As the homeowner, to avoid any unpleasantness it is a good idea to do an inventory before you leave. One of the most time-efficient ways of doing this is by photographing things. You should then share these photos with your sitter ensuring you both agree on the photographs content.
And sitters, if an owner hasnt done this, pull out your camera and take the initiative yourself making sure the date setting is correct. These images will then act as a record of the exact state the house and garden was in when you took it over thus avoiding any conjecture on departure about whether the pot plant next to the front door was dead or not when they left. To a lesser degree but equally as handy, it will remind you where certain things were, just in case you may have moved things around a bit and once you have lived with things a certain way it is very easy to forget how they were in the first place. An owner will be very appreciative of finding things exactly as they left them.
This is one of the extra little things you can do make sure you are a super sitter. Getting good house-sitting references is the best way of securing your next sit.
Taking an inventory is a bit of a boring and tedious job but it is well worth it. Apart from photographic evidence, a quick run through together with a clip board or a notebook making note of any obvious damage like a cracked window pane or pronounced scuff marks on the wall or doors is a quick and easy way to record anything that could be contentious.
The most thorough way is to do a property condition report, you could use an estate agents template as a checklist or guide which you can easily find by doing a Google search or you could just use ours.
Taking the time to put an inventory together may save you a lot of time and grief in the long run so HouseSit Match highly recommends this process.