What’s typical for sitters?


Is it normal for a sitter to request additional emailed references from a homeowner? Especially for a short and fairly local sit?

For reference, I am background checked, all my info is verified, I have references on my profile and also have a social media presence (as do my pets), all of which I direct potential sitters to check out, if they prefer. My home has plenty of pics etc. my profile is also pretty transparent and thorough.

I am fairly new to the app. I have hosted one prior sit. It was a longer term sit. The interview and selection process was awesome. Everything worked out swimmingly. And that was prior to having references posted… I was brand new!

Now, I have a post up for a weekend sit and I am hitting walls.

Because of a lack of applicants, I had decided to move forward w a sitter who didn’t have the qualifications I preferred but who seemed like a lovely person and was somewhat local.

But before confirming the sit she wanted additional emailed references concerning my pets, home and me.

At first I was ok with the request as the internet is what it is and I want any prospective sitter to be excited and comfortable to sit. But when she reached out 24 hrs after the interview to let me know she had not yet received the email— and suggested a deadline contingent on these additional references— I started to rethink.

I have the exact same number of references and clearances on the app as she (and more experience with animals) yet it I had not asked anything further of her— even though it was she who would be the stranger in my home caring for my animals.

I decided to decline the application— but are these requests normal? How do you all respond.

Thank You!


As a sitter, I have never requested references from a home owner, in particular since you already have at least one review. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that most sitters will not request references. Some might like to meet you in person first if they live nearby, and many will like to have a video chat. That’s normally enough for people.


@Lth If you could see me reading your post, you’d see this :astonished:. I’ve been a sitter on TrustedHousesitters for many years and would never see a need to ask for references. I’ve also been the first sitter for many owners and am happy to step them through any concerns they may have.

The pace and tone of this sitter, from what you’ve shared, would be off-putting for me. I’d see this as a red flag, and somewhat disrespectful towards you. If you do connect with her, I would ask what is her underlying concern that’s prompting her to make this request. I also would suggest a video chat, as this might allay any fears for both of you, or allow one of you to decide it’s not a good fit.

Personally, I’d swipe left and keep looking. I’d suggest you also embed your listing in your forum username/profile. Take every opportunity to promote your listing and perhaps get useful feedback on its content.


Thank you for the suggestion of embedding the listing and for sharing your perspective as someone who has been on the app for awhile!

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Hello @Lth I have to say I had a similar reaction to @Snowbird reading your post and I concur with @Snowbird and @Kelownagurl and certainly my husband and I would never dream of asking you for references.


Sounds like you dodged a bullet there! :confused:

I don’t know if HOs have the same function but sitters can add “Unsuitable” to certain people in our contacts, in a dropdown menu. If so, it might save you time in the future.

…Although I’ve a feeling you won’t forget her! :laughing:

Hi @Lth. Am I correct in thinking you also have a sitter profile where you mention the above and ask your potential sitters to check you out that way? If not, then I’m not too sure how you have included these “references” in your listing as THS home owners are not required to provide any of that information to sitters. Was your potential applicant a new sitter? This may explain her unusual request. I think you’ve made the right decision to decline her as you both seem uncertain of each other.

Yes. Sorry for the confusion. I have both accounts (HO and sitter).

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Hope I’m doing this correctly— but I just wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I’ve learned a bit more about how the app works — what potential sitters can and cannot see—as well as reasonable expectations from both sides through these conversations and replies and so thank you! I will get on the laptop to embed listings. This is only my second go at using the THS to find a sitter, so thank you for your seasoned input and guidance!!


A HO requested this of me–additional references including contact information-- including from people whose reviews were/are on my profile. I wish I had declined. It was a…very difficult experience and I ended up thinking that the HO is the one who should have supplied personal reference info and contact information.

I think you had the correct reaction.

i’m a sitter and NEVER would dream of asking for extra references. Sounds like a big red flag to me.

That definitely seems strange, but maybe she has had a really bad recent experience with a new homeowner and is being Uber-careful. As snowbird, mentioned, if you link your listing and sitter profile on your forum profile, we can take a look at it and give suggestions to help you attract more sitters. Sounds like it was not a good match and you may have avoided a bad experience. Good luck!

One of the things I have had concerns about is single sitters. We sit as a couple so have each other as back up. A single person does not have that luxury. There are so many situations they could walk into, some more dangerous than others. I can understand why someone who sits alone might want to know more about the pet owner.


Agree, I would see it as a red flag.
We find communication via video chat, and our own due diligence is enough.

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I sometimes ask for a street address or a very nearby landmark that I can search on google maps before accepting a sit. With street view, you can get an idea of the neighborhood.
But I’ve never asked for addl references.
All said, I’ve only had 1 problematic sit - and that was sitting for a hoarder with a cluttered house that could have been a bit cleaner. Fortunately, the weather was great and the neighborhood was very walkable with lots of cafes and coffeeshops to sit outdoors and the dog actually seemed very happy to be out of the house as well

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I have never requested references from HOs of any kind, and can’t imagine any situation in which I’d need to. Then again, I only do sits having met the home owners first, and that has always provided me with the assurance I need. As others have said, maybe this request is based on a previous experience and she wants to protect herself. I don’t think it would be out of line to ask the reason for this request, if you feel comfortable to do so.