Whether you’re taking a week-long vacation or jetting off on a quick weekend getaway, hiring a house sitter provides you with peace of mind during your trip.
A house sitter is a trusted individual who stays at your home and keeps a watchful eye over your property, pets and assumes other household responsibilities while you are away.
Qualities to Look for in a House Sitter
A house sitter should be someone that you feel comfortable with staying in your home when you are not there. The sitter should be easy to communicate with, honest and responsible.
- Find a person that has previous experience house sitting. This makes the ordeal easier on you because the house sitter knows exactly what to do. Still write up a list of daily responsibilities while you’re away, though.
- Reviews and references. Good house sitters know how to market themselves, as well as solicit positive references from past clients. Find a house sitter with glowing reviews. This helps you relax and feel good about the person you’ve hired while you’re away from home.
- They come prepared. During the interview process, the potential house sitter should be prepared with answers for any question you may ask. If the candidate seems unsure or lacks confidence in his or her answer, this can be a sign he or she is not able to take on the job at hand.
- Clean background check. Before you hire a house sitter, perform a background check and review his or her criminal history. A potential house sitter should not have any red flags on his or her background check or in his or her criminal history report.
- When communicating with a possible house sitter, take note of how responsive he or she is. The individual should answer your questions thoroughly and respond quickly. This is an indicator of how he or she will communicate with you if hired.
Resources to Find a Trusted House Sitter
There are several different ways to go about finding a trustworthy and reputable house sitter. Here are a few recommendations to identify an ethical and honest person to stay and watch over your home when you are not there.
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- Recommendations from friends and family. Ask your friends and family to recommend a house sitter. While reviews from strangers are a good indicator of the person’s performance, there’s nothing like the recommendation of a trusted friend or family member.
- Use online resources. Use websites such as Care.com, TrustedHousesitters or HousesittersAmerica to view online profiles of potential candidates in your area. You can view rates and reviews, as well as contact the house sitter if you are interested in booking him or her.
- Community-based apps. Mobile device app Nextdoor is a useful resource that connects you with members of your local community. Within the app, you can send out a message to your neighborhood asking for house sitter recommendations or put out a call for house sitters to contact you.
- Online groups. Facebook is a social media website that allows you to post a job seeking a house sitter. You can also join private online groups where people are looking for and seeking house sitting jobs.
Rules to Set for a House Sitter
It is a big decision to invite a stranger into your personal space when you are not there. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to establish ground rules for your house sitter when you are away. These guidelines help your sitter understand your expectations and know what is OK to do and what is not OK.
- Inviting over other house guests. Generally, your house sitter should not invite others into your home without your approval. Talk to your house sitter about who is and who is not allowed to be in your home while you are gone.
- Internet usage. If your house sitter is staying for an extended period, consider giving him or her your WiFi password. Set boundaries for what he or she can do while using your internet, such as using streaming services, downloading files and what websites are permissible to access or not.
- Locking up. When your house sitter leaves your home, make sure he or she locks all the doors and windows. This protects your home and personal belongings when your house sitter is away.
- Food and drinks. Before leaving, stock your fridge with food and drinks for your house sitter to consume while you are out of town. Or let your house sitter know in advance that he or she is responsible for providing his or her own meals and drinks during his or her stay.
- A house sitter is not usually expected to clean the home during a short stay but should tidy up any self-created messes. If your house sitter is staying for an extended period, talk to him or her about general cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming and laundry.
Questions to Ask a Potential House Sitter
Knowing the right questions to ask a potential house sitter makes the interview process seamless and efficient. Once you’ve identified a shortlist of possible job candidates, ask them questions to determine if they are a good fit for the gig or not. These questions help get you started and may be modified to better fit your own personal situation.
- Ask the candidates if they are able to stay at your home for the entire duration you are gone or if they plan to come and go throughout the day and night. The house sitter should be prepared to stay overnight at your home. Also, find out how soon he or she can start.
- Who they are. Ask candidates to talk about what makes them good house sitters, as well as why they are interested in this position. Responsible house sitters should be able to talk confidently about themselves.
- Evaluate the candidates’ level of comfort in regards to caring for any pets you have in the home. If you have a dog and they are afraid of dogs, you’ll need to board your pet or find a house sitter that is comfortable around dogs.
- Familiarity with household appliances. What is the candidates’ level of comfort with managing the thermostat, as well as making sure the refrigerator and other appliances are running smoothly while you’re away? They should be able to take on these tasks with ease.
- Pay expectations. What is the candidates’ expected rate? House sitting rates vary depending on what part of the country you live in. Cities and urban areas cost more, while rural and country areas cost less.
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