What a House Sitter Does: Top 10 Responsibilities

22 Aug, 2021

What a House Sitter Does: Top 10 Responsibilities

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Whether you are looking into becoming a housesitter or you are a home owner looking to find one read on. In this blog we at Housesit Match have prepared a list of the top 10 responsibilities for  a house sitter showing you our best practice of what a house sitter does.

House sitters and house sitting

Ever since we started working in this business we have been talking to both homeowners about what a house sitter does, and to house and petsitters about what a house sitter does. So we have gained great insights as to what are essential responsibilities and what are nice to do if you have time tasks. And we share them with you in this article. Whether you are a housesitter in Paris or London or house sitting in Cornwall, read on to learn more.

A house sitter is a live in house keeper who cares for your property and sometimes pets in your absence. Housesitting is a term used to describe all that they have to do while taking care of your home and any pets who live at home in your absence.

Learn what a house sitter does – Our Top 10 list

what a house sitter does
Always keep the home secure – it’s a house sitter’s watch

Whether you want to be a housesitter or you are looking to find a house sitter, note these 10 points. In this list we cover all the main responsibilities and chores that a house sitter is most likely to be asked to do during the assignment.

House sitting jobs and tips

What does a house sitter do?

1.   Keep the house secure - a priority for housesitters

Security is the watch word for any housesitter. It might seem hard to define exactly how you need to keep a home secure when homes vary so much. However, all house sitters agree that keeping the home secure is the primary concern for a housesitter when the homeowner is away from home. It is what a house sitter does here in particular that matters.

Check with the homeowner first

Ask the homeowner if there is an alarm that you need to use when you leave the house in the day.  Other tips include:

  • be mindful at all times of where you put the keys to the house.
  • shut all windows and doors at night.
  • shut all the windows and doors if you leave the property in the day.
  • leave a light on in the porch and a front facing room when you leave the house.
  • make sure you remove any post or deliveries from the porch or entrance as soon as it arrives.
Why do people want a house sitter?
2.  Petsitting - If there are pets then care for them as if they were your own
what a house sitter does
Pet care is the main reason that most owners want a house sitter

At Housesit Match we have mostly petsits among our housesit assignments. Therefore petsitting is the most frequently requested activity for a housesitter.  So there are more than likely pet care duties in your home pet sitting assignment. The pets may vary, though once again you are most likely to be looking after dogs, cats, birds, small pets like guinea pigs and rabbits.

Trusted house sitters are trusted pet sitters

However aside from the dog sitting, catsitting, birdsitting and rabbit sitting you may also have petsitting options that include donkeys, and other larger animals. Always make sure you ask which pets you are responsible for on your pet sitting assignment. Ensure you have a list of routines and understand any medication you need to be responsible for. This is essential for the pet care and well being of the animals in your care. We also advise that you ask to be given the local vet’s details and address.

Pet insurance

It is also important to learn any details for the pet insurance should the owner have that cover. This way, in the unlikely event of an accident you’ll know exactly what you need to do for the pet.

All in all we believe that having live in pet sitters is a better alternative to kennels.

3.  Communicate with the home and pet owner as you've agreed

Before the homeowner leaves make sure you understand how the prefer to communicate with you in their absence. Some like to go on holiday and not to be in touch with you unless there is an issue. Others say they love to get little notes that tell them what the pets are up to in their absence. In one way it may help them feel real peace of mind knowing that the pets are healthy and safe.  Some pet owners say they like to get a regular message via WhatsApp, so that there is no cost incurred on either side.

4.   Manage pet food supplies to ensure you have adequate to last

This may seem trivial. However, never assume that a petowner has planned sufficient pet food stored for the duration of the sit. Anything could happen to result in insufficient food.  Keep tabs on what you have at your disposal and what type of food the pet needs. Understand where you can buy more to ensure you can cover any gaps. Discuss a kitty with the pet owner so that if you need anything extra you have it, just in case.

Trusted housesitter duties
5.     Keep the home clean and tidy
what a house sitter does
Clean the home using whatever products the owner specifies
In house pet sitting

It should go with out saying that the home you are living in as a house sitter should be kept clean and tidy. Is house sitting about maintaining the home as well as the pets? Yes.

Certainly before the homeowners return you need to have a really good few hours to prepare their home, return it to the state it was in before they left.

An extra clean would not go amiss.  Some house sitters caring for pets say they have to think carefully about where the pets sleep to make sure those areas are especially clean.

In home pet sitting

In home pet sitting is about caring for the pets in their own home. The responsibilities of a house sitter often extend into pet care. The pet minding becomes part of the house sitting duties.

