Articles and Advice
Find a great House Sitter
House Sitters America is all about connecting house sitters with home owners as easily and effectively as possible - and we do it very well. It's why our members have made us the favourite house sitting site in the US, year after year.
And it just got a little better…
Sitter search filters
We're introducing search filters that will help house owners filter through the available house sitters to narrow the field down to a range that is manageable.
This is also an benefit for our house sitters of course, who will start to receive enquiries that are better qualified, which means that they will waste less time on enquiries that were never going to work, and focus on the enquiries that will.
Note that we already have a lot of search filters for houses, this upgrade is bringing in the ability to filter through sitters.
The filters are:
- House sit duration: What duration the sitters will sit for.
- Willing to care for these pets: Which animals the sitter is comfortable caring for, with the option to choose "None".
- Own pet: Whether or not the house sitter travels with their own pet.
- Have caravan/motorhome: Whether or not the house sitter is travelling with a Caravan or Motorhome. This is a very important piece of information for many of our members e.g. the grey nomads.
- Location focus: This ranks a house sitter on how targeted they are in their preferred locations. Sitters that have nominated an area that is tightly contained around a home owner's location will rank higher than sitters that have nominated the whole state or country.
A few weeks ago we added a new section to our house sitter's account pages called House Sitting preferences. Now that everyone has had a chance to add the data, we're introducing the filters to allow House Owners to search more effectively and efficiently for a house sitter that will be a good "fit".
The Location focus filtering will be introduced soon, and it will take the form of a "sort" function that allows house owners to rank a full list of sitters once they have already narrowed the field down by location.
The filters we are not introducing
There were a number of filters that won't be introduced even though some members have requested them. The reasons are all because, while they might sound like a great idea, they don't work in practice, for a site like this. These include:
- Non Smokers: Yes, everyone wants to filter out smokers, but the truth is that adding this filter never works in practice. What ACTUALLY happens is that all sitters just say they are non-smokers - and it immediately becomes redundant. Your search for non-smokers ends up filtering out no one.
- References: Again - redundant. Everyone has a reference.
- Police checks: Another nice idea, but the pragmatic reality is quite different. While they obviously have some value, police checks are very limited in their scope (which changes from state to state), they date very quickly and we believe that they can even bring a false sense of security on a site like this. We feel that a couple of good references or, even better, a great referee, can offer more actual security. If we were to list police checks in the searchable data on the site, it just means every sitter has to get one or they will be disadvantaged. This then leads to the situation where everyone has one, making a search filter redundant and adding very little real security or other value. Yes, they sound awesome, but the truth is that some fantastic sitters will have trouble getting a Police Check (like travellers) while in other cases, a total boofhead could easily get one (not that we have many boofheads on the site, but you get the drift). Plastering "Police Check" everywhere across the site also shifts the focus away from creating wonderful house-sitting arrangements and, counter-intuitively, actually introduces an element of anxiety that is completely inappropriate. Finally, and this is very compelling, over many years we have helped to facilitate hundreds of thousands of wonderfully satisfying house sits - without requiring Police Checks. Note that many sitters DO have Police Checks, and they will advertise this in their profiles, which is fantastic - we just don't include them in our data fields for all the reasons listed above.
- Garden care: No sitter is going to say "No" to garden care on their profile, so it becomes another redundant search item.
- Dwelling features: While we understand that some sitters could not imagine life without broadband WiFi, it doesn't really qualify as a search filter. The vast majority of sitters will not narrow their opportunities by saying they must have WiFi - or any of the other features that are listed in the House Ads. Sitters who absolutely need WiFi can easily filter their search results for houses with WiFi.
What you need to do
If you haven"t already done it, it's actually very simple.
- House Sitters should login to their accounts and go to the new section "House Sitting Preferences". Just click a few check boxes and you're done.
- House owners don't really need to do anything: While we have added a couple of new data fields, which you can choose to tick, this upgrade is primarily about the House Sitter's profile information. House Ads also turn around much more quickly than Sitter profiles, and all new Ads will include this data from the beginning.
Listening to our members
Our long term members will already know this, but we are continually looking for ways to improve the site. Part of this involves listening - when our members make us aware of issues we take them seriously, because we know there is always an opportunity to improve.
We hope that this small upgrade helps to make your own experience of house-sitting even easier and more satisfying.
Happy house sitting.