7 Things You Need to Know About Every House Sitting Job

September 28, 2016

Thinking about becoming a house sitter? Want to improve your reputation and ensure you have a happy homeowner when they arrive home from their trip? Then you need to be an informed house sitter.

Being a house sitter is something that you need to take seriously. People are trusting you with their homes, the personal items within, and even with their furry members of the family. While the job seems to be simple enough, it’s not something you can afford to take lightly, or you’ll have a tough time finding gigs in the future.

For this reason alone, you need to equip yourself with the following “must know” pieces of information before homeowners hand over their keys to you.

7 Must Knows For House Sitters

1. Home Owner’s Contact Information

This is one of the most obvious, but also one of the most important things you need to know as a house sitter. Make sure that you have the homeowner’s cell number, name of the hotel where they are staying (if applicable) and even a copy of their travel itinerary so you will be able to contact them anytime.

2. Home Owner’s Emergency Numbers

This is another obvious one, but a must-have, nonetheless. You never know what could happen while house sitting, but you need to be prepared. Make sure you have access to all local emergency service numbers, and also the numbers of the neighbors and even the numbers of a family member of the homeowner who can help you.

3. Alarm Codes

This is one of the most important things to have (and potentially embarrassing if you don’t). The last thing you want to happen as a house sitter is setting off the alarm and not having the code or knowing how to override the system. Remember, there may be alarms for other areas than just the front door. Make sure you have all alarm codes for the property.

4. House Rules

Understanding and respecting the house rules is important. These rules will vary from homeowner to homeowner. Some people are very relaxed, and others are more rigid as to how much access you will have. Know which rooms and areas are out of bounds, know what you can and cannot use while staying at the home, and respect these rules. For example, some homeowners may not allow access to their hot tub or may request that you don’t go into their garage.

5. Visitor Policy

One rule that you need to be aware of is how the homeowner feels about you having guests. As a general rule, you should never have people over to a home you are watching. It opens the door to a whole host of potential issues. If the homeowner is okay with you having guests over, let them know who you plan to have over ahead of time. Don’t abuse their kindness and take advantage of the situation. Remember, you are fully responsible for anyone you allow into their home.

6. Pet Care Rules

One of the main reasons people hire a house sitter is because they have pets that need to be taken care of while they are away. Talk with the homeowner beforehand and make sure you are 100% clear on their pet’s needs. Know how often they need to be fed, walked, medication needs, how long they can be left alone in the home, and any other pet rules.

7. Responsibilities

Part of your role as a house sitter is to care for the home while the owner is away. This could mean cutting the lawn, taking out the trash and recycling, some light cleaning, picking up the mail, and other common responsibilities. There may also be less common responsibilities or tasks they require you to complete. Make sure that you fully understand any responsibilities you are expected to take care of while they are away.

Always Follow Up

While some of this information is obvious, it is also easy to overlook (for both parties). The good news is that many homeowners today leave house sitters with a list of this information or put together a house book – similar to what you would receive if you rented a cottage.

Even if the homeowner provides you with this information, don’t assume all the information you need is in the document. Homeowners could forget to include important information, so make sure you take the time to go through the information carefully before they depart.

If you notice important information missing, or you want to clarify something, talk with them about it before they leave. It’s always a good idea to ensure you are both on the same page and there are no misunderstandings.

Having access to this information will make your job a lot easier. You never know what could happen when watching someone’s home, and the only way to be prepared is to know the above information. This will ensure you can do the job to the homeowner’s specifications and have a happy customer when they come home from their trip.

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