Poor communication from home owner

I applied for a sit over Thanksgiving and a few days ago got an acceptance of that sit with a short note from the owner saying she would love to have me sit. I noticed she had no previous reviews at all and I am hesitant to just accept a sit without at least a phone call to meet the person. I responded that I was happy she chose me but would like to have a call to learn a bit more and ask a few questions. That was 3 days ago. I sent a second note suggesting some times, but no reply. I can see she has not read either message.
Meanwhile I have received a second request for a different sit. The first one was an ideal sit and location but I am worried about the lack of quick communication from the homeowner, who just sent me an acceptance and then disappeared! What is a reasonable amount of time to expect to hear from the owner when you are discussing a sit, and also it it common that an owner simply chooses you without a call or zoom, - am I silly to be reluctant to take it without talking to her?

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That does seem odd. Maybe she’s on a quick vacation or something right now, but wanted to firm up the Thanksgiving plans before leaving? I would also be hesitant about commiting without a phone call or more emails. Is she in an out of the way location, where she may not get a lot of applicants? Was her listing lacking in details also?
It’s a tough position for you to be in, but at least you have 2 options for sits. Maybe send the first homeowner a final message, saying that if you don’t hear back from them by a certain date, you’ll have to decline and move on to the next option. But also mention that you think the sit would be ideal and would love to make it work.

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@Bishop400 , I can understand why you feel the way you do, as I would feel the same. As @Harris2 suggests, a last attempt with a date to hear back by would be your best alternative right now. I will mention that on several occasions, I’ve had homeowners tell me they didn’t get notifications that they had a new message in their THS inbox and therefore didn’t get back to me in a timely manner. That could have been “user error”, though, I can’t be sure. I know you haven’t had much communication at all with this homeowner (and I, very much like you, would never accept a sit without talking first), but once I’ve established communication with the owner, I usually ask if we can exchange cell numbers in order to get past the possibility that they are not getting notifications from THS. Good luck to you. If it were me, I would move on. Early rumblings of something “not quite right” usually ends up with more issues down the road.

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Yeah, that’s tough. She may not be getting notifications and is counting on having a sitter, but you deserve to feel confident too. Did she officially confirm you as a sitter, or was it just a verbal acceptance in a message? If it’s just the message and she hasn’t confirmed I’d try one more time to reach out as suggested above, and then move on for your own well-being. You could also see if THS support would reach out to make sure she’s getting her messages. Good luck, let us know how it works out.

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Normally I would say the HO has not communicated well, so I would not accept that sit.

However, I’m not sure how robust TH’s mail is. It’s also hard to configure the TH emails/notifications ideally. In my case, I ended up turning most of them off.

Have you given the HO your phone number already? If that’s the case, then I would go with my default and say the HO has taken too long. Especially if you already traded phone numbers and you texted her once.

If you haven’t texted the HO yet, then I’d do one last-ditch attempt to get ahold of her, as others have mentioned.

Regarding calling/zooming beforehand, I am a new sitter, on my first sit and with another in the queue. My second sit was accepted w/o a call; we just messaged. However, I do have a very open profile and public info. Depending on the HO’s personality type, and on how much info the HO had on you (e.g. your profile, LI/Airbnb), I can definitely see someone choosing without a call/zoom.

She actually did confirm me! I just do t feel I can accept without a conversation.

Susan

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I include my direct email and phone in my initial applications and hope to get the same back if HO wants further communication

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I personally would not accept a sit without a phone call at the very least and ideally a video chat. If she isn’t responding to messages that would be a red flag for me until otherwise explained (tech issues, poor service, etc). If she’s new to the site she might not understand that you then have to confirm before the deal is done.
I would send one more message, including my contact info (which I usually include in my first messages anyway) and say that I’d like to discuss the sit further before accepting. If I didn’t hear back in 24 hours, I’d retract my application. I’ve had my fill of unresponsive HOs and I feel like if they want me to sit for them and need a sitter badly they will make communication a priority at least until everything is finalized.
Good luck!

