House sitters

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 13:08
ThreadID: 104553 Views:1962 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Hi has anyone used house sitters while away travelling Aus as we are planning a 4/5 mth trip next May thought of this as an obtain to use
Thanksgreg&leonie
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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 13:20

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 13:20
We have used them on several occasions.

AnswerID: 519003

Follow Up By: Greg M15 - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 14:18

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 14:18
Hi
Can you advise what agencies did you use as we have not done it before
Thanks
Greg& Leonie
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 16:47

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 16:47
We have used several of the web based house sitter sites & have only had good experiences. On returning home, the house & grounds have always looked as if we had walked out the day before, in fact one sitter even managed to dispose of a stillborn calf!
Most sitters seem to have been police checked & have references, you normally need to look early as most of them, read the good ones, are booked well in advance.
When we leave, we impose no restrictions, we don't charge them or expect any contribution to power, gas etc, as some meaner home owners do.
We appreciate the service that they offer on a no charge basis.
Our aging Golden Retriever is much, much happier being looked after & walked in his own environment.



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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 13:58

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 13:58
Sad to say that we did use house sitters , daughter and husband of a friend /work mate , NEVER again , not only was normal things like mowing the lawn etc. not done but they held garage sales 3 times in the 6 months we were away , upon our return it took awhile but then we found items that we don't use very often 'missing' , furniture rearranged to hide damage to polished wooden floors , a "gift" of a painting hung on the wall hiding a hole punched during a little domestic ,,
AnswerID: 519006

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 16:34

Tuesday, Oct 01, 2013 at 16:34
Hi Greg,

We have used housesitters on a few occasions now and the arrangement has worked very well for us and our housesitters. Mostly we use the Aussiehousesitters website. There anyone wanting to do a sit has to register and provide some info about themselves, times available etc. As a homeowner you look through the many pages of available sitters, and choose a few that look suitable- these you contact through the site and if they reply you take it from there. But many sitters are booked up well in advance so you need to get in early. We usually get a "short list" and then "interview" them on Skype before making a final decision. We also have documented our needs in some detail and this can be emailed to your sitters in advance so they get an idea of what you want.

There are a few other websites - do a search via the red search button in the top RH corner for more info.

Feel free to ask more questions if needed,

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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AnswerID: 519019

Follow Up By: Member - Peter M (QLD) - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 07:13

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 07:13
We have house and farm sat for quite a few people/pets over the last four years in Queensland, North Queensland and NSW.
We are registered on http://www.housecarers.com
People who want to house sit must pay to register their interest home owners do not have to pay. I suggest you register your home and the approximate start and finish times with at least two of the sites mentioned in replies to your request for information. Set out what you want the House Carers to do and details of your community and nearest town etc. Go onto the sites mentioned and look at what other home owners have said in their adds. We do NOT pay for power, rent or heating and we use our own phones and internet connections, we garden, mow lawns and generally keep your home the way you would.
When people reply to your add you get a description of who they are and their background. For example we mention that I'm a retired JP and Real Estate Agent from Queensland and my wife is a retired School Teacher and University Administrator and that we both have Blue Cards which enables us to work with children and have therefore had RECENT Police checks.
Good luck, place your adds about three to four months before you require sitters
PeterM
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Reply By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 10:50

Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 at 10:50
I am hoping to do some house sitting and I was just searching to see if there was a chat forum...I was surprised when ExplorOz showed in my google search...Bewty :)

I am renting now and my lease ends in Nov. But I would like to stay here for another year.

From what I have seen most of the sitting sites charge by zones. I think that is not fair. It means that home owners in the more expensive zones have less sitters to pick from, but it also means that the sitters are keener because they have paid more for those areas. It also means that other sitters that might not have the money for those zones are left out and just because they have less money to pay does not make them bad sitters!

So shop around, I say. There are two that I will be using. The first charges $65 per year flat. The other charges $5 per introduction but they do imply that some areas cost more.

I am not sure how I am going to get some sitting references without sitting first :)
AnswerID: 519052

Follow Up By: Stevesub1 - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 11:29

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 11:29
We have house sat several times in Byron Bay (multiple times up to 3 months a time), Melbourne (6 months), Wellington NZ (3 weeks), Bribie Is QLD (3 weeks), plus one or two more. We got all these by word of mouth except for the Melbourne one that was a post on Exploroz several years ago.

We are looking at house sitting a lot more in a couple of years time when I retire so am interested in sites.

The hardest bit is the first one, then you have a reference and it is easy after that.

Treat the house as though your own, follow any instructions to the letter, leave the place as you found it - and you will have no problems, all easy stuff. We have made life long friends from some of our house sit owners.

We have also met a couple in QLD that have house sat for 5 years now in various parts of the country. A relative of mine is still house sitting after 10 months waiting for his house to be built in NZ.

It is the way to go.

As for your first reference problem, have you ever looked after a house for a friend or relative while they have been away - if you have, you have been a house sitter and get them to do a reference for you.
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:13

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:13
The two sites I am looking at are aussiehousesitters which charges $65 per year and free for home owners. The other is housesitters which charge $5 per intro, but imply that some areas might cost more. They are both .com.au

All the others I have found charge by zones. It can be $150 to $400 or $500 per year per zone !! You might need 4 or 5 zones to cover a state.

