The Pleasures of House Sitting

House Sitting

Our world is so interconnected now, and travel is such a normal part of life, that you often have friends and relatives living in other parts of the world with whom you remain in close contact. They may have emigrated, moved because of their career or education, or they may have simply decided to go live in their favorite part of the world. With a network of contacts in many different locations, you have a wonderful opportunity to see your loved ones and experience the pleasure of traveling to interesting and beautiful parts of the world at the same time. You can achieve this by offering your services as a house sitter.

What do house sitters do?

A house sitter can be a professional person from an agency, a well-known local person or a trusted friend or family member. They will live in your house while you are away on vacation or business, looking after your pets, plants, and yard and ensuring the house doesn’t look empty, which can make it a beacon for burglars. Professional house sitters need to be paid and provided with suitable accommodation plus food and consumables. If friends and family look after your house, the appeal is in being able to spend time with you at either end of your trip, and being able to use your home as accommodation for their own vacation time. They need to be very trustworthy, as you are leaving them in charge of your home and all your precious possessions. You don’t want to be worrying about what might be going on at home when you’re supposed to be enjoying a relaxing vacation.

Why is house-sitting a good idea?

It is a very economical way of taking vacations to areas or countries that you might not be able to afford via normal holiday bookings. You have the security of knowing you are in the home of someone you know, a kind of home from home. You can come and go as you please and as long as you take care of the place and any of its occupants, you are free to spend the rest of your time in any way you wish. You’ll be able to see your loved ones at either end of the period of their absence, you won’t need to pay for food and essentials, and you can get some rest and relaxation in a peaceful environment. If you are looking after pets, they can be wonderful companions, and it can be a very rewarding experience caring for them and getting to know them.

What if something goes wrong?

The most likely scenario is that your stay will go smoothly and there will be no problems to deal with, leaving you to enjoy your time away. However, it is always possible that the unexpected will occur, so it’s best to be prepared and able to deal with whatever comes up.

  • Plumbing problems, leaks, blocked toilets and the like will need a qualified plumber to deal with them. Ask your host who they normally use or would recommend you contact in the event of a problem. It might be tempting to ignore a small leak, but if left they can turn into bigger problems, so it’s best not to take chances.
  • Sick or injured pets are one of the biggest worries of house sitting, because you feel responsible for the welfare of someone’s beloved animals. Your host will have left details of who their veterinarian is and any existing medical issues you need to be aware of, but make sure you know how they want you to proceed with any pet problems, e.g. do they want you to contact them first before speaking to the vet, or get the animal seen straight away?
  • If you are living in someone’s home, you will have a set of keys for the property, which you will probably be taking great care of! If the worst happens and you lose the keys or lock yourself out, you need to know who to contact. Try and keep the details of a good 24-hour service like Ambassador Locksmiths to hand, in your wallet or purse, just in case you need their help.
  • Personal safety is something you should bear in mind wherever you are, but even more so when you are in a strange place. Make sure you keep access points locked and set the alarm if there is one. Be aware of your surroundings and who is around, and if the neighbors are known to your host make sure they know who you are. Ask your host to leave details of any friends and neighbors you can call on for help if you need them.
  • Breaking or damaging your host’s property is an unfortunate but perfectly possible event. If you are trusted enough to be left alone at their house, they will probably be understanding of any damage because they know it will have been accidental. If it’s something you can easily buy like for like, you might feel that you would want to purchase a replacement, but it’s likely your friend or family member will be perfectly accepting about what’s happened.

That sounds like a lot of problems!

Having listed all these possible problems, you may be feeling that house sitting isn’t such a desirable thing to do after all. The reality is that all the above scenarios are simply possibilities, and certainly aren’t likely to happen unless you are very unlucky – and even then only one at a time! The point of listing them all is to make sure you are prepared just in case. If you’re equipped to deal with anything that comes up, then it will be less of a drama if something does happen, but in all likelihood, your stay will be calm and trouble-free.

The chance to see members of your family, or friends who you haven’t seen for ages, is not one to be missed. If you can help them out and have a wonderful vacation as well, it’s a definite win for both of you.

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