Living in someone else’s home and caring for their pets and property may seem like mindless tasks, but in fact, good house sitting requires true commitment, a great attention to detail and a whole lot of respect for the homeowner and their possessions.
House sitting can be a rewarding experience for both parties, as long as you are making yourself comfortable, but not at the expense of the homeowner.
Here are 10 things you should do when you are house sitting.
1. Ask for the house rules.
You can’t live up to the homeowner’s expectations if you don’t know them. It’s much better to find out you’re not welcome to the wine stash before you drink it.
2. Ask for the WI-FI password.
Before the homeowner departs on their adventure, get the wireless password. Most homeowners are willing to share it if you ask.
3. Keep all of your things in one place.
Resist the urge to spread out your belongings across the entire house. Instead, pick a room and make that a base camp for your belongings. It’s much easier to pick up and keep track of your personal items if they are all in one place.
4. Keep emergency information hand.
If an emergency arises, you’ll be glad you had the plumber’s contact details immediately available.
5. Lock every door and window whilst you are absent from the property.
EVEN IF THE OWNERS USUALLY DON’T. Your reputation as a house sitter will be in tatters in the event of a burglary happening on your watch.
6. Replenish any food you’ve eaten.
When it comes to perishables that need to be thrown away or eaten, use your discretion when it comes to replacing them. That said, if you’ve smashed a box of gourmet chocolates, it’s a good idea to replace them.
7. Try to get into a daily routine to keep the house in the same condition you found it, or better.
Work from an informal but comprehensive ‘daily checklist’ then you will be less likely to forget to water plants, collect mail, feed chickens etc.
8. Say hi to the neighbours and introduce yourself.
9. Strip and make your bed prior to departing.
After you’ve slept your last night, strip the bed and if time allows, wash the sheets.
10. Leave a thoughtful welcome home gift.
Whether it’s some flowers or a plate of chocolate chip cookies, leave a small, thoughtful welcome home gift before you depart.