First time you’ve had house-sitters? These tips will come in handy!
Remember, the secret of success is both parties sharing the benefits of the deal. You get back what you put into it!
Make it easy for house-sitters to get there. Send maps and detailed instructions. Be clear about what time you prefer your house sitter to arrive. Be reasonable with flight times and current traffic conditions.
Be ready when they arrive! This isn’t the time to be packing the suitcases or checking the windows upstairs are closed. Make house-sitters feel the place is theirs as soon as they arrive. Show them round house and neighborhood. Where are the local stores? Introduce them to the neighbors. The more relaxed house-sitters are now, the happier they’ll be later.
Prepare instructions and documents well in advance. Fill out your home book and give plenty of thought to the contents inside. Make sure every important detail is written and avoid the hassle later, after all you want the least amount of interruptions on your holiday! Information such as how to contact you in an emergency (or otherwise) is vital. Also make sure to include numbers of the plumber, nearest hospital, and emergency veterinarian, etc. Further information makes all the difference, such as recommending what to visit and where to eat out. Make people feel comfortable. Details make the difference. Check what people like to eat for breakfast. Find out in advance their special preferences and have them ready. This gives house-sitters more time to settle in, get acquainted with the home, animals, and you, they can do their shopping later on in their own time.
Prepare your home as if you were welcoming your best friends or family! Take enough time in advance to clean it, make sure your place is looking its best, and all your personal important items stowed away. Your house-sitters will feel cared for, and in turn make them want to do a better job.
Make sure the bedroom looks friendly and free up plenty of storage. Empty drawers, shelves and wardrobe in the bedroom are important for people to unpack quickly and feel at home. Free up space in the bathroom for personal toiletries and towels. It may not look like much, but it’s the thought that counts! Add a personal touch : a bunch of flowers in the bedroom, a bottle of water or a few chocolates in a bowl, a selection of literature on what to do and where to go. Have a welcome meal prepared, treat house-sitters as friends of the family after all they will be taking care of your home. Nothing over the top is necessary, maybe a famous local dish or possibly your favorite family receipt.
Tell house-sitters what news you want (and when) while you’re away. Some home-owners don’t want regular updates (except for emergencies of course). They like to leave everything in house-sitters’ hands. Others like to be kept up to date daily. Whatever is best for you, be clear! House-sitters feel happier when they give you peace of mind. Specify phone, email, text messaging or whatever, and definite times.
On your return trip specify your ETA, and remember home-sitters have their own travel arrangements to make. Give home-sitters plenty of warning if you have to change the date or time of your return. The unexpected is never easy to deal with, and house-sitters generally like to plan cleaning the house in advance, so it is sparkling upon your return. Depending on mutual travel plans, it’s best, whenever possible, to suggest a good last night’s sleep in your home especially if departing house-sitters have a long day’s travel ahead.
Say thanks for everything the house-sitters have done! Saying thank you is fundamental, of course, but its importance can’t be underestimated, as too many articles have a one-sided view of house-sitters as taking advantage of free accommodation. The trade is even, they do provide you with an invaluable service remember. Why not bring back a present in appreciation? Nothing complicated, of course, but a small gift from your travels always gives pleasure, and says more than words can.
And of course don’t forget to write up an endorsement of the positive outcome of the experience. Your comments in appreciation will be helpful to your house-sitters in the future, as they can add them to their Online Profiles.