3 Great Housesitting Skills To Succeed

23 Jan, 2024

3 Great Housesitting Skills To Succeed

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Entering the world of housesitting is to invite opportunity. To make the most of this world of opportunity build some valuable housesitting skills and excel at the role of housesitter and petsitter. This can help you earn wonderful housesitter reviews and explore the world one housesit at a time.

How to Build Great Housesitting Skills

man petting a dog, pet care is one of the important housesitting skills
Pet care is one of the key housesitting skills

Photo by Jenny Kaye

What are the Most Important Housesitting Skills

Many people who housesit and have done so for some time and on a regular basis believe that there is a triumvirate of core housesitting skills. Whether you are a regular housesitter in your home country or like affordable travel by occasional housesitting, or holiday housesitting you will be aware of the main skills expected of you. These skills are largely related to –

  • Pet care – caring or either one or a number of pets that live on the property. Nearly all housesitting assignments include pet care for cats and dogs, occasionally for other pets.
  • Home care – maintaining the homeowners property, keeping the home clean and cared for in the owners’ absence.
  • Garden care – garden sitting is often one of the roles expected of a housesitter. Occasionally there will be a gardener.

Pet care

three dogs on leads ready for a walk
Pet care often requires routine exercise like dog walking

Photo by Jenny Kaye

If you ask any regular housesitter they will tell you that nearly all the housesits they have completed require some pet care. Most people prefer their pets to be cared for in their own home, hence the need for house and pet sitters.

So what kind of pet care is needed?

Video by Jude Wilson

Often this is all about maintaining the pet’s routines, from pet exercise routines, feeding routines and any medication routines required. While it might be unusual some pet exercise involves cat walking on a harness! Observe Zipper in this short video walking through the streets of Boston.

  • Exercise routines – In this video Jacqueline and Glenn Lamb full time international housesitters share with us some of the pet care routines involved in some of their housesitting assignments.

Video by Glenn Lamb

  • Pet feeding routines – If there are pets to care for in the housesitting assignment then pet feeding routines will be central to your housesitting duties and therefore core to your housesitting skills. make sure you understand which pets need dry or wet food and when they need to be fed.
dog looking longingly into some dog biscuit jars
Maintaining feeding and treat routines is important to minimise any separation anxiety a pet might feel

Photo by Jenny Kaye

If there are different types of pets in the housesit then you will need to manage the feeding and exercise routines very carefully.

  • Medication routines – If the pets you need to care for on a housesit have a medication routine then it is of primary importance that you manage their dosage and distributing the medication in a timely fashion to ensure healthy and happy pets during a housesit. Therefore managing medication routines is of primary importance in the housesitting skills. Often the homeowner will take you through the first round of medication to understand what you are doing.
  • Pets love company and stimulation – Some pets need the human stimulation that they would normally get from their owners during a housesit.
cat rubbing up against the catsitters face
Some pets need a lot of attention and thrive in human company. Housesitting skills must include liking pets

Photo by Lamia Walker

Home care

So what kind of home care is needed on a housesitting assignment?

  • Security for the property – Security is a fundamental reason for housesitters to be invited to care for a property.
  • Care and maintenance of the home – While you are living in the property you may need to undertake a little simple DIY to maintain the property in the homeowners’ absence. These duties might include adding salt to the water softener if the owner asks you, changing lightbulbs, changing fuses and so on. For any more demanding DIY it is important to touch base with the homeowners.
muddy dog on muddy garden path
If you are dog sitting in a wet season cleaning will be essential among your housesitting skills

Photo by Matthew Daniels

  • Cleaning in the home – Our advice on Housesitmatch is always to clean on a regular basis while you are resident. This is especially important to maintain if you are living with pets in the home. Keep the home as clean and fresh as when you took it over from the homeowners. Some housesitters say that one of the great housesitting skills is to manage easy clean up routines really well to ensure the homeowners notice an improvement on their return.
bottle of apple cider vinegar
Vinegar is cheap and easily available, and can be used safely in pet homes. Use it for a pet friendly clean.

Photo by Rosana Solis

Garden sitting and maintenance

If the housesit has a garden that needs care it will take some management, and some basic gardening are important to add to your housesitting skills. Mostly gardening duties will focus on watering pot plants, raised vegetable beds or cutting the grass.

Enhance a front yard with a tidy arrangement of pots
Prepare to water the vegetable beds and flower pots when asked by the homeowner. Garden watering is key among your housesitting skills

Photo by Lamia Walker

Sometimes you will be asked to care for a swimming pool or feed fish in a garden pond.

Beautiful French summer house with pool ideal for house-sitting with HouseSitMatch
A swimming pool near trees can draw insects and green debris. Cleaning the pool is vital

Photo by Lamia Walker

Final thoughts on how to build great housesitting skills

If you are keen to start housesitting or do more house and pet sitting assignments brush up on your housesitting skills. There are many skills to try and include in your repertoire, but 3 categories of great housesitting skills to build and refine in preparation, namely: Pet care; Home care; Garden care.

Build and enhance your core skills as a housesitter, reflect these in your housesitting profile and keep communicating with your homeowners throughout the housesit to ensure they are aware of how their pets are doing in their absence, and alert them to the contribution you are making. Happy housesitting!

Further reading for housesitters about housesitting, petsitting and great housesitting skills

At Housesit Match.com we always try to share useful and informative blogs and practical advice with our members. Read on to find some helpful articles with useful tips for dog owners and dog sitters about dogsitting and finding a house sitter.

Shedding pets – How to clean up after them at home

4 Pet care tips for when you are away

Top dogsitting tips for beginners

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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