The housesitters checklist – What great ideas to include

20 Feb, 2023

The housesitters checklist – What great ideas to include

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If you are planning a trip away from home, whether long or short you may need a housesitter. Perhaps you have pets, or a garden that needs tending or a property to keep occupied, read this blog. In this article we offer you some top tips on what to include in a housesitter’s checklist.

If you are a member of we offer a template for this housesitters checklist briefing document to download. Check the Resources section accessible to all in the network.

Briefing house sitters and the housesitters checklist

housesitters checklist
Housesitters often care for pets and the home

How do I find house sitters?

Join a housesitting network like Housesitmatch as a Homeowner and Petowner.

It is important before you leave the house in the hands of a house sitter, that you ensure you have briefed them well. As a member of HouseSitMatch, whether house sitter or homeowner you have access via the Members Only Resources pages to what we call the ‘Easy Sit Guidelines’.

This can act as a detailed briefing document. It is our house sitting instructions template word document that is available for everyone to download and use.

How do you brief your housesitters?

After meeting the housesitters and when you feel ready to give them the assignment that’s when to brief them. Some people like to make this a personal briefing if the housesitters come a day or two ahead of the housesit. However, others like to prepare full written notes. A housesitters checklist is part of this briefing.

How do I prepare for a house sitter?

Consider all the peculiarities of your home, pets and location, add them to your housesitters checklist.

  • Ensure you mention any specific clothes or equipment they might need, like walking boots or wellington boots to walk dogs in the mud and rain.  Help them to prepare their house sitting packing list.
  • Consider what food to leave for house sitter supplies, to help them get started.
  • We suggest you prepare a meal as a welcome. It is a hospitable gesture. Remember you are the host.
  • Prepare some notes for them in your housesitters checklist of all the places they might need to go – your local vet, doctors, pharmacy, shops.
  • Make sure your housesitters checklist has places they might like to visit while they are staying in your location.

What makes a good house sitter?

There are a number of skills that make a good house sitter. When you are looking for someone to care for your pets and property make sure you make a note of what your ideal sitter can do or can learn to do. Add these to your housesitters checklist.

Home and pet care as a house sitter

Looking after the home and garden is part of the assumed duties that are expected of you as a house sitter.  Ask that they are detailed on the housesitters checklist.

  • Home care while housesitting – As a housesitter you might have to care for the home by keeping it clean and tidy. Make sure you return the home to at the very least the condition you found it in. Care and watering of house plants is also a common request. And sometimes that means the pot plants around the property on the outside as well as on the inside.
  • Garden sitting and garden care – If you are the housesitter make sure you understand the homeowner’s request. Ask if they need you to mow the lawn or tend the vegetable and flower patches to keep the plants alive in the owner’s absence. Garden care can be a really important part of the housesitters duties in season. So ask that the homeowner details what they need in the housesitters checklist.
  • Security – Prepare some emergency contact numbers
  • Housesitters checklist – Of course, no matter how good your housesitters checklist is, something could still happen that means you have missed something out. Double check your contingencies for your home, remember that your housesitter might need to contact you. So make sure to list an emergency number where you can be reached without a lot of delays, and make sure to keep your phone nearby in case of a serious emergency.Then you know that if the phone doesn’t ring, then everything is fine. However, if it does ring you can get to it and fix the serious problem.
  • Housesitter is also a petsitter – Whether the housesitter is also a petsitter caring for beloved family pets, or simply caring for home and garden, you must collaborate. And for that reason you may ask do house sitters stay overnight. Yes they do. And as a homeowner you need to make space for your housesitter to stay in you home to are for your pets. House sitters consider the arrangements made for you and know house sitting etiquette where to sleep in the home.
  • Petsitting – So most housesits involve care for pets in their own home. You may be looking after dogs or cats, you may be bird sitting or even Guinea pig sitting. The care and well being of the pets is part of the responsibilities of a house sitter while the pet owner is away. In summary, that means housesitters are responsible for feeding routines, exercise routines and grooming. All these activities form part of what you might be asked to do to care for the pet.
  • Specialist pet sitters – Some housesitters specialise in particular pets as either dog sitters or catsitters etc. Some even state on their public profile whether they prefer or have more experience with particular pets. Alternatively they may state if they are general all rounders and have cared for lots of pets. Some housesitters like to keep skills sharp by taking pet first aid courses, or dog handling courses for example in their downtime. This may or may not be important to you as a pet owner.

What to include in a housesitters checklist

Whatever your trip whether it is a short week work trip or a long holiday you might need a housesitter. A housesitter is someone who is able to care for the house, water the plants and care for any pets. They will ensure that the home is lived in because often if a house is very empty, it is vulnerable. But what do you include in the housesitters checklist?

The housesitters checklist is a good start to a brief

Whether you found a sitter on a housesitting platform or hired one from a service you need to brief them.  You might be ask a good friend who knows your property and pets to check in. However, you still need to leave a housesitter’s checklist. This list will show them what they need to do and things to look out for.

It is important to note what you should include on a housesitters checklist. Read on to learn more.

1.    How to care for pets or any living things

decorate a home with flowers
If you have the space create an indoor garden

Whether you have a few plants sitting on the windowsill, or some pets to care for you need to prepare. Document these important routines in your housesitters checklist. It is especially important to think about how to brief your   house sitter.

Housesitters keep pets and plants while you are away

You want to ensure they keep your pets and plants alive. So make sure to give detailed lists for each responsibility. Describe how much to water your plants if they need feeding.  You also need to describe when to feed the animals.

Also, include any other general information that they will need. On your return, you can be confident that the living things that you left in your home will be fine. They will be as healthy as when you left!

2.    Any time sensitive information

While you are away you might be expecting someone to come over to drop off a package. Also it might happen that the only time a repairman can visit is when you stepped out of the home. So make sure to write down any time sensitive information. This is important because your housesitter might need to know is happening in your absence.

Additionally, if they need any directions (such as ‘bring the package inside or the repairman should be done at seven’) make sure to write those down too. This is pivotal for the housesitters checklist. Remember this is important for your housesitters checklist.

housesitters checklist
If you have pets to care for make detailed notes about their feeding and exercise routines

3.    Make sure they know how to manage your home security system

If your home has a security system, even if it is a minor system that raises an alert, then you probably remember all of the countless times where you accidentally triggered it. Since you don’t want your housesitter to deal with a security system that they know nothing about, make sure to give them all the details that they need to handle the system.

  • House sitters form part of your home security – The security access codes are essential items for the housesitters checklist. Let them know any security codes, shut off switches, and anything else they need to do to manage your security code and also turn your system off if it gets triggered. Additionally, you might want to write down anything that might accidentally trigger the code.
  • Teach them to use and set your security system – Finally, make sure to teach them all about how to reset the home security system if there is a false alarm or a power outage or something else happens. Additionally, if you need to show your housesitter your access control systems, then you can show them all LiftMaster items you need before you leave.

Teach your housesitter what they need to know about your security system, and you will find fewer problems happen overall.

Final thoughts on the housesitters checklist
Once you have prepared your housesitters checklist, house sitter binder make a note of any feedback you may get. It might be useful to keep the this house sitting guide updated it with any specifics that are mentioned by your house sitters.

So if you are planning a trip and you need housesitters to keep your home, property and pets safe and well cared for in your absence look no further. We can help you at  We specialise in helping homeowners when they are looking for housesitters, to find the best possible match for their needs. So join us soon and we’ll help you to get started.


Further reading about housesitters and house sitting

At we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. 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

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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