Responding to a review privately

I recently completed a six week sit. All went well and I had a good Whatsapp connection / relationship with the HO while they were away. I gave them a great review and requested a review too. They put one up and it was over 95% positive and affirming. But: they also added that this was their first time using a house sitter they didn’t know before, and one of the things they learned from this experience was that next time, they would do a house check before the sitter left! They also marked me 5* on everything except Tidy, which got 4*.

I spent the last two days of the sit cleaning and tidying, including sweeping the double garage, washing and cleaning the car (which I’d had the use of), and as far as I could see, I’d left the house spick, span and spotless.

So I’m now in two minds: part of me wants to ask them WHAT on earth they found wrong, and part of me says just let it be and move on.

In their original ad, they’d said they are very particular about how the house is kept. I was very mindful of that, but it’s possible that I put dishes away in wrong cupboards, or put towels in the wrong pile etc… I’ve never before had a HO do a walk through check with me before I leave - and I’ve done well over 20 sits.

I know I should just appreciate the positivity of the other 95% of the review and let it go. But it’s niggling and bothering me, as I take pride in being a very good sitter.
Any thoughts, anyone?

Edited to comply with posting guidelines.


I’d just let it go. They don’t sound like people who would respond kindly or constructively.
I have decided to avoid any sits where home owners put excessive emphasis on cleaning. I always leave a place clean and tidy, but if someone is very particular or want things to be done one way -their way- it can become impossible to meet their expectations and make the whole stay tense, worrying about anything you touch… it happened to me once and that was more than enough!
You can respond to their review publicly on your profile and say that you spent two days clearing. Future home owners will be able to read between the lines in the review you got, and identify the people who wrote it as possibly high maintenance.


+1 to letting it go.

When people say stuff like they’re very particular, those are sits I’d avoid. That’s because to me if you’re that particular, pay someone to take you on. That sounds like a job.

And what they wrote about doing a checklist hand-off sounds like they think they hired someone. It reflects poorly on them, not you.


Hi everyone this is an open and public space when giving any feedback to @Elleann please remember to be constructive & respectful and not go down the personal cristism/judgment route … on this or any other situation


I’ll just add that the HOs are very, very nice people, whom I liked a lot and got on well with. I would still recommend this sit to others as this is the only hiccup in an otherwise great sit!


Completely agree with everyone here!
To be completely honest, I wouldn’t be able to let it go so easily so I would follow@andrealovesanimals advice and answer their review publicly going over how much attention to detail and how much much effort you put in to leave the house spotless.


@Elleann I would ask them if its niggling you. We had a sit recently where we were given 4* for clean & tidy. Having spent many hours cleaning, (with their home cleaner also there 3 hours), and double/triple checking before leaving we were shocked to be marked down! This from a host who had left rotting food & leftovers in the fridge! Her response- when asked -was that our room and the kitchen had needed a ‘thorough’ clean!! And one shelf in freezer was stuck and we had not defrosted it!! (How petty! We were only there 1 week!) Therefore, she said, we had 'not left the house in the 5* condition we’d found it! This was absolutely untrue. We can only assume the cleaner said something about how things were before we all cleaned on the last day! But we were living there so Its not fair to rate us pre-cleanup (if that’s what happened)
This host was also sarcastic in the review saying we were ‘self-confessed professional housesitters’ This did not come across as friendly.
With such hosts the best thing is just to move on…


@Elleann , if it were me, I would ask the owners privately what they were not satisfied with. I would then carefully compose a factual reply to their review so that other owners know how well you leave a home and prospective sitters see what these owners expect. Then move on.
After you have more reviews from future sits this will no longer stand out.


@Lulubelle I recently started wondering that maybe THS doesn’t want to implement an Airbnb style review system. That would probably diminish new sitters and HOs signing up for the program. Right now with so many 5 star glowing reviews by everyone, it paints a rosy picture. But if people are thinking about signing up and see honest reviews of people cancelling, leaving dirty homes, arriving to dirty homes, HOs who came back early, and other complaints THS would lose revenue. This may be a business decision to keep it the way it is or really take a long time implenting


I completely agree with you. I would really appreciate a true review system where retaliation isn’t a concern. Everyone once in a while I see honest reviews like this on THS and I appreciate it because then it allows me to think twice about whether I should apply or not. In a couple cases, I passed.


Hi @Elleann. Thanks for sharing all those details. If I were in your shoes, I would ask. It sounds like you’re not too worried about the review itself as just curious and trying to improve, and I think that’s a great mindset.

If possible, perhaps you could arrange a video chat or at least a voice chat to debrief the sit. I feel that would lessen the chance of miscommunication, and this could be a sensitive issue. It could also be a super minor thing, like the toilet paper roll was put in the “wrong” way.

Curious how it turns out!

