Red Flags?

Hi @RunnerC, I’ve read this listing over the years as they’ve always wanted long term sitters. It really is a working holiday with free labour but sitters still expected to pay for utilities. One of the sitter’s feedback (Rebecca) really outlined what was expected which didn’t come through in the listing. @Angela-CommunityManager, I think this is a good one that really needs looking at. I wonder where listings are checked before being posted, how this one has slipped through over the years.


HI @RunnerC @ElsieDownie @Colin I’ve flagged this to Membership Services, we have communicated with the owners on other occasions to clarify exactly what is expected of their sitters. All new listings go through an approval process existing owner members can add dates and renew their listing directly onto the site and as with sitter profiles, owners can edit and update their listings at anytime.

The only costs permitted on listings are contributions to utilities and although this causes consternation with some sitters others are quite happy to contribute. I paid utilities on a 8 month sit in Spain one of the reasons I feel the cold terribly, the villa was all electric and I wanted to be able to turn up the thermostat without concerns that I would hugely inflate the owner’s bill. They also loaned me a car for the duration, invited me to have as many guests as I wished and were kind and generous in many other ways, for me it was entirely worth it. I also left with an almost blind, Welsh Mountain Rescue Pony, but that’s a whole other story.

The variety and flexibility of the many pet sitting opportunities on TrustedHousesitters gives sitter members great personal choice, if one is not right for you there is sure to be the perfect fit on your next search.

Success for members is about choosing and applying for the right sit, not just a sit and for owners to choose the right sitter for their pets needs and their expectations.


Very well said Angela

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Yeah, they should really join the WWOOF organization.


A big red flag for me on one ad for a sit was that the house looked absolutely pristine actually TOO pristine. All the surfaces were empty. In the kitchen nothing anywhere just empty worktops. tables etc nothing that made the house looked lived in. Also the description read as please make sure we do not know you have been here or used any of our things or please remove all traces food, etc so we can’t even tell you were here. I found that slightly creepy,
So although the cats looked really nice and the location was interesting the remarks were just to much like red flags for me


This is my own quirk, but I shy away from homes that show that the sitter’s bedroom has no window coverings or some that let in a lot of light. Lots of light is good for attracting buyers if you are selling a house, but I sleep best in a dark room and although I have an eye mask for housesitting, I find it uncomfortable to wear. Also, I avoid small apartments with cats, as I don’t want cat box odor permeating the entire living space.


Hi, @toml , Yes, I saw that listing too and immediately thought it would be too messy/dirty for my liking, so passed it by. I also wonder about photos of a home that look they came from a sales listing – with no furniture and nothing on the counters. Like @Itchyfeet , I wish more people would identify the breed of their dog. It seems like most people do not.


I agree with most of the examples here but wanted to add one more. On the topic of unrealistic expectations, I think twice about offers that are overly detailed. Mind you, I like detail, read every word, and go above and beyond taking care of the pets and home I am in, but you can just tell when the homeowner crosses the line and is overly demanding. One personal peeve for me is a homeowner who wants MULTIPLE Whats App check-ins per day. I aim for daily or every other day with photos and specifics. But someone who wants to hear from me several times a day? That’s just too much for comfort.


Hi @SABrenner Welcome to our community forum it’s great to have you join in the conversation. One of the great benefits of TrustedHousesitters is the variety of pet sits and how our community works, connecting like minded people.

We do encourage owners to be as detailed in their listing as possible to give sitters the information they need in order to decide if the sit could be the right one for them.

Interesting on your point of “overly detailed” I was “that owner,” not because my expectations were overly demanding but I felt it was being helpful documenting every tiny detail of Holly’s character, habits, daily routine etc., although she was just happy being able to stay at home with a caring sitter, it was more to do my insecurity about leaving her.

One of my owners has a three page document broken into 30 min segments for his “buddy’s” care … I’ve looked after Barclay 3 times and now great friends with his human family. Dad is a retired naval commander who’s life has been about structure, routine and detail, hence the “Barclay’s Sitter Instructions” … Barclay and I have our own version. Some owners are just detail people.

Thank you again for joining and we really look forward to sharing in your TrustedHousesitters journey, enjoy the conversations and connecting with members from around the world.


I also think knowing the breed would be useful @Angela-CommunityManager this seems as though it would be an easy fix. Can you share this point with whoever needs it please?

