Every week we see dozens of articles on news outlets and travel blogs about how fantastic house sitting is for travellers. That it’s cheap and very easy to get involved with – but one topic that’s regularly skipped over is how house sitting substantially benefits the home owner.
Up until today we too have mostly spoken about and shared the benefits we’ve had from our two year experience of house and pet sitting in Europe. We’ve explained how it helped us spend only £600 on accommodation last year. We’ve also shared how to find the best house sitting website to join, as well as how to write a successful house sitting profile.
Today we want to explain why house sitting should be the first choice for any home owner taking a holiday this year.
What Home Owners Told Us
Every time we’ve house or pet sat our curious nature always pushed us to ask the home owner why they’ve chosen to invite us and – and for many home owners – several house sitters into their home whilst they’re away on holiday.
Nine times out of ten it’s for their pets. They have a few choices available to them and, of them all, house sitting tends to put the comfort of their pets first. Jointly the top priority is security, and as I’ll go on to explain below, it’s more than just making sure the windows are locked and the alarm is on.
As we listened to each personal reason why the owner chose to start using housesitting instead of a family member, a kennel, or a cattery; we noticed ten reasons why house sitters are becoming a popular alternative option.
House sitting is incredibly cost effective, especially for home owners who might use a kennel or cattery for their pets during their holiday where the total price can run into the hundreds.
With house sitting website subscriptions running between $20 to $100 per year, splitting that cost across each holiday or weekend away you take becomes almost insignificant.
Paying less than $25 per holiday for a house sitter to watch over your home and beloved pets certainly sounds like a worthy cost saving option to us – especially if you’re paying $500 or more to leave your cat in a cattery for only seven days.
There are also professional house sitters who charge by the day, however you can easily find sitters like ourselves who are equally as professional, but without the high price.
Importantly, the largest cost saving may be related to the unthinkable: an emergency.
Imagine that you have a friend or family member popping by your home to check that everything is okay. They’re very busy so they can only visit every other day. Between visits a pipe bursts and water starts leaking everywhere. It’s 24-hours later and your family member opens the door to thousands of dollars or pounds worth of damage.
Doesn’t less than $100 a year for a house sitter sound like a cheap price to pay for avoiding the above disaster?
Some insurance companies can be really tough on break-ins when the owner is away. Some companies give a seven day grace period of coverage, whilst other stricter insurers allow only four days of non-occupancy before they cut their support.
Avoiding the problem is easy.
Welcoming a house sitter into your home not only keeps your insurer happy, it also acts as a 24-hour deterrent against burglars who watch and prey on activity-free homes.
House sitters make sure all windows and doors remain locked, watch over your most precious possessions, as well as not forgetting to keep an eye on your car whilst it’s not in use.
3. Property Maintenance
If you’re planning to spend an extended period of time away from home you’ll probably want to consider how you can guarantee the extended maintenance of your home is taken care of.
Again, you can ask a friend or a family member to drop by from time-to-time to spring clean the house and weed the garden, however there’s every chance that it’ll slip their mind or be neglected altogether.
Imagine your cousin asks you to drop by their house whilst they’re spending a month away in Egypt. They’d like you to dust from top to bottom, cut the grass and sweep up the leaves, and keep an eye out for any blockages in the guttering that may occur.
Doesn’t sound like much fun does it?
During house sitting assignments that last over several months house sitters like ourselves are quite happy to sweep up the leaves in the garden and give the house a big going over with a duster in one hand, and a broom in the other.
It’s not uncommon for some house sitters to charge extra for extended or more laborious tasks – you’ll be able to agree these terms before accepting a sitter – especially when they’re being asked to spring clean a large home or a property like a Bed & Breakfast, which needs extensive cleaning during the off-season (whilst the owner is away).
4. Undivided attention
As previously covered, a house sitter gives their undivided attention to watching over your home and/or your pets. We’re able to spot every unusual character hanging around the house at strange hours. We’re in the property when the postman calls and we can sign for every delivery so that those bargains you picked up online aren’t returned to the sender.
House sitters see the breakages before they become total failures. They spot leaks and they’re there to be around so the plumber does the best job possible.
