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Tips for Homeowners:

 

Are there any benefits to having a housesitter care for my property instead of just "locking and leaving" my home when I am away?


Many of the homeowners who advertise their homes and properties in The Caretaker Gazette had originally planned to just "lock and leave" their homes while they travel. Some of them did just that and returned home to find their vacant homes had been vandalized while they were away. In several cases, the homeowners found that, because they were away for an extended period of time and their homes were left vacant, their homeowner's insurance policy did not cover the losses. In addition to living in a home and being a presence on the property, a housesitter can also keep an eye on your plumbing and electrical systems, indoor and outdoor plants and gardens, appliances, and pools and fountains. If you have house pets or animals on your property, a housesitter can take care of them when you are away.


How do I know I can trust the person who is applying as a housesitter?


The relationship between a property owner and housesitter, like any business arrangement, should be mutually beneficial to both parties. When you advertise for a housesitter, you should ask for a minimum of three current, checkable professional or personal references. Many homeowners prefer to contact the references directly and speak with them, rather than relying on a photocopied letter provided by the applicant. In some instances, a homeowner may ask for a copy of a driver's license from the prospective housesitter. Sometimes a property owner will ask for a security deposit or arrange for the housesitter to be bonded. If possible, speak with the applicant on the phone, get to know one another, and then arrange for an in-person interview. During the in-person interview, take the prospective housesitter on a tour of your home and property. Be sure to invite them to ask any questions they might have about your home and the housesitting arrangement.


How do I compensate a housesitter?


In exchange for looking after your property, the housesitter receives, at a minimum, free accommodation. Beyond that, you may wish to provide additional compensation. This may be in the form of a small stipend, use of a vehicle, paid utilities, food, online access, etc. We have some housesitters who sit for the same families year after year while the homeowners live abroad for part of the year. Those homeowners have brought back some very beautiful and interesting gifts from their travels as a way of saying "thank you" to their housesitters.


Should I keep in contact with the housesitter while I am away?


Most of our property owners are connected to the internet and check in periodically with the housesitter via email. Other property owners prefer to phone in and speak with the housesitter directly. In some situations, the housesitter may forward mail and messages to the homeowner and will include a brief note updating them on any situations that arose during the homeowner's absence.


What if there are problems, such as plumbing and electrical malfunctions, which arise while I'm away and the housesitter is not qualified to repair them?


It is important to leave a list of names of people who the housesitter can contact in the event of an emergency, whether major or minor. The list will usually include a plumber, an electrician, the pool service, a veterinarian (if there are animals on the property), etc.


Are there any other things that I should do prior to turning my home over to the housesitter?


You and the housesitter should sit down together and work out a written agreement. Be sure to include small details that are important to you and the housesitter. Both the housesitter and homeowner should sign this written agreement. The agreement protects both you and your housesitter.


I am a homeowner who has housesitters look after my home when I travel but I would like to housesit too. Is such an arrangement possible?


We have many subscribers to The Caretaker Gazette who are both homeowners and housesitters. They often work out a home exchange arrangement where they housesit a home in another geographic area while the homeowners of that home housesit their house. These arrangements are often international in scope. Many Gazette subscribers find that, after they take a housesitting assignment from The Caretaker Gazette, they need a housesitter for their own property. They will then run an ad in The Caretaker Gazette for a housesitter who can care for their home during the time period that they will be away.

 

I think I am ready to find a housesitter for my property. I've never written an ad before. How do I get started?

You can place an ad online, via our secure website or email your ad directly to us. We are always happy to review and edit an ad and will make suggestions that will improve your ad's effectiveness. For more information on housesitting and caretaking, you might want to visit our blog:
http://caretakergazette.blogspot.com/

 


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    housesitting positions:


     

    WASHINGTON

    CAT/HOUSESITTER NEEDED five miles from Port Townsend, WA for February and part of March. Must love cats. Housing exchange. Please email xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com



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