Once I’m settled in my house sit I take out my phone and take a video of every room I have access to and I take photos through out the stay. I then have a readily available record should I ever need one.


This exact same thing happened to me. Very particular homeowners, and I left their house cleaner than I found it, including replacing exact brands of things that I used in their kitchen, washing dish towels that were dirty when I arrived, and cleaning up after their cat involving poop on a rug. Docking one star really made me mad because of how clean I left it and how conscientious I was during the entire stay watering the plants that they asked me not to, but it was super dry and hot so I asked them if I could, and providing a cat toy for their cat who had no toys out.

I did wind up asking them in a private email why they docked me and at first they were vague but then I got them to admit that it was due to water spots in the shower. This is pretty crazy because the only way to scrub hardwater spots off, would be to have it professionally cleaned.

I was so insensed by it that I could not leave them a review bc their cat was extremely high maintenance.

I am a strong proponent of having blind reviews. It serves everyone better. I thought this was happening.


@tortimom They gave you and honest review of their beliefs. Maybe it would help the HO’s and future sitters to write an honest one yourself. If I knew a HO would get upset about waterstains, I would appreciate the heads up and just not apply


Gosh it’s all so subjective and arbitrary As A sitter I would let it go seriously as long as you know you did a good job and put the effort in that’s what counts . …Homeowners would do well though to respect that really in most cases we are there as sitters to offer quality petcare first and foremost and not there as unpaid cleaners. As a sitter really do have to keep a sense of humour too I once had a homeowner leave me photographs of cleaning agents that needed to be used in areas of the house that I wouldn’t even be living part of the arrangement It was a Christmas sit too and I thought "hmm no bottle of wine or Christmas goodies just photographs of cleaning agents .What’s wrong with this picture ? but I was able to see the funny side and the dog was a sweetie and I still found plenty to enjoy with the sit


@wendywindow don’t we all just love photos of cleaning products for Christmas? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.


I appreciate the various points of view articulated here. As a very new THS HO (3 sits), I agree that first and foremost is the care of the furbabies.

However, having had 3 sits where I left our home immaculate for the sitters and all 3 times returned to a home that was literally only very cursorily cleaned and downright dirty, I am a bit disillusioned. I should point out that we leave copious amounts of cleaning products, mops, cloths, cleaning products etc. and we invite our sitters to use all of the paper towels, tp, laundry soap, soap, shampoo etc. that they want and to help themselves to any condiments, spices, dry or canned goods (really anything in our cupboards). We are not asking for “housekeepers”, just cleaning up after oneself.

As examples. our sitters vacuumed visible areas but not behind or under any furniture or under couch cushions where food crumbs /debris and candy wrappers were found, surfaces wiped but only around things on countertop and not the stovetop so grease and food debris under the coffee maker and utensils and on the stovetop and spills down cupboards and fridge / dishwasher and oven door which were not wiped, bathroom cleaned but hair clogging the bath drain, floors not mopped, fridge not wiped out at all, etc.). Our last sitter left wet bed linens in the dryer and didn’t bother to do the towels (and this was when my husband came home in the late afternoon and drove the sitter and all their stuff to their next place).

I have 1 non-shedding dog and a moderately shedding cat. The mess was mostly human created, not pet created. I get it! I do! I do not expect sitters to be cleaners but I also do not expect to come home and have to clean up after them.

So, for my next listing, I will be saying that I expect our home to be as we left it and I was thinking I would point out some specific expectations such as ensuring drains are not clogged with hair :joy: however, I do not want to offend great sitters who do leave a home tidy and clean. I don’t expect perfection - far from it. But I would appreciate some guidance on how to send the message that I do want some level of cleanliness - namely, clean up after yourselves. Nothing more or less.

Any constructive feedback welcomed.


@JCG2 , Sorry to hear of these disappointing experiences. Did these sitters have reviews by previous HO that stated they left their home immaculate, better than they found it or some other superlative? Was cleanliness emphasized in the sitter profiles? In the future, look critically at sitter profiles, reviews and applications.

I don’t think you should go overboard when listing cleaning responsibilities as this could put off good sitters but you can certainly state that you will leave a very clean home for your sitters and request that your sitters leave it the same way for you … or something to that effect.

That’s not good @JCG2 - all our reviews say how clean we left the house (cleaner than we found it most times) and as @mars said, that’s a good clue when selecting sitters. I’ve also seen listings that say things like “we are exceptionally house proud and would like to find sitters who return our home to us in just the way they found it.” Or similar, and that covers the cleaning request and standards you expect without the big details.

Okay but seriously, I would much rather someone left me photos of which cleaning supplies for what than dock me because I used the acidic stuff on the granite and broke the seal. BTW, I only know that about granite because of a short term apartment rental I once had, but now if I go on a sit, it doesn’t sound like gibberish.