How to Become a House Sitter
For the right type of person, being a house sitter can be a rewarding experience. From college students looking to live rent-free to those who are self-employed and can work from anywhere, to retirees who want to see the world on someone else’s dime, house sitting jobs can provide the perfect opportunity to save money and scout out new and different locales.
But before you decide to jump into a house sitting job, there’s a few things you’ll need determine if you have what it takes to be a house sitter.
Consider your character. House sitters must be of good character. Since house sitters are entrusted with a homeowner’s personal property and belongings, a house sitter must be trustworthy. Homeowners also depend on their house sitters to care for their home and provide necessary maintenance tasks, so they must also be dependable and reliable. Homeowner’s trust their house sitters to not only handle day-to-day tasks like taking in the mail, but trust them to respond appropriately to home emergencies, such as a basement floor or loss of power. House sitters must also be good communicators who are able to relay essential information to home owners and who are able to understand and follow instructions.
Evaluate your abilities. Different homeowners will have different needs and as such, will require their house sitters to tend to different house sitting tasks. Some homeowners expect their house sitters to also serve as pet sitters, for example, so you’ll need to determine if you’re capable and confident to care for a beloved pet. Others homeowners may require their house sitters to take on lawn maintenance or landscaping tasks, which would require the housekeeper to use the necessary tools and machinery to complete the tasks. Knowing what home maintenance tasks you’re comfortable and confidently able to perform will help guide you towards the right house sitting jobs for you.
Determine your availability. While house sitting is ideal for those individuals who don’t have outstanding personal or professional commitments in a specific locale, individuals who can clearly identify their availability can typically find suitable house sitting jobs. Some house sitters provide seasonal house sitting services, others live on site year round due to the homeowner’s extensive travel schedule and still others take occasional house sitting jobs on weekends that work around their schedule.
Search for house sitting jobs. Once you know you’re cut out for the job, know what house sitting tasks you’re comfortable and confident performing and have determined your availability, it’s time to search for house sitting jobs. There are many avenues individuals can use to search for house sitting jobs, but the most popular is online house sitting job websites. With house sitting job websites, job seekers have the ability to connect with homeowners all over the country and world. Word of mouth, domestic placement agencies and searching classified ads are other ways house sitting job seekers can find a suitable house sitting job.
Interview with homeowners. Once a homeowner has identified you as a viable house sitter, the interview process will begin. House sitters can expect to have a phone interview and at least one in person interview. Since house sitters are entrusted with caring for the homeowner’s property and belongings, house sitters can also expect homeowners to conduct a thorough background screening. This screening may include social security verification, country criminal records check, credit checks, sex offender registry checks and a motor vehicle driving record check. House sitters seeking employment should also be prepared to provide house sitting and character references to home owners during the interview process.
Begin house sitting. Once you’ve found a homeowner and house sitting job that seem like the right match and you’ve cleared the background check, it’s time to start house sitting. It’s always a good idea to draft a written agreement that outlines the duties, responsibilities and expectations of both the house sitter and the homeowner. The house sitter should also ensure that all relevant information pertaining the care and maintenance of the home is also provided. This includes house and car keys, codes for security alarms, contacts for preferred household repairs, contact information for the homeowner and any other necessary information the house sitter needs to ensure the smooth operation of the home in the homeowner’s absence.
Responsibilities of House Sitters
While each house sitting job will be different, depending on the homeowner’s needs and the house sitting arrangement, most house sitting jobs share a few similarities.
House sitters typically:
- Occupy the home.
- Notify the homeowner immediately upon signs of home or property damage.
- Maintain the standard of care for the property.
- Care for the homeowner’s pets.
- Care for the swimming pool or spa.
- Pay utility bills.
- Take phone messages.
- Accept and redirect packages.
- Water plants.
- Collect and redirect mail.
- Provide garden or lawn maintenance.
- Arrange for or make necessary home repairs.
- Keep the home clean and tidy.
- Keep the property secure.
- Handle any home or property related emergencies.
- Prepare the home for the owner’s arrival.
Having a written house sitting agreement can ensure that there is a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities between the house sitter and the home owner.
Beware of House Sitting Scams
When searching for a house sitting job, house sitters should be cautious of house sitting scams. If a homeowner offers a house sitting job to a house sitter whom he’s never interviewed, refuses to provide personal information or to talk on the phone, or sends money through a bank check, personal check or wire transfer as payment in advance, it should serve as a red warning flag.
If a homeowner asks for money for any reason, it is likely a scam. House sitters should never wire or transfer money to individuals whom they do not know.