Owners: Would you choose a sitter with a 4-star review among 95% 5 stars?

My husband and I are permanent house sitters - we travel and house-sit a lot. We’ve done it for 1 year already and have received many glowing 5-star reviews and multiple offers to come back. Most of our reviews mention how clean we left the place - we always aim to leave the place as clean as we found it.

Very recently we had a lovely sit of a number of weeks with quite a few animals. The house wasn’t very clean or tidy when we arrived (including bathrooms), but we thought it wasn’t a big deal.

We left updates as requested, had lovely communication, left a 5-star review, but received a 4-star review in return! We had points deducted for cleanliness and self-sufficiency with no reasons provided at all. We left the place even tidier and cleaner than it was (hoovered, clean kitchen, washed and changed the beds) and literally have no idea why they left us that review.

As far as I understand the platform, 4-star reviews are really bad - people only leave them when it was horrible. We personally never leave 4-star reviews, if we didn’t like it we just leave no review at all as we know that no review is better than a 4-star review.

My question is - mainly for homeowners - would you still choose our profile if you saw one recent four-star review?

The actual review is still very positive, it says how well we looked after the pets. But because we rely on house sitting as our main source of accommodation, I’m really worried this is going to reduce our chances of getting sits as the competition is tough. I’d love your opinion please!


Us home owners are probably just as diverse as all of mankind. :wink: So I can just speak for myself. I personally always leave honest reviews and have also given 4 stars where I thought it was appropriate. I actually think this system of giving only 5 stars is terrible. How do I know who is really great among those 95 % “great” sitters? A recent sitter eventually took it back on me and gave me 1 out of 5 stars in her feedback, probably just because I dared to give her 4 in one category. Having 31 5 star feedbacks as well, I think that 1 star feedback says more about that sitter than it does about me. :slight_smile:

Since this star rating system is bonkers, I always read the previous reviews thoroughly (just as I always write thorough reviews for the sitters I really liked). If a sitter has reviews which only say in a few words that “everything was great and the pets were happy”, I will probably not chose them. However, if the reviews go into great detail stating a few things that went exceptionally well, the sitter has my interest. Because I think if someone takes the time to write a bit more than “thank you”, that says a lot more then a few shining stars. A 4 star for cleaneliness would not bother me much since I always have my cleaning lady come once a week to make sure things stay the way I like them. So if your other reviews are 5 stars and the texts that come along with them mention your special qualifications, I would not worry too much.


We had just had a very similar experience where the host dropped a star on cleanliness when we had left the home pristine! Better than we’d found it e g She’d left a fridge full of rotting food for us to deal with!) Fortunately our overal rating was still 5* but we questioned her about the missing star and her response was a complete lie! I don’t want to go into details here but we felt betrayed after all our effort for them duting the whole sit. She made us feel like staff on probation and failing miserable! Unfortunately (for the first time ever) we’d already given her great feedback- but we won’t do that again! That’s why we always request a review first- as it marks the completion of the sit for us- and then offer feedback. In this case we would have left no feedback at all or something less positive than we did once we discovered her attitude!
So I suggest you ask her directly why she did that. And if she won’t get it changed then you can always respond directly on her review- on your page-which all future hosts will see and which they can take into account.
But ultimately don’t worry too much about one 4* review- its very annoying and disappointing- for sure- but if your track record is otherwise 5* and if the host likes your application, profile and all your other reviews and do theur cross referencing, then it will be overlooked. And as soon as that 4* review gets further down the list the easier it’ll be again!


Hi @sofiaandchris
Are you aware that you can reply to your review? You can also add that you have no idea why they left you this review.


Exactly this!!


As a HO, a 4-star review in just one category from one other HO wouldn’t bother me.

I’m a sitter also, and I got 4 stars in the “clean and tidy” category (which really should be 2 separate categories) once, with no explanation in the review. I asked the HO for the reason, and it was because I didn’t return everything in the tiny house to its original place. I moved some countertop items and coasters while cleaning, and apparently didn’t return them exactly as they were. It’s not like I hid them! I would never ding a sitter for that. Most of my reviews mention that I left the house cleaner than I found it, so I think HOs realize that one review is an anomaly.


As sitters with over 35 5 star reviews, my husband and I received a 4 star review rating on the “tidiness” category. I was really shocked and did ask the homeowner as to why, as we always leave a home immactulate. My husband likes to wash dishes by hands so he is the main dishwasher and I guess a pan wasn’t washed to the homeowners’ liking. This was a learning lesson and an eye opener so we make sure all dishes are spotless. In certainly didn’t deter us from gaining more house sits though.


I wish the review system was more like AirBnb where each side can only see once both reviews have been written and submitted.


Like others, we’ve had 4 stars on the clean & tidy section , probably for similar reasons that we’ve moved things & not remembered to put them back.
Personally, if the pets have been looked after well, is always our main priority, & the house has been left ok i dont worry too much.
We are all human and can’t be perfect. Also, people’s expectations vary.


Thanks so much for your comment! This is reassuring and made me feel better about our future chances.
How can I request a review first, please? On the website and on the app there isn’t an option to request a review until I’ve left a review for some reason. Otherwise of course we’d always ask for the review first.


