How to choose the right housesitter
So, you are going away for a time. Maybe just a few days or maybe for an extended trip, due to work or family obligations. You need someone to be in your home, enough to deter burglars. Maybe you also need someone to take care of your animal friends, the same way you would care for them if you were home.
How do you know who to choose?
It's not a small thing, to have a stranger come into your home environment. Never mind thinking "are they honest". Most housesitters do it for the adventure of travel and most are honest. In other words, they won't rob you blind. But how do you know if they are a good match for you?
Well, one thing I've learned from housesitting myself is that it is important to know a little bit about the housesitter's lifestyle. For example, some important boundaries to define include:
Are you willing to have someone who drinks? If so, how much of a drinker will you accept? Simply by posting, in your ad for a housesitter, that you require a non-drinker or social drinker, can help alleviate some misunderstandings.
Smoking is another point to cover. Do you smoke? If so, it's vital to post that information for those who do not or cannot be in a smoke environment. It's also vital to be very clear as to your boundaries about smoking in your home, outside on the deck, or not at all.
Another vital issue, for those of you who have animals and love them, is to determine whether the housesitter you are considering really loves animals or just puts up with them, for the opportunity to housesit. You can learn a lot aobut a person, just by telling them about your pets and noticing their response. If they seem sensitive to the fact that Fluffy loves to sleep on the foot of the bed, and accomodating of that arrangement, that's a good sign. If, on the other hand, they say they don't mind taking care of Fluffy but would prefer she sleep in another room....
While that doesn't disqualify them (they may have pet allergies), it might matter to you because maybe Fluffy is used to sleeping at the foot of the bed and you want her to feel safe and comfortable in your absence.
Another issue is how much the housesitter is willing to be at your residence. Again, careful monitoring of their response is helpful. If the potential housesitter does not seem to be conscious of the need to be home when you need them to be home, that's a warning sign.
Be reasonable about what you are asking the housesitter to do. Is it housesitting or pet care that goes beyond the typical housesit? Is there gardening work that is so extensive that it will be daily labor? Be up front about all the tasks involved, including how long each will take and how physically demanding the work may be.
But the most important issue is really, are you a good match. You want the person who is staying in your home to have resonance with you, with your lifestyle. You can determine this by frequent communication, both by email and by phone, prior to commiting to the housesit.
Pay attention to references, particularly with regard to animal care. Believe me, if someone makes a person's animal friends feel at home , they will be remembered.
If the person has an online presence, and you can read about their lifestyle and their vocation online, that's helpful so ask if they work on the internet or have a website. You can learn a great deal about a person from their website or blog.
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