Wednesday, August 28, 2013

House Sitting 101

I don't know how most people do this vacation thing, but I love to have a house sitter. It gives me comfort to know that someone will be watching over my stuff. I know my building has 24 hour security, but it never hurts to be careful! Plus, I have a cute condo right downtown, and I have a friend who lives in the suburbs, but works downtown. Therefore I get someone to watch my place, and she gets a shorter commute, her own place, and free range of my closet! Win-win!

I thought today I would share some rules for the homeowner and the home-sitter, to make everything go smoother!

Home Owner:
1. Leave your house in a clean condition. Not only does this make it more welcoming for your guest, but you yourself will appreciate not having to clean when you get home from vacation and are depressed about your return to work ;)

2. Leave a note explaining how things work. My building has kind of a weird garbage shoot. And my plants are a bit finicky. And I have a confusing TV remote. A nice welcome note with salient points about living at your house is a way to help them feel at home. This can include:
- wifi passwords
- passwords for the computer
- garbage schedule (for a house with garbage pickup)
- pet feeding/walking regimes
- any expected deliveries

3. Lay out ground rules- don't want them drinking your beer, using your computer or canoodling on your bed? Make it clear up front so there are no confrontations when you get home (my guest is gluten-free so I know my beer is safe!)

4. Leave a small gift. I like to leave some special food or drinks for my friend so they don't have to pick up groceries on the first night.

5. Wash your sheets and towels! Treat a house sitter like you would a guest and clean the sheets and towels they will be using. Of course, this isn't necessary if your house sitter won't actually be staying at the house.

House Sitter:
1. Keep the house clean. That means no wild parties! Or, at least, clean up after said wild parties

2. Sort the mail. No one likes to come home to 10lbs of junk mail. Just sorting out what looks relevant to what is clearly trash is helpful.

3. A nice note for the homeowner when they return! You can include any issues that arose while they were gone- like if the condo building's trash chute breaks and you want to apologize for not taking out the garbage ;)

I really don't think the house sitter has too many responsibilities beyond not burning down your house and/or killing your plants (and frankly, mine are already dead). They are doing you a favour, so go easy on them!

I have heard there are housesitting services out there, which just seems weird to me. Has anyone ever used one?

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