Wondering who homeowners consider are “experienced sitters,” because that can be subjective. There’s been discussion about what some see as a shortage of them.
If you’re a homeowner struggling to find a sitter, it’s worth considering how to suss out who’s responsible vs. not, versus just looking on the surface for “experience” or many previous sits.
You might miss out on great sitters by rejecting folks because they’re young. For instance, I was responsible even as a kid; I didn’t turn responsible just because I aged.
For context, I joined in February and have done five sits, including one abroad. I have three more lined up through October and might do one or two more this year. Some homeowners took a chance on me, even though I’d joined only recently, and they’ve all been happy with my sits so far. Other homeowners who wanted someone “experienced” might have passed me up based on my THS tenure alone.
Though I’d only recently joined THS, I’d taken good care of critters long before and (with my husband) have owned homes old and new over decades, taking good care of them as well. But even when we were renters way back, we took great care of rentals and always got all of our cleaning deposits back. Some homeowners look for fellow homeowners to sit, ruling out renters. But they’re probably missing out on some sitters who rent, but actually are more responsible than some homeowners. If you’ve ever shopped much for real estate and seen the condition of some homes for sale, that would be clear.
Of course, it can take more effort and diligence to vet sitters who don’t look strong on the surface, but if you’re a homeowner who doesn’t get many applications, you might need to put in the work if you want to avoid hiring a professional sitter. From what I’ve seen on THS, there are many more sits than obviously good, “experienced” sitters.
I’ve never really understood the concept of equating home ownership to responsibility. I agree that if someone is responsible, they are responsible even as renters. Owning a home is not as common in many countries, due to cultural, financial or other reasons. Why should these people be penalized?
I’m not sure about young people (early to mid 20’s), since they might not know how to deal with some difficulties that might arise during the sit. I’ve just come home after a few long sits and noticed that my son left our car battery die because “it was not a fancy enough car to drive around in”. His words . At least our cat was still alive
I am very grateful to the few HO’s that gave my husband and me a chance when we were first starting out.
Given my personality I rely a lot on the feel that I get during the video-call and it looks like many people do too. Thank you technology!
When we were first starting out, I did get a funny feeling about a HO during a call, however, we accepted the sit anyway and, sure enough, she was a bit intense to deal with.
My husband and I bought our first homes in our 20s (decades ago) and had much less info than anyone does nowadays, because you can search for nearly any home care situation via Google or on YouTube. Plus, everyone has Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, phone, etc., to ask for help from their entire network, along with the homeowners. And of course, neighbors can help sometimes as well.
The key things are: What would be an emergency vs. what someone has more time to figure out and/or get help with. For instance, if gas is leaking or the pipes burst or there’s a fire, you ideally want someone cool-headed who knows what to do. There are plenty of homeowners and older folks, along with 20-somethings, who don’t.
There’s also nothing stopping a homeowner from giving a good hand-off and/or leaving photos and locations for shut-off valves, or specific instructions and/or links to how-to YouTube videos or info. For instance:
About the dead battery: If your son knew the potential consequences of not running your car and didn’t do it, that’s a problem of care, not knowledge, which can exist among people of all ages, unfortunately. If so, you might consider hooking your car battery to a trickle charger the next time you have to leave it. https://www.carsdirect.com/car-repair/how-to-use-a-trickle-charger. Glad your cat is alive!
Personally, I do a lot of hiring in the tech/startup world and work with plenty of 20-somethings and others significantly younger than I am (in my 50s). I’ve seen plenty of capable folks among them. When my husband and I’ve left our home for extended time, I’ve asked a 20-something to sit. That’s because I know she has terrific judgment, is a strong problem-solver and is very responsible. And I know she could quickly find answers or help, if needed.
Some good points here! On the flip side, I am an experienced older sitter with many good reviews. I’ve occasionally had my application “declined” with no personal reply. I’ve looked back on a couple of these sits and saw that the homeowners chose younger sitters with very few reviews so it’s sometimes difficult to know what homeowners are looking for in sitters.
I have been on THS for nearly 2 yrs and have had six sitters. I have given new sitters opportunities with one or no reviews, but we have had better experiences with older (people in their mid-30s +) than the younger generations.
You have made some great points:
For instance, I don’t think people who aren’t homeowners are any less responsible than HO or that young people in their 20s aren’t capable of being reliable. However, I believe most HO have experienced who have posted in this forum is that young new sitters aren’t even reading their profiles or are letting them down with the recent influx of members more interested in using the home as a hotel than looking after their pets or leaving the place in bad condition.
I think it’s a two-way street, as I also see disappointed sitters on here stuck in a bad situation, such as a dirty, cluttered home or an undisclosed pet’s behavioral habits.
It seems like the solution is better communication: transparency and simply asking the right questions. The people I’ve taken a chance on have been based on them asking the right questions and having good answers, so I feel like I can trust them and vice versa.
"As an owner I always preferred more mature , experienced sitters believing they would be more responsible and would keep this OCD owner’s immaculate house exactly as I’d handed it over, my sits were anywhere from 3 -12 months.
Now why did I do that? … History of leaving a home in the “hands” of the young (don’t ask)
One sit I listed had 20+ applications, one from a young couple 23 & 27 who were on their first sit in Costa Rica, why didn’t I pass on their application? The message was so beautifully written, personalized, professional and yet incredibly warm and sincere, their profile was just the same and straight away I wanted to know more about the author of this wonderful application.
After a couple of messages, we simply connected and I chose them from the other mature and more experienced sitters. I didn’t have pets of course and all our sitters had to do was care for and enjoy our lovely Vancouver BC home, complete with Christmas decorations and a new SUV … Whistler here we come!
While on our sit Charli joined a quilting class and left me the most gorgeous quilt as a thank you, something I will treasure always.
That was 7 years ago. In 2018 I was a guest at her wedding, life long friends after all age is no barrier to friendship.
The date on a birth certificate is not a factor, attitude, intent and ability are …
We started sitting in Summer 2019, we have completed 62 sits (we we’re on other sites, we are exclusive to THS these days) some HO have a idea of what they want, mind you, I have applied for many sits that didn’t have “family friendly” or in their listing had “looking for a couple” who we have had repeat sits, we have 2 Autistic Teen(nearly Adults now) who both want to join THS when of age as they love it and are intending when they are older go travelling and HS together, I feel confident that our Regular HO would happily give references to them, they have watched the relationships the Teens have developed with their beloved Pets and their ability to problem solve, Cook, Clean, Washing etc.
Mind there are some HO who just want a single sitter/couple to stay in the spare room and apart from that room upstairs not go into any other rooms upstairs, and it’s their Home their Rules, the same as having guest or overnight visitors again their Home their Rules.
The only thing I can think would be to get character references from as many people as you can and the sits you get,explain being a younger person, many HO just reject because of age, and if in their review they could start it off with mentioning age/experience was not an issue. Sounds like you are off to a great start of HS adventures and travels, wishing you all the best.
When your kids start looking for sits let them know to check out ours Amanda! I’m open to newbies though usually older people, and as a neurodivergent household it would be nice to give others a chance. My autistic teen is also exceptionally responsible, competent and fantastic with animals.