I have not found an Australian chat forum yet... I might start one :)

No, I have not done any sitting at all. But I was thinking maybe applying for a few small sits, like 2 or 3 days. Maybe the owners would be less fussy about refs when it's only a couple of days. Then I get the start I need :)

I think the sitters need to be a little fussy too... I was reading a listing for a house not far from me (less than an hour away). They are only going away for 4 weeks, yet the list of things they want done... Lawns mowed, gardens weeded, gutters cleaned, mail collected etc, etc and some small house repairs done...In return the sitter will need their own caravan or they can pitch a tent in the driveway !! because they will not be allowed inside the house !! Just to top it off, their house is only a 15 minute drive to 2 completely free camping grounds...
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FollowupID: 799105

Follow Up By: Stevesub1 - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:25

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:25
We have only done minor chores when house sitting. Mow lawns, watering gardens if required, feed and excercise animals (good for me walking dogs), mail and the usual house cleaning that you would do anyway. We have always been in the house and the Melbourne one, we had the use of their cars which we did not need but used them once a week to keep the batteries charged.

Once we paid power and phone - I took photos of the power meter before and after.

Remember it is a pain if you have a long house sit and there are animals, you have to be there every feeding time and night which is a bind when in the area for several months.
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FollowupID: 799107

Follow Up By: Herbal - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:56

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 12:56
Tell me about it...I have got an 18 month old kelpie :) Five walks a day... Feeding is exactly 4pm every day. It will be 5pm when DS starts.

That is one of the main reasons I want to wait a year or so more. So he grows out of the puppy stage a bit...Kelpies just go and go and go.

Sure, I fully expect some chores. The normal things like cleaning and collecting mail, lawns etc. But I tell ya when I read camping in the driveway, gutters cleared and minor house repairs, I almost fell of my perch...:)

I also read one, I think on the north coast, that offered a car. Along with a fully furnish bed room and a second room incase the sitter wanted to have visitors during their stay !!

From what I have seen so far, I think there are quite a lot of good sitting opportunities...But scattered in amongst them are some home owners with rather large tickets on themselves...There is a thought, who would be liable if the driveway camper fell off the ladder whilst cleaning the gutters? Or would they need to be licenced to carry out house repairs since they were being paid in kind with free driveway camping? :)
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FollowupID: 799110

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 13:31

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 13:31
Hi Herbal,
Suggest you don't get too hung up one one home-owner with unrealistic expectations. There are plenty of other homeowners out there looking for good house-sitters.

My thought is that with a dog you may have a more limited range of possible sits. We have a dog and she is one of the reasons why we get house-sitters. However there a several reasons why I would not use a housesitter who wanted to bring their own dog.

The idea of a house-sit is that the house should be cared for as it would be by the owners, at least as far as day to day maintenance is concerned. Bigger one-off jobs (eg painting) would be by negotiation.

When we first used sitters the common practice (as far as we could judge) was for sitters to make a contribution towards phone and electricity. That has changed over the years and now most sitters have their own phone, and we don't charge for electricity or other fuel. We have allowed one sitter to use our old car, but recent sitters
have had their own vehicles, so we just ask for the car to be run occasionally so the battery doesn't go flat. Almost all our sitters have asked if they could have relatives stay for a few days and we have been happy to accommodate that request - and the house and garden has always been spotless and in great condition on our return.

Really its all about being responsible and being flexible and prepared to negotiate. Though I do think that you may need somewhere to go between sits. Which is why grey nomads travelling in a caravan have a lot of flexibility as housesitters.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 14:22

Thursday, Oct 03, 2013 at 14:22
Hi Val,

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, I have done some reading about dogs and kids. It seems that sitters with kids are pretty much out of the game. But dog owners, although restricted still have plenty available.

I am single. I don't even have a girlfriend. No kids. I am almost 50 and retired ex-defence (injured in service)...More or less I think I tick all the boxes except the dog.

I have read quite a few listings that say a dog is welcome. I have also read some that specifically state no dogs but not that many to be a concern.

It is an interesting and important point you raise regarding other accommodation. I have a plan :)

About a year or so ago, I decided I would like to drive around Australia - again...Then I thought why not make it a ten year trip...So I have been gearing up for it. I am now fully self contained as it were...Two 12 volt fridge/freezers, solar with batteries etc, etc. The only house electricity I now use is for lighting and my 240 volt fridge (which I don't really need to use) and the TV cos the kelpie likes to watch Happy Days (I kid you not). I turned the hot water off 9 months ago and now all my hot water is heated as needed on my gas camp stove. I could walk out the door tomorrow and not "need" for anything other than a place to set up camp.

So gaps between sits would not be a problem for me. But I did say I have a plan... A holiday caravan ! An on site holiday van cost not much more than renting a storage unit and it can be used for 180 days per year (in NSW). 12 months on the road not paying rent or 12 months sitting not paying rent...or just not paying rent...Is more than enough to buy an on site van.

Anyway, I ramble to much and the kelpie says it is soccer ball time!...Whether I like it or not !
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