For those that have been reading our site for a while, you’ll know we’re slightly obsessed with house sitting. If you’re looking to start house sitting as a house sitter, check out our guide for first-timer house sitters. But if you’re a home/pet owner thinking about using house sitters for the first time, read on – this article is for you!
This article is the second in our series geared towards home and pet owners using house sitters. If you’re still unsure whether you’re ready to have a house sitter, head to the first article where we first discuss the things to consider when thinking about getting a house sitter as a pet owner.
Now, once you’ve committed to the idea and feel ready to use house sitters, the question arises: where to start?
We often get a lot of questions about the normal process for house sitting, especially from home and pet owners using house sitters for the first time.
We picked the brain of every person we have house sat for and aggregated our own personal experiences to create this guide. People who actually use housesitters do this every time.
And without further ado, the first 5 steps to using a housesitter for the first time!
1. Sign up for a House Sitting Website
We recommend TrustedHousesitters.com, which is the only site we’ve used in our past year+ of house sitting. Are they perfect? No (we have some criticisms). Do they have the most house sitters and house sits available? Yes. Most listings on the comprehensive HouseSitSearch, “The World’s Most Powerful House Sit Search Engine,” come from TrustedHousesitters. Statistically speaking, the odds are in your favor when you choose to go with the biggest site.
When choosing which site to sign up with, consider where you live. There are localized websites (like House Sitters UK) and smaller house sitting platforms that may suit your needs.
2. Create a Listing
This is your chance to describe your needs and wants in detail. If you’re not sure what to put, think this way: How do I want to attract the best match to take care of my home and pets?
Try to include everything – be upfront and honest, even if it seems trivial. Chances are someone out there understands what you want and will be a great house sitter for you. If you try to embellish, you will likely attract the wrong people. For example: don’t say you live near New York City when you actually live in upstate New York. You’ll spend more time messaging back and forth trying to explain that to each prospective applicant – and also raise serious red flags!
3. Respond to Applicants
While you may get too many messages to respond to all of them, try your best to reply to all those who seemed like potential candidates. Who knows – you may talk more with your initial top choice and realize it’s not the best match after all.
It’s nice to acknowledge what you liked about any candidates and let them know why it doesn’t work out – usually that you’ve already made your decision. But to those very close runner-ups, let them know if you’d like to consider them for the future.
We’ve actually ended up with a few sit offers this way! Several homeowners have contacted us later asking if we could sit for them, and we have! It’s a win-win for both sides since homeowners don’t have to put up a new listing and house sitters already know that they are interested if they’ve applied in the past.
4. Have a Conversation and Decide on Your Sitter
After responding to applicants, set up a time to have a video chat with your top prospective house sitter.
This gives a chance for both sides to ask questions and set out expectations and requirements. Communication is the most important part of house sitting since everyone needs and expects different things. A direct conversation is a great way to further intuit and sense if you made the right decision. Especially for people using house sitters for the first time, a simple conversation can do wonders to ease worries. Make sure that you’re excited about and comfortable having this house sitter your home.
At this point, if you haven’t already, make sure you confirm via the website.
5. Keep Communicating
Hammer out details and solidify dates. Either way, stay in touch! Make sure to send each other relevant details such as flight itineraries and keep each other posted about any other relevant details.
Now that you’ve got the nitty-gritty details of using house sitters for the first time down, it’s time to start planning your trip!
House Sitting Magazine – Homeowners Guide to House Sitting
House Sitting World – Tips for Homeowners Using a House Sitter
What else did we miss? What other questions do you have about using house sitters for the first time or house sitting in general? Leave a comment below or get in touch with us on Facebook or via email!