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@Angela-CommunityManager my apologies. Looking at various sits and the pet section in the profiles I’m guessing there is already a field for the breed, where the pets’ photos are shown. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Thank you for the apology @Snowbird … Yes we do ask for breeds that’s how we know that the most popular dog on the site (by breed only) is the Labrador :dog: :heart:

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Few photos, particularly of the inside of the house. Too little detail, too much prescriptive detail. I like to know what is expected but not to be told how to spend each minute of the day. Pictures of flags outside houses (odd I know but it puts us off). Definitely need to know the breed of dog and how old they are. I like to know how far it is to amenities. Sometimes it’s just the way the owner writes - either puts you off or makes you think you’d like to know them. I don’t mind watering the garden but I’m there to look after the pets not to be a free gardener - I know some people will love being asked to garden or do other jobs but it’s not for me. I guess at the end of the day it’s a feeling in your bones …


While this thread will be full of mainly personal preferences and not true red flags the person is probably looking for, I think it could be of value to owners to get a sense of how we see things on our end!

My ‘red flags’ which aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ things but make me personally not want to do the sit:

When people say things that give me the impression they are very particular, about cleanliness and their belongings. My husband and I are very careful of people’s homes, and clean everything thoroughly before we leave–how good the house looked when owners got back is a common thread in our reviews–but I do that to be a good sitter , and go the extra mile I don’t want to be that way because I worry I HAVE to, and that any little oversight, or thing slightly out of place, will be seen as some egregious offense.

For example, I once saw a sit posted where the owner said she preferred the sitters didn’t cook in her kitchen because she was very particular about it. Granted it was in a country where street food and eating out was very cheap but that doesn’t exactly make me feel welcome! I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a house like that at all.

As far as utilities, I may or may not consider that depending on the length of the stay and the location. If it is somewhere that the electricity bill will be 20 bucks, that’s fine by me, but if I had to lay out hundreds of dollars a month, I wouldn’t be interested unless it was some one of a kind opportunity.

When I don’t see pictures of the home, I don’t have as much interest. I don’t necessarily think they are hiding something…it may just be about privacy. But I probably wouldn’t bother applying.

I also don’t think owners should ask sitters to pay for staff like gardeners and cleaners during the time they are there, or other sorts of fees the homeowner chooses to take on. Now if I was given the choice to have ,or not have, the cleaning person there for example, and I chose to, then I would be okay paying myself.

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I think daily contact is a bit neurotic.


@Alice yes its interesting the two ends of this ‘cleanliness’ spectrum! Who wants to have to clean a sit before you can settle into it? At the other end of that line who wants to have to tiptoe through a house for fear of moving something slightly out of place or despite your best effort on leaving the HO then says the house was not left to their high standards! Some of this can as you point out be screened out by looking carefully at photos on the listing eg messy yards, unkept gardens, clutter or at that other end rooms that appear to neat to be lived in. I also need plenty of information about the animals and where this is missing, I start wondering why. Is this dog so full of seperation anxiety that as a sitter I am bound to the house for the duration? What sort of breed (read up on general characteristics of the breed), etc etc. I have learnt to ask lots of questions in the application as this helps me screen out sits where I might have problems (a reasonable HO will appreciate you asking questions and that is where the trust develops). I have stayed in very cluttered and dirty houses and most I would not go back to though some I would if I have made a particular bond with the animals, owners and or location. I have stayed in mansions where nothing is out of place and the white carpets have never been walked on. I take my shoes off as a matter of course when I arrive at a place and have inside slippers that are just for use inside; I do this out of respect for somebody else’s home but also to make less work for myself while I am there; for me its a balancing act between making myself at home, only worrying about areas of the house that I actually use, and making a small footprint while not getting overly anxious. By screening out sits, by asking lots of questions prior to accepting a sit and by having a small footprint, I have had very few unexpected or bad experiences (78 sits) .


@Maggie for sure!!

A red flag for me is if I think if owners are happy for photos which show their house looking quite messy/cluttered to be online, then the house will proabably be very messy normally


hi Emma then it comes down to what do you or i think is messy. Friends of mine have joined TH because they don’t want to ask me to look after their pets (mini-menagerie) everytime. Their photo’s show that their house is a lived in house where not all is pristine just neat and tidy but then some might call this not tidy. I just call it a well lived in loved house. I know she would go dotty trying to make it really clean (spick & span) if i didn’t do the sit but i know it’s tidy and not dirty so it really is difficult to say what someone else would think.


I think when people don’t communicate well that is a huge red flag & makes everything hard work from the outset. :smiley_cat: