House Owners Beware: 10 Things House Sitters Dislike

17 May, 2021

House Owners Beware: 10 Things House Sitters Dislike

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If you are a first time homeowner and you are preparing to welcome sitters into your home, take note. Here are the top 10 things that house-sitters hate, or find difficult to deal with. Take head – to build a good relationship with your sitters for your benefit and that of your home and pets consider the sitters situation and make a plan to avoid these 10 situations in particular. Treat the sitter as you would want to be treated.

It really helps you get the housesitting relationship off to a good start.

Revealed: 10 Things that house-sitters hate

If you’re offering your home to house-sitters in exchange for staying at their properties when you go away, it’s important to note there’s a certain ‘etiquette’ to bear in mind. After all, the last thing you want is for your house-sitters to have a bad experience. Not only will it reflect badly in your review but it sets a bad tone for the housesit. So let’s learn what house-sitters hate most…

Top tips from house sitters about what house-sitters hate

Most house-sitting experiences are very positive, and the people involved have nothing but praise for their stay. We hear of many stories where the matched homeowners and housesitters become friends, and often meet again either on a repeat housesit or elsewhere.

To avoid giving people memorable experiences for the wrong reasons, you should take note of these tell-tale red flags and learn how to avoid them. These are the 10 most frequently reported things that house-sitters hate:

house-sitters hate
Make sure you have reasonable furniture for the sitters to use

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1. Uncomfortable furniture

The people staying at your home will undoubtedly spend much of their time outside of the property. They might be walking dogs, tending your garden or running errands for you and themselves. They will most likely remain in your home when they aren’t exploring the area around your location.

Check the sofa

When those people are inside your home, it makes sense to ensure they have a comfortable stay. So, if your sofa is old, worn, smelly and favoured by the dogs? Consider giving it a Spring clean, washing the covers and covering it with a new blanket. Or if it is really bad consider buying a settee replacement perhaps in a durable long lasting material that stands the test of time.

Check the housesitters bed

Likewise, when they go to sleep at night, make sure your house-sitters aren’t sleeping in a bed where it’s more comfortable to sleep on floorboards! It does happen that the homeowners don’t prepare a separate bedroom and expect the housesitter to perch on the old sofa or in a spare bedroom that is also the store cupboard. Think ahead and imagine it was you housesitting.

2. House-sitters hate an unfair exchange

House-sitters can get a negative experience if they view the housesitting requirements as an unfair exchange. And it is the essence of unfairness, the imbalance that house-sitters hate. They are offering their time and services free of charge to care for your property and pets. Don’t take advantage.

It is easy to hear stories of unfair treatment. Just log onto any pet sitter forum or search dog sitting reddit. It is one of the few downsides to house sitting. But mostly people treat each other fairly and honour the philosophy of a fair exchange.

What is an unfair exchange?

But, what constitutes an unfair exchange of services? An example might be if a homeowner asks you to take care of Airbnb guests. That may be the case sometimes, but find out what is expected so there are no surprises. Some housesitters take it all in their stride.  

Other times, we hear that house sitters find a clean and immaculate home. But that is not always the case. Whenever you offer your home to house-sitters, make sure your property is clean and presentable. Take time to prepare your home as you would want to find it. Then you have build an expectation for how you want to find it when you return. House-sitters hate arriving to a dirty house that they have to clean. 

If you don’t have the time to make that happen, hire a cleaner from a reputable firm.

house-sitters hate
Stock up on all your key cleaning materials. House-sitters hate having to buy cleaning materials to clean

3. Paying for expenses

Let’s say that someone offers for you to house-sit their property, but they live in a remote location that isn’t accessible by public transport. They should offer to add you to their car insurance, so you’ve got transport when you need it – especially for emergencies. While no money should change hands on a Housesitmatch housesit sometimes additional expenses are incurred in the care of the pets for example.

Expenses kitty

Then an expenses float becomes important as a just in case. House-sitters hate it when homeowners simply expect all expenses to be covered by the sitter. 

Another related item that house-sitters hate, is being out of pocket when the housesit should be a fair collaboration. You shouldn’t have to pay for expenses like paying for a taxi to take a pet to the vet etc. If you have to pet-sit for the person as well, it’s even more reason they should allow you access to their vehicle while you’re house-sitting or an expenses kitty as a just in case fund.

