House Sitters America

House sitting & pet sitting exclusively for the US

Good communication - the key to house sitting success

Feature photo: Good communication - the key to house sitting success

As the saying goes, preparation makes perfect. It’s the same in the world of house sitting. Good communication between house sitters and homeowners when organizing a house sit is definitely the key to house sitting success.

The more questions asked, and details discussed before the house sit, the higher the chance of a smooth house-sitting experience for both the homeowner and the house sitter. Here are some tips for homeowners to ensure great communication with your sitter before, during and after your trip away from home.

Top tips for communicating with your house sitter

Have a list of important questions to ask a house sitter before confirming them. 

It’s important to find the right house sitter for your needs so you can leave your home and pets feeling assured that they are in the best hands. To do this you can create a list of standard questions to ask each potential house sitter, based on your priorities and house-sitting needs. Ask all your important questions early on, so you can quickly find out if you have found the right house sitter for you. Know what you definitely need from a house-sitter and where you’re willing to compromise. Referring to your list should minimise the chance of forgetting to ask anything important. 

Use the in-built message system. 

Communicating through our platform’s in-house message system means you can track conversations with potential sitters and have messages all in one place for easy reference, all while keeping your personal details private. So, use this when communicating with your house sitter. You can ask them questions or clarify things and have them in writing for both parties to refer back to. 

man with glasses typing on laptop next to window

Document as much as possible in writing. 

When discussing details of the house sit with your sitter, make sure to write down any final agreements in our in-built messaging system for reference later. You could also use the ‘House sitting agreement’ template found under the ‘Useful tools’ section when you are logged in to our site. Examples of important details to document include who will cover costs of utilities, whether use of your car is permitted, or even if the sitter can use condiments from your cupboard.

The more that details are recorded, the easier it is for your house sitter to do a great job for you.

Discuss what to do with mail or bills that arrive during the house sit. 

If it’s a long house sit, utility and other bills will probably arrive while you’re away. You could arrange to receive bills electronically and pay online with those companies. If that’s not preferable, you’ll need to discuss with the house sitter about how to deal with this mail. For example, you could provide the house sitter with a forwarding address to mail them to you, or grant permission to open them and send you a photo by email or text. Chat with them about where they should keep any other mail received until you return. 

Make sure you leave a local contact. 

It is great for the house sitter to have the contact details of someone local they can contact in case of emergency. Things can come up, and the sitter may not be able to contact you, so having someone local they can call is a great resource. If you fill out your ‘Welcome Info Pack’ for your sitter, this will include a place for these contact numbers, such as their pet’s vet clinic or a nearby friend with spare keys.

dog looking at house sitter while they pat the side of dog's face

Discuss your communication preference for during the house sit. 

As the homeowner, you can specify what kind of things you want to be contacted for during the sit, as well as how to be contacted. Every house sit is different, so it’s best to outline your preferences upfront to manage expectations on both sides. You might want only email contact, or you might be happy for the sitter to call you if needed. Some homeowners only want to be contacted in emergencies, while others happily respond to questions at any time. Some even want the sitter to contact them with a weekly update and a photo of their pet. Make sure you clarify the communication you want with your sitter with them before the job starts. This will ensure positive communication during the sit for both parties.

Be prompt with communication if any issues come up or plans change. 

If any issues come up during the house sit for you as homeowner, make sure you contact the house sitter as soon as possible to talk to them. House sitters aim to do a great job, and they will be locked into the dates of the sitting job. If things change then they need ample notice so they can make other arrangements.

In this post COVID world, we understand that sometimes plans are cancelled, but it’s important to let a sitter know as soon as possible. 

After the house sit, write a review for your house sitter. 

Good reviews are important to house sitters, as these really increase their chances of getting great house-sitting jobs. If you’ve had a great experience with your house sitter, make sure to write them a review as soon as you can. Your house sitter can also write you a review in return if you would like one. This can help make your homeowner ad more enticing for future house sitters and make it easy for you to find your next sitter.

tabby cat laying on chair
We have had many great house sits through your site and seen some beautiful places. You have always been very kind and helpful when we've contacted you. Thanks, John & Jane John & Jane F

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