Finding a good housesitter

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 10:30
ThreadID: 91083 Views:2467 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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For various reasons we choose to have the house occupied while we are away for any period of time. Over the years we have had family members, friends and neighbours help us out, more or less successfully. On a couple of occasions we have used folk who have advertised as housesitters, and both of these have been good too. One couple we located via the local paper and the other via a website.

There are a number of websites, and the “rules” of housesitting seem to vary a bit eg whether the housesitters pay for phone, electricity, or even whether they require payment for services rendered.

So I am interested to hear of other’s experience finding and using housesitters and the degree of satisfaction you have had. What is your preferred method of locating a sitter? Are any of the websites better than others? What, if any, monetary considerations are there for you, and so on.

It would also be great to hear from folk who have done housesitting to get their point of view as well.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:15

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:15
Hi John & Val

We have used three different couples as house sitters over the last 6 years. All have come as strangers and left as friends and we still stay in contact.

One couple flew in from QLD and lived in the house, the other two couples came in their caravan and parked it next to the house. Just hooked up to the power and used our abolutions.

No money changed hands at any stage, although one chap (ex farmer) could not sit still and we gave him a "wish list" (at his request) of the jobs he could tackle on our property if we wanted to. He was so energetic on some old fences that needed pulling down that he left with full tanks of diesel and some meat...but that was our choice...not his expectation.

Another one of the couples another time loved tractor work and spent ages on our road in with the front end loader...did a good job and kept him amused.

Another just loved feeding the chooks and keeping an eye on the stock water. Basically these people are seeking an experience and a base from which to look around that area. There are many people looking for these short term (who defines short?) and we have had one city couple and two country couples ..all with a similar outlook and expectations.

We gave access to our broadband internet (we were not going to use it in our absence so why not use the monthly up)

Our philopsphy was they were getting a holiday place with no rent and only food costs and a base from which they could move out and explore the area at their lesiure...we were getting time away from the farm and peace of mine...a win win for both parties

one of the sites we used has closed down...the other is this one

http://www.farmsitters.com.au/

send a mess if you wish and we can send email address of the three we used...they are still doing it

cheers









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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:30

Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:30
Thanks Bungarra, when we have a better idea of our plans we will take you up on your kind offer.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:22

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 11:22
Hi Val

We have used a house sitter at least times for periods from 3 to 4 weeks. I dont know if we have been lucky but we have had no problems with any of them.
We dont charge or pay them, as far as phone power internet etc, I tell them reasonable useage is okay. I usually tell them what my normal bill is and that i dont mind covering the cost as long as it doesn't exceed it. Generally they use their own mobiles so phone has never been an issue.

Liiving semi rural we find the people that want to house sit our place do it because they want to see family or friends. The last people live 3-4 hours from perth, and by staying at our place they were 1/2 away and could see their kids and grand kids.
Prior to that we had a lady who was relocating to a close town and wanted to be close to it

We do have some expectations that the sitter will do some work, such as check sprinklers if needed, water vegie gardens (they can have the vegies though). when we had horses, make sure they have water and feed when necessary. And if the dog(s) was left at home, walk feed and keep them company.

We use a website to find from the listed adds, we dont put a add looking specifically for a sitter.

Alan
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:34

Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:34
Thanks for your thoughts Alan. Like you we don't advertise our need for a sitter. We too are semi rural and we like to have someone who is used to the implications of using tank water, septic tank etc, as well as able to keep an eye on our few animals.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Member - Terra'Mer - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 12:54

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 12:54
I do a bit of pet/house sitting. It is so much easier on pets to stay in their home with someone caring for them than to go to a kennel, pound or stay at someone else's place. With someone taking care of your pets you know they will keep their daily routine, have company, get walks, won't catch any unwanted parasites or illness, have their own bedding, etc. It is especially useful for animals with illness like diabetic cats who need medication. Cats are very susceptible to stress illness when left at catteries/kennels.

I don't have a problem doing it for nothing but if modest payment is offered I don't refuse, depending on their financial situation, eg, if they're obviously struggling and need to travel for a funeral I won't accept payment if offered.

I don't have a car so it helps if there is a spare vehicle to use if the house is not in town or in case a pet needs to go to the vet.

Having been an emergency caretaker at the Eyre Bird Observatory it helps to have a few skills like road grading, gardening, maintaining solar systems, radio comms, etc or be a quick learner.

The most wonderful things about pet/house sitting is making new friends, making someone's life easier, and getting to stay in some very beautiful places.

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:42

Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:42
Hi Terra'Mer,
After many years being without a dog we took the plunge again a couple of years ago and got a beautiful border collie (we are her 3rd family). While she does limit our ability to get away a bit, she is a really lovely dog - getting her has been the best thing we have done in a long time. It would be lovely to have her along on trips but there are many reasons why it would not be a good idea. So a good pet/house sitter is very important for us.

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Navigator 1 (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 15:45

Sunday, Jan 08, 2012 at 15:45
Charles & I have been house sitters on quite a few occasions. Our 'jobs' were sourced from Aussie Housesitters
or House Carers.
With these sites the sitter pays a membership fee, not the home owner.

On all the occasions we were there to look after the pets and of course to do the gardening, keep the house clean and bring in the mail.

* On several occasions we have house/pet sat for a friend while our other sits have been through one of the above sites.

* We have housesat in Qld to be close to family when we thought it best to have a place of our own

* Over 5 months, back in 2010, we had 4 different homes in the Perth area while our 4WD motorhome was being built.

* At present we are house/pet sitting in the inner city (Sydney). You may ask why when we live only 25 minutes to the south.Well, all our family members were going away for Christmas and we thought it would be great as we could go to town, by bus, in just 10 minutes with no traffic or parking worries. Our Seniors tickets, for $2.50 each, has allowed us to go to town and on the harbour ferries to our hearts content.

With our first house sit in Perth we were asked us to pay for one month of utilities ie electricity + water. However, when we returned they were so happy to see their little dog and home so well cared for they changed their mind.
Rob


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:49

Monday, Jan 09, 2012 at 07:49
Hi Rob,

Thanks for your feedback. You have given a good insight into the many reasons why folk might choose to do a housesit. Its a very flexible way to go. I like your idea of an inner city housesit to do some exploration of a different kind.

Cheers,

Val.
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