Housesitters are usually given assignments to care for the pets and the home in which they live. However, occasionally they are asked to manage a number of jobs in the home related to property maintenance. Regardless of the specific jobs the homeowner gives the housesitter, it behoves the sitter to keep an eye out for classic property damage due to extreme weather or unexpected incidents. Here are some top tips.
Things to Look Out for as a Housesitter
A housesitting assignment can be a grand adventure. Often the sit provides a chance to travel and see the world without spending on accommodation. Whether you are staying to provide security and peace of mind for homeowners, or you are there to petsit, you must care for the property while the owners are away.
Housesitters don’t need to be experts in property maintenance. Moreover, sitters shouldn’t take it upon themselves to do any kind of maintenance work on another person’s home unless specifically asked and if qualified. However, housesitters have a responsibility to look after the property and in doing so, should be on the lookout for anything that could cause the homeowners issues in the future.
As a prep for any property maintenance that is necessary, chat with the homeowners before they leave to identify any known ‘quirks’ of the property. This minimises any worry should something occur that you are unfamiliar with.
Damp patches on internal walls can be an indication of a leak or a potential problem with damp. Advise the owners as soon as possible to prevent expensive repair work. Where the damp is can be a pointer to where the source of the problem lies. For instance, experiencing wet walls inside the home when it rains is a sign of penetrating damp and requires investigation of brickwork and cavity walls but could also be a problem with blocked or broken guttering. Damp patches that start at floor level and move up the wall are called rising damp. This indicates that the damp-proof course in the external walls has been breached or requires replacement for sufficient damp-proofing protection.
When you find damp in a property when the homeowners have given no pre-warning that it is an issue, document the damp. Take photos. Share this information with them. It may change or dry up when there is little moisture. however, it may also return as a much bigger problem when it rains again.
Property Maintenance if Damage is Caused By Extreme Weather
Are you housesitting in an area that is notorious for receiving extremes of weather? It isn’t just storms that can cause damage to the property but long periods of very dry weather can also cause problems such as subsidence as well. It’s important to make a note of particularly bad weather and if it occurs for a long stretch. After a storm walk around the property and note and record any damage. Look for holes in the roof, cracks in the walls letting moisture in, then contact the homeowner straight away. Ask if they have a trusted maintenance company or contact you can call out to provide a temporary repair.
In an ideal housesitting job, the homeowner gives you a guide to the property outlining routines, emergency contacts, veterinary clinic numbers. Some people call this the ‘book of the house’. It helps you prepare for any emergency situations. Should anything happen always give the homeowner a heads up as soon as possible.
Changes to the Local Area
While you are managing a long housesit, a month or longer, changes may occur in the neighbourhood. Keep the homeowner informed, and keep an eye out for local roadworks or security concerns. Unusual things to note might be people hanging around the area for extended periods. Make a list to provide a snapshot of any community updates you think might be useful for the homeowner.
Housesitting is an incredible experience and provides plenty of benefit for both parties involved but don’t forget that primarily you are there to look after the home and shouldn’t disregard any issue, no matter how small, just in case it leads to expensive repairs in the future.