First time advice for owners

Hello everyone - we’re newbies and looking to find a long stay sitter, but feeling a little apprehensive about the process and deciding how to pick a sitter - I know the reviews process is helpful but also see that sitters and owners review each other so could potentially interfere with objectivity to some degree. Any good advice about the decision making process?

3 Likes

Hi @BillieBlue where are you located? We are new to THS (as sitters) and looking for a long stay home and adorable pets to fuss and cuddle.
The feedback is reciprocal but honestly I feel like you can get a good feel for the people and the site thoroughly vets sitters before even uploading their profile. You can always video call with sitters to see they are real people and arrange things together :grinning:

1 Like

Hi @BillieBlue
A big Welcome to the forum.
Please know that your apprehension is normal, but I’m sure it will be short lived.
I agree with @Enjaybee … besides the references and reviews, to set up a video call as you can quickly gauge if you are the right fit for each other, and to follow your ‘gut’ feeling.
I see you are already reviewing applicants, so as you go along, please feel free to ask any additional advice here.
Best wishes
Therese

4 Likes

And @Enjaybee
A big welcome to you too.
May you enjoy all the interaction and advice that our lovely, experienced forum members have to offer.
Best wishes
Therese

4 Likes

Hey @BillieBlue, welcome.

If you are offering a longer sit, it is something more experienced sitters are looking for. You should find someone good if you have enough time. I as an example.already have 3 long-term sits agreed, the last one is Jul-Oct 2023.

I feel the review system does work. The red flag for me is if someone has many sits without a review. I feel if the review is given, it’s accurate. If there is no review, then why?

If they have 1 or 2 missing but have many others, then they had an ungrateful owner or one who didn’t want to give a bad review.

Best advise is to have an idea of the type of sitter you would like, e.g. if you have an active dog, you don’t want someone who can’t walk far. Then read their reviews and have a video call with them. Ask about their background, why they do it, their best sits and the ones that didn’t go well etc etc. Try to read between the hyperbole and soft out the essence. Could ask them why you should choose them? Have they done any research in the area? How will they spend their time whilst on the sit?

Then it comes down to gut feeling. Do they share the same values as me.

Hope this helps.

3 Likes

Welcome to the forum. As a new homeowner, I would make a list of things that are important to you. Have a clear idea of the type of sitter that would work best for your situation (single, couple or family). What things are non-negotiable to you (smoking vs. nonsmoking tends to be a big one here). Then make a list of things you are flexible about (arrival dates? Potentially offering use of your car to a qualified sitter. Would you take a sitter with limited experience etc.). Take good pictures of your home and pet.

Make sure to have a phone or video call with the sitters. And, once you’ve done all the planning and overthinking, go with your gut instinct after talking to the sitters.
If something feels off, they might not be for you. And if something feels right, definitely go for it.

3 Likes

Do sitters normally provide ID and personal info so you know who is staying in your home?

Hello. This is my first time using this site and I am somewhat apprehensive. Can I expect sitter to provide personal info, full name, address, gov-issued ID before I hand out a key to my place? Is this a standard request? Thanks for thoughts on this and any other first timer tips.

3 Likes

@DMVedi I think you’ll find different opinions on this on the forum. As sitters, we have no problem giving out our info to homeowners after a sit is confirmed. After all, we are taking care of someone’s likely most expensive asset and their beloved pets. I also think it’s only fair that the owners know as much about us as we do about them (full name, address etc.).

1 Like

Do you think if someone is going to do something illegal they would have access to false documents?

Hi DMVedi,

Feel it is a matter for each individual. I’ve done 20+ sits in the UK, NZ & Aus and never been asked.

Trusted Housesitters have verified documents for those with the extra badge on their profile.

Other than that, the reviews are probably the best guide plus your gut feel during a video call.

1 Like

@Robert I agree with some of your points but not all. As sitters its defintely a red flag to my hubby and me if a potential host has missing feedback from some/or all of their previous sitters. I always assume something went wrong that the sitter does not feel able to share for fear of receiving a retaliatory review. That is certainly the reason we sometimes don’t give host feedback even if we’ve received a review. The THS review system is tricky. I didn’t actually know it was possible to see missing reviews for sitters in the same way… we only notice sometimes a previous sitter didn’t get a review-whilst cross checking reviews/feedback for a potential sit. But maybe from the host side missing reviews of sitters do show. We have 2 missing reviews from our 57 sits- in both cases there are legitimate reasons why we and the hosts did not review each other.
Your suggestion to ask background questions and how they would spend their time on the sit sound rather interogatory as would challenging a sitter as to why the host should choose them?- sounds too much like a job interview. We feel uncomfortable with too many personal questions. We have already shared a great deal about ourselves on our profile and in our application and we have very many 5* reviews attesting to previous hosts satisfaction with us.
We had a situation during the summer when, despite all the info already given, the hosts pretty much ‘interrogated’ us during a video call. The husband in particular asked so many personal questions- e.g what made us tick, how we would spend our time in their home, what work we had done etc etc it felt very uncomfortable and like a serious job interview. He seemed so suspicious and they took an hour of our time with their questioning. In the end we did not accept that sit despite being offered it as we did not have a good feeling- a lack of trust from their side.
Surely the most important things are that the sitters show a love of animals and an interest and commitment to taking care of the pets in question and following host guidelines. And that they are friendly and everyone has a good feeling about each other and the sit. Details of how the sitter spends their days etc are a little too invasive and irrelevent. We never ask the hosts details of how they plan to spend their holiday-though we are always interested if they want to tell us anything- so why should they need to ask us? We anyway always send daily pics & updates of time spent with the pets and anything else relevent to them- deliveries, household issues etc that should be enough- The rest is our private time.