This! I also feel like as a sitter I have to chase homeowners for reviews, as they are more important to us than they are to the homeowners. Any “no review” looks bad on our profile, and with too many reviews absent can cause suspicion.

On the phone app go to the ‘Me’ section open & scroll down to ‘review’ then choose your host. Usually there us an automated review request already there but it says ‘Dear so&so I recently sat for you…’.so because we are a couple…I always delete that and write my own more personal request. I also don’t like that the automated request says the review ‘takes less than a minute’ this makes it sound far to casual and unimportant! I’m not sure if you can edit on the app so I always do the review request from my laptop.

And I also agree with you that reviews are more important to sitters than hosts. Reviews/feedback are great, and useful, both ways- sitter feedback really helps when choosing sits to apply for- but sitters rely on their reviews more- as the more reviews, the stronger the profile is perceived to be etc Even the fact that the host can review and rate in 5 categories and the sitter can only give a general :+1:already shows reviews have more weight. It should be the same system both ways and they should be blind for 2 weeks like airbnb. This current system leads to both sitters and hosts being afraid to write the truth for fear of retaliation. So they either omit the negatives- which is then an anbalanced review- or write nothing at all.
We are in the situation right now where we may not get a review- that’s how its looking. All went very well and there was great contact throughout the sit. They sent a quick one line msg when they got back. Since then- a week later- complete radio silence- they’ve read- but not responded to- our follow up msgs ,& our review request. We have no idea why they are blanking us. It feels really unfair & we feel used but they don’t seem to want to communicate anymore. We’re debating whether to check in one more time & ask why? or just drop it to avoid any chance of things going negative. As you say no review is better than 4*!
It should not be like this. When a sitter has done a great job, sent regular updates, left happy pets & clean home, the very least the hosts can do is to spend a few minutes writing a prompt review preferably with 2/3 days before they forget all about the sitter!!
Its really a power-trip when hosts need constant reminders or don’t bother writing a review at all- its like being cheated out of a payment for a job well done. Sitters should not have to beg for a review!! The hosts get their reward the minute they return and everything has gone well. The sitters’ reward is a great 5* review!- so the sit does not feel complete till we have our review. That’s why we also ask for our review first and give feedback after.

1 Like

Hi @Lokstar & @sofiaandchris on the subject of reviews I don’t believe there are any sitter members who put little importance on reviews, no matter how many we have.

When I reached 50+ I thought I might be less inclined to watch for the review or be affected if one was"missed" how wrong I was.

They are important no matter how many we have. It’s recognition and validation that the love and care we give to pets and homes is appreciated and matters.

Thank You!! Two words which mean so much.

For unknown reasons I still have outstanding review requests all I can think is they has passed someone by. I do send polite reminders and if not forthcoming try not to overthink the reasons behind the lack of response as it isn’t necessarily personal or something I have or have not done.

@Lokstar I agree it should not happen and we are constantly looking at ways to ensure that reviews and feedback are given in a timely manner. The work on the review system currently underway will be looking at this as part of the new review process.

@sofiaandchris , go to the THS website, click on your picture, on the dropdown box, click on reviews. Then you will be able to request one. You can also find the website on your phone browser and click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right, then click on reviews.

As a devils advocate, and I know the review system is being revamped now, I don’t see that the blind review system would help in this situation. The sitter thought things went well, the HO/PO did not. The unfair review would still be there. If the reviewed party could still respond to the review/feedback, it might help to present the truth, who knows?

That’s great news! I remember sending a request for a review to a home owner, years ago. We had left them a great review and they replied to our review by …reviewing us in a great way. Sadly, that review is absent from our profile and always will be, as the request for review is still pending in the system (it was in 2018). We tried to find a way to redirect HO to the HO profile who had reviewed us in his reply, but that just didn’t work.
Someone suggested that if we didn’t leave a review, (on both end), then whoever didn’t leave a review could not post again, or apply again. It might be a bit harsh, but I wonder if that wouldn’t help struggling sitters. Following up is a professional action that not everyone feels comfortable doing (and sometimes it is tricky to do in a professional setting too), yet maybe the system could send automatic follow ups, and would be stating their are an automatic system message, not to annoy the owner. I’m sure that’s something that’s looked into though, by THS

@NadiaTHS – and I see @Angela-HeadOfCommunity is typing now, but when I’ve had any issue with reviews, I have contacted membership services, they have intervened and all was perfect. Why not send them an email? I bet they’ll fix it.


Hi @NadiaTHS and @mars I was going to suggest the same thing, thank you.

1 Like

@Angela-HeadOfCommunity thanks ladies, I will try that right now!


We mainly use our membership as homeowners looking for sitters and I would absolutely consider you as a very highly rated sitter with so many 5 star reviews and one 4 star. Only by reading these forums occasionally do I understand the quirks of the rating system, which they are overhauling as we speak.


Hello @jenniferparsley and a warm welcome to the Community Forum and thank you for joining in with this topic :slightly_smiling_face:

For reference, you can also add your TrustedHousesitters profile on to your Forum profile on here by following the attached link, should you wish. This will then enable others to offer you helpful advice and feedback and will also give your listing extra exposure!

If you are unsure how to do this, or if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask, we are all more than happy to help.