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 based on their experience, especially for new homeowners looking for a few pearls of wisdom to secure good housesitters.
Top housesitting tips for all
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 to find holiday pet sitters
We know unexpected things can happen, but if you have booked a holiday, several months in advance, please advertise then. You need time to find the best choice of holiday pet sitters. Many sitters, like us, book our house sits months in advance.
Any house sitting guide will tell you that two to four months is an ideal time period. However, for housesits at peak times eg. Easter, Christmas, etc. advertising earlier could be to your advantage. During busy like these there will be many more housesits for house sitters to choose from. And you are competing with housesitters also returning home to relatives.
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.
Tips on petsitting
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. Remember housesitters are more than just pet and house carers, they like to enjoy the local area and have to maintain some part of their lives while they are in your home.
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 pet 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
Practical tips for finding good housesitters time after time
- 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.
- Share the best way to travel to your home – 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”. This is a one of the most valuable top housesitting tips for homeowners. If you make it easy for the sitters to travel to you it makes a big difference in how many will apply.
- 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, how good is your Wi-Fi at home, is there 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
How communication matters in housesitting
- Prompt responses to housesitters messages – Please reply to a sitter’s messages promptly. This is one of the pivotal top housesitting tips. A quick response 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”.
- Offer various methods for housesitters to communicate – WhatsApp, Mobile texting, Email, Zoom or Teams calls. Make it easy to communicate. 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.
- House sitting etiquette – While it may seem strange as an idea among us housesitters and the homeowners who are regulars in the world of housesitting protocols and behaviours mean a lot. For example, one piece of house sitting etiquette where to sleep is an important note to agree on. Make space for the housesitters, so they have a place to stay. They are guests on a working holiday in your home. .
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.
Housesitting Tips for Housesitters wanting successful housesits
While experienced housesitters will recognise some of these tips below, if you are looking for how to become a house sitter with no experience, then read on.
- Security and safety in the home – One of your responsibilities as a house sitter is to make sure that the home stays secure while you are there. If aren’t handing the house back over to the owners directly, make sure you lock up everything before leaving. Check doors and windows with care; don’t miss anything. Even check the ones you didn’t use while you were there, and double check.
- Put things back that you moved out of place – You probably picked up all the items that belonged to you and took care of the dirty dishes. But did you forget about any furniture that you might have moved? Everything should be as it was left before you got there. Decide if anything needs to be moved back or if they are still in the right position. It’s the little things that make a big difference to people’s comfort and happiness levels.
- Keeping the house tidy and as the homeowner left it – You’re watching a home for a homeowner host, and you are worried that it’s untidy. However, you should leave i as neat as possible before they come back. Whether you’re working professionally or as an exchange of services through a platform like Housesitmatch, try to leave a good impression.
- Taking out the rubbish or trash – When you empty the trash, be sure to check for anything that needs to be wiped down or recycled. Some of the garbage may have spilled out when you put it into the bin so wipe around the bins.
A final note for housesitters
Think about how you would like to be treated as a host. Consider what will help you organise the home nicely for the owners keeping it tidy and clean for their return. What extra touches would they appreciate? And what would make them want to ask you to come back and offer your services again?
Preparing for the homeowner’s return you go through the house making a detailed list. Look at what needs to be done before they return. Time your preparation so that that home is ready in time.
Housesitting tips – The bottom line
Let’s speak plainly – If you take on board our top housesitting tips and suggestions, you will get more suitable applicants for your housesit. So take some of our experience on board. If you provide multiple photos and detailed information about the pets, property and location it will be to your advantage.
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. Be honest with your housesitters and think carefully about what they might want to know about your assignment.
Summary of our top housesitting tips
If you follow the top housesitting tips shared above 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. They are registered on Housesitmatch.com as housesitters and petsitters.
You can learn more about them and their services at TheAussieLambs dot com. They also blog about their world travels at www.LambiesTravels.com
Further reading on housesitting and housesitters for homeowners
At Housesitmatch.com 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.