House Sitter Checklist: How to Make Sure Your House Will Still Be There When You Get Back
Finally, after saving up vacation days for what felt like forever, you get to have a little time off. Not wanting to spend all of your time at home, you decide to make reservations at a lovely beach resort where you can sip pina coladas and read a guilty pleasure romance novel.
The only thing you have left to do before you head out is find a house sitter. There’s a few friends you’re thinking about asking, maybe your younger brother would be interested too. But house sitting is a big deal; you’re trusting this person with all of your personal effects. How do you know they’re going to take the responsibility seriously? How do you know they’re not going to invite people over for a party? How do you know they’ll change the kitty litter as you detailed to do in the house-sitting list you’ve compiled?
You’re trusting this person to look after and take care of your home as you do. They have nothing to lose if a pipe should burst or the cat scratches up the couch. What can you do to make sure the sitter does what they’re supposed to? Communicate!
1. Write a detailed list of information. Your house sitter will need to know exactly what you want them to do while they’re in charge of the well-being of your home. Do you keep the thermostat at a certain temperature? Do you open the windows at a certain time of day for air flow? Do you take out the recycling every other day or once a week? What might seem innocuous to other people is actually quite serious to you. Make sure you list and discuss what it is you expect of the sitter, otherwise you might not be happy with the outcome.
2. Provide an emergency contact list. If something should happen in the home and your sitter is not able to reach you, there should be someone else they can get ahold of who has the authority to make decisions, such as hiring a plumber to repair a clogged toilet. If an unknown cosmetic or more invasive home repair needs to be done while you’re away on vacation, make sure your house sitter knows what to do or who to contact if they can’t get ahold of you.
3. Double-check that your homeowners insurance is up to snuff. You might leave for vacation thinking that if an accident does happen, your home insurance will take care of it—wrong. Always make sure that your homeowners policy covers exactly what you think it does. Liability home insurance (the minimum amount a homeowner is required to carry) offers very little in covering household accidents. If your sitter falls down and gets hurt in your home, they can sue you for damages, draining your insurance coverage and personal financial accounts. If your current policy is lacking in coverage, compare home insurance quotes online to find a plan that’s both affordable and extensive. The last thing you deserve is being served a court order.
4. Get your house in order. Nothing is more depressing for a house sitter than walking into a pigsty. To make sure your house is comfortable, give it a good cleaning and stock the fridge. The house sitter is doing you a favor by staying in your place and taking care of things, (remember, they’re leaving their home to care for yours) they deserve all the ice cream and frozen pizza they ask for!
Be open and honest about what you want the sitter to do and make sure they’re the same with you. It’s only then that you’ll be able to really enjoy your vacay time!