While this post doesn’t directly talk about feeding your furry family, it touches on something important to all pet parents. In other words, finding a house sitter while you are away from home on business or vacation.
If you don’t have a friend or neighbor who can keep watch over your home, water plants and play with your pets while you’re away, a housesitter can be the answer. A website called Housecarers.com with the tagline, Peace of Mind While You’re Away will match you with a responsible house sitter.
A Cautionary Tale of House Sitting Gone Terribly Wrong
Hubby and I should have gone with a professional instead of relying on friends to watch our place a few years ago. I was on an extended retreat but got complaining calls every day for the first week and then sporadically after that. Because they didn’t have a car, we arranged for the couple to take a taxi to a nearby lake so they could fish. They “fished” a lot more than we expected so the bill was almost double what we anticipated.
We left them a freezer full of pastured beef, pork, and bone broth, home canned tomatoes and applesauce, and staples and vegetables in the pantry. But they didn’t want to cook or eat it. Instead, they complained about having to buy their own food.
Almost a week before our planned departure and only a day after our daughter gave birth to our second granddaughter, we were called home. Hubby drove 18 hours after we got a call saying “something came up” that meant the couple was leaving in two days.
We were too exhausted to say much more than hello and thanks before they left in another taxi. The following day we got a call saying we owed them more money than originally agreed, supposedly for the expense of having to buy their own food. Later, I noticed they went through all our closets and drawers, stole some inexpensive jewelry and broke several gardening tools.
All this drama and hard feelings on both sides could have been avoided if we used a professional house sitter.
An Honest Review of HouseCarers.com
First, although I’ve looked at many sitter profiles and read much of the material on the website, I have not worked with them at all.
HouseCarers.com has been in business since 2000. They are headquartered in Australia and have happy clients around the world. Once your house is listed, the site anonymously matches you to potential sitters.
To search for house sitters in my small city/rural area I filled in my location, expected start date and selected what type of pet(s) I had. The list is pretty comprehensive and includes livestock, snakes, and ferrets among more common pets like fish, dogs, and cats. In addition to assurances of complete privacy and security, the registration process didn’t even ask for an address or phone number.
I did not find anyone close to my location. However, quite a few couples and singles registered as living in Wisconsin or Minnesota and said they were willing to travel. After you add your house sitting assignment, it is automatically emailed to matching sitters registered for your area (you remain anonymous). HouseCarers forwards responses to you, again anonymously.
I signed up for free on the site and right after verifying my email address I was taken to the HouseCarers communication dashboard. Once that simple procedure was completed I was all set to browse for a house sitter and select candidates based on their biographies.
According to the website, a free membership includes:
- House sitting tips to help you choose and prepare for your house sitter
- A house sitting agreement and checklist
- Ability to browse sitter profiles matching your requirements
- E-mail notification of sitters that register in your area
- The option to place a free confidential sitter required ad
- Advanced search, matching, and privacy based on HouseCarers 18 years of experience house sitting across the US and around the world
- Security assured through the confidential messaging system; HouseCarers doesn’t publish your email address
- Membership is free and includes access to free guides and housesit agreement forms, along with tips and resources for selecting the best sitter to ensure your peace of mind
Start a Conversation Through The Dashboard
The site is easily navigated and user-friendly. Communicating through the site to contact potential sitters is easy-peasy. Just keep following the helpful prompts as you are guided through the whole process.
Once registered, you have access to free downloads of helpful information to review before talking with potential sitters. This includes articles such as, What are the standard guidelines of a housesitting agreement? and Why do people register to housesit?
Issues dealing with homeowners’ insurance, security and bill-paying are covered, too. When you’re ready to look for a candidate, type in a few criteria, such as the type of pets and location. Then browse the listings of prospective housesitters who fit your requirements.
Of course, if you’re interested in the flip side of the process–becoming a housesitter yourself–the site is equally useful. Register your availability and preferences, and wait to see if there’s a homeowner in your area who’s looking for a little peace of mind while they are away from home.
HouseCarers.com says it provides exceptional service and is dedicated to the satisfaction of their members. Of course, there are testimonials from homeowners who have used them. I can’t help but think they live up to their claims after almost two decades of serving homeowners across the globe.
For more information on housesitting opportunities, go to the website.
Have you used a housesitter in the past? What was the experience like for your pets and yourself?