Hi @MCsits and a very warm welcome to the Community Forum and I am sorry to hear of your situation.
I have attached another thread that you might want to have a look at
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Sorry this has concerned you. If you are worried by the state of the OH place you reach out to THS member services before or during your sit (email@example.com)
I always do a video chat before accepting a sit. You often get a feel of the HO place through this.
Yes, and besides the video chat mentioned by @richten1 , if the photos are estate / sales pics or the listing says it is being renovated or redecorated, you can ask for current photos to be sent to you by email.
I ran into this once. The listing photos were absolutely gorgeous.
I went to the home for a meet and greet to see if we were a match (the sit was nearby) and the home not only looked nothing like the photos, it was in a shocking state.
I’m very flexible, and not particular at all, but this was eye-popping. I can’t imagine there’s many sitters that would think accommodation at this place was a fair trade for their sitter services.
They were very nice people, so I talked to them for a bit before leaving, and did consider the sit because I knew it was unlikely they were going to be able to find a sitter.
But I just couldn’t do it. It was a weeks-long sit.
So I very gently told them why I was passing on the sit (the reality of the home vs. the realtor photos they posted for the listing), and suggested they post photos of the current reality of the home. I learned my lesson; I will never again consider a sit with realtor photos on the listing. (assuming I can tell that’s what’s going on.)
Sorry to hear you had this experience. We had a similar experience last summer. The homeowner and children had already left on their family vacation when we arrived. My husband wanted to send them a message and tell them to turn around, that we couldn’t stay. I said we committed and since it was only for 5 nights we would honour our commitment. I proceeded to clean up the areas we would be using, it took several hours to get it to the point of comfort. I reported the HO to THS along with pictures of the actual state of the home when we arrived. I left an honest review hoping no one else would have a similar experience.
This has also happened to me once before. The HO showed me a virtual video tour (a real estate agent version) which of course was all very pretty and polished. The whole property looked so inviting and really light and bright! I was really looking forward to the sit. In reality though, it was completely different and nothing like what I’d been shown. It turned out to be a very dark and gloomy interior all throughout the home. I ended up buying a lamp and two sets of fairy lights in a local hardware store in a desperate attempt to try and cheer the place up a bit. Despite all that, it really didn’t make much of an impact though.
I have also come across situations where a HO has listed photos on their ad which don’t necessarily present their homes in the best way but I took a chance and in reality when I’ve seen them in person, they’ve been so much nicer with such a lovely atmosphere.
I’m sorry though that with your particular situation, there appears to have been a lack of transparency there. That’s really not right at all.
Three days before the sit started, home owner informs us one dog is vomiting, has diarrhea and little appetite. Two days before sit was to start we asked if there was any way we could cancel, the next day they offered to cancel the sit and informed us they had a friend that would take care of the dogs.
If home owners are not posting real and accurate photos of there property what else are they misleading us about?
About 10% of our sits the home owners left out information or the listings or information was misleading.
Wow - yeah I would beware of realtor photos similar things have happened to me with Airbnbs. It’s incredibly dishonest and just a way to get someone to agree to a sit or book a place, they probably know no one would agree to sit for them for how unkept their place is.
Perhaps presentation and cleanliness is not a priority.