Leaving your home in another person’s capable hands is a big deal. If you love your home, you’ll want to ensure that this goes smoothly. While the best house sitters are vetted and experienced, there’s nothing like cooperation between homeowners and house sitters to make things go swimmingly.
For peace of mind and a great experience for both parties, work as a team to keep a home safe and sound.
Provide the address!
Forgetting to provide the full, correct address happens more often than you might think, typically leading to an uh-oh moment. Get things off to a good start by making sure the house sitter has the property address. Instructions, maps, or co-ordinates can be helpful too. Providing any or all of these takes a moment for homeowners and can save house sitters time and money getting to the location.
Set expectations and limitations
Make it clear what you want the house sitter to do. Tasks involved in house sitting are many and varied. If, as the homeowner, you expect gardening, cleaning, pool maintenance, and pet care, don’t leave any of this to chance or the last minute.
There is potentially a long list of considerations to address in advance of a house-sitting gig to make sure it all goes smoothly. Here is a list of common elements to consider and agree on.
Homeowners should explain to their house sitters:
- Plumbing or heating issues – Homeowners tend to get used to or find a way around these problems, but they may need explaining to newcomers.
- The food situation – Let your house sitters know if and to what extent they can help themselves to the contents of your fridge and larder.
- The use of kitchen appliances – House-sitting gigs go best when house sitters can use functioning kitchen appliances. This allows them to look after themselves while they look after your home. Appliances might include coffee makers, dishwashers, coffee makers, washing machines, and coffee makers. Did we mention coffee makers? Being able to use a dishwasher and/or washing machine will help a house sitter clean up after him or herself.
- Household chores – Let the house sitter know what tasks are required around the house. Should they go beyond cleaning up after themselves?
- Whether or not plants or trees need watering – If any plants or trees require special care, keep them healthy by letting the house sitter know. For plant lovers, avid gardeners or even home farmers, this can be an especially important handoff.
- The needs of the lawn or a pool – Pool care can be tricky. Lawn care can be labor-intensive. If you’d like the house sitter to handle these elements, have the conversation upfront and they will probably be happy to help.
- The internet and WiFi password – While not everyone will need to access the internet from your sofa, being able to get online for entertainment, work, and social connections tends to be great for happy house sitting experiences. Explain any download limits so that you don’t get a surprise when you return. In fact, since many house sitters work from “home,” this item should be addressed far in advance of confirming the housesitting agreement.
- Where the house sitter can sleep – Your house sitters should be flexible enough to sleep where you advise and respect your instructions. This could be the master bedroom or a spare bedroom, depending on how particular the homeowner is and what the available sleeping arrangements are.
- How to use the security system if there is one – Homeowners, house sitters, and neighbors will all benefit from this one.
- Trash day – There’s nothing like coming home to a decaying pile of trash. You can easily avoid this unwelcome gift by making sure the house sitter knows when it’s trash day.
The house sitter can help by asking his or her own questions. He or she should make it clear that your instructions are understood and that he or she can follow them.
Hire the right house sitter for your home
Hiring a house sitter with an allergy to your 3 cats is likely to end in tears. Literally. You don’t just need to think about hiring the best house sitter. Think about hiring the best house sitter for you and your home.
Interview your house sitter before the big day
It’s a good idea to meet face-to-face or talk with your house sitter as the working relationship should benefit both parties. The best way to get a feel for whether it’s going to work or not is to have an informal chat. Video chat is a helpful tool when making this connection.
If feasible, it’s certainly wise for the house sitter to visit the property before house sitting starts. Just as employees tend to settle in better when they have seen their working environment before starting, house sitters will benefit from seeing and feeling your home. Whether or not they can visit in person, at least give the house sitter an idea of the layout and how many rooms are in the house.
The first visit is often the moment when house sitters get to ask sensible questions that might otherwise be overlooked by homeowners who are, of course, familiar with the property. It’s the moment for explaining how to jiggle the key to lock the back door and which window should never be opened, because it’s difficult to close.
Introduce your house sitter to your pets, and vice versa
“Here’s Bruno. He’s territorial and dislikes strangers. Goodbye.”
This is the way to set up an exciting, unpredictable time for your pet and your house sitter. For the best chance of success, however, take the time to introduce your pet or pets. Let them get used to the person or people with whom they will be sharing their space. Explain any habits, quirks, or special needs. And give the house sitter some space to connect with the animal or animals on their own terms.
Introduce your house sitter to your neighbors
Or at least let them know someone’s going to be looking after your place while you’re away. If you are on good terms with your neighbors and you’ve let them know you’re going away, you can avoid suspicion by telling them about your house sitting arrangement. This way, they won’t worry about seeing someone unknown walking around your home.
It may also be useful to have them on-hand to help your house sitter in case they need assistance. Most house sitters will be autonomous the whole time, but it’s good to know they can turn to someone with a challenging problem.
Lock away valuables
Peace of mind for you and your house sitter. By using a safe or another secure storage facility, neither you nor your house sitter need to worry about heirlooms and expensive jewelry. Rather than hiding it and worrying about it between midnight and 6 am every morning, simply remove it from the picture. Perhaps give it to a relative or a friend for safekeeping.
While house sitters from a reputable agency or website will be vetted and trustworthy, removing expensive or otherwise precious gives everyone safety, security, and peace of mind.
Provide emergency contact details
This is another good tip for peace of mind. Your house sitter will leave you be, unless you ask him or her to provide you with updates (particularly friendly pet photos!). It’s wise to leave your contact details in case of emergency.
Double-check dates and provide travel details
Be clear about when you will be leaving the house, when you will be back, and the exact duration for which you require your house sitter. This means providing the times as well as the dates. To avoid missing a connection or clock-watching, agree on times and dates in advance.
As a homeowner, we recommend that you provide your travel details. Should your householder need to contact you or explain to someone where you are, they will have the relevant information. Let your house sitter know as soon as possible if your travel schedule changes.
A house sitting service is invaluable for peace of mind and keeping your home safe and sound while homeowners are away. To make things go as smoothly as possible, homeowners and house sitters should work together. We encourage each side of the process to communicate with the other, asking as many questions as necessary to feel comfortable that house sitting will go well.
To ask us any questions, as a homeowner or a house sitter, get in touch today.