Last updated on July 19th, 2017 at 08:06 am
As a house sitter, there are the obvious things you can do to make a homeowner happy. Things like, abide by their list of requests, treat their home and pets with the same care and respect you would your own, and keep the lines of communication open while homeowners are away. These things are pretty standard house sitter behaviors to garner positive reviews.
But there are other things that can influence how a homeowner feels about your house sitting service. Little things that can make a big difference, especially if you want to be invited back or ask for a glowing reference.
Here are five house sitting best practices we swear by (some you may have never considered) that could help you get rave reviews.
1. Don’t be Shy
Make the effort to introduce yourself to the neighbors. Some homeowners can be influenced by their friends and neighbor’s opinions about you. People in the neighborhood will naturally be curious about a new person coming and going from a house on their street. If you avoid speaking to neighbors you can appear standoffish or unfriendly. This kind of negative impression could cause neighbors to question the job you’re doing.
Being upfront about who you are and why you’re living in their neighbor’s house is a friendly gesture. Smiling and saying hello every time you encounter a neighbor on the street sends a message that you are a caring, nice person. That is the type of positive impression every homeowner wants to get about the person they choose to care for their home and pets.
2. Look for little opportunities to make things better
You don’t need to do a major renovation to impress homeowners, a small fix can make a huge impact. If you have the skills to do a needed repair go for it.
Most homeowners go to great lengths to prepare their home for your stay. They understand that the house sit is your holiday and they want things to be nice for you. It is common courtesy to leave a home in the same condition or a little better than when you arrived as a house sitter.
Making the extra effort to do a small but needed repair is going the extra mile and homeowners are always wowed by that.
3. Communicate and encourage feedback
Always ask the homeowner how much communication they would prefer while their away before they depart. Once you know, make sure you follow through and get in contact how and when they deem best.
It’s a good idea to get a name and number of a friend or neighbor you can contact in town should an emergency arise. Doing so is also beneficial if the homeowner is hard to reach or wants limited contact with you while they’re away.
Touch base after the house sit, to say thank you for the opportunity and ask for any feedback on the job you did. Again, this is common courtesy. Additionally, directly asking for feedback gives both you and the homeowner an opportunity to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding.
4. Be resourceful
Be prepared to deal with some challenges. Unforeseen things can go wrong with any home or property.
We feel the role of a house sitter is to solve problems not create more by complaining to homeowners or letting things lie.
If something happens that needs immediate attention don’t delay. Be resourceful and get the matter dealt with as best you can until you can speak to the homeowner about next steps, if need be.
5. Make some rules for yourself
Establishing rules for yourself is the house sitting best practice that will have the greatest impact on any assignment. We’ve learned a lot on our different assignments and now follow self-imposed guidelines to make house sits enjoyable for us first, so we can better meet homeowners needs.
Setting your priorities (including some boundaries and limitations) will help you and homeowners avoid unpleasant surprises. Here are some of the things we do to make sure we will be happy and at our best to fulfill house sitting assignments successfully.
- We only apply for house sits in places we want to visit. They are in areas we have extensively researched beforehand. Doing so helps us avoid exorbitant travel costs and nasty seasonal weather conditions.
- We always work with homeowners to define expectations face to face via Skype. We use that call to discuss any questions we may have like access to stores, transportation, and any special concessions we need to provide for the pets. Homeowners have a chance to ask us any questions they may have as well. This helps get us and the homeowners get on the same page, having a clear understanding of each other’s priorities.
- We have to see photos of the home (inside and out), the property, and the pets. As many as possible and a Skype tour is even better if the homeowner can provide us with one.
- The assignment itself needs to be at least two weeks long and longer term (a month or more) are preferred to save on travel costs. There has to be reliable internet for us to work and the location has to be within walking distance to the things we need or have convenient access to public transportation (unless the homeowner can provide us with a vehicle).
Insisting on these things helps us enjoy our assignments. We are at our best when all of our priorities are met.
We always work to find the closest match with homeowners requirements and our own so both of us can enjoy the benefits of house sitting.
Applying these house sitting best practices to your assignments can help you step up your game and earn excellent reviews. You don’t need to go to great lengths to please homeowners. Common courtesy and attention to the little things can help you build good relationships with homeowners and earn you great reviews.
Do you have any other house sitting best practices that weren’t mentioned here? If so, please share your ideas in the comments.