THINGS I LEARNED FROM HOUSE-SIT­TING

Living France - - Insight -

1) Start plan­ning well in ad­vance Sign up for alerts no­ti­fy­ing you of op­por­tu­ni­ties in the area(s) you’re in­ter­ested in. Of­ten home­own­ers post ad­verts and start their search months ahead, as it gives them time to find a house-sit­ter suited to their needs.

2) Trust your gut There are many ways to build trust in any in­ter­net-based sce­nario. In ad­di­tion to ad­vice from ex­perts, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that if some­thing doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t. Lis­ten to your in­stincts and adapt ac­cord­ingly.

3) Com­mu­ni­cate Be proac­tive when it comes to emails and Skype. In your ini­tial con­tact, be sure that you write an email with con­tent specif­i­cally for the ad­vert you’re re­ply­ing to. It’s tempt­ing to send a generic ‘hello-this-is-me’ email when you’re re­ply­ing to sev­eral ad­verts in one go, but re­mem­ber that there is an ac­tual hu­man be­ing at the end of that email.

4) You have to love an­i­mals (99% of the time) Most, if not all, of the house-sit­ting ad­verts I en­coun­tered in­volved look­ing af­ter pets, which could mean any­thing from feed­ing the cat to muck­ing out the sta­bles. If you’re not a fan of the furry or the feath­ered, you may well be lim­ited in what ser­vices you can pro­vide as a po­ten­tial house-sit­ter.

5) Be thought­ful You are a guest in some­one’s home, so be­have ac­cord­ingly. Be neat and tidy, say hello to the neigh­bours and don’t be too noisy. It’s also nice to say thank you to the home­own­ers. Write them a card, of­fer to get a few gro­ceries be­fore they re­turn, buy them a bot­tle of wine – small things can make a big dif­fer­ence.

6) En­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence I freely ad­mit that I was ner­vous be­fore house-sit­ting. I was wor­ried that some­thing ter­ri­ble be­yond my con­trol might hap­pen, or that I’d lock my­self out, or that I’d set off the bur­glar alarm in the mid­dle of the night. Of course, none of these things hap­pened, though it did take me a while to set­tle into some­one else’s home. Trust in the process and en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.

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