Clarity needed over 5th applicant.

Yes, it’s fair to say if we see a sit which looks appealing and there are alteady 4 applicants, the urgency of the situation can mean we don’t read through fully before submitting an application.

The 5 applicant rule has turned the heat up a bit!

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@2Globetrotters - yes, I definitely rushed applications recently when applying for London sits. It is incredibly competitive and difficult to apply for, especially when my time zone is 6 hours behind GMT. I sent a very brief placeholder message before researching location, looking at photos, etc.

I know the theory is that once I start an application, I can take my time before hitting “submit”, but I am wary of that strategy. It might work for others, but I’ve had times that the wifi has gone down, or my computer kicks me out, or other tech problem that mean that I lose the application spot.

In 2 of my recent applications, I withdrew my initial application once I checked details - maybe the photos showed a very cluttered, untidy, place or the location wasn’t great. I don’t like to “waste” a HOs application spot this way, but this is the system that THS has created.

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From January last year to the end of September, I did 7 international sits in very ‘popular’ locations, where they received 5 applications rather quickly.

I always read the listing in its entirety and besides the dates, the only other main consideration are flight costs , which I can look up very quickly on another device while I have the application open on the other. I may also look up a bit about the location if the listing didn’t provide a lot of information. I personally don’t write long application messages so I have never felt the need to write these ‘placeholder’ type messages.

And the fact that once you have the application opened, you are able to send it provided you don’t click away from it, it doesn’t seem necessary to send these types of messages, unless in the moment you are unable to write a message or research logistical stuff. Or perhaps if you only have one device available to you.

I imagine though, that most people who are doing that are doing so not because they are indisposed at the moment and can’t write a proper application, etc. but because they think they have to get it in before anyone else who may be writing one at the same time. If I wasn’t on the forum, I would never know that anyone with an open application would still be able to submit even if 5 people already had. And there might even be people on the forum who aren’t aware of that–I recall this information simply being provided in a forum post response by one of the product team managers, not some major announcement about it.

I write a bit about how my husband and I are full time sitters and how long we have been doing it, that we have our own businesses that allow us to travel as we do, where we will be prior to their sit (if we know), why I want to visit that area and note any particulars in the listing that may be of importance to them such as experience with their type of dog. My messages often aren’t longer than a paragraph, maybe two sometimes.

I have always written shorter messages, with the assumption that that they will almost certainly look at our very detailed profile on which we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from homeowners over the years. And of course, they will also see our numerous reviews.

I also try to be relaxed about this process and trust the perfect opportunities will come along, so for me personally, I probably wouldn’t rush to apply to any seemingly desirable sit without reading the listing in full or researching important things like the cost of flights simply because I am fearful of missing out and not getting another good opportunity. Not being attached has seemed to serve me very well in landing really great sits. That is just my opinion of course and I don’t think these sorts of messages are ‘wrong’ but I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending them.

I am with you @Lassie in that I have clicked on the dates and the application has gone off before I had chance to write the message, I didn’t even press Submit. This has happened on the last 2 occasions.
I have been advised by Carla to report it to Membership Service but, if it is happening to me on the website, it must be happening to others.
Once that happened I had to very quickly write my application so I was rushed.

As a homeowner in a popular location, I’ve received up to 7 applications despite the 5 application rule. As a sitter, at least once I have started an application and clicked apply before the sit closed but didn’t make it in on time. I’m thinking in addition to interuptions, closing browsers, etc, there must be some cut off on the timing.

Not sure about the time but most probably the number of applicants. As 7 applications seem to be the limit, I am guessing the cutoff is at 7, with a maximum of 4 submitted and the remaining applying

I see no reason to assume that there is a limit of 7 applications. If @Marion never got more, that is probably because so few members know how this is supposed to work.

If only THS would communicate this, I believe there would be more applications. More people would open an application window, they would not rush. Then one could easily get 10.

This is also something that we could test @HelloOutThere with a bunch of participants on this forum.


Just a couple of days ago I was the fifth person to apply for a sit; went back to the listing to clarify a detail and saw that applications were closed. Panicked for a moment but when I went back to the application screen I could still apply.

So, it seems that if you click first as the 5th applicant, no one can come in behind you.


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@2Globetrotters The short answer is YES. There is WAY more pressure when applying to popular destinations these days. As an early riser, I no longer wait for my husband to wake up to consult him about whether to apply. The timezones already put us at a disadvantage.

We have agreed we can withdraw our interest at any time up until we are locked into the sit, so I will RUSH to get in an application to any sit I FEEL works in with our plans and we work out logistics and talk about it later.

I’m a writer and after 60+ sits our application wording and process is pretty slick. But if there’s 4 applications already, I will definitely hold our place by saying we’re interested and then follow up quickly with a more thorough application

Its rare we decide to withdraw but there’s always a chance once we do a thorough evaluation. (And we always request a call before confirming anyway, so there is time to do that).

I INTENSELY DISLIKE the way the application process now makes me feel, but that’s life. We still get the majority of the sits we actually manage to get an application in for, and many time the PP say they will contact us first before listing new dates in the future. So that’s a win.

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Thank you, everyone, for your responses! I have learned a few things about how this works from this discussion. It seemed to me that people weren’t reading the listing before applying. I was wondering if my sense of the applications being rushed was because people really ARE feeling rushed, or if it was for some other reason. It turns out many are feeling pressured, but this is probably because they (like me) didn’t know how to work this system. I have modified our listing several times since it began, and now it starts abruptly with NO SMOKING and NO CHILDREN UNDER 8 YEARS OLD and NO PETS (I have a cat who doesn’t like dogs). Yes, those are the house rules, but really, I feel it is off-putting for anyone to read a big “NO” before they get to yes. But I was getting a lot of families with little ones applying - sometimes several little ones for our small space - and that just doesn’t work at our house. I had to make that change because out of five applicants, 3 or 4 couldn’t do it because they apparently hadn’t read the listing. If they had, they probably wouldn’t have applied and taken the place of someone who actually could sit. Now I understand why. Again, thanks for your input.