Do I press APPLY if I just need more information?

I am very new to the forum and have yet to sit or apply for a sit with THS. I am still looking and adding favorites for possible future sits. I have noticed that some HO are not very descriptive in their posts. Sometimes I may need to ask a clarifying question but in order to do this do I have to hit the apply to sit button first and actually apply for the sit? It seems that is the only way to find out the answer to a question if the HO has not specified.
For example something that would matter if I drove to the sit: In an inner city high rise apartment- “is there a designated parking space or is their street parking near the building?”
or
When a HO states responsibilities include: Gardening, cutting grass, pulling weeds etc, this can be a huge job or no big deal, if there is no picture of the garden I am not sure how much work and how often this will be and I need clarifying information.
Thanks in advance for your help.

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@Pets4me
Best thing to do is to apply. Offer to do a video chat then you can clarify all your questions. You can reject a sit if you are offered it.

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Hi Sara and welcome
Just to say that sitters should not be expected to do the gardening, although some watering is usually asked if in the summer. We are there purely to look after pets and keep the home secure, take in post. I wouldn’t apply if gardening is required……

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@Smiley and @Pets4me … I have a sightly different take than “sitters should not be expected to do the gardening” …

First note that I am both an owner and a sitter, and have both asked sitters to take on some modest lawn care and provided lawn care/gardening as a sitter. I think it’s reasonable to ask for and to do if it’s a normal part of living in the home.

My view is that if the owner has included gardening in the listing and the sitter has applied and agreed to do the (hopefully, well-defined) gardening, then the sitter should be expected to do the gardening as discussed and agreed.

Of course, any sitter can decide not to apply based on gardening or any other responsibilities they don’t care to take on, including pet related ones.

I think SarahF is taking the right action in exploring what the responsibility means before committing to the sit (and Smiley is doing the right thing by not applying to sits that include disagreeable-to-Smiley responsibilities).

It would be poor form for an owner to spring a gardening need on the sitter without having included in their listing and interviewing process.

It’s all about good communication, disclosure, and trust in getting the defined sit completed well.

Two cents,
Bruce

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Very valuable two pence.

Apply for those sits that you are interested in and willing to do what is required.
If not, move on.
Me gimme the garden, the pool, the whole shebang. I enjoy the feel of a home.

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Yep, I agree with Bruce and Amparo. Asking for gardening help is totally acceptable and sitters always have the option to pass it by. My hubby enjoys cutting lawns and often asks if he can do it when we are sitting. We both enjoy gardening and sometimes do more than we are asked to, just because we enjoy doing it. To each his own.

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We always enjoy gardening, pool maintenance, and the occasional farm animal :wink:. To us, it’s a welcome addition to the house sitting experience. We are both very busy and active people so the more chores, the better for us

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Just a quick word - I hope that those who do this for information only, then don’t actually want the sit, delete their application, or the HO removes the application.

On a popular sit, they may get 5 people asking questions, and that would cause the sit to be paused as part of the “test”, so anyone genuinely interested could miss out on the sit.

So actually it is not something I am in favour of or would encourage.

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@Petermac – I withdrew an application after being the 5th applicant, and the sit listing did not automatically unpause.
So, it might be the case that the HO needs to manually unpause the sit even if some of their first 5 applicants withdraw their applications.

I sure hope HOs understand that they can always unpause to get more (suitable) applicants!

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@Pets4me - What I do is:
Generally if a HO in an inner city area does not mention the parking situation, I pass it by… unless the sit is perfect for me in every other way. (It may be worth it to just not bring my car!)
It’s handy to have insider info on different areas of the city. For cities I’ve lived in, if I can figure out what part of the city they live in, I know how good/bad the parking situation is even if they don’t mention it.
And sometimes they say the street parking is “easy,” but I know the area, and what they mean is, “easy compared to other parts of this city.” In some areas, getting a street parking spot 4 blocks from home is “easy parking,” and in others, that’s atrocious!
I get the sense that if they have some sort of parking perk, they mention it in the listing. Also, if they go into excellent detail about public transport but say nothing about parking, I take the hint that parking is tricky.

