When you're away for a long time, you need someone to watch your house, plants or pets. Finding a good house sitter you can trust is tough, but key. Here's how to do it.
Figure Out If You Need A House Sitter
If all you need is someone to water your plants or make sure a pipe hasn't burst, then you don't need a house sitter. You can likely find someone to do that in your network. Here are some times you need a house sitter:
- You have pets or children who need to be taken care of.
- You want your house to look lived in for security reasons.
- Your home has a certain level of maintenance that it needs. Hiring one person to garden, clean, collect your mail and drive your car every once in a while is easier than hiring a team of people to do all that.
Sometimes you can find someone willing to take care of your house as long as they get to live in it. This saves you money and gives you peace of mind since you know someone is there in case something goes wrong.
Use Online Resources
If you can't find anyone through recommendations from people you know, try online resources such as TrustedHousesitters.com.
Test Them Out
As with almost anything else in life, it's better to give your potential house sitter a test run. If they're someone you know through another person have them over to dinner to talk and get a sense of if you feel you can trust them to take care of your home.
If you can, have them take care of your house for a shorter amount of time, like a night or weekend. The same applies to any pets or kids they may be watching as well. You want to make sure both parties get along with each other. This test run allows you to see how they do before handing over the keys for a longer period of time.
Give Them The Tools They Need To Succeed
Once you've found someone you trust to take care of your house while you're travelling, arm them with everything they need to do a great job. Here's a list of some information they may need from you:
- Contact information for emergency contacts and where they can reach you.
- A tour of the house so they know where everything is.
- If they should expect visitors such as family members or workers (such as landscapers or cleaners). Also write down what you'd like them to say if anyone drops by -- you may not want others to know the house isn't currently occupied by the owners.
- Any quirks they should know about your neighbourhood such as parking restrictions or nosey neighbours to watch out for.
- If they're caring for a pet, set up accounts with your vet to make sure the sitter doesn't have to pay for any emergency services.
- Make sure they know what to expect in terms of what you'll pay them, what items they can or can't use, and anything else that comes up.
Prepare this information so that you cover everything you want to before you potentially become unreachable, depending on where you're travelling.
If none of the above works and you find yourself still looking for someone to occupy your house, consider listing it on Airbnb or other similar sites. At least you'll make a little money along the way, although you'll want to hide your valuables just in case.
Have you ever used a house sitter? Have you been a house sitter? Share your experiences in the discussion below.