2 Likes

@DMVedi We’ve done 57 sits and have only once been asked to provide a copy of our passports- we were actually really surprised- the hosts said their previous sitters had told them everyone shows ID but that is simply not true! We were already verified by THS when we joined- passport, email, phone number. Sometimes we are asked for drivers licence when using a hosts car and that’s perfectly fine. The whole concept of THS is about trust- we all create a profile, gather reviews, usually have a call/video call & a few messages so by the start of the sit you should no longer be strangers!
Some sitters, like my husband and me, are nomadic, by choice, so would not be able to provide a home address. We also use our nicknames on our profile and not our passport names. So needing those details would rule us out as sitters for you even if we might be perfect!
Its good to ask lots of questions and then go with your gut. Good luck!

Only you know what a sitter should expect from your unique sit so try to put yourself in their shoes and make sure it’s a good match both ways. I’m always nervous too, but we’ve done trips from 1-3 months and had great THS sitters every time. We have a small farm and are a bit rural so I try to find a sitter who is looking for a mellow stay vs someone seeking nightlife (that’s clear in my listing). I ask what their plans are while they’re here and make sure it sounds like they are comfortable with the unique aspects of rural living. Are they familiar with being on well and septic, okay with animal sounds and smells, possible effects from wildfires etc.? I‘d prefer they are charmed rather than surprised when they arrive and notice the neighbor’s pretty mules and cute goats. I like a phone call or video chat to see how relaxed and confident they seem and try to choose someone who understands our animals’ and property’sunique needs, who will calmly handle whatever comes up, and who will enjoy spending time here. In the end, trust your gut. That’s it, easy peasy :wink: Good luck!

1 Like

Your comment made me laugh, not in a jerky way, just reading different interpretations of HO’s questions is interesting. I always want to hear how a sitter plans to spend their days but I don’t mean specifically, like how much TV will they watch or do they prefer to read a book, will there be a puzzle out at some point, are they a breakfast person? I just want to know they’ll have enough to do and be content in our quiet town, and that they will spend enough time at home that the ducks get to free-range and the cats get to snuggle and play. The sitters I’ve spoken to have been really open about their plans, often without my asking, and it’s never been weird. Hopefully it was more the guy’s tone than the questions that made you uneasy. Some of us just want to make sure it’s a good fit both ways and asking questions is how we find out. Conversational is the key word I suppose. No one wants to be interrogated.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences. As of now, I would settle for a full name, I have provided mine. I’m sure it’s fine, but I’m nevertheless a little uneasy that someone would insist on withholding their name for an extended stay.

1 Like

@Shafofo You are right- it was the tone, and the feeling of suspiciousness we picked up. And the feeling it was like a job interview.
We have nothing to hide. If we’d felt it was a genuine curiosity about how we spend our days I’m sure we’d have revealed much more! But we felt like we were having to justify ourselves!

3 Likes

@DMVedi Just to clarify re- name. We don’t use nicknames to hide anything. Its just that our passport (legal) names are not the same as the names we use in daily life. I’m happy to share passport details if needed (& the host can reciprocate the same)- then you would see my picture and know its the same person! I also use my married surname for banking but still have my maiden name on my passport as it has many years before expiry! But all names are me and I am very trustworthy- that’s why I said ‘Go with your gut’! A dishonest person can always offer fake ID…:roll_eyes:

3 Likes

Welcome to THS. I’m a sitter so wanted to help you answer your question from our perspective. I would first advise you to put lots of pictures up of both your pets and your home- both inside & out. Its super important to give the sitter a true sense of where they’ll be living so dont forget their bedroom & bathroom, please!
The second point is to go with your gut. I also suggest interviewing a few sitters via video chat before you make the final decision but remember to do it in a timely manner as often the good sitters are snatched up quickly, especially around holidays and summer vacations.
If youre concerned about negative feedback, make sure your home is very clean and organized and know that sitters only want to do the best they can for you and your important pets.
Best of luck!!!

4 Likes

New host here. I don’t see how to find out how many sits someone has done. On the profiles I only see a count of the reviews. Am I missing something?

David