House sitting is a real win-win. Home and pet owners allow house sitters in to their home to care for their home and pets in exchange for accommodation.
Firstly you need to sign up to a house sitting website. There are plenty of different house sitting websites out there. The best websites have a membership fee which allows you to advertise and contact potential sitters. The one site we highly recommend is Trusted Housesitters. Trusted Housesitters is one of the only house sitting websites that has a membership fee for home owners as well as house sitters. They have a great verification system and have the biggest reach to house sitters around the world. We find that there are higher quality house sits on there, which attracts higher quality house sitters. Their membership fee is more than most other websites, so that alone shows house sitters are more committed. There are many more house sitting websites out there, some are free for hosts, some are local to areas as well but after trying many different ones, Trusted Housesitters really outshines the rest.
If you want to attract a great house sitter you need to put time into building your ad. Think about a catchy title. What information can you provide that is going to draw the best house sitters in. If you are stuck on where to start keep reading and also check out other ads for inspiration.
Take the time to clean your home and take clear photos of your the outside and inside. Include photos of all your pets and it is always nice to include a picture of yourself too. Now pick the best photo to be your main image whether it be the pets or your home. This image is the one that gets mailed out to thousands of house sitters around the world. Quality photos including living areas, bedroom, kitchen and other parts of the home the house sitter would be using, showing complete transparency. Make sure you photos also reflect what the house is going to be like at the time of the sit.
What is going to be the responsibilities of the house sitter/s? Explain in detail ALL tasks that will be required during the sit so everything is transparent from the beginning. Firstly, what are the needs of the pets. Secondly what needs to be done around the home. Being completely open in your listing can help to prevent misunderstandings and potential issues later. I have outlined a few key points below on what to include…
Once you have a profile ready to go, it is time to post. Be prepared to receive responses straight away so have this in mind when you post.
When you start receiving responses, it is best to sort through them as soon as they come through. You could get a huge response, straight away, so keeping on top of them will make your job a lot easier. You can turn off your ad by changing it to “reviewing applications” if you feel like you have enough. Go with your gut feel, if you feel like someone amazing has applied, organise a skype with them straight away.
There are other ways to find out more about a sitter. They may provide you links to social media profiles or AirBnB reviews. Also make sure you look at their references or reviews, experienced house sitters will have references. If they are not listed on their profile it could be because they use another sitting website so make sure you ask!
It is best practice to let the applicants know during the process what stage they are at or if you will not be considering their application. Then if anything falls though, being polite and informative to your second favourite, might come in handy if the first one backs out.
Skype is a great way to get to know sitters. Putting a face to the name, and asking questions will help you to get to know them and help you feel more comfortable throughout the process. This also gives the sitter a chance to get to know you, learn about your pets and what their responsibilities will be, and even a tour of your home, once again, keeping full transparency on what they are signing up for. Give applicants the chance to ask you questions, so you can gauge their level of commitment.
If you have a local sitter interested, after a phone call it can be nice to invite the sitter around to see the place, meet you and meet the pets. This is the best way to show their personality and interest, you can also see how the sitter interacts with your animals.
Taking weeks to make a decision could mean your preferred sitter might accept a different house sit, so make sure you communicate with them during the process and also make a decision as soon as you can. Once you have some one confirmed update this in your profile and remove the ad.
Sometimes it’s nice for house sitters to arrive the night before, that way they can get settled and familiarise themselves with your animals routine, another good idea is to write a welcome guide. If your a member of trustedhousesitters they have a detailed template. If you are a frequent traveller, all this information is saved in your profile for your next one. List all the information about the house, animals, contact numbers of people to contact in emergency as well as the vet details. As a house sitter, we always leave the house tidier than we left it so it is always nice when a home is lovely and clean for us when we arrive.
Reviews and referrals are super important to any house sitter. They are what allow people like us to continue house sitting, so always remember to write your house sitters a review or referral within a week after they left. Also remember to list any special treatment, medicines or care given to your animals.