It would be unprofessional, negligent, and indeed reckless, if the home owner and the house sitter did not have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and obligations during the house sitting assignment. Having worked in highly regulated areas and government environments where (at times) unnecessary paperwork and endless paper trails were common place, I am well aware of both the importance of maintaining good records, and the futility in creating relatively meaningless paper trails as well. A contract has to mean something – it has to be valued. I place primary importance on clear and consistent communication in any agreement – written or verbal.
An agreement/contract without that is just a piece of paper in my view. It is important to ensure both parties know exactly what is required – with or without a signed agreement. It is recommended that responsibilities should be in writing. I can provide a generic agreement if required.
Lets look though at formulating an agreement and the kinds of expectations that are encountered by both parties during a house minding assignment. The first thing to state here is that no one agreement, and no two parties are the same – it changes depending on the needs and requirements of both the house sitter and the home owner.
Generally speaking, house sitters do not pay for the privilege (and that is what it is) of house sitting, and generally speaking home owners do not pay for the privilege (and that is what it is) of securing a house sitter to look after what is generally their major asset. This can change. So much depends on the roles and responsibilities of the house sitter. For example, a relatively passive house sitting assignment may simply involve maintaining a presence in a home with nothing else required. Other situations may involve daily care and exercise of pets, maintaining gardens, cleaning, collecting mail/post packages, and duties associated with running a business. Clearly these are two very different assignments with clear value adding on the latter.
As mentioned in earlier articles, once you start utilising your house sitter for various tasks and responsibilities, there needs to be an appreciation of the time and effort required to carry out these responsibilities. In simple speak, a multi tasking house sitter can save a home owner a lot of time and money – not to mention the peace of mind that goes with it. This needs to be acknowledged within an agreement.
There is a lot to be said about finding the right person to look after your home…the first time. The old adage; if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, does apply to house sitting as well – regardless of whether or not there is actually a financial transaction involved. Any agreement is only as good as the people who agree to it. Words are cheap. Actions and demonstrated results are what counts.
This is why doing your due diligence is very important.
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- Genuine references and testimonials are crucial – and you can always request to speak to these people.
- Experience in both house sitting and life is important.
- What is also important is your feel or instinct about this person.
- Can you trust them?
- Are they professional?
- What is their background?
- What do they value – what are their values?
- Do they really understand the concept and practice of privacy and confidentiality?
- Will they respect you, your home and your assets?
- Will they be communicative and alert you to any situations or changes during the house sitting stay?
- Will they genuinely look after your pets if pet sitting is part of the agreement?[/green_tick_1_list]
As a home owner you need to work out what it is you expect from a house sitter. From there you need to delineate and communicate that. You also need to work out what you are prepared to give or provide to ensure your house minder has a comfortable stay. If you are fortunate enough to find a good person, you can count on the fact that they are looking to add value to your life as well. Mutual respect is required.
The majority of sitters are affiliated with, or members of house sitting membership sites. Whilst that is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, a home owner is often faced with unnecessary communications with multiple parties in a process that can be time consuming…and a bit of a lottery depending on the quality of the membership base and the availability of its members. As I am totally independent and autonomous, you deal with me directly – no third parties involved.
If you know of someone who may be looking for a proven professional house sitter or a pet sitter, or who may be interested in the other services I offer, please recommend, like, and share my website with them and your friends. Thanks!