed way) so treat it along those lines and you will end up with a great outcome. Understand that reviews are crucial to a house sitter so don’t forget to leave a review of the sitter following your assignment.

7: Follow your gut instinct

Gut instinct and intuition
If something feels right, it is, but if something is not sitting comfortably, move on to another applicant.  Many of our sits have been secured within hours of us having our skype/facetime call.  In fact, some calls have gone on for more than an hour as we have immediately struck up a rapport with the owners and them with us.  Sits that seem to fall into place easily always work out to great sits.  If something seems too hard or things aren’t gelling, the sit invariably falls through.  Intuition is a strong force in the world of housesitting.

8: Write down key information

Write down key information
Once you have secured a sitter, start preparing information for them.  Writing down key information such as telephone numbers, wifi passwords, pet walking and feeding routines, security information, garbage bin nights etc.  Whilst it is possible to give this information verbally, it is so much easier as a house sitter to have this to refer to when you are no longer there. It doesn’t have to be a manual (although we have received these) but a two page summary is sufficient to assist the sitter settle into new routines and surrounds.

9: Plan for early arrival

One thing we as sitters have found valuable is arriving a day early to meet the homeowners and pets.  It can be a busy time if you are preparing to go away but can be valuable, especially for the pets.  It is almost as if the sitters are being given permission to stay. Many long lasting friendships have been formed with our homeowners over a shared meal and bottle of wine.

10: Enjoy your time away

Enjoy your time away
Having gone through the process of securing a sitter, enjoy your time away, knowing that you have done due diligence in selecting a suitable person for the job.  Connect on Facebook/Messenger or your desired social media platform as this is a great way to communicate and can include photos of the pets etc.

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