Be choosy when choosing your house sitter!

Settle for nothing but the best when choosing a house or pet sitter.

1) What is house sitting?
House sitting is simply arranging for someone to stay in your home and look after things while you’re away. Sometimes house sitting is a short-term arrangement of a couple week’s or less, but it can also be for a longer term. Transferees often arrange for house sitters as they wait for their home to sell. Frequent travelers contract for house sitters for short durations, but often.

2) Why hire a house sitter?
Some of the main reasons to hire a house sitter is to discourage burglars by having a lived-in look at your home, to pick up your deliveries and newspapers, to oversee your household activities (gardeners, pool service, etc.) while you’re away, to pick up and sort your mail, answer your phone calls, and restock your fridge before you return home. There are also occasional household emergencies and repairs our staff has handled for our clients while they’ve been traveling.

At Your Service often combines pet sitting with our house sitting service. This is especially important to our clients with multiple pets, older pets, or even `finicky’ pets who just prefer staying at home while their best friends are away.

3)What to look for in a house sitter.
First, think about the kind of person you’ll feel comfortable having in your home. Take some time to define their duties clearly. Do you want someone 24/7, who only leaves for occasional runs to the grocery store or post office? Or, will it suffice to have someone come by and check in on things a couple of times a week? Do you want your house sitter to report back to you regularly while you’re away or keep communication limited to emergencies?

Price is important, but since your home is probably your biggest investment it doesn’t pay to let price become the overriding concern. Once you’ve decided on the type of person you’re looking for and the scope of their duties, do a search on-line or in your community newspaper for good candidates. Have a checklist available of things you want to ask each of them.

4)Ladies and gentlemen start your interviews.
Do phone interviews with everyone you’re considering. Get all your questions answered. Take notes. Trust your instincts! Remember, it’s very important to make sure your house sitter is bonded and insured. That means a police check has been done on your house sitter and they’re insured in case they cause any damage to your property. Ask for references—and verify them! A good house sitter is anxious to have you call their other clients.

5)Once you’ve narrowed them down, meet with your leading candidates in person.
If possible, have a detailed list of your expectations. If pet sitting will be involved, introduce them. The goal is for everyone—even Fido and Fritzie—to be as comfortable with each other as possible. Don’t be afraid to get personal. Everything should be upfront. Will you allow your house sitter to have an occasional guest in your home? Are there any areas of your home that are off limits? Do you want to leave extra chores for your house sitter to accomplish while you’re gone? Can he/she use your internet? Your phone? Your washer and dryer?

6)Now that you’re armed with plenty of information you can make a decision based on facts, coupled with instinct. This should be an enjoyable situation for you, your house sitter, and your pets!

7) One last word of advice…it’s never too early to book your house or pet sitter. Your sitter will probably ask for a deposit that will be applied to your charges to hold the dates for you. A portion of the deposit may be non-returnable.

Email At Your Service to request a Housesitter Checklist you can use to put all your ground rules in writing, record important phone numbers, and leave reminders. Remember the success of your housesitter depends a great deal on the quality of information you give him or her.

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