Housesitting Home-maintenance – Expert Top Tips!

30 Mar, 2017

Housesitting Home-maintenance – Expert Top Tips!

Pre or post housesitting, home-maintenance is an area of work some of us love and other hate. Actually, I probably fall into the camp of any time of year home-maintenance phobic fear. A home with pets living indoors offers another challenge when you invite in the sitters. We know the added fun of pets in the home, and appreciate they offer some significant challenges when it comes to painting and home decorating. Here are some expert top tips on how to manage the paintwork in a home, either before or perhaps after a housesit has taken place.

FREEIMAGES - Boxer in the Mullioned window - how-much-is-the-doggie-in-the-1547904
Pets in the home – Thanks to Robbie Beattie for the image

Housesitting home-maintenance

As a homeowner, and possibly a petowner, many of us develop a special sensory awareness. We can either smell patches where the pets like to sit and become super sensitive regarding surfaces. Or alternatively we become nose blind even in areas of heavy traffic in our home.  Whichever, applies to you we simply can’t help ourselves.

Home wear and tear

The dogs, the cats, and naturally the humans who inhabit or pass through our property leave an impression. We occasionally touch the walls, brush against the paintwork, and occasionally shake wet hair all over masonry, wallpaper and painted walls, it all adds up.

It’s inevitable! When housesitters move in to care for our property and pets we suddenly become aware. Housesitters may develop a heightened sensory perception of the state of our walls and painted surfaces. It is all new to them. Often they are seeing it for the first time.

In my case, it tends to be especially heightened after the housesitter has been in my home. Usually, I am pleasantly surprised by the care and attention given to my home by the housesitter.

Housesitters clean up before the homeowner returns

On a few occasions, they have made an extra special effort to Spring clean before I return. On one occasion it happened that there was a small explosion of the coffee machine. To be fair I had meant to warn the sitter but it had slipped my mind. Remarkably they even found a spare tin of paint, thankfully labelled Kitchen walls’ and refreshed the whole kitchen before I returned. This really was beyond the call of duty. Need I say more..?

How to Politely Deal with Decorating Faux Pas from a Housesit!

Once something catches your eye, like a blemish or stubborn stain on a kitchen wall, it can be distracting every time you are in its vicinity. Not one to allow such a thing to remain unchallenged in your own home – when house-sitting, this can be a different matter and that scratch just cannot be itched!

From house-sitting to visiting a friend’s house, there are ways and means to subtly drop hints about ‘product recommendations’, treatments or remedies for decorating faux pas. For very close friends and family this could simply be by tagging them on Facebook someone actually did this to me though it seemed a little extreme at the time – Twitter or other social media channels are also worth considering for the brave of heart. I personally once forwarded an email from a decorator’s newsletter I received with a colour scheme a friend had mentioned, this seemed a little more subtle as a gesture. Tact is critical especially for people you don’t quite know well enough to publicly expose.

The simplest way is to pay a compliment or ask for advice, then lead on to presenting your own recommendation. If you’re housesitting in the home you can offer to refresh the paintwork while the owner is away. That happens quite frequently. If you are the homeowner be selective about whom and how you choose to decorate, but it can and is often done on a housesit.

Housesitting agreements – Put it down in a letter

At HouseSitMatch we always recommend you prepare a housesitting agreement. This helps to specify what you want to be done during the housesit so the sitter has a list of the routines.

If as a homeowner you want some proactive housesitting home-maintenance done in your absence please specify where and what. If as a housesitter you want to be able to fix a faulty home fixture with a little housesitting home-maintenance please ask first. In essence you should talk about it just in case.

A helping hand

From the sitter’s perspective, it is also useful to know what is expected of you. It’s good preparation, especially if a little painting of the walls or the garden fence is required.  Details will be very useful in order to manage expectations on both sides.

Living room freshly painted gree - housesitting home-maintenance
Freshly painted walls brighten up a room

If you haven’t been given permission but you need to freshen up the walls because of a ‘coffee machine faux pas’ like in our case, ask with subtlety –

“We just have to ask, is the kitchen paint in the shed the current shade of green? We’ve some spare time and through we could touch up the pet areas of your walls. We love home decorating!”

Painting over the situation

Then you need to look at angling in a multi-surface paint or primer that also can fix the kitchen wall stain.

“We’re thinking of having a singular colour flow through the whole downstairs of the home and we’ve been recommended to use a primer or multi-surface paint in the kitchen this time to block an annually recurring stain that appears on the wall nearest the kitchen boiler ever winter. If you can remember where you got your hallway paint from, or which brand of paint it was and could let us know, we’d be very grateful.”

Expert Top Tips are always handy to have – Print off a blog-post

If you have recently read an article dealing with something the homeowner might appreciate, why not print it out.  You could leave it for them in their mail. Add a handwritten note of course – “From us, and Google!”

Paint emulsion is, well, it’s simply emulsion. It doesn’t do much more than colour and coat a wall, and there are many times that it is inappropriately used to:

  • Cover stains on a wall or ceiling
  • Attempt to deal with damp or condensation in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room
  • Brighten an (in-use) fireplace
  • Paint (straight over, without a primer) wallpaper

If you are doing a little housesitting home-maintenance then there are so many great posts online about painting which offer tremendous information which is hard to come by in your local DIY or paint store. Always “ask Google” a question, as you would do a person, and it will often show you related posts and not simply products – with little useful information to relate to, nor a decent comment thread to ask the author further questions on.

Please Mr Postman

Many publications have archived issues available to buy, and if not directly from official publication websites, then you should be able to find specific issues on eBay – with a little luck.

Why not order a copy for the owners of the house you are sitting? There may be a specific issue you’ve found online that has a great feature about dealing with damp on conservatory walls from incorrectly graded patios.

housesitting home-maintenance
Conservatory walls and patios in damp regions need care

This is an unconventional method, but the spreading of useful information may be greatly appreciated by the receiver for housesitting home-maintenance, who may be unaware of how to fix a decorating faux pas!

Request that we cover the issue for you!

Finally, you could tell us about your housesitting home-maintenance dilemma. We’ll happily advise you if we can (we may know the homeowner or the housesitter very well). Or alternatively, we could cover the topic in an upcoming blog-post so you can share your experience. Or simply leave a comment below!

Start your housesitting adventure or to find your housesitting solution register with HouseSitMatch:

To register as a House-sitter follow this link

To register as a Homeowner follow this link



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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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