When a house sitter arrives at your home for the first time, they will not know your home. It is your job to welcome them and guide them through your home, pointing out relevant features that the sitter needs to know to do their job.
It is often a good idea to prepare a “house sitter package” that the sitter can refer to when they need. It should be written carefully, can be used several times, but can be modified as needed.
House sitter package
The most important detail included in your house sitter package is a page dedicated to providing emergency contact information. This page informs the sitter who to contact, should an emergency occur. Whether the sitter gets locked out of the house, your pet gets sick or the stove catches fire, your sitter must know the appropriate course of action! Make sure that your contact list includes your veterinarian, an individual with a spare key, your prefered tradesman for repairs, and all important medical contacts in case of an accident.
You should have a few pages dedicated to familiarizing the new house sitter with your home and your neighbourhood. Identify the location of any stores and facilities that the sitter may need to know. As well, indicate the location of your alarm terminal and its code, your lawn mower, any difficult to find light switches, the laundry room, and the fuse box or breaker board.
Leave a page for anything you believe that someone new to your home would find difficult to manage independently. Spend a week pretending you are a visitor to your own house. Write down anything that you wouldn’t innately know.
Preparing your home
Be sure to prepare the house as if you would if a long-term guest were arriving. Clean your house, especially the house sitter’s sleeping quarters. Be sure to provide space for the sitter’s personal belongings.
On meeting the sitter
Physically walk the sitter through the guide. Go one step at a time and review every page. This would include showing the sitter the various rooms of your home and demonstrate how to use items such as your alarm system or how to change a fuse in the fuse box. This sitter will be living in and caring for your home. They should feel confident when you leave and be comfortable and knowledgeable about your home.