List of questions from sitters to owners

@Itchyfeet yes there are so many questions we could ask and often have to! I am not sure if THS provides a HO with some sort of check-list of what makes for a good exchange…something along the following lines and anybody feel free to chip in on this:
‘Hello HO and you must be looking forward to your break away? Here is a check list of what makes for a great exchange. We also provide a check list for sitters based on what HOs tell us’

  1. Please leave space for the sitter to hang clothes in the bedroom. Some drawer space and clear surfaces are also appreciated.
  2. Is there room in the fridge and freezer for the sitters food? Have you discarded out of date food and food no longer required?
  3. If you have dogs it is always seen as a common courtesy to clean any garden where the sitter will want to interact with your dog of dog poo before they arrive. The sitter check list also asks that they do likewise for your return.
  4. Have you agreed a back-up person with your sitter?
  5. Have you declared any cameras on the property (inside and outside) to your sitter? This is most important as we are sure you will agree.
  6. Is there free parking space either on the drive or on the street?
  7. Have you given the sitter all of the detail they need to look after your animals properly?
  8. As you are aware the sitter has the right to reasonable privacy while on the sit. No other person should be staying or arrive at the property for the duration of the sit. Where you have normally have cleaners and gardeners, this should be communicated to the sitter before the sit is offered and may need to be rescheduled for your return.
  9. Any trade work should not be scheduled while you are away unless the sitter reports something to you that needs urgent attention.
    Would anybody like to add to this checklist and perhaps a HO could initiate something from the HOs perspective that a sitter could refer to? @Angela-CommunityManager @Vanessa-Admin Im sure alot of this information is around in one form or another and there may even be check-lists that I have not seen? If there are not its worth considering. Obviously a list would want to be weighted with the most important points first up eg details on animals, issues around use of cameras, no other people staying at house, tradework etc etc. Again this is all offered in good faith and in the spirit of the forum being a place where we can raise issues of concern. Have a nice day all.
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Thanks for sharing this great list which I’m sure will be of help to many members. As someone who’s produced a lot of resources for the community through House Sitting Magazine (my other job)… we compiled a checklist which now extends to over 4 pages :slight_smile: And there (I believe) lies the problem.

There are so many scenarios… we’ve house sat all over the world and homes, environments, climate, pets, culture, travel options, off-grid situations, pools, land management… it is impossible to cover everything for everyone. I always joke now when I share our list because it’s really just a reminder of things you could ask, depending on the situation you find yourself in - it would be impossible to cover everything.

We’ve found that many members now create their own lists built up from their experience and information provided via the THS website, and they develop ways to build these into pre-sit chats depending on what’s necessary.

This forum is a great place to highlight each others experiences and will help others who might not have considered particular questions in a certain situation. Some of course are universal questions and those are the ones that could possibly be built into future updates and the product team will be looking out for these I’m sure.

As far as your question about information provided by TrustedHousesitters… there is a lot available… there are many blogs to advise people, a code of conduct when joining, prompts along each stage of the process to remind of best practices, and of course this new forum. Which is why posts like this are so helpful so thank you again for the time taken to list these points.

Here are several blogs for owners and there are similar ones for sitters:

I’ve moved this off the original topic as this is more relevant and can be extended. All the best, Vanessa

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Thank you @Vanessa-Admin.

The forum is allowing members to gain insight into both sides of pet and house sitting, thank you for sharing @carpediem all of these conversations are incredibly helpful for members, both new and experienced.

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@Vanessa-Admin many thanks for your detailed response Vanessa its much appreciated and yes you are right the list of questions sitters can put to HOs and HOs could put to sitters is probably so long it could never be contained in one set of prompts and as you say each sitter and HO will have their own questions and even that might shift at any point. I do think there are core concerns for sitters around a few issues though that seem to crop up quite abit on the forum and you will have seen them also; these being other people staying at the house where a sitter should have the right to privacy and likewise issues around use of undisclosed cameras and tradespeople and others coming into the house. I know that it has been said that sitters should raise these concerns directly with HOs before taking on a sit, but being a sitter yourself (and I am sure Angela would have experienced it also) thats not always an easy thing for many sitters to do especially if they are worried about the sit offer being withdrawn or getting bad reviews as a result of asking these awkward questions. This is why I believe it is so important to keep these type of issues as high priority at every opportunity when putting out information to HOs. I will have a look at the links you have sent and hopefully these sort of issues do have a prominent position.

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Hi @Vanessa-Admin I agree, that as a sitter, I have created my own list and what works for me, may not work for someone else and vice versa. As someone who is prior military and has lived in all kinds of situations, one thing I learned is to overcome and adapt. So, something like closet space or having certain foods, spices in the home isn’t essential to me. I usually bring my own food or I will go out and buy what I would like to eat. I often like to know things such as: “Is the dog(s) friendly with people or other dogs?” If they tell me the dog isn’t friendly or aggressive with other dogs, then I know not to take the dog to a dog park or somewhere where there would be lots of dog traffic. My focus is more on the animal(s) that I am spending time with.

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Definitely agree… the core concerns should definitely be high profile for both sitters, and owners, as they both have a responsibility to uphold in the house sitting exchange.

Re your point about reviews, for Ian and I, if an owner expresses dissatisfaction at being asked the more “sensitive” questions at a pre-sit chat, that would be a red flag for us. As prior homeowners it was a red flag in that sense too, if sitters were unapproachable on important topics.

I think saying no when there’s anything that doesn’t sit well with you is an empowering and important place to get to and I would rather withdraw at that point than proceed with doubts, unmatched expectations, or worries about reviews.

We ask all the important questions (from our perspective) regardless of whether they appear in T&Cs or Code of Conduct because we know how easy it is for these things to be scanned without proper reading. I wonder how many of us could quote the terms of the code of conduct from memory :slight_smile: For us personally there’s no replacement for good communication and discussion.

It’s easy for me to say this with hindsight having sat for many years, and learned through experience, which is why there is such great value in newcomers (and experienced members) being able to learn from the exchanges of fellow members here in the forum. I wish a forum had been around when we started out!! Take care!

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@Vanessa-Admin yes Vanessa yes getting to that empowerment point can be a hard road and I guess comes from experience good and not so good and wanting to be brave and upfront and honest with other people and with ourselves. Yes I totally agree its better to walk away from a possible sit when you get a sense that the tricky questions are not going down to well! We are always learning and fortunately I think for most people both sitters and HOs the exchange is a a happy one. All the best.

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