For the last three years, house sitting has been one of my favorite ways to travel longer on a budget. But what do you need to do to be a stand-out house sitter? This post will cover 8 easy house sitting tips that will make your hosts thrilled and help you earn excellent reviews!
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99% of being a good house sitter is basic common sense.
We all know that as house sitters, we are trusted guests in someone’s home and we must keep it clean, orderly, and secured. We also know that one of the most important parts of a house sitting job is caring for pets.
Anyone who’s seen a cute corgi meme lately knows that animals are amazing and should be loved on excessively, so I won’t preach about the importance of showering your furry charges with love and affection.
I mean, you probably wouldn’t be here if you weren’t really into animals, right?
Anyone with a good head on their shoulders and a love for all friends furry probably has what it takes to be a good house sitter. But you don’t want to just be good, do you?
You asked all the right house sitting questions, and now you want to be the best you can be! You want your host to call you days after you bid farewell begging you to come back, please, just for one more day.
So after seven house sits across Europe and a few in Asia, here are a few tips I’ve picked up to help you be that amazing house sitter!
How to be an amazing house sitter
Keep regular communication with the host family.
With most house sitting jobs, your host will want you to arrive a day or so before they leave so they can show you around and introduce you to the pets. During this time, discuss how and when you should contact your host.
Do they prefer emails, WhatsApp, texting, homing pigeon, carved stone tablets delivered by ox? Do they want daily updates or just a message if you have a question? Whatever you decide on, stick to it.
I find that hosts also appreciate regular pictures and videos of their pets so brush up on your cute cat photography skills.
(And be prepared to lose like an hour a day waiting for the lighting to strike at just the right angle for that perfect sleeping cat pic because she’s just so dang photogenic!)
When you arrive, your host will likely walk you through the house and fill you in on the pet routine. Take notes about how to care for the pets and house.
You are receiving a ton of information all at once and you don’t want to be that guy who texts the host five minutes after they leave like, “Wait, where is the dog food again…?” Jot down important information like what day the trash comes, the alarm code, pet feeding schedule, etc.
Care for the pets as if they were your own.
i.e. lots of snuggles. Also, get the pets in tip-top shape for their owner’s return. Baths for everyone (minus cats), brushing, grooming, cleaning of litter boxes, extra cuddles all around!
Keep a journal or log for your hosts.
On my very first house sit, the host handed me a journal that had been used by all their previous house sitters. I had a detailed account of the daily pet routines, what was normal for them, and what to expect.
Since one of the dogs required medicine, I used the journal to track when he got his tablet and to keep notes about daily happenings with the pets and home.
Things to keep in your journal/log
- A note about what you did with the pets each day
- Any abnormalities with the pets
- Schedules for feeding and medicine if complex
- Plant watering schedule
- Any phone calls they received
- Funny stories or little memories you had while house sitting
- Tips for future house sitters
Do a load of laundry.
Before your hosts return, strip the bed and bathroom towels and put out fresh ones. If you don’t have time to finish running the washing machine with your sheets and towels, at least get it started so your hosts don’t have to deal with your used stuff.
You know what it’s like to fly all day. All you want is your own bed. So make it nice and fresh and ready for them.
Ask the homeowner if there are any groceries you can pick up for them so they don’t have to immediately run to the store when they get home. They will probably say “oh no don’t worry about it…” but do worry about it. Get some coffee, milk, bread, maybe some fruit.
Whatever food you noticed when you arrive, have it for them. No one wants to get home from a relaxing vacation to an empty house. Your host is probably going to be exhausted from travel so it is a nice idea to have some grocery staples available so they can relax and not worry about running errands.
Before your host gets home, fix up any little things that need repairing.
If you don’t know how to fix something, keep a list so you can show your host when they return. Obviously, the plan is that nothing will be broken, but sometimes little things happen, especially if you’re on a longer house sit.
When your host returns, show them everything – even the small things like the scuff on the vacuum that might have been there already or the lamp that just randomly stopped working three weeks ago (which you later learned was because you turned off the switch powering all the electronics on that side of the room and never turned it back on again).
Leave flowers and a thank you card.
Your host welcomed you into their home, gave you a free place to stay, and introduced you to your new furry best friend. Flowers and a nice note are a great way to welcome your host back home after their trip and show your appreciation!