Is House Sitting for Me (pt.3)

Well, time has flown, and we haven’t posted in quite some time because we have been off on adventures, a house sit in Virginia and a vacation in Iceland. Iceland was amazingly beautiful, and you really couldn’t take a bad photograph! We were offered a house sit there for five weeks but after much thought (and various reasons) we decided not to do it. Very unlike us, I know, but, in the end, it was a good choice. We opted to stay as just “vacationers” and it was a completely different traveling Icelandexperience than we were used to. No animals to look after, no house to tend to and not one responsibility! It was nice for a change.

We were fortunate enough to get two feet of snow and most of the time the scenery looked like that of a Thomas Kinkade painting. We also got to soak in the Blue Lagoon. Having been to some great spots internationally and within the U.S., we consider ourselves professional soakers but the Blue Lagoon topped our list. (I’ll share more about this (and Virginia) later because I want to get on with our house sitting series).

Okay, having said all that, here is the next installment of our How to Start House Sitting Series:

The last two posts (Part 1 and Part 2) we have touched on some important aspects to consider before choosing to house sit. In this post we’ll cover a few more of the important ones such as How will I get there? What will I have once I get there and what will I do if there is a problem?

“Do they pay for your flights?” is a question I usually get asked. We have yet to have a homeowner pay for our flights or any of our travel for that matter, but we have had some very generous homeowners along the way who have made us dinner, taken us to dinner, left us ample food, wine and beverages.

We pay the travel expenses. When we went to Ireland, we flew to Dublin then drove across the country, literally, to be at the house sit. When we went to Scotland, we didn’t rent a car and found that to be a big mistake so two days into it, we did rent a car. When we drove to Connecticut we were fortunate because it was a hop skip and a jump in our little pedal pusher. We have had homeowners offer for us to use their cars, but we don’t typically take them up on it because for us, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Does your house sit have wi-fi? If you need it, you better ask before you go. Do you have to pay some or all of the utilities? Most homeowners will tell you up front in their ad if you do but it’s not a bad idea to ask. Does the cosy, little bungalow have electric? Running water? Yikes, your thinking, what!? Could that possibly happen? Yep. When in doubt, always ask.

The toilet backs up. The cat gets terribly ill. The neighbor cuts down a tree, and it lands on their car in the driveway. Who you gonna call? Of course, I want to say Ghost Busters, but that’s completely inappropriate. Unless there is a poltergeist, then it is mandatory.

Anyways, you got a problem at your house sit? Make sure you get the pertinent information from the homeowners before you go. Use this handy dandy checklist to help you out:

  • Contact information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Rules and regulations, including visitors policy
  • List of anything/room they don’t want you using in their absence (for example, their antique quilt or their bicycles etc.).
  • Local vet and/or emergency animal hospital
  • Recycling services and garbage collection dates
  • Compost
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Appliance usage/instructions (trust me, you will want this if you are trying to operate some of the washers in France!)
  • Internet access
  • Spare key locations
  • Local driving information
  • Maps and local grocery stores/shopping/restaurants and other “touristy” information

I am sure you can think of a number of other things that are relevant to include so be sure to make your own list. As always, we’d love to hear from you, post in the comments below and be sure to check out next weeks post: Do You Get Paid to House Sit? Have a great week!