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Old 03-11-2014, 09:21 AM   #1
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Housesitter Wanted

We're interested in getting a house sitter for an extended trip but have no experience with this kind of arrangement. We're looking at housesitter.com as possible source of a reliable individual but, as you might appreciate, we're rather leery of this kind of an arrangement. Does any here have an experience with a stranger as house sitter and/or with this outfit (or other similar firms)? We've left the house sit for 3 weeks at time but never as long as we're now contemplating (+2 months). Your insights (other than telling us we're crazy -- we know that) would be greatly appreciated. TIA

P.S. Neighbors are not an option; it's not that kind of neighborhood.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:33 AM   #2
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We usually use one of our kids if they can, and if not a niece or nephew. We leave them money for food, and give them some pay for their time too.

If family is not an option, you could ask some of your friends for people they may recommend. Most friends would not recommend anyone that they themselves would not trust.

Having a house sitter is a great idea. Not sure what insurance is like around there, but here someone must enter and check out the house every 3 days, or things like water damage from a burst hose are not covered.

I know nothing of house sitting services, but I imagine you could check them out good, and check referrals.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:35 AM   #3
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We use house/pet sitters whenever we're gone for any length of time or visiting somewhere where our pets are not welcome. In the past, we've used friends/family which works out okay but then I met a woman who does this for a living (e.g., she has no real "home" because she's always house/pet sitting ... but stays with her mom when she's not sitting). I was a little hesitant but, after meeting with her a few times, knew she would be fine ... and, to be honest, after three years of using her, she's the best house/pet sitter we've ever had. Plus, every other sitter had a day job so they were gone half the time. This woman is at the house during the day and watching over everyone. Plus, our house always looks "lived in" and the dogs/cats love her (to the point they ignore us when we return). Check out places like Home | HouseSittersAmerica or ask real estate agents (they're a good resource) and get referrals! Do know, however, that house sitters can be pricey ...
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:39 AM   #4
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Here's an article that was in a local paper: House-sitting's swell, but not easy to arrange - SFGate
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:44 AM   #5
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Thanks Jim and Jan; appreciate your insights and suggestions.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
. . . Not sure what insurance is like around there, but here someone must enter and check out the house every 3 days, or things like water damage from a burst hose are not covered.
BTW, Jim, we shut off the water when we'll be gone overnight or longer and would do that if we can't get a sitter. For anything else, the security system will activate. Hoping not to have to bother family and friends.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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Here's an article that was in a local paper: House-sitting's swell, but not easy to arrange - SFGate
P.S.: The links in the article look promising. Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:56 AM   #8
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Not bother family and friends... Isn't that what friends and family are for . You know to bother
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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It is in the crowd I hang out with, Dave. But to be fair, I allow myself to be taken advantage of by them too.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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Oh don't worry my phone is pretty busy with friends and family too, Sometimes I wish I had chosen a profession that isn't any use to others. I think I would have alot more free time.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:23 PM   #11
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We've left our house vacant for extended periods of time but have the good fortune to live in a neighborhood "where everyone knows your name".

A friend in North Van. spends 1-2 months away. He's always relied on his alarm system but recently bought one of those camera systems that allows him to go online and view live video and sound. He feels better about the house being unoccupied being able to confirm all is well 24/7.

At the end of the day it's really the requirements of your insurance co. that will determine how much human presence your house requires. Personally I'd rather search for an individual by talking to friends than going through an agency.

Ron
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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We used this site and were very happy.
House Sitting & House Sitter Jobs | Dog, Cat & Pet Minding | TrustedHousesitters.com
My criteria was it needed to be a website people paid to use and they needed a criminal record check and references. You can also tell a lot by people's profiles and then again when you are 'interviewing' them.
As CAdreamin said I really liked that they could focus on my dog and didn't have a job to go or friend and family obligations in the area.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:10 PM   #13
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We have a fair amount of experience with this as we have rented our house out as well as used housesitters. When we've gone off for a year on sabbatical we would do limited advertising at the university -- looking for visiting faculty or new faculty who were house hunting-- I don't think we've ever rented to students, but I would consider serious graduate students. We usually return to a house cleaner than the one we left behind -- last summer I put it out on a list serve through my synagogue, and found someone who was between homes and needed somewhere to live. Our house was absolutely clean when we came back and the shrubs and lawn in much better condition than we take care of them.

