How to rate HO's?

I’m curious to hear from other sitters/guests how they deal with reviews and what they would decrease points for. Or how HO’s have felt after reviews in which they didn’t get 5*'s that were actually accurate.

I’ve encountered perhaps 20% of sits where I really wouldn’t rate the HO’s 5*, more like 1-3. My response has been avoidance so far and I just didn’t leave reviews for those HO’s in which there were bigger issues. At first, because of reading these boards and people stating it would backfire. But honestly, as I’ve done this more, I don’t think that’s good. If other sitters/guests had left honest reviews (not also avoided like me or put hidden easter eggs in their reviews) then I could have made better choices. It’s also not fair to those great HO’s who work hard to make their homes welcome and are honest about their animals. And it perhaps encourages the ones who aren’t being upfront about their home, animals and expectations to continue doing so. On my end, all HO’s have left reviews and all 5*. Almost every sit has had some hiccup that I roll with. But some of what I put up with was well beyond what I should have and certainly beyond what I agreed to.

Now I have a review to leave and I’m mixed. How many things get to be off or not what was originally agreed to before you mention it in a review? What would make you decide to knock off a star?

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As a sitter, I’ve never given a homeowner a bad review or less than a 5 star. There may have been minor upsets here and there on sits but nothing that really annoyed me to the point of giving a homeowner a bad review or knocking off a star. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a “horrible” experience.


The norm here for sitters seems to be not to knock off stars for petty stuff. So I would think of this the same way for HOs. I think just having the categories might help some HOs up their game a little when it comes to cleanliness for instance. I know I’ve been to some homes that were tidy but honestly the stovetops weren’t very clean or there have been other issues that I haven’t mentioned. I probably would still give them fives as a baseline unless it was really bad. I’ve enjoyed all the sits, and there isn’t a one I wouldn’t revisit if I was going to the area, so I would tread lightly. I know some people expect Airbnb levels of clean and might disagree.

So far on all my sits HOs have been pretty upfront about behaviorial quirks and other “issues” with the pets.

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I am a sitter and HO. Now that sitters can rate HOs on specific categories, not just give an overall rating, it is easier to deduct stars for a poor experience. The overall sit might have been 5 star, but maybe pet behavior or communication was 4 stars.

If you do deduct stars, please explain your rating in the review. It is frustrating to see a 4 star review without knowing why there were only 4 stars. You can be diplomatic, and say, for example, “Fluffy is a large, friendly dog but needs more leash training. We were told that he was never aggressive, but he lunged at every dog we encountered on our walks, even ones across the street.”


When I sat a dog that even attacked robot lawn mowers I wrote something similar. And that walks in safe environments had been very enjoyable. It was before the stars for different categories, and that sit was definitely worth 5 stars overall.

I have deducted an overall star once with the stated reason that the shower that was in the amenities and mentioned in the listing was not really there (just a handheld shower head in the bath tub). That was something that annoyed me every day and it was objectively true. I would certainly have mentioned it, even if I might have landed on giving five stars (but there were other issues too).


On reflection I should have marked down 2 HO’s in my 19 sits so far. The first one was a HO that asked me to pill one of her cats but forgot to explain which cat (identical brother and sister cats). I tried to contact her without success and contacted her emergency contact without success, She later told me the emergency contact (her brother) never answered the phone.
I spoke to THS vet line for advice. After 7 hours the HO returned my call. The HO also put post it notes on every kitchen food item ‘do not touch’ including salt and pepper. And lastly we agreed I could leave once she was at the airport due to a train strike taking place later in the day. She failed to do so leading me to a journey home taking 9 hours rather than just over an hour and a half.
The other sit I should have marked down was a property that didn’t have a functioning shower but the HO asked me to use the hosepipe outside for my 3 week sit. It was warm enough fortunately to use the nearby beach showers during my sit.


I really appreciate a HO providing input. And the example you illustrated is actually very similar to the two situations I am questioning, although one was much more serious.

Now that retaliation reviews aren’t as big of a worry, we should be able to rate based on true experiences. Dirty homes upon arrival or unclear instructions will not get 5 stars. It hasn’t happened yet but if a pet parent comes back home early leaving my family to scramble and get out of there, I will automatically deduct 2 or 3 stars. 5 stars have no meaning if we all continue to automatically give everyone 5 stars whether they deserve it or not