House sitters like ourselves are also there to spend hours playing fetch with Fido, and equally as many hours trying to convince Mittens not to bring that dead bird indoors (the last thing you want to come home to is a bathroom full of “presents”).
By far the biggest bonus of having a pet sitter is the stress-free environment they provide to your pets.
5. Stress-Free Pets
Kennels and catterys around the world can be great places to leave your pets whilst you’re away, but taking your beloved family friend there can have more negative effects to their psychology than has previously been documented.
On several occasions we’ve spoken with the pet owner before they’re left and asked them why they aren’t using a kennel or cattery on this occasion. Nine times out of ten they’ve tried either option beforehand and seen the negative effect being in an unfamiliar surrounding has had on Fido or Mittens. They pick up their pet from their “holiday home”, bring them home, and immediately they can sense a little difference in the animal.
Sometimes it’s a case of ,“you left me, you clearly don’t love me”. Other times it’s a case of, “they barely spent any time with me. I need more attention, you know!”.
Kennels and catterys can be busy places with too much going on, and with not enough attention being paid to your pet their medication gets missed (if they require it) – and in sad one story from a home owner – a pet can die due to neglect.
Inviting someone into your home seems a small task if it keeps the psychology of your pet happy.
6. Medical Care
As mentioned previously, when a pet requires constant supervision and the administering of daily medication, wouldn’t it be prudent to invite an “in-house” carer, rather than sending them away to a “caring unit”?
Imagine if the pet was you. Wouldn’t you prefer the nurse coming to you in surroundings you know rather than you having to spend a week in the unknown surroundings of a clinic?
We’ve looked after pets before who’ve needed daily medication plus the maintaining of their routine (adjusted to suit their condition and not over-excite them). We know exactly how to pick them up so as not to hurt them, which is much easier to teach one or two people, rather than a whole team of people at a cattery or kennel who already have so many things to remember for all the animals in their care.
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7. Don’t Break the Routine.
Fido gets his walk at eight in the morning or he pees in the hallway.
Mittens needs a treat at 5:30 in the evening or she goes out into the garden and will disappear for three days in a sulk.
Even the little adjustments to a human routine can throw people out of sync for the day ahead. It’s the same for your pets. They thrive on routine and get extremely miserable and disruptive when their daily pattern of walks, playtime, and treats get thrown out of the window.
As house sitters it’s our mandate to be there for your pets, not the other way around. We play when they want to play. We walk three or four times a day, and more if they’ve plenty of spirit left to go out once more.
We’re also there to maintain the routine of the house too, from taking the garbage out according to council’s latest changes to the garbage day and which coloured bins go out when, to being there to pay the gardener (if you have one).
8. Little Jobs.
House sitters are also there for the little jobs. They’ll drop off your prescription at the doctor so you don’t miss the regular day to hand it in. They’re in the house when your pre-arranged grocery delivery arrives so that you’ve fresh veg for when you return home.
They throw out the junk mail, pay the paper boy, tell the salesman not to call again, and vacuum the house every couple of days to keep the house as clean as if it was their own.
All the little jobs get seen to. Try asking your uncle Nigel to be there when the paper boy needs paying and I’m sure he’ll have “accidentally forgotten”.
One aspect of house sitting we’re always happy to oblige with is the level of communication the home owner requests. Some want a complete shut down of information so that they don’t hear a word unless something really drastic needs to be said. Others want the occasional picture of Fido or Mittens sent every other day over WhatsApp, and occasionally some owners want an update every day filled with all the cute things Mittens has been doing.
Especially in the case when we’re acting as surrogate parents to a pet who has a medical condition, we’re able to keep the home owner constantly updated whilst they’re away with short messages explaining that everything is okay and the medication is being taken care of.
10. Peace of Mind.
Most important of all is the tranquillity that comes with knowing that someone is there keeping an eye on things.
We’re your 24/7 security guard – but much cheaper.
For the price of a membership to any of the house sitting sites – thanks to our success with it, we prefer Trusted Housesitters – you can go on holiday or away on business knowing that someone is caring for your home and pets with the same degree of attention, love, and care that you’d be giving if you were still there.
Being able to forget about your responsibilities is part of the reason you’re taking a holiday this year, so why not leave those responsibilities with someone you can trust?
Will you try a house sitter this year?