Hi there! My boyfriend and I are listing our home for the first time for our first long trip away. We are a little nervous because we’ve never left our pets for this long, and admittedly I’m cautious about a stranger staying in our house with all of our belongings.
Are there any unexpected applicant red flags to be aware of? Or, anything that you look for in an applicant that tells you they would be a great sitter?
Reading through the forum here I’m feeling a bit wary based on some of the stories!
Hi @alphillips92 and welcome to the community forum! I see you are in Asheville…what a great place to live and one of our favorites! We live in Charlotte, NC, so not so far away. Your home and your babies are adorable and honestly, you should not worry about finding the right person(s) to care for your babies… The first time you interview a sitter can be a little scary since you haven’t done it before, but having been there, and eventually having more than 20 sitters in our home, I can attest to the fact that you are going to find great people you can trust with not only your home, but of course, your furbabies!
When you find a potential sitter, invite them to a video chat where you are going to be able to get a little more idea of how they interact with you and if you feel they mesh with what you are looking for and needing. Never, ever feel bad if you don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling from a potential sitter. Just tell them you are still interviewing and will let them know as soon as you make a decision (who knows…you may circle back around and find they actually are the right fit), then you can interview another sitter until you find the right “fit”. But always make sure if you decline a potential sitter, you send them a little note thanking them for applying. As stated earlier, this is a trust between both the pet parent and the sitter and not everyone is going to be right for every situation.
Trust is the main focus of TrustedHousesitters and you will find so many great folks here who are more than ready to take care of both your home and your pets with the utmost care and love. Sitters here love our furry friends and want to share their love with them. Many are retired or digital nomads who love animals but due to the nature of their lives, are not able to have their own pets, so TrustedHousesitters gives them the opportunity to love on your babies, while also getting the opportunity to explore a new area of the Country/World they have not had the chance to visit yet.
This will get easier each time you choose to leave your babies in the care of a sitter, and who knows, you might just forge some new friendships along the way.
Always know if you have any questions or concerns, you can come to the forum and most likely get answers quickly and precisely for any topic.
Having went through the process for the first time last year we can understand being a bit uncomfortable. Just make sure to go through everything that is important to you with sitter prospects. Trust your instincts. Communicate clearly. And once you leave, enjoy your trip.
If you’re feeling anxious you might want to go with a sitter with a track record, but I think in the US everyone needs to undergo a background check + ID verification. We would recommend trusting your gut feeling, do an interview before confirming the sit and perhaps spending some time together before you leave.
We are less than a year since inviting our first sitter into our home. We do remember how it felt for the first time! We are also sitters, as well, and will be sitting in Asheville for 10 days in November. I wish you’d be home so we could stop by to say hello and meet you and your cats, chickens and fish. What are your chickens’ names?
As stated by others in this thread, definitely do a video chat. Ask the pertinent questions, look at their reviews, and watch for any red flags. Fortunately, the people on THS are just that – trusted – and trustworthy. But there will be things that you need to look for in a sitter, so that you “click”. Use the video chat well and make sure their applications express a strong interest in your specific sit.
And our favorite state(s)? I would say Georgia, the Carolinas, Wyoming and soon to be Montana (when we visit there in 2023)!
Good luck! Maybe our paths will cross one day. Take care. – Mary and Ken
Yes always rely on that but with all of the information available and when the process we have in place is followed you can make an educated and informed decision relying on instinct as a (usually) full proof seal of approval … as you go through this journey you will also be amazed just how we are drawn to like minded people, I walk into homes which could be my very own, even finding the same taste in music …
it doesn’t always happen that way but more often than not.
Welcome. I understand your concerns but most sitters on here care deeply about making sure your home and especially your fur babies are taken full care of. Trust and respect are the keys to making a sit work I’ve found in my short sitters journey.
Welcome to THS! We are both owners and sitters so have seen a bit of both sides…
As owners, a few red flags for us are:
Applicants for whom it’s all about them… Why the location is perfect, how much they plan to get out and see, etc. with absolutely nothing about skills or interest in pet sitting.
Applicants who obviously have not read the posting.
Applicants who assume it’s ok to bring their pet along without asking.
Applicants with reviews that indicate issues with care of the home or pet.
Applicants who include nothing in the way of a personal note in the application.
Fortunately, the above are the rare exception to the general case of very qualified, caring, and trustworthy looking applicants!
We have had over a half dozen sitters over the last year and have been mostly extremely happy with them, and at worst better than ok with them.
By the way, we also live in Asheville and have had only one time where we were pressed to actively seek a sitter, we are typically deluged with applicants (we tend to post 1-2 week sits about 2-3 months before the sit date). We are both so fortunate to live in an area so attractive to sitters (and to live)! I do think we mostly see US sitters apply, probably because most international sitters visiting the US may not have Asheville on their radar … to their loss!
Ask A LOT of questions. More than you think you would need to. Lock any doors that you wouldn’t be comfortable having a sitter go through your things.
We have had 9 wonderful sits. And one we mutually agreed to end because it was a longer sit (many of ours are about 3 weeks and this one was as well) and she was not who she portrayed to be, when she arrived. And we felt our animals may not be safe with her for 3 weeks. It was ok because we learned a lot from that negative experience. She told us what we wanted to hear, not what was true. And I am sure there were red flags that I chose to ignore as I always want to think the best of everyone. Our lesson! DO NOT IGNORE ANYTHING THAT FEELS OFF TO YOU. And always have a FaceTime call with them.
Make a list of questions that are important to you.
We always ask
*Are you employed or retired. Or just traveling without any income source.
(We want sitters home a lot with our dogs so being employed is important to us). People that have no job can easily take off to explore all day and not be there with your animals. We may now verify employment in some way as well.
*What is your vision for your stay
*Do you have a home base or are you strictly a nomad
*Will you send photos regularly?
We live in the mountains and have security cameras outside. We disclose them to our sitters. And honestly rarely ever check them. But this will give you extra security that they are in your home and not leaving your pets if you ever need to check.
Ask the things that will make you most comfortable.
It’s a little strange, having strangers in your home. But 9 out of 10 singles and couples we have had, have been great!
DO go with your gut. And if you feel anything at all is off, go with someone else. During Covid there were so many remote workers, we would be inundated with applications. Now however, there aren’t as much. Do your due diligence because THS only does a background check. The rest is up to us.
Once you have your first wonderful sitter, it will all feel much more comfortable to you. And you can leave with the security that your pets are being loved and cared for.
I’m a sitter and appreciate being asked questions- everyone should ask everything they need to be comfortable. One of your questions struck me tho’.You mention the importance of being employed- i.e digital work from home I guess you mean? But what about retirees who just like being at home? My husband and I are not working, nor are we technically retired just yet! (At least not quite pensionable age!) We are also not tourists out sight seeing all the time. We are full time nomads for the last 10 years, and, since we have no fixed base, or our own pets, we love the opportunity to have a temporary homebase with some furry friends. Mostly we just go out for shopping and otherwise love to hang out at home with the pets, and ofcourse going out walking with whoever needs walking!!