For homeowners housesitting can provide an excellent safe guard, especially for an empty property that is vacant for a period of time. In some cases this is unavoidable but creates a risky situation with opportunities for burglary and vandals with no guard in place. Housesitters can offer a solution to prevent any unwanted visitors or harm inflected to a property which could otherwise appear empty and vulnerable. Mary Nonde a registered housesitter with HouseSitMatch.com having recently begun a long term in a vacant property has drawn up her Top 10 Tips on homeowners housesitting preparing an empty property.
Homeowners housesitting Top 10 Tips
No 1. Broadband. The same goes for internet access which is a basic facility that should be provided. If as the Homeowner you have terminated your Broadband contract, bear in mind it can be lengthy and messy to set it up again irrespective of the supplier. If you don’t need to take the number with you, leave the line intact which should makes it quicker to be re-establish.
No 2. Services. When gas, electricity, oil-fired equipment is switched off and/or doesn’t run for a period of time, sometime it forgets what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t work when you switch it back on again. You need to demonstrate to the House-sitter they are fully-functioning and that the servicing is up-to-date and is not a hazard.
No 3. TV. Within reason most house-sitters would expect to be able to watch TV so they are not cut off from the world in what is likely to be an unfamiliar location where they have no friends. As the homeowner you may need to continue paying for a TV licence if the house-sitter doesn’t have one that travels with them.
No 4. Rubbish. The local council will need to be notified that rubbish needs to continue to be collected if they have got out of the habit of doing so, especially when the Homeowner is paying Council Tax. Make sure there are sufficient bins for your House-Sitter including recycling facilities and leave instructions about the collection schedule.
No 5. Financial arrangement. There’s a fine-line between being a Housesitter and a House-keeper. The former is usually unpaid and requires minimal formal duties while the latter is concerned with maintaining the home. For homeowners housesitting arrangements like the financials are critical to a clear brief, so establishing a formal housesitting agreement is a valuable step to ensuring clear communications and a harmonious relationship.
A typical scenario is that the Home-owner continues to pay for the utilities and services (including TV licence and Broadband). Besides one or two occupants are not going to consume anything like as much as a fully occupied house. As a responsible House-sitter your instinct should be to maintain the house to the same standard you would your own home.
No 6. Clean and sparkling. Remember what it’s like after a long holiday away when dust appears and settles from nowhere. To prepare the empty home for your House-sitter have it thoroughly cleaned beforehand. Also this is very important if you ultimately want to achieve a sale. Then leave sufficient well-functioning equipment and cleaning materials so the House-sitter can maintain the property.
No 7. Empty. Clear every nook and cranny of stuff. Don’t be lazy and leave debris. It should not be the responsibility of the House-sitter to get rid of it. Hire a skip before you leave and dump it. Then clean. You will magnify the chances of your house selling as well as having a happy House-sitter.
No 8. Furniture. What to leave or take. The House-sitter may have furniture they can and want to bring that can be used to home-stage the property. If not provide as the Homeowner you will need to provide it. At a minimum there needs to some window dressing in the bedrooms and lounge, bed(s), a table and chairs, a sofa, some easy chairs, somewhere to hang clothes, chest of drawers – common sense really. If you’ve taken all the furniture with you, there are many companies available now from whom you can hire.
No 9. Pets. It’s unlikely you’ve left your pets behind but you might prefer to do so in the short term or especially if you are planning to return at a later date. Things like a pond full of carp or an aviary of birds can’t necessarily be relocated so be prepared to provide clear instructions on daily maintenance but don’t expect the House-sitter to do messy cleaning jobs. You may need to employ someone for this.
No 10. Garden/grounds. It’s not usually the responsibility of the House-sitter to maintain the garden/grounds beyond sweeping a few leaves or pulling up obvious weeds. However, it’s in the Homeowners interest to maintain the homestead. So consider employing a groundsman who the House-sitter can supervise. This is definitely one to include in the homeowners housesitting agreement.
To start your housesitting adventure or to find your housesitting solution register with HouseSitMatch: