Family Life, Home Maintenance

Hiring a House Sitter, Part 1: The Hiring

Summer time is vacation time! (We will be talking about vacation planning for the next several weeks here at “Breakfast with Bethany”.)

Even if you don’t technically get summers off anymore, summer is when lots of families take advantage of the time to travel. My family is no different, but when you transforming into “Mom the Vacation Planner” requires a LOT of planning and forethought! One of the first steps in making plans for a vacation is making sure that your house is taken care of while you are away. Here are some tips for finding a house sitter that will best suit your needs so that you can enjoy a vacation without worrying about whether the homestead is cared for!

Before You Search: 

Before you start interviewing potential house sitters, you need to have an idea of what you need. Are you just looking for someone to look in on your property? Do you have a large garden that will need watering and weeding? Do you have pets?

You’ll also need to consider whether you just need someone to stop by a few times a day, or whether you want someone staying in the house overnight. This will probably depend on the level of need any pets might have.

It’s also a good idea to know what you can offer as payment on the front end of a search. It’s not necessary to include what you will pay in initial communications, but it lets you know if someone gives you an amount they charge if it will work with your budget.

Searching:

The best place to start your search, in my opinion, is via social media. Ask your network of friends who they would recommend, and see if you can’t link up with some options that way. If a social media blast doesn’t yield any results, then you can check out sites like Care.com to find service providers in your area. Be sure to include what you are looking for in any initial communication to keep from wasting time. For example,

“Hi! My friend Jane Doe recommended you as a house sitter. I’m looking to hire someone to look after my house, two outdoor cats, and elderly dog from July 1 to July 10. I’m looking for someone who can stay overnight with my pets and let the dog out three times a day. Are you interested and available?”

So this gives someone all the information they need to say yes or no right off the bat. They can consider the dates, their comfort level of staying in someone else’s home, and whether they feel comfortable taking care of these kinds of pets based on their experience or even their potential allergies.

Making a Hire: 

If you think you’ve found someone who is going to be a good fit for you, make sure that you discuss your expectations as the homeowner and their expectations for payment really explicitly. It’s not a bad idea to type out your expectations and maybe include the payment rate in the document to make sure you are both on the same page. In addition to expectations and instructions for caring for the house, pets, and plants, you will probably want to include some personal expectations about guests, cleanliness, and food.

It seems like a lot of work on the front end, especially if you haven’t used a house sitter in your current city before and are starting from scratch. But knowing that you’ve set everything up to be taken care of at home will really help you be able to relax on your vacation!

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this post, where I will talk about creating a comprehensive list of information and instructions for leaving your house in the care of a house sitter. 

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