Top 10 Homeowner house-siting tips
If you are anything like me getting ready for a holiday is more about preparing the house for your absence rather than packing a holiday case not unlike cleaning before the cleaner comes!
Moreover, preparing for a live-in house-sitter more especially a new resident house-sitter can be a little more complicated because you are preparing to have someone in your home and clearing space for them to live where you live, but in your absence. Here are some house-sitting tips for when you are preparing to receive a house-sitter.
It absolutely helps to take time to prepare your home, your house-sitter, your pets if that applies, and yourself! These details may seem trivial, however, ensuring that both you and the sitter are clear on what you want and expect will help you all manage expectations all round.
We have used house-sitters for years, and these are routines I find helpful in order to ensure I cover all the bases. Here are my top 10 tips:
1. House-sitting tips – Specify daily or weekly routines
Prepare a list of daily and if appropriate weekly routines for the sitter, to help them manage your home, your pets and any garden or special plants you have. I also try to keep in touch while we are away, just to make sure all is well and the sitter is happy.
2. House-sitting tips – Your insurance –
Check your home insurance, and pet insurance. If you are planning a long absence of 4 weeks or more you must tell your home insurance company. They usually prefer a home to be occupied by a sitter, otherwise you may find your insurance is invalid. You may also wish to check that your sitter has an up to date Police Check – we always do. Go to this link to find out more.
3. House-sitting tips – Your sitters insurance
If you have pets, it is best to check that your sitters have up to date pet-sitting insurance. This is not expensive, and many insurance companies will cover a sitter for about 110 GBP/ $175 AUD for one year. One good insurance company that specialises in pet-sitting and house-sitting insurance in the UK is Cliverton (UK) Telephone: +44 3300 015 047.
4. House-sitting tips – Take precautions for precious items or objects that hold sentimental value
If you are keeping a secret Faberg egg collection safe for a rainy day, then manage your risks and keep it safe by locking it away. It is advisable to stow your precious items away somewhere out of sight; most sitters are careful and take their responsibility very seriously, they know their reputation depends on it. This is just a precaution, to ensure both you and they have peace of mind so that your favourite baubles do not encounter an accident in your absence.
5. House-sitting tips – Introduce the sitter to your pets
It should go without saying that some pets become nervous around newcomers in the home. Check out our VET’s Blog all about preparing your Pets for the house/pet-sitter. It is ideal if they can meet before the sit begins. The more pets you have the more important this can be. If you have dogs then it is advisable for the sitter to walk with the dogs on a couple of occasions at least so they can become familiar with each others peccadillos!
6. House-sitting tips – Prepare your pets
A pet’s daily routines are very important, especially if there are a number of them. Make a detailed list of what needs to happen, tell the sitter where to find the pet food and equipment, and where to buy more if necessary. Make a clear list of who to contact and which VET to visit in case of an emergency specifying address and telephone number – leaving a copy of your Pet insurance details to hand and your pets inoculation record. This may all seem obvious, however, when preparing to go on holiday it is easy to let these basics slip your mind, It can all help to prepare the sitter to manage care for your pet just as you would like it.
7. House-sitting tips – Remove all business and personal files from open access areas
To prevent any unwanted clutter and paperwork from going astray or underfoot in your absence, put things away either in lockable cupboards or pack them away in the loft (roof space). It can help you prepare to finally file away all those bills and letters that stack up when you are not paying attention. It feels great going on holiday knowing all is in order and the paperwork is safely organised and put away.
8. House-sitting tips – Managing Post in your absence
One of the easiest signs that gives away an empty house to burglars is the pile up of post on a door mat or worse still in the letter box. If you have a sitter of course they can clear the post from viewable areas. This is really important. Another great idea recently high-lighted to me by a friend who works for Royal Mail is the KEEPSAFE SERVICE. It only takes 5 days to set up and the Royal Mail holds all your mail for up to 66 days! This is ideal, especially if you have a long absence from home. So no one has to worry about the post giving away the fact that you are not at home, whether your sitter remembers every day or not!
9. House-sitting tips – Prepare a bedroom for the sitter
Preparing a dedicated bedroom, identifying the appropriate linen, clearing out wardrobe space for their clothes and possessions can help to ensure your sitter has a clearly marked home space in your house. during your absence.
10. House-sitting tips – Remove or pack away anything precious or of sentimental value
You might also want to put together an inventory of the important items you keep about the house. To be honest aside from the fact that we are fully insured, I don’t bother because I have nothing that is of any real value. All our sitters have respected our things. This relationship is based on trust and mutual benefit. We always feel a real sense of comfort and peace of mind knowing our home is being cared for by a trusted house-sitter, while we are away. These days with people we know being burgled and properties vandalised in the owners absence it just doesn’t seem to be enough to have the neighbours pop in to collect the post while you are away. That was one of the reasons for starting HouseSit Match, this house-sitting network, to help others benefit from a network of like-minded people. Have you registered yet as either homeowner or sitter?
Credit – Thanks to the BBC for use of the images of Faberg Eggs.
By Lamia Walker – Founder of HouseSitMatch.com
TO REGISTER for house-sitting on HouseSitMatch FOLLOW THIS LINK