THE TRAVELING SITTERS

THE TRAVELING SITTERS

Adventures While House Sitting

HOUSE SITTING QUESTIONS FROM AN ALASKAN AND OUR REPLY

Q. September 27, 2012 7:09 pm
 

Hi Cassy,
J. said you could put me in touch with sources where I might explore house sitting opportunities. I saw what you and your mate have tackled but I am looking at something a bit simpler. I am as I said just checking out possibilities. I’ve only done it once before and it worked out well. Duration was for 30 days and it was at an estate in New Hampshire.

Let me know your thoughts if you get a chance. For example.....
What is expected from the sitter usually? What is the average duration of stay? Does the owner take care of utilities?
Thank you, C. T.

P.S.I live in Nome and I may start going outside more in the winter if an option like this is available.

A.

Hi C,

Glad to help.

Here are a few sites we belong to that can connect you up with homeowners: trustedhousesitters.com, caretakergazette.org, housecarers.com. There are others but these three seem to have the best services, such as daily alerts.

Before joining the above sites, it would be to your advantage to get a police clearance  (in Alaska) an “Any Person Report” from the local troopers, a credit score, personal and work references and anything that will help prove you’re a trustworthy and reliable person.

As far as 'a typical' sit...each sit is very different. If you are looking for a long-term position and will be responsable for numerous pets, yard work and other daily/weekly chores,  I'd recommend that you find a sit that pays for everything (except your long distance calls, food & travel).

Owners often underestimate the time sitters spend tending to home/pet/yard tasks. Although, I suspect I tend to go overboard because I live with the thought “What if the owners were to return today, would they like what they see?” and work accordingly.

If there are no or few responsibilities then expenses can be whatever you and the homeowner are comfortable with. If a homeowner wants you to pay for everything, be sure the opportunity is exactly what you want in terms of location, free time etc…and you feel the experience is worth the cost. We typically pay electric (unless it's off grid), cooking fuel, heat, cell service and share in the cost of Internet/TV use.

Don’t expect payment for your housesitting. Even though we have 30 plus years of experience and great references we have never had a homeowner offer to pay us a stipend.

You really should not pay for anything if the sit is for less than two months since it takes about two to three weeks to learn the house, animals, property and the surrounding area. For us an assignment less than three months feels like a whirlwind of activity/work and costs us quite a bit to travel to as well.

If you’re considering overseas, you'll find most people promote their homes as a "Life/cultural experience" and seem to feel you should pay them. They may want you to pay all the household expenses. Unless you find a really sweet spot and you’re confident that the location is exactly what you need with no or few responsibilities I wouldn't agree to pay all of the household expenses. In foreign countries you might be required to protect the property 24/7. Be sure and find out exactly what the home owners expect on this point.

A few thoughts; say the homeowners have cable but you’re not a TV watcher, then you really shouldn't pay for a service you don't use. If a lot of water is used to maintain the grounds, then negotiate to pay a fraction of the water bill. Ask homeowners to supply the bulk of cleaning supplies for the house if they have indoor pets. If you will be running regular errands for the owners, such as mail runs, pet supplies, or vet trips ask the owners to pitch in on fuel. Usually home owners are very fair in these situations.

If the homeowner’s family or friends live close by expect to be seeing them occasionally; if the pets are older they may have health issues. If property owners want you to purchase supplies (say pet food) on a regular basis be sure they set you up with an account or leave you the necessary funds. Keep receipts and an accurate spending log. Stay in touch with the homeowners on at least a weekly basis. Send pictures of the pets on occasion.

If possible, talk with the home owners previous house-sitters to get their perspective before making a decision and committing.

All that being said...we really enjoy house-sitting and the opportunities to explore new areas. I hope this helps and feel free to email anytime.

Best wishes, Cassy & David

 

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