How to pre­pare for a house-sit­ter

A house-sit­ter is God’s gift to all va­ca­tion­ers. It could be any­one from a friend to a pro­fes­sional sit­ter com­plete with ref­er­ences and five years’ ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your house-sit­ter and put your mind at rest while you en­joy your well-de­served hol­i­day.

MAKE IT EASY

Cre­ate an in­for­ma­tion pack. Your house sit­ter is new to your home and pos­si­bly your neigh­bour­hood, so make it easy for them to set­tle in. Make sure they have your con­tact in­for­ma­tion, emer­gency num­bers, in­struc­tions on how to use your house alarm, and any rules they need to pay at­ten­tion to. Let them know what days rub­bish and re­cy­cling ser­vices visit your street and in­clude a cou­ple of sets of house keys.

TELL THE NEIGH­BOURS

Avoid awk­ward mo­ments and false alarm po­lice call­outs by let­ting your neigh­bours know that some­one else will be stay­ing at your place while you’re out of town. You may even choose to leave a spare set of keys with them.

Don’t for­get to tell any reg­u­lar ser­vice providers (you may even want to can­cel these ser­vices while you’re away) and, if you’re go­ing to be on hol­i­day for quite some time, a call to your in­sur­ance com­pany could be a good idea too.

SET THE STAN­DARD

Any­one who signs up to babysit your home while you’re away is ef­fec­tively agree­ing to keep it in the same con­di­tion as you left it. You can set the stan­dards by mak­ing the ef­fort to clean your home and gar­den be­fore you go. Store your break­ables and valu­ables in a safe place while you’re at it. cup­boards with food and treats, and make sure their favourite toys and walk­ing lead are handy. Run through ev­ery­thing pe­tre­lated with your house-sit­ter. Let them know who your vet is just in case some­thing bad hap­pens while you’re away.

ADDED EX­TRAS

Col­lect­ing mail and feed­ing the cat are com­mon house-sit­ting ex­pec­ta­tions. But is there any­thing else you’d like done? Start your car a cou­ple of times a week to keep it tick­ing over? Un­der­take var­i­ous clean­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties? Ad­di­tional ex­pec­ta­tions could equal pay­ment of some kind, so make sure this is clearly out­lined be­fore the house sit­ter ac­cepts the job.

IT PAYS TO STAY

Some house-sit­ting ar­range­ments in­clude pay­ment of some kind. But some peo­ple are happy with free ac­com­mo­da­tion, a pantry full of food Sky TV and in­ter­net ac­cess. Pay­ment might need to be con­sid­ered if you have a lot of pets to feed and walk ev­ery day.

A tidy home is what you should re­turn to – pro­vid­ing you leave it that way for your house-sit­ter.

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