Choosing a housesitter

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I’ve been using housesitters for a few years, but in the last few months I’ve been getting lots of questions about it, mostly from people who are interested in doing it themselves. If you’re thinking of housesitting, here’s a few of the things I look for when choosing a housesitter.

1. Quick off the mark

There’s a lot of competition for good/easy housesits. My last ad had 19 responses in 12 hours and within 48 hours we had interviewed 7 people and made our decision

2. Locals

Sorry travellers, but I tend to pick people who ‘live’ and work locally. If I’m leaving 99% of what I own with a stranger, I like knowing they have ties to the area and if something goes wrong, they haven’t jumped on a plane and disappeared.

3. A reason for housesitting

I have heard some doozies of answers to this. I don’t qualify for a lease/I can’t afford rent/my mum kicked me out…

Of the housesitters we’ve used, one was saving for a house deposit, another was new to the city and trying out different areas to see where she wanted to live permanently, the other was getting close to retirement and wanted to build up her credentials before she began travelling around the country permanently.

All understandable reasons that don’t make me worry that my stuff will get pawned.

4. Extra skills

Good at gardening? Taken care of a pool before? Fitness junkie who wants to take our dog on 5km runs? Tell me about it! Everyone is ‘reliable, honest and trustworthy’ what makes you different?

Don’t let his face fool you…

5. Genuinely like animals

These seems like a no-brainer given that most people get housesitters because they need someone to look after their pets. If you’re not good with animals, it’s noticeable right away.

I have a big dog. I tell everyone I have a big dog. There are photos of the big dog. At least half the people we interview look completely terrified of him. If you don’t interact with the dog in the first minute, it’s over before it starts. I need you to do more than putting down a bowel of food. If that’s what you’re after, stick to cats 😉

Despite all this, in the end most of the choice comes down to gut feel.

For each housesitter we immediately knew they were the right person. If you’re thinking about using a housesitter, my key suggestion is to just keep meeting with people until you get the right feeling. This person is responsible for all your stuff and your pet, you want to feel 100% confident in them.

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