Need A House And Pet Sitter While Youre Away But Think You Cant Afford It Think Again
While you're out in the big world, your most precious possessions need to be cared for: your property and your animals. All sorts of service providers have sprung up to cater for this growing market, however, the services of agency-registered pet and house sitters can cost a great deal of money. Friends and family can step into the fold and agree to house sit for you but when someone is doing you a favour they can be notoriously unreliable.
But don't despair - there is a 'third way' to engage the services of a house sitter. It is
possible to find responsible and well-intentioned people who are keen to mind your
house and animals for their own reasons. They don't expect to be paid for their
services, in fact they'll pay you for their share of utilities. The secret of this modern
miracle lies in the power of the Internet to bring the right house sitter and the right
house sitting assignment together at the right moment in time.
Why do I need a house sitter?
Leaving your property empty for any length of time is tantamount to asking for
trouble. Not only is your vacant house far more likely to be vandalized and burgled
but your home and contents insurance becomes null and void after your home is
empty for 30 (or sometimes 60) consecutive days. In the words of every home
security, police authority and insurance advisor: 'Don't do it!'
It may seem easier to lock your house up and simply walk (or drive) away rather
than go through the process of finding a house sitter but your home is probably
your most valuable asset and as such, deserves the protection that a house sitter
How often does something minor come up in your home that requires attention?
The person who is minding your house is on hand to organise repairs to storm
damage, prevent your pipes from freezing, keep leaves out of your drains, shovel
snow, pay the bills to keep your services connected. The list goes on... And if you
have a house sitter keeping your home running smoothly you don't need to go
through the rigmarole of shutting your home down (sealing drains and installing
random light switches etc) and then starting it up again upon your return.
Your animals will thank you for engaging a house sitter to provide them with care
and companionship in their usual safe environment while you're away. Without a
live-in pet sitter the cost of outside care for your pets could rival the cost of your
vacation! And taking them with you can be simply too stressful for them (and you).
What can I expect of my house sitter?
House sitters are by their very nature flexible and willing to consider your needs in
exchange for the privilege of free accommodation in your home. They will expect to
be asked to occupy your property for a given period of time and to be present in
your home every night. You can also ask your house sitter to look after any number
of animals, to maintain your pool, lawns, indoor plants and gardens, to forward any
mail and phone messages, to pay utility bills as required (working out their personal
share of bills at the end of the assignment) and to carry out any basic maintenance
that your home requires.
How do I find a free house sitter?
There are many thousands of house sitters who are currently advertising their free
services in online house sitting directories.
If you type a few generic search terms such as "house sitters" or
"house sitting" (use double quotes to perform the more accurate phrase search) into
a search engine you should be able to find a reputable and relevant website in the
top 100 search returns.
You may need to scrutinise several promising-looking (and high-ranking) websites
before you find those that offer the kind of free matching service that you're looking
for. Avoid those websites which are simply adverts for individual house sitter's
commercial services or traditional house sitting agencies.
Free house sitting matching websites generally follow two basic models of business
practice. In the first fully online model, house sitters pay an annual fee to create
their own sitter available advert which is online and searchable 24 hours per day.
Home owners register with the site then login to search its database of sitter
available adverts for suitable candidates, contacting their shortlist of house sitters
directly. Home owners can also advertise their house sitting assignment on these
sites and have house sitters email them through a blank contact form. A very good
site should strive to protect your anonymity until you're prepared to reveal your
contact details yourself.
In the second model, the website only serves as an advert for the business which is
conducted by the administrators 'behind the scenes'. House sitters pay a fee (this
can range from anything from US$95 to four times that amount) for an annual
membership with the website. In return the business owner agrees to include the
house sitters' adverts in either an email or printed mailing list which is sent out to
Home owners are fortunate in that these house sitting websites are actively courting
your custom. As a home owner you should be able to register with the website for
free as well as search the database of sitter available adverts for free (or receive a
list of potential house sitters in your letterbox or inbox - again for free). However,
one very well established matching service does have the cheek to charge home
owners for access to its database. You need to decide whether you think it's worth
the small-ish investment (US$30 to read sitter available adverts and a further US$60
to post your own 100-word sitter wanted advert) to use this well-established site.
You may want to try your luck with the rest of the free services first as you've
nothing to lose by casting around on the different sites. However, if a site is very
badly made with illogical (or nonexistent) navigation structure and a search function
that doesn't seem to work avoid it. House sitters will be staying away from such a
service in droves as well.
What should I avoid when looking for a house sitter?
Horror house sitting stories do exist. The most spectacular one I've read (this could
be fact or fiction) is the hapless home owner who unknowingly engaged the services
of a crack-addicted workmate to mind his home while he was away. He arrived
home to find his safe detonated - the thieves had made off with everything. Short of
asking his workmate to take a drugs test what could he have done to avoid falling
into this hole?
Plenty. The conscientious and responsible house sitter will have all the
documentation ready to prove to you that they're trustworthy and reliable and want
to mind your home and animals for all the right reasons. This documentation could
include written references and the contact details of email and phone referees
(these people could be satisfied home owners, landlords or estate agents). They will
also have commissioned a recent police check on themselves to show that they're
not wanted in three states. A conscientious house sitter should be happy to work
through and sign a house sitting agreement with you as well as give you a security
deposit (of not more than the equivalent of a month's rent for a similar property in
In my work as a website editor and administrator I come across a great many lonely
online classifieds and forlorn requests on bulletin boards from home owners who
are looking for a house sitter who will work for free in exchange for
accommodation. These types of requests are the Internet equivalent of 'whistling in
the wind' as the right people never see them. Fortunately, the existence of new
online house sitting directories has changed all of that.
In the olden days (before the Internet brought us all together) a home owner who
needed someone to mind their home and care for Fluffy while they were out on the
road would most likely do the following: Phone a house sitting agency, accept the
2 Tinou Street
(+30) 210 6514803
(+30) 210 6514743
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