Method # 1: Find your House Sitter on a House Sitting Community Website
A house sitting community website is a website where anyone can register either as a house owner or as a house sitter. The website matches house owners with house sitters based on their house sitting criteria. Below are the steps on how to find your house sitter via this method:
Step 1: Register to a house sitting community website
The first step is to find yourself a trusted house sitting community website. Here at FreePetSitters, we recommend one that has been in the business for a long time already and has already serviced a lot of house owners and house sitters alike. We also recommend one that caters to your house’s location. The one that ticks both of these is HouseCarers. They have been in the business for 21 years already (launched Oct 2000) and so they have a large database of house sitters as well as house owners in their website. If you however, want some alternative options, you can view this article from The Travelling Housesitters ranking the 6 best house sitting websites. Once you have registered on your preferred website and logged in to their dashboard, we are on to the next step.
Step 2: Choose either to browse the list of house sitters or create a house sitting listing
Once you have registered as a house sitter on the website, you can either browse the list of house sitters and check their profiles by yourself or create a house sitting listing. Creating a house listing is more recommended than the first option especially if HouseCarers was your choice as they will automatically match you with qualified housesitters based on your criteria. For this step, it is important to prepare information like photos of your house, pets and plants and include this in the listing so house sitters will be interested in your house sitting listing.
Step 3: Wait for interested house sitters to contact you
House sitters interested will be contacting you. Once on this stage, it is important to research about the interested house sitter by looking at their profile on the website. It will be showing their verified status, experiences, references, police check status and a lot more information. List down your preferred house sitters and proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Contact your preferred house sitters via your preferred communication channels
Contact one by one the sitters you have listed in the previous step. Feel free to use either Skype, telephone, email or face-to-face communication to talk with each other. Prepare an interview for the house sitter with questions and discussions that you deem are important for the house sitting arrangement. Some examples of these discussions will include topics such as your expectations and required tasks, pet interaction, and refundable security deposit bonds. Refundable security deposit bonds are fees that will be paid to you by the sitter as a form of an agreement that the sitter will solely take care of your home and not trash it. After the house sitting, you, the house owner, can refund it to your sitter.
Step 5: Finalize the house sitting job with a written agreement
After you and the sitter have clearly agreed with each other on the house sitting arrangement, it is now time to prepare a written agreement. If you have chosen HouseCarers as your house sitting community website, they have a free downloadable house sitting agreement for their members that you can customize based on your requirements. Basically, the agreement should include clearly the specific detailed instructions for the tasks the house sitter needs to accomplish such as: instructions for lawn and garden care, for pet care, for pool maintenance, guidelines for visitors etc.
We recommend that you schedule a meeting with the sitter before the date of the sitting so that you can personally give hands-on training to the sitter regarding the tasks listed on the agreement. Also, do not forget to specify your utility billing arrangement in the document. It can either be that the house sitter will be paying for the utilities expended during his/her stay or that you will be paying the bills either via direct debit, a friend or a family member. The agreement will depend on you and the sitter. If you are kind of worried with this document in legal terms, an attorney or solicitor can help you with this procedure.
Once both parties have agreed with the house sitting arrangements, you are now done with finding a house sitter via our first recommended method! If this seems too much work for you, wait for the part 2 of this article where we discuss another method of finding a house sitter in a much easier way.