Same with yard and garden chores. If it seems like their outdoor chores will be a lot for me, or I suspect it will be a lot based on photos and description, I pass it by… unless the sit is perfect for me in other ways.

If I do apply, I then get clarification on those issues that are important to me as soon as possible.

Welcome, and good luck!

Hi @Pets4me and these are some very good points you have made regarding necessary info. I think many homeowners just don’t realize all they should be posting regarding the sit…they just don’t think about it, but I believe it is vital to state living area with necessary pics of bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room, pics of outdoors, info on how many floors are in the home, or if in a building, what floor and if there is an elevator. These are all important, but sometimes you will just need to apply to get more information. If you do receive an invitation for an “interview”, that is the time to ask all those pertinent questions. There is nothing wrong with asking and it truly does show that you have an interest in the sit, but remember, if you don’t feel it is right for you, all you need to do is decline the sit. I would suggest you add a note as to why you are declining though as this is good info for the owner to have for future invitations. This can help them decide what else they may need to add to their profile.

I tend to agree with you about the gardening, I don’t want to deal with a big lawn or cut grass with a push mower. I don’t even cut my own grass. I hire someone to do it. I would never ask my pet sitter to do it. However, I have no problem watering the garden and picking up dog poop etc. But pulling weeds and cutting grass seems like a lot to ask when I am there alone and I already have a house and pets to care for.

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Thanks this and everyone else who responded. You have all answered my question. The only way to get clarification is to apply for the sit.
Initially I was thinking there might be a quick way to send a message to the HO asking if there is parking for example as I would be driving to their home. But I can see how a HO could get overwhelmed with too many messages asking clarifying questions. I would probably just skip over any sits that don’t offer the details I would need. I also am getting some idea from reading forum posts that there seems to be a hidden subtext to a lot of HO posts. Such as not mentioning parking in the city means there probably isn’t any parking. :grin:

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I totally agree with the comments above. Communication is key to everything, not just gardening. I housesat in a home that had tons of indoor plants. When we arrived for our December sit we went from kitchen to dining room outlining all the orchids and various exotic plants that needed to be cared for. I would have appreciated a heads up on that. It still went well and fortunately I love plants indoor and out so it wasn’t an issue for me but it may have been for someone else. My husband likes gardening so usually takes on a lot of spring, summer and fall work for our HO. It has always been appreciated by HO but never expected unless it was clearly outlined right from the beginning.

Sitters shouldn’t have to read between the lines so much, but it does end up happening a lot. :slight_smile:

A lot of HOs just don’t really think of their sit from the sitters’ point of view, so key info isn’t always included.

One of my fave sits was in a dense, big city. The HO didn’t mention parking so I asked about it. She said it was “easy.” I didn’t fully believe her, :wink: but when I got there it was indeed easy. I guess since it was never an issue for her, she never thought of it as important info for her listing.

We’ve found that for those who have left out information that is important for us to know before we consider the sit (typically with those new to the platform), we got ahead and apply, but we let them know we have a few questions prior to setting up a time to talk. This has only been an average of 3 questions when we need to do this- typically revolving around posting more pics (usually offices so we know what workspaces look like), asking where the animals sleep (we are light sleepers so prefer not to sleep with the animals), and sometimes a third question clarifying something else (like parking in your example). Every time we’ve done this, the owners have quickly and thoroughly responded, and we’ve then set up time to talk more (we’ve accepted the sit invites on all of these so far). Most of them have actually updated their postings with the information we ask about as well to help them with future applicants. Clear communication is what this platform requires of us all, and that takes working with each other to clarify what’s important or not to know in advance. :slight_smile:

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Why not just have a way for potential sitters to send a query without having to apply? this would help the HO know to include more info.

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