Planning for first pet sitter to come

I am wanting to go abroad for several months and will be posting my home for a potential sitter. I do have a few questions however that I would imagine others have already faced in the past.

So I am thinking of making my master bedroom/closet off limits; this would be OK? I have a dedicated theater in the home which is kind of my sanctuary that I would like to be off limits as well. What have others done regarding the use of relatively expensive items such as a player piano. The home has two other bedrooms that would be available, and kitchen, living room with TV, high speed wifi, kitchen, fridge, washer drier; everything else you would expect in a single family home. I have a Ford SUV that I would be open to allowing the sitter(s) to use, but also have a sports car that I would not want to be used. I have a rabbit, cat, prarie dog and rabbit that need care as well as an outdoor koi pond that is a bit complex to care for. The home sits at literally the edge of the mountains with a panoramic view of Las Vegas and the strip. I dont know if this would attract sitters or not.

I have no problem with any rooms or items being marked as off limits, and I’m sure that most sitters would not be bothered by this as well.

The only thing I would suggest is that you perhaps lock away the keys to your sports car, certain precious items or important documents in a closet or a cabinet, but don’t lock the room. If you tell me that room is off limits, that’s fine, but if you block emergency access to somewhere there is water (for example, a sink or a toilet) that would be …bad… If there was some kind of issue with the plumbing. Same goes for access to circuit breakers or fuse boxes, or where the router is kept.

Edited to comply with posting guidelines

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It is absolutely OK to make certain rooms or items off limits. Just be clear with your communication. When you specify the other 2 bedrooms in your listing, it would be nice to note the size of the beds and if the bathroom is attached or not. Provide photos of the rooms that the Sitter can use. Sounds nice. I don’t think you will have any trouble finding a Sitter.

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Yes as others have said that wouldn’t be a problem for a reasonable sitter. I have a sit coming up in a couple of weeks where I and the cats are in basically a guest suite (though it’s bigger than my own flat!) with the rest of the large house inaccessible. That was disclosed in the listing which I think was important in case someone was excited about the size of the main house that you can see in external photos. I’ve had other sits where a home office for example is locked. I don’t need the run of the house, just a decent space to live and full access to where the animals have access. In fact even when I do have the run of a large house I generally keep to a few main rooms to cut down on the amount of cleaning.

Hi @orangele2003. Welcome to our community! This forum is a great place to get all of your pet sitting questions answered.

You bring up some great questions, some of which have been discussed in the past. Regarding what you might do about things you don’t want sitters to access, here are two of those other conversations:

I hope they help!

Welcome @orangele2003 !

What you’re asking is perfectly alright. We’ve had homes that have had locked doors where they didn’t want us to access and I completely understand that. As a general rule, if a door is closed when we arrive, we won’t enter unless there is some sort of emergency. In one home we never even went upstairs as our guest room was on the main floor. We joke about it being less area that we need to clean at the end of the sit.

We actually prefer to stay in a guest room rather than the main bedroom. We just feel more comfortable there.
As far as the car, it’s great that you can offer the use of one as we travel the world sitting so don’t have a car. Leaving the sports car off limits sound very reasonable-Although I might ask you for a ride in it. :grin:

We’re currently booked out through the rest of the year but your sit sound like something we would definitely be interested in if the timing worked out.

Dan and Nan

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It’s your home. Set out your rules ensuring SITTERS do have their space. As firmer HO we never locked our bedroom and it remained private. Now as SITTERS wouldn’t dream of crossing owners boundaries. Ref car use, be sure they have documentation and your insurance covers.

How do others handle utilities? I have solar panels which keep my bill low, but in homes without solar panels, or even with panels, a sitter could conceivably run up a very large utility bill if they for instance kept the thermostat at 65 in vegas during the summer, or kept the heated pool spa on 24/7? I had a friend get a $5,000 gas bill from heating his pool. Does the insurance from Trusted Housesitter cover liability for the pool that is present?

My study with all my personal, financial records as well as my player piano and other things I would not want messed with has no doors with a large 10ft wide entrance so could not really lock it up. Yes if I were a sitter, I would actually feel better if I knew the homeowner had locked up valuable stuff/files so that there would not be a question of accessing such stuff. I will have to think what might be best. I could potentially remove files that are important, and just make clear the computers, player piano, etc in the study are off limits I guess. Thanks

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Making your master bedroom/closet off limits is fine: if your sitters have a comfortable bed, bedroom, and decent amount of closet space.
Making a dedicated theater off limits is fine, too, since you say you are providing a good TV set up in your living room.
You say you’re nervous about expensive items - are they not insured?
Consider that if you were leaving your home unoccupied except for someone checking in occasionally you’d be taking the risk of being burgled… more safe with people in the home!
And of course you should be trying to find a sitter(s) you’re comfortable trusting your home and things with.
Offering any vehicle is generous - in our experience we did the same: allowed our sitters the use of our truck but not our sports car. As sitters we’ve been given the use of the “lesser” valued vehicle and that’s always a nice offer!
Although you have quite a few pets, it doesn’t sound as though they are the type of animals that are hugely demanding of time & attention. But it’s best to make sure the sitter(s) you choose are comfortable taking care of that range!
I suggest you highlight what you ARE providing and simply note that the Master Bedroom & Theatre Room are not available.
As sitters our policy is to enter as few rooms as possible: the fewer rooms we use, the fewer we have to tidy & check before we leave!
Most sitters are, I think, considerate and respectful.
THS is a great win-win for both sides as long as both sides are considerate!
I think you’ll be happy with the experience.
Best of luck finding great sitters.

This is another question. If you search the forum you’ll find this has been discussed.

@orangele2003 ,

Take a look at these discussions. I hope you find them helpful:

Hi @orangele2003. As a sitter that has sat in a dozen homes now I’m happy if the owner states some rooms are off limits or if they prefer to lock certain rooms. As long as I have access to the bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and perhaps a living/sitting room I’m good. I might be different to some sitters as I live in a studio apartment when not sitting so used to small spaces!

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x2 on the “emergency access/do not lock” advice. I was on a long sit and guess which room for which they forgot to replace the smoke alarm batteries?! It started beeping at me riiiight around bedtime.
In this case, I was friendly with the HOs, so they were responsive, and told me where the key was. (She’d locked it mostly b/c it was messy.) Even then, I couldn’t reach the unit to change the battery (even with step stool) so had to get a limber young neighbor (via group chat) to come over and climb onto a shelf to reach it.

On another sit, I was “the help” in their eyes, and had to ask permission to enter a master BR/bath to find the only toilet cleaning products. (They normally had cleaners.) The response was something like, “yes, OK, but please ensure this is the only time you enter the room.”

Aside from that and possible plumbing issues, I think it’s a fire/safety hazard to block access/egress. Suppose a fire started in a different part of the house and this was the only way out? My BIL died in a house fire, and I am particularly fire safety conscious.

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@MissChef I agree it could be bad if there was an emergency, but we always locked our bedroom and office. We had a spare key hidden and if there had ever been an issue, we could have told them where that key was. Valuable possessions, no matter who is in your home, can lead to concern, and we never wanted to even have to think about it while we were gone. I agree that most (if not all) sitters will respect what you tell them, but if you want 100% assurance, I see no reason not to take that extra little bit of security. As I said, IF there had ever been an emergency, we would have been able to tell sitter where the spare key was located.

I guess that’s a good enough solution …depending on how bad of an emergency I guess, such as the situations presented by @Katie.