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How to Find a House Sitter

If you’re a homeowner who is concerned about leaving our home or property vacant while traveling, entrusting your property to a house sitter may be an ideal solution. But before you hand over your house keys over to just anyone, there are a few important things you should consider.

Identify your needs. When it comes to a house sitter, it’s essential to determine what your house sitting needs are. You’ll need to consider if you require a one-time house sitter, someone to house sit on occasion or someone to live-in your home on a short or long-term basis. You’ll also need to determine if your house sitter needs to have special experience, skills or qualifications, for example, if you need someone to keep up with your manicured lawn you may require the house sitter to have previous landscaping experience.

Some questions to ask include:

  • Do you travel regularly?
  • Do you need a house sitter for a one-time occasion or only a few weekends per year?
  •  Do you want someone to simply bring in the mail and turn the lights on at night or do you require someone to provide more intense care for your home and property while you’re away?
  • Do you want a house sitter who loves in your home or someone who stops by on a set schedule?
  • What type of home maintenance is needed while you’re away?
  • Do you have a pet that requires care?
  • Does your garden, lawn, pool or spa need attention while you’re away?
  • Do you wish to have a casual house sitter or a formal arrangement with one?

How you answer these questions will determine the type of house sitter you need and how much care and maintenance your home and property need while you’re away.

Consider your ideal house sitter. Before you begin your search, it’s important to consider what characteristics and traits are important to you when choosing a house sitter. In addition to being an honest, trustworthy, reliable and dependable individual, you want your house sitter to be qualified to tackle the house sitting tasks you require.

Questions to ask include:

  • Would your ideal house sitter live in your home or simply stop by a few times per day or week?
  • Would your ideal house sitter be a pet lover?
  • Would your ideal house sitter be comfortable and qualified to perform basic home repairs?
  • Would your ideal house sitter be computer savvy and able to pay utility bills online?
  • Would your ideal house sitter have the flexibility to come at a moment’s notice if you must leave town?
  • Would your ideal house sitter have previous house sitting experience?
  • Would your ideal house sitter live locally?
  • Would your ideal house sitter have other jobs and obligations?

The answer to these questions will help guide you towards the best match for your house sitting needs.

Determine the type of relationship you’d like. Some homeowners may simply hire the high school kid next store to feed the cat and take in the mail afterschool each day and others require a professional house sitter to live in the residence and carefully maintain the home and property. As such, there’s casual and more formal house sitting arrangement. If you’ll be formally employing a full-time house sitter, for example, you’ll need to set up a formal employment arrangement which will require legal and tax obligations.

Begin your search. House sitters can be located through online house sitting job websites, classified ads, job postings and through specialized agencies that match property owners with prospective house sitters in order to find the ideal match. Most house sitters, however, are recommended to their clients through word of mouth and secure the majority of their appointments by maintaining impeccable references and a sterling reputation. While casual caretakers may volunteer to water houseplants and pick up the mail, the dedicated professional house sitter will treat each property they look after with the care and respect that they would afford their own home.

Interview viable house sitters. Once you’ve recruited viable candidates, you’ll want to interview each candidate by phone and in person, when possible. Since you’ll be entrusting your house sitter with your personal property, you want to have a good sense of who the individual your considering is and if you can connect on a personal and professional level.

Conduct a background screening. While homeowners may make an informal job offer prior to a background check, it should be contingent on a clean background screening. For homeowners hiring a house sitter, completing a thorough background check is imperative. Homeowners should conduct a social security number verification, county criminal court records check, credit check, sex offender registry check and should check the house sitting candidates’ motor vehicle. Homeowners should also check house sitting and character references.

Make a job offer. Once the background check is complete and you’re confident you’ve found the right house sitter for your home or property, prepare a formal job offer. Creating a draft of a house sitting agreement can help to outline the roles, responsibility and duties of each party. The agreement should also include any compensation and/or financial responsibilities.

Enjoy your time away from home. Now you’ve got a qualified house sitter in place, you can have confidence that your home and property is being cared for while you’re away. Before leaving town, be sure to provide your house sitter with any and all pertinent information, such as security alarm codes and a list of repair service providers, prior to departing on your venture.

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