Finding a House Sitter
House sitting websites where people offer up their resumes and experience include places like House Carers, House Sitters America, and Home and Pet Sitters. Most of these websites don’t check the background of the people posting their resumes but instead say they have “requirements" house sitting job seekers must adhere to—although it’s unclear what these “requirements" are by visiting these websites. The homeowner or renter looking for a house sitter doesn’t pay to search these websites, but those looking for house sitting jobs do. For example, House Sitters America charges those seeking work, $30 a year to keep their resumes listed on the website. Other places to find house sitters are Craigslist or Angie’s List, but of course, these websites can be scary, especially if there’s no way to check references.
My advice on finding a house sitter as well as answering the question, how much do house sitters cost is to ask for referrals from friends and family members first. If you can’t find anyone that uses a house sitter, look in your local “jobs wanted" newspaper classified ads and interview some local people—but do check references. If you still can’t find one via referrals or the classifieds, you may want to utilize a website. Don’t forget though, to get references, do a background check, and take the time for a lengthy interview on what you expect as well as what they expect. Don't put too many restrictions on the house sitter either, such as not allowing them to leave the house while you're gone. This isn't realistic--they may have their own personal things to take care of.
Before you head off on that trip, contact your homeowner’s insurance carrier and ask if damages by the house sitter or personal items of the house sitter are covered under your policy. Make sure to inform the house sitter of what’s protected and what’s not.
Finally, once you find a great house sitter—do pay them a fair wage—even if they ask for an increase for additional duties. A trusted house sitter is hard to find so when you get a good one, think of them as an employee and treat them right. If you’re careful in the research and referral process, you will be able to find the right person to trust your home and pets to—and that relationship can be lifelong—actually “priceless" when you think of all they do.
Image Credit (MorgueFile)