Wording of homeowners listing - sitters perceptions

I’ve read many listings with vocab used by the homeowner that has given me pause for thought.

For instance ‘a busy household’ can lead to different interpretations. The photos can often confirm your first reactions.

To me ‘a busy household’ can mean untidy, with washing up in the sick, or so tidy the owners don’t have time for anything but work.

Anyone else have thoughts on home owners wording?


Reminds me of how I sometimes had to write kids’ report cards in order to sound positive.


@CandAsitters, We completely agree. We find it interesting that often times personalities really come through in listings.

Between what’s written by the homeowner, the pictures, and the reviews by other sitters, you can really learn a lot about what the experience is going to be like. Of course, it does take some detective work in reading between the lines or closely looking at images. When we see something that makes us pause, we don’t necessarily consider it a deal breaker. Often times we try to make or break the assumption with other clues, or even just speaking with the homeowner on a video chat. We’ve been proven wrong many times :wink:


I suppose we all have our pet peeves. I don’t like the wording ‘your duties will include’ as it gives me the sense that the homeowner sees it as hiring me for a job, rather than participating in a system that should be mutually beneficial. Like most sitters, I look at many things before ‘swiping left or right’, but that’s off-putting for me.


Also saw an ad recently where homeowner with four animals said to “clean the house as good (or better) than when arrived.” I’m not going to leave a mess, but I’m also not the maid.


@Alaskacie , that line stood out to me too. I reacted the same way you did. I often leave the house cleaner than I found it, but don’t feel this should be expected. I’m not the hired help.


I also looked at that sit and thought not for me! Some owners do expect a little bit too much & think pet sitters are unpaid skivvies!


Thanks for that. I thought maybe it seemed too fussy, but after my first sit, I am learning the importance of clues.

I’ve now booked several where homeowners have been incredibly grateful to have expert pet care by someone they can trust. That is their focus, not the cleaning. And of course I leave home in excellent condition without having to have it spelled out in instructions.


So agree with you, Snowbird. When the listing includes ‘your duties’ I wonder would the sitters accomodation be downstairs in the servants quarters, where we would know our place.


@CandAsitters @Snowbird It’s so interesting reading about people’s perceptions of different words, and I guess that will differ as well in various cultures and countries around the world, and our own experiences. Do you think the word “responsibilities” (as used on listings) is a better less loaded description than “duties” or does that have the same implications? Words and their interpretation are so important to us all :slight_smile: Does anyone have a creative new way to express the things we do on a house sit?


Well done @Vanessa-Admin , I don’t have a problem with ‘duties’, ‘jobs’ or ‘responsibilties’ I’d much rather HO’s were clear on what they expect or want from a sitter. They’d be criticised just as much for "what we’d quite like you to do, if it’s no trouble’… We are there to care for their pets and home as they would themselves.
The person asking for the house to be left as it was found ,(or cleaner) possibly had a previous sitter who left the place in a state, so they are just trying to prevent that from happening again.
There is a huge difference between British English, and American English though I think the differences are also apparent in expectation too


Great observations Jackie. I agree, the differences in British English and US English can cause a disparity in translation. Sometimes subtle but there all the same. Love your point that someone expressing a concern by highlighting it, could have had a negative experience. It did occur to me she might have seen all the talk of some of us sitters who clean beyond expectations and be making a a joke :joy:


The category is already labeled responsibilities, so it seems that the best listings tell details about the pet needs and care plus other items of note. Garden, plants, mail, daily updates.

The HO some of us noted asked that her house be cleaned to be as good or better than it was. Maybe subtle, but at least in US, “clean the house to as good or better” sounds like actual cleaning service more than, say, “leave the house clean.”

For my part, I took it as a touch of humor.


As you show, it’s those subtle ways of writing things that lead to different interpretations. It fascinates me particularly as a magazine editor - I read a lot of words :sweat_smile:, but even here as an admin in the forum where I have to assess my own words frequently. “Responsibilities” covers it well… just curious about other possible ways duties, responsibilities, tasks might be expressed. Thanks @Alaskacie :slight_smile:

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