4. A lack of trust – housesitting engenders trust

If you’re doing a house-swap with someone, there needs to be an element of mutual trust between both parties. The sad truth about some individuals is, they feel they can’t trust a stranger enough to look after their homes while they aren’t there. If you doing a housesit the fair exchange of the arrangement should engender trust. You should build up that trust from the early communications. 

For example, keeping a WiFi router in an inaccessible room means that the house-sitters have no way of resolving the problem if the Internet stops working. Such a lack of trust doesn’t inspire successful house-sitting experiences.

House-sitters hate it when homeowners show a lack of trust, it shows a lack of respect. Work towards building a good relationship even before you meet in person.

5. Lack of direct communication before or during a housesit

As you can imagine, there’s a lot to discuss when arranging house-sitting with homeowners. There has to be a discussion of the terms of the house-sit. And, it gives both parties a measure of what each other is like. The lack of communication is a worry and another thing that housesitters hate.

These days communications are so easy and free all over the world. It makes sense to arrange pre-house-sit conversations over video calls using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple FaceTime, or Zoom. You should be wary of people that refuse to do that, as it can often mean they have something to hide, and it is a strong red flag!

house-sitters hate
Prepare your home for a sitter as you would a guest

6. Unreasonable expectations

What should you make of a situation where a homeowner has nothing but complaints about previous house-sitters? The answer is they probably have unreasonable expectations of their house-sitters!

If you come across such a situation, you should endeavour to find out what went wrong in those cases. If a pattern emerges, it’s highly likely the house-sit isn’t going to be a good idea, and so you should look for an alternative house-sit.

7. Homeowners won’t show you any photos

It’s not unreasonable to expect to see some photographs of the property where you will be house-sitting. House-sitters hate not having enough information. With that in mind, if you’re a homeowner offering a property for house-sitting, you need to provide plenty of clear photos to potential house-sitters.

Doing so means people will have a clear understanding of your property, how everything is laid out, and whether there might be access issues for them. It saves everyone a lot of time, hassle, and potential misunderstanding.

Similarly, suppose you’re looking to house-sit, and a homeowner refuses to give you a photographic or video tour of their home. In that case, you should consider that a red flag and move on with your search for a suitable house-sitting experience.

8. You’re expected to be a baby-sitter

Housesitting is about caring for pets and property, not about baby sitting any humans left in the house. House-sitters hate baby sitting your guests or family members

When you’re house-sitting for a homeowner, you expect to have a degree of privacy in your temporary abode. What you don’t want is to end up becoming a baby-sitter because the homeowner’s relatives are staying in the property with you! You are usually there to care for the pets, any number you have agreed, and the property.

Similarly, you shouldn’t have to “look after” visitors to the homeowner’s property, such as friends, relatives, or even neighbours. The homeowner should make you aware of any planned visits, such as those from gardeners or cleaners. This is another expectation that house-sitters hate. Remember they are offering a free service.

9. House-sitters hate aggressive pets

If you plan to house-sit for someone, and they ask you to pet-sit as well, you need to ask questions about their pet and their pet’s temperament. The last thing you want to do is have the stress of dealing with an aggressive pet that might ultimately spoil your house-sitting experience. This is one of the most common complaints, house-sitters hate dealing with poorly trained aggressive pets.

Often, pets are aggressive because they, or rather their owners, haven’t had any suitable behavioural training from a professional. If you are the pet owner and planning to go away ensure you have done all you can to train your pets. Your pets, and your pet sitters will thank you.

10. House-sitters hate aggressive homeowners

Lastly, potential house-sitters won’t want to spend time talking to an aggressive homeowner. House-sitters hate this kind of treatment. Quite frankly, some people should not be offering their homes to house-sitters if they can’t conduct themselves to those house-sitters politely and courteously. Remember, as a homeowner you are the host asking for free services. In exchange you will give free accommodation.

It should be a fair exchange and everyone benefits.

So be nice and welcome the housesitters politely. They will want to do more for you. There’s no need for unwarranted aggression, and it’s something that can even see homeowners get kicked off house-sitting exchange websites. Especially if word of mouth spreads about a homeowner’s attitude towards complete strangers.

Further reading about housesitters and housesitting

At we like to share useful information practical advice about housesitters, what house-sitters hate and what they appreciate, housesitting and pet sitting overall. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Preparing a home for a house or pet sitter

The Affordable Alternative to Dog Kennels

What is House Sitting?

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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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