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It sounds like you haven’t pressed ‘Agree to Sit’ and therefore you are not obliged to do the sit @Bishop400 where you are uncomfortable with no further communication from her.

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I would not accept without a conversation and quite frankly without a video call. I made this mistake in September and the girl seemed super sweet via text but when I showed up it was the home of a hoarder. I really and truly HIGHLY suggest talking with someone and seeing the place. Especially if you are traveling far or are staying long term. Always be prepared to have to pay for your own accommodation of the place isn’t as described. TH will only compensate you if the host cancels themselves.

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Red flag! Go with the second one would be my opinion

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Personally If I didn’t exchange messages within 24hrs I would look elsewhere! That may seem to be quick but the way I view it is that if the sitter is keen to sit and the person wanting the sitter is also keen, that means , to me, it is essential that both parties contact each other very quickly indeed. If it doesn’t happen then doubts creep in as it has with you. In your position I would send a message canceling the sit, explaining why, and look elsewhere.

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I have a feeling this may be the owner’s first time on TH so I was hoping she would read my messages and figure out how important communication is. I have not pressed decline yet but will if I haven’t heard anything by tomorrow. Even if she is traveling it is easy enough to check your messages! Thank you all for verifying the importance of quick communication!

Susan

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I wouldn’t do that personally. The owner can message via the website and gets an email saying there’s a message. I only give out those details once I’ve had a positive response.

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Run, run like the wind from the housesit.

Afrer a disastrous experience on my last sit where the owner was “unavailable” for a video chat, I have decided that I will never accept another sit without talking to the owner by video chat and getting a virtual tour of the home.

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I declined the sit last night after seeing she had not even read any of my messages (since last Wednesday). It just seems very strange and I hope the owner is ok.

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If they are new to THS they probably don’t know to look out for additional emails and thought all they had to do was confirm the sit with you. I would see if admin can help you reach out because I’d hate to think that the HO miss out on booking a sitter just because they are not yet familiar with how things work

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I would not accept this sit. I recently applied for a sit, and had a phone call with the HO. I asked for a video call but she had tech issues and could only do a voice call.

I made it clear we needed to have a video call before the sit, and I didn’t hear from her for the next two weeks.

I asked her several questions on Whatsapp and she saw them but did not reply. After two weeks I messaged her to say I rate good communication highly, and that I was concerned that I would not be able to get hold of her while on the sit, either in an emergency or just when asking how something in her house worked. And I withdrew my application.

She replied straight away saying that I had let her down, by cancelling the sit. But nothing had been confirmed. She had just assumed that because I applied I was definitely going to sit for her, without having a video call, which I had requested several times over two weeks.

She wasn’t new to the site. She should have known that both parties have to confirm the sit by clicking more than one button to double confirm!

Luckily for her it seems she found someone else to sit.

But your situation is even worse, especially as your HO has confirmed you without a single conversation!

I think some Homeowners make this assumption that if sitters apply, then they are definitely going to do the sit. Others have mentioned this on the forum. The phone call or video call is like a two-way interview where both parties need to feel comfortable before commiting.

If she treats you like this now, she might treat you the same while she is away, and the results could be a lot worse, with an animal in your care.

You are certainly not silly to want to talk to her. Message her on this site to ask for a phone call or video call. State why, and if she doesn’t comply just tell her honestly that you value good communication and you have not had the assurance you need that this is a suitable sit. And you need to do it soon, so she can book someone else if need be.

Good luck!

UPDATE:
Oops sorry. I only saw after I posted this that you did decline the sit. Good for you.

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I have noticed recently that there are multiple discrepancies between the website and the app. For example, applications & messages that I have sent do not appear in the app but do on the site. Also, some sits that appear on the site, disappear from the app.
I see that you have declined the sit, but maybe we all need to use both methods for communication and that can’t be right. Could the tech team check this out??

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@ENLF Whilst there are some small operational differences between the app and the main website, there shouldn’t be any differences in messages received or available sits, so I’m going to tag @Therese-Moderator so she can look into this with you. Thanks for your patience.