Need a change of scenery? Nothing is cheaper than volunteering to house sit for a family on vacation. You get to hang out in a new surrounding and the family can relax any worries about care for their most valuable asset: their home. Before this dream vacation scenario can even take flight, it quickly sinks like a rock when both parties do not have firm agreements before starting.
1. Always do a walk through before the family leaves
It is important since the house sitter will care for the house that he or she understand all of the major appliances, alarm systems, and electronics. The last thing anyone wants is to come home from vacation to anything with the wrong settings or worse broken. For the house sitter, little is more frustrating than an inability to simply turn on the TV.
2. Know what the family wishes done in an emergency
The basics are easy when it comes to the emergency water shut off, but what if any of the pets get sick? Is the house sitter expected to take the animal to the veterinarian? Which one and who will pay the bill? A very common error is the house sitter unaware of a pre-existing condition of the animal rushes a pet to the veterinarian when the family has other means of care. Finally, are there any home repair service or home warranty policies the house sitter should use if a major home component fails?
3. Plants are fickle creatures, they need a carefully written out schedule as well
One of the most familiar duties of a house sitter is watering the plants. For common household plants, this isn’t a problem. If the vacationing family has prized African Violets, intricate care instructions should be left behind. The house sitter and the home owner should make sure the routine of sun, water, and any other care will work with the house sitter’s daily schedule.
4. Come to terms on compensation before the vacation starts
House sitting is not an easy task, though it sounds elementary in theory. The house sitter should receive some type of compensation for caring for the home, especially if there are pets or other household tasks that must be completed. Failure to set a price for the service before the home owners leave on vacation may mean all you get is a touristy T-shirt and a “Thank You.”
5. Write it down
The best way to accomplish everything a house sitter and home owner need to know about the transaction is to write it down
A simple detailed list of expectations, tasks, and allowed activities will prevent any headaches for the house sitter or vacationing family upon return. A house sitter is providing a service to the home owner; vacationing home owners rarely have a problem treating the house sitter as such. House sitters sell themselves short by not requesting compensation for their work. Alternatively, the agreement can state service in-kind when the house sitter takes his or her next holiday.
House sitting is a great way to get away from it all without leaving town. A little change of location is a nice refresher from the daily grind. Smart house sitters realize though there is a real aspect of work in caring and maintaining two homes. To make the house sitting experience successful, always do your home work ahead of time and have written agreements to reference.