From time to time we ask our Housesitmatch membership for Top Housesitting Tips. We are especially delighted when the members who step forward to volunteer are experienced and have earned their stripes in the field so to speak. Here we would like to introduce you to Jacqueline and Glenn Lamb who have been housesitting continuously for some time. We have asked them to share their housesitting guidelines especially for new homeowners looking for a few pearls of wisdom.
Dear Home Owner,
We are full-time, international house sitters and have successfully completed more than 40 house sits over a 3 year period in numerous countries around the world. When we are looking for house sits the more information you can provide – the better it is for us and for you, the owner, to secure the best suited applicant.
We would like to pass on some useful tips for you to consider when preparing your advert to help you secure the best possible sitters to care for your home and, more importantly, your pets.
Top Housesitting Tips 1 – Photos. Photos. Photos!
it is so important to include photos of the house from the outside and inside including the garden (if you have one). Photos of the kitchen, lounge, bedroom, bathroom and of course your pets are also useful to give the sitters an idea of what they might expect. Include as many photos as you can, or the site allows.
Photos can convey a lot about you and your pets, so do invest the time to give a good representation. You will get more applicants.
Top Housesitting Tips 2 – Please Advertise Early
We know unexpected things can happen, but if you have booked a holiday, several months in advance, please advertise then. Many sitters, like us, book our house sits months in advance. Two to four months is an ideal time period but at peak times eg. Easter, Christmas, etc. advertising earlier could be to your advantage as during busy times there will be more sits for house sitters to choose from.
Top Housesitting Tips 3 – Describe Responsibilities and Pet Requirements
Tell us about your pet requirements and their typical day. For example – what is their exercise regime, where do they sleep and if they have any special dietary requirements or need regular medication. How long can your pets be left at home? House sitters need time to leave the home to go shopping, dinner at a restaurant or visit a museum. We need to know what your expectations are. Last year, we applied for a sit in England for two dogs, only to discover during our Skype interview that the pets could not be left alone for more than two hours. If this information had been included in the original sit advertisement we would not have applied. This wasted both the home owners and our time.
If you have a sit with farm animals, give a brief description of what’s required and typically how long the sitters would need to spend performing these duties. Some house sitters won’t apply as they think it’s a lot of work.
Top Housesitting Tips 4 – Location, location, location
Tell us about where you live – without giving an exact location of course, give us an idea of your area and what there is to do locally. it will help to pique our interest. Not all house sitters are local and providing additional information about your town/city and local amenities can be helpful. Many sitters will not have a vehicle so information about getting to the property is very helpful. For example – “we live 40km from Stanstead Airport however there is a direct train which takes 55 minutes”.
How far away are the shops? – Are there any landmarks or cities that could be of significant interest to a potential house sitter? What is public transport like in the area? All of this is very helpful in assisting a sitter determine whether the sit is suitable for them.
Tell us about any “perks” – such details might entice a sitter to choose your sit over others. For example, is a car available, do you have a cleaner/gardener, hot tub, special kitchen appliances, swimming pool, etc. And what will they require for maintenance.
Top Housesitting Tips 5 – Communication is Extremely Important
Please reply to a sitters messages promptly, it will show sitters how serious and interested you are. You’ve gone to the effort to advertise your requirements searching for a great sitter so please take the next step and respond to our application. Don’t be afraid to tell us “we are not suitable, or you have chosen another sitter”. We know that we are not going to be invited to every sit we apply for – that’s just how it works. If you are busy or need a few days, or a week, to read through the applications communicate that as well. No response sends a message to us that you are not interested and we will move on.
NOTE – It’s not unusual for house sitters to apply for a number of sits over a short period and if you delay in contacting your preferred sitter, you may find they have accepted another sit elsewhere. This has happened to us many times. We have been contacted a week or a month after initially applying and sadly for those home owners we had accepted sits elsewhere 90% of the time.
The Bottom Line
Let’s speak plainly – If you take on board our housesitting suggestions, you will get more suitable applicants for your house sit if you provide multiple photos and detailed information about the pets, property and location. Moreover, if you post your advertisement with minimal photos and limited information you may get fewer and/or unsuitable applicants. Once you begin a dialogue with them you may find that they are unsuitable, wasting both your and the applicants time. Also, as the sitter learns more details about your expectations that weren’t communicated in your advert they may withdraw.
If you follow the above tips you will be well on your way to securing a great house sitter matched to your needs. And likely you will have made a new friend in the process.
About the Author
Jacqueline Lamb is from Australia and has been house sitting full time around the globe with her husband Glenn for the past 3 years. They have sold everything they own and travel the world helping home owners enjoy worry free holidays by caring for their pets and property.
You can learn more about them and their services at TheAussieLambs dot com. They also blog about their world travels at www.LambiesTravels.com