Advice requested for a better house sitting experience

Hi everyone, nice to meet you. My wife and I have had three sitters over the last seven months, with varying results.

The first couple were amazing, they cleaned up after themselves, and even washed our dog. The second sitter experience was mixed.

The last experience was generally ok, but still, the house was not hoovered.

We have a welcome guide that, in essence, asks people to clean the appliances they use and leave the house in the state they found it. We also want our sitters to have a good experience, so we make sure they can use all appliances and take food from the cupboards/fridge.

I’d really appreciate tips from other homeowners as to how you set up your sitters for success, whether that be in choosing the right sitters or tools/guidance you provide when they arrive. Thanks for your help in advance.


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Hi Luke
Although I’m not an owner I’m an experienced sitter. It sounds to me, from a sitter’s perspective, that you’re doing all the right things. Sitters are asked to leave homes in the same condition they find them (sometimes I and other sitters I know will leave them cleaner, depending on the state they’re in on arrival!). It’s about respecting a home. Any food used I would replace unless told specifically not to.
You are always going to get different outcomes as we’re all different. It doesn’t sound as if you’ve had a bad experience though, you’re comparing sits 2 & 3 with the first. We sitters find owners vary just the same.


Hi Luke,
I agree with what @Smiley has written. I will ask though do you have a video chat or phone conversation with prospective applicants BEFORE both parties confirm? This is recommended as you can get a “feel” for each other, both can ask questions and expectations can be raised.


Again, this is where it would be nice to have the option of contacting other HO who have hosted the sitters you’re considering. I would suggest reading past reviews of sitters very carefully, as well as the feedback they have left for the HO they’ve sat for.


@mars contacting previous homeowners in my opinion is an invasion of their privacy. They have already left a review which is “usually” honest so to have a sitter give out personal contact details to a stranger is really not good and I’m sure most previous homeowners would be very unhappy about doing such a thing. They have moved on and only knew the sitter for a fleeting moment.

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@ziggy , I am aware that it’s a privacy issue. I’m suggesting that THS members would have the option of opting in or not to be able to be contacted. However, this has been discussed before and the idea rejected so it probably won’t come to pass. I was just expressing my opinion.

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Seems like that would need to work both ways with sitters being able to contact previous sitters.

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We leave our sitters with:

  • a complete welcome guide with everything they need to know about the house, our cat and the neighbourhood
  • all user manuals to everything
  • an emergency fund
  • everything they need in the way of household necessities and cleaning products (excluding groceries)
  • everything the cat needs for the duration of the sit
  • because we use specific beans and only bottled water in our cappuccino machine we leave enough big bottles for the water fountain and enough coffee beans for the duration of the sit
  • homemade fudge, some pastries and a few bottles of wine :heart_eyes:

Our thinking is that if they have a nice sitting experience our cat benefits and we have a nice getting home experience. :hugs:


As a new HO & Sitter…I don’t see anything a miss in your post.

I have gleamed much from the forum and the list of questions could go on and on in the selection process of either sitter or HO.

I would just suggest that you review your application “chats” with hindsight and see if you think you were consistent in your approach in each exchange. And/or how you may approach the next exchange.

On a sit I recently secured for the near furture, I asked about the review process and if the HO understood how it worked and if she would complete a review of my stay, as I would for her.

Turned out, she was not given a review by a sitter for which it was a mutually great exchange and she was disappointed.

I suggested she contact the sitter to follow up and check in as to the why or why not.
The HO expressed interest also in knowing if maybe something did happen, as she would want to know that too.

It was a very easy chat for us. The review process is an important element to me, so I will bring that up in my chats.

I am also expecting inconsistency in my THS experiences cuz…well…human nature is what it is…

Keep posting…lots of good support here.


Weird. I find it common sense to clean and tidy up what I use even as a newbie, housesitting or not, except I am more lenient about it at paid stays like hotels.

I think it’s a character issue.

Thank you for the feedback - we have left similar items/guidance for sitters. Out of curiosity, how have you found the cleanliness of your house upon your return and did you give any specific guidance on this front before you left?

Yes, we have had phone calls and video chats - the ‘feel’ has generally been there, although I haven’t been draconian enough to talk about cleaning on the first call!


Thanks for your feedback. I did not leave feedback for one of our sitters as I felt they were in a bad place mentally, and didn’t want to add to their problems.

In hindsight, I felt I should have at least discussed this with them in person, but it has meant that now, as a rule, I am very transparent on the review as to how I feel the sit went. Its not just about my experience but that of other home owners down the line.


A few bottles of wine! Gosh, you’re generous, when can I come? :joy::rofl:


I agree with reading reviews to see if cleanliness is mentioned specifically. I know that there is a lot of talk about not being able to fully trust them because of how the process works (as far as I know, no housesitting site does blind reviews);but for the most part, I believe most positive reviews of sitters are genuine, especially when the owner really praises their care of the pets and homes, friendliness, good communication,etc… If someone was leaving a ‘good’ review simply out of fear of getting ‘retaliatory’ feedback if they didn’t, I’m sure the statements would be much more ‘muted.’

My husband and I really do a thorough job cleaning before we go and many reviews note how clean the house was when the owner returned–they wouldn’t write something like that if it wasn’t true. So if someone reading our reviews expected their home would be in as good condition as HO’s claimed theirs was in our reviews, they would be correct in that expectation.

Now of course, if a review doesn’t mention the cleanliness of the house it doesn’t mean the sitter did a bad job in that area. But generally, when a sitter leaves the house in really good condition, that is commonly mentioned in reviews. So yeah, looking out for mention of cleanliness of the house, can be helpful, if that is a main concern.

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The way we go about the returning the way we left it is when we are in the process of confirming a sitter…typically this happens on a video interview or in person I let our sitters know that we always have our house professionally cleaned before we leave because we want to make sure it’s inviting for our guests and likewise we would like to return home with it in a similar state. All of our sitters have always been good about this - one of our sitters even washed our windows! I also show our sitters where all of our cleaning supplies are…it’s not like I expect a deep clean but speaking from someone that has also been a sitter knowing where all the cleaning supplies are located is very important in case one of the pets gets sick. I also find that most sitters take great pride in returning the home to the state they arrived - it’s all part of their sitter reputation.

Also I completely agree with @gchampagne setting the tone for the exchange goes a long way.


Yes. The review process has been discussed at length on the forum.

For clarification, the hindsight I was referring to is the “interview” of applicants.

I have been very candid in my role as a HO and sitter to make the best effort to ensure as much as one can…a good fit and success for all hunand and pets🙂

Oh yah…and I will always have a plan B, so I do not feel I have to settle for sitter for my kitty…

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I have had 2 sitters so far to look after my 1 cat and 1 dog. Both sitters were single women with great reviews. My house was sparkling clean when they arrived. My welcome guide was printed out. I made no special demands and provided very comfortable accomodation. I also always leave a generous tip which is not expected but motivating.

Both sitters left the house behind in a very clean state, my pets were well cared for. We got home in the evening and the sitters had to leave earlier but that was no problem. I got good reviews so maybe I am doing something right.

I have sat at other homes so I know what matters: be honest about problem pets. Leave food in the fridge. Make sure the sitter has excellent accomodation (clean, comfortable bed with premium bedding, space to unpack, a bathroom where everything works).
Sitters will love and respect you if you give them the best.


Hi @Marlana
A warm welcome to the forum, and we are pleased you found us.
Thank you for your contribution, your experiences, both as a sitter and PP/owner and your constructive advice.