How to Find and Hire a Housesitter

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Homeowners use a housesitter for a variety of reasons. The most common is to take care of their pets while they are away on vacation or for business. Finding the right housesitter might initially seem difficult, but by talking to candidates, finding out what their expectations are, and asking for references, you can ensure that you find a housesitter you can trust.

How to Find a Housesitter

Before looking for a housesitter, you should decide what you need them to do while you are away. Some common requirements might include:
  • Taking care of your pets
  • Keeping the house clean
  • Watering the plants
  • Checking the mail regularly
You also need to determine if you expect the housesitter to pay for any utilities or services while they are staying in your home. Most often, this is not a concern for short-term jobs, but it could come into play for longer-term engagements.
You also need to determine other factors, such as how much, if anything, you want to pay a housesitter. Some house sit for the sheer joy of traveling, such as a retiree, and others have income independent of location, such as a freelance writer.
Finding a housesitter might be as simple as asking family, friends, or coworkers for people they trust. You can also look for a housesitter using the following resources:
Local newspaper: You can place an advertisement in your local newspaper to find a housesitter. Just make sure to do so way in advance so you have time to wait for responses to your ad and interview any applicants.
Housesitter websites: There are a whole host of websites dedicated to connecting homeowners with potential housesitters. Keep in mind that some sites charge a fee to either the housesitter, homeowner, or both parties. Some popular housesitting websites include:

How to Hire a Housesitter

Once you have a few applicants for your housesitting job, you need to pick the right one. Finding the right housesitter for your home depends in large part on the expectations of both parties, especially when it comes to what you want done as a homeowner and how much compensation the housesitter expects in return. Some good questions to ask include:
Do you need a daily or an overnight housesitter? There is a big difference between only needing someone to stop in each day to feed your pets, water your plants, and check your mail, and needing someone to monitor your house for 24 hours a day.
Letting any applicants know what your expectations are can help weed out those who do not have the time to spare for overnight care from those who do have the time. This is especially true of housesitters traveling from out of country who might not have a place in the area to stay at while taking care of your home in your absence.
How much should you pay? This depends a lot on the housesitter. Some housesitters expect compensation for their services while others do it for free, seeing the job as an opportunity to visit a new location without having to pay for costly hotels or other accommodations.
If a housesitter does require payment, expect to pay around $50 a day. This amount can vary according to the requirements of the job, such as caring for pets, and the location of the house. The following table from HouseSitter.com gives the average housesitter cost per day for a variety of cities in the U.S.:
Average Housesitter Cost by City
City Average House Sitter Cost (per day)
New York, NY $37.46
Los Angeles, California $45.70
Chicago, Illinois $37.68
Houston, Texas $37.34
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $66.67
Phoenix, Arizona $29.50
Jacksonville, Florida $43.96
Indianapolis, Indiana $44.20
Columbus, Ohio $34.44
Charlotte, North Carolina $38.96
Do they have any references? Finally, ask for referrals from past clients. This can give you an idea of how a housesitter has performed when taking care of a house and all of its relevant responsibilities in the past. A good time to ask about references is before or during the interview, whether over the phone or in person. This allows you to contact the references listed and get their take on their experience with the housesitter.

How to Draft a Contract for a Housesitter

Once you have found the housesitter you want to hire for the job, you need to draft a contract. In the contract, you should list everything expected of all parties. Keep in mind that if you want a security deposit, you should let the housesitter know beforehand. Some housesitters might balk at having to pay a security deposit if you wait until they arrive for the job to let them know about it.
In the contract, you should also detail if the housesitter needs to pay for any utilities or services, what specific tasks you expect them to perform each day or each week, and how much they will be paid for the job.
Ultimately, finding a reliable and trustworthy housesitter comes down to asking the right questions about what they expect, making sure they understand what is expected of them in return, and checking with any references to determine the experience of other homeowners with the housesitter. Keep in mind that there are probably more housesitters available than houses to sit, so you can afford to be choosy. If someone does not feel like the right fit, thank them for their time and then move on to the next applicant.

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