We've also left the house empty but I'm increasingly less wanting to do that -- not so much for burglary (although that's a consideration) but because things happen to a house. One time when we were away our neighbor was checking the mail and discovered a dead bird (not ours) in the toilet with the lid down. We have never figured out how that happened. But sometimes a roof leaks unexpectedly and you really want to have someone around to notice that.

We are pretty careful about who we select, but of course it's always a little scary to leave our house and our things with total strangers. I would no longer rent it -- too much work getting it straightened up for other people and it means the house is totally off limits to us in case we need to come home sooner than expected. But I think it's really worth the effort to find someone reliable to be in the house.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:15 PM   #14
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Not bother family and friends... Isn't that what friends and family are for . You know to bother
They're all senile . . . like me. They'd just burn the place down or wander away from the house -- in either case, never to be seen again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:19 PM   #15
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We used this site and were very happy.
House Sitting & House Sitter Jobs | Dog, Cat & Pet Minding | TrustedHousesitters.com
My criteria was it needed to be a website people paid to use and they needed a criminal record check and references. You can also tell a lot by people's profiles and then again when you are 'interviewing' them.
As CAdreamin said I really liked that they could focus on my dog and didn't have a job to go or friend and family obligations in the area.
Thanks k-girl. I'll check out their website. In our case, Abigail is coming along. So it's only stuff to worry about (and it's just stuff).
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:28 PM   #16
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. . . We've also left the house empty but I'm increasingly less wanting to do that -- not so much for burglary (although that's a consideration) but because things happen to a house.

. . . but of course it's always a little scary to leave our house and our things with total strangers. I would no longer rent it -- too much work getting it straightened up for other people and it means the house is totally off limits to us in case we need to come home sooner than expected. But I think it's really worth the effort to find someone reliable to be in the house.
Thanks, Ruthe, for sharing your experiences. We're pretty much in the same boat emotionally. And leaving the house empty and having Fs & Rs come by occasionally to check up is an option. And the new security system we're having installed will have cameras here and there.

But we're keeping our options open for now. Thanks again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:31 PM   #17
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At the end of the day it's really the requirements of your insurance co. that will determine how much human presence your house requires. Ron
Thanks Ron. I was aware of the insurance angle but it's good to have a reminder.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:44 PM   #18
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I'm reasonably new to this forum, so am not well known by others yet. However, noticed this topic, and for what its worth, we have friends we've known for 25 years who have provided this service for their friends and family in the past, and recently are offering there service on a broader scale. I have no hesitation in recommending them. You can check out John and Dianne here:
Peace of mind while you're away from home with TLC | TrustedHousesitters.com

Jim
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:37 AM   #19
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Has anyone had any experience with home exchanges? Never having done it, I day dream about arranging a non-simultaneous exchange with someone in Europe or other exotic place where the trailer isn't an option.

Not sure anyone wants to come to rainy Victoria in the winter, but if our home was the summer exchange we could be off in our trailer during their stay here; then in our winter we could be off to some sunny fly-to place.

Just pondering. Anyone ever done this or have ideas on this possibility?
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:04 AM   #20
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I'm reasonably new to this forum, so am not well known by others yet. However, noticed this topic, and for what its worth, we have friends we've known for 25 years who have provided this service for their friends and family in the past, and recently are offering there service on a broader scale. I have no hesitation in recommending them. You can check out John and Dianne here:
Peace of mind while you're away from home with TLC | TrustedHousesitters.com

Jim
Thanks Jim. Will f/u.
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