To do lists for homeowner and house sitter

Finding the right person to watch your home while you're away is tough. Once a house sitter is found, then what? There are two sides of the coin: the homeowner must anticipate everything the sitter may have to deal with, and the sitter must be ready for anything. Here is a list of the responsibilities of the homeowner, as well as some things the house sitter must remember.

To do lists for homeowner and house sitter

1. The Homeowner

  • A good house sitter is only as effective as his or her to-do list. Here are some of the most basic and necessary things the homeowner should remember before leaving town.
  • The sitter should be able to reach the homeowner or other important people at any time. Leave a folder with relevant numbers (mobile, hotel, landlord, emergency contacts, emails, etc.), house/visitor rules, security information, any room or contents that may be off limits and to-do lists.
  • Remind the sitter of any services he or she should know about, e.g. trash/recycling, deliveries, subscriptions, paying utilities, and any information regarding plants and especially pets, such as feedings, walks, cleaning, etc.
  • Does the power go out during storms? Perhaps the back door knob sticks sometimes. Let the sitter know about the home's issues so he or she is not taken by surprise.
  • Make sure neighbours, friends, and family know you're leaving, as well as any relevant service providers, such as mail carriers, insurance company, maintenance workers, etc.
  • Show the sitter how you want the place to look when you return: clean the house and yard, store valuables, breakables, and other sensitive items. Get rid of any perishables that may go bad while you're gone.
  • Let the sitter know what to do with the car, bike, boat, etc. Can she or he use, clean or maintain them?
  • Leave copies of all pertinent keys (house, mailbox, vehicles) in an easy-to-find place.
  • Make sure to leave any sweets, meals, drinks, or money for the sitter to buy food with while you're gone, if that's part of the arrangement. Remember, unless you are paying the sitter, he or she is doing you a favour.

2. The House Sitter

  • Once the house sitter knows the responsibilities, and assuming he or she will take care of the things laid out by the homeowner, there a few things the sitter should take into account, even though they may not be explicitly written out.
  • Be respectful. This means don't snoop, don't break anything, no parties/overnight guests and clean up after yourself. Leave the house as you found it -- or even a bit cleaner.
  • Pack for the job. Chances are, you'll be staying for a while, so bring important things with you, and don't rely on the owner's stuff, like toothpaste, clothes, food, or anything else that's not intended for your use.
  • Replace used items. There are some things the homeowners expect will get used up while they're away, but they don't want to return to a home without toilet paper.
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