  • What is house sitting for cats? – Cat sitters who are caring for cats with cat trays will need to double check the state of the tray and perhaps give it a full refresh.
  • What is house sitting for dogs? – Dog sitters caring for more than one dog will need to check the location of all the pet toys and beds.
  • What is house sitting for rabbits? – Rabbit Sitters need to check the water levels regularly, and refresh the food supplies. Plus make sure there is fresh straw on a regular basis.
  • What is house sitting for birds? – Bird sitters who are asked to let the birds fly around the home once a day may also want to take an extra careful look to make sure there are no surprise deposits. What a housesitter does to care for the pets really matters.

6.   Garden sitters – Manage the garden if there is one, as the homeowner has asked

As varied as all the gardens may be that you are asked to care for, ask what the homeowner wants you to do. It is what a house sitter does, to ensure you are on the same page as the homeowner.

It may be as simple as watering the pot plants on a balcony of an apartment garden. Or you may be asked to mow the lawn of the back yard, or even to plant out seedlings and manage a vegetable bed. Make sure they have shown you where their gardening tools are, and how you fuel the lawnmower. Then you are good to go!

what a house sitter does
Manage the garden if you are asked
7.   Using kitchen supplies? Then replace them

Most homeowners in our experience say that you are welcome to use supplies in the kitchen. However, the footnote is please replace what you use. Not only is it fair but it is what a house sitter does.

By return you could make sure there is fresh milk, bread and eggs for the homeowner on their return to their home. It is always a relief to find that there some basic groceries in the fridge to spare them from going shopping immediately they return to the home. It is a thoughtful gesture that is much appreciated by most homeowners we talk to.

It’s an elegant housesitter touch to leave the homeowners home clean and welcoming.

what a house sitter does
Replenish any fresh produce or dry goods used during the sit
8.   Live in house and pet sitters manage deliveries to the house

There will likely be mail delivered on a daily basis, sometimes newspapers and even bottles of milk. You must make sure they are collected from the doorstep or porch on a daily basis.

If not this is a tell tale sign that the property owner is away from home and opportunist burglars are likely to strike. While easily overlooked, managing deliveries to the home is a core part of what a house sitter does.

9.  Maintain an appearance of a living presence in the house

It should go without saying that no matter how long you are away from the house you are housesitting. Make the house look occupied. If you are the house sitter in charge, it is your watch. This is what a house sitter does.

Whether you are nipping out for a bottle of milk, and it’s a quick absence of 15 minutes as you walk to the corner shop, or if you are out in the evening for an event. Keep a light on, shut the windows and lock the front door.

It will fool opportunist burglars and keeps the home safer.

10. Gift of appreciation
what a house sitter does
A thank you gift  for the owner keeps the global handshake going

Top tips for housesitting

A final note to all live in house and pet sitters is show your appreciation for the gift of staying in the home. We always suggest you think of a small gift the homeowner might appreciate on their return. it is one of the lovely touches of what a house sitter does to say thank you.

It could be a simple toy for the pet dog for example. Or it could be a bottle of wine for the homeowners or a fruit basket. It is a simple gesture to complete the exchange of services you have enjoyed, free accommodation for free home and pet care. Do this and you continue our global house sitting handshake.

Housesitting abroad

If you are housesitting abroad, so not in your own country, it can be fun to explore the new location and learn new customs. Perhaps try cooking a meal for the owners to have on their return using local ingredients. Explore a local flower market and leave them a small bouquet to say thank you. the leaving gesture and gift can be part of your exploration of the new location, a part of your adventure housesitting abroad.

International housesitting

One of the exciting options once you are in the housesitting groove and you know what a house sitter does, is try international housesitting. So leave your home shores and go housesitting abroad to discover a new location. For a solo housesitter this can be a safe way to travel and give you an in depth knowledge of a new country and location.

By the mere fact that you will be living in a neighbourhood in a new country, you will see new sites and locations. some people get the bug and find that housesitting becomes a foil to global travel. Be warned, it can become addictive!

Note on what a house sitter does

If you have already enjoyed a housesit or two you will know that the duties are fairly straightforward and can easily be agreed with the homeowner. if you think about what does a professional house sitter do, and the difference between a HouseSitMatch housesitter we would say the recompense and the opportunity to travel the world.

If you agree the house sitter responsibilities and duties ahead of the housesit, ask the owner to write them down for you. It makes the arrangement so much easier and more satisfying to both parties.  Keep the global housesitting handshake going. Happy housesitting!

Further reading about housesitting and housesitters

At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice to help you learn what a house sitter does. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

Housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

Preparing a home for a house or pet sitter

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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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