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House Sitting is More Than Just Sitting: Six Things Your Sitter Needs to Know

Dec 04, 2013 10:50PM ● Published by Erin Frisch

With all of the things to do before your vacation, stopping the mail and leaving your pets with your parents are probably last on your list. So instead of taking on this extra responsibility for yourself, assign one lucky loved one the easiest job they've ever had by asking them to be your house sitter while you're away. It seems simple enough, right? Au contraire. Here are six things you forgot.

1. Introduce Them to the Quirks

Everyone's house has at least a few little quirks that you've gotten so used to, you don't even realize they're unusual. For example, some people have to lift up on the front door to get the key to work properly or turn the shower knob halfway between hot and cold if they don't want to scald. It might sound a little meticulous, but trust me, your house sitter will thank you!

2. Leave Cash

From ordering a pizza to picking up some more dishwashing liquid, you'll want to make sure your sitter has plenty of cash to keep the house running smoothly. Never leave your credit card or blank checks. Although it's unlikely your house sitter will steal your identity, it could end up in the wrong hands when you're not around. Make sure to have LifeLock to keep your money and identity safe both at home and abroad.

3. Explain your Pet Care Routine

Pets are more sensitive to change than you might think, and changing their feeding and exercise routine can cause indigestion and behavioral problems. Make sure the house sitter knows all about your own routine with each pet, so they can establish some level of familiarity and comfort while you're away.

4. Alert Them of Visitor

You don't want to have the police surrounding your house because you forgot to tell the sitter your friend was stopping by Wednesday night to borrow your lawnmower. If you're expecting packages, give your sitter the tracking numbers and have them download the USPS or UPS tracking app to stay constantly alert. This way, you can be sure your package doesn't get caught in a rainstorm if the sitter is away for a few hours.

5. Show Them the Backups

If the power goes out, will your sitter know what to do? Make sure he or she knows exactly how to respond in an emergency without having to contact expensive maintenance professionals or other authorities. Show the sitter how to stop a plumbing problem and what to do if the fridge starts leaking. Have a fire extinguisher available and visible for them, and make sure they have the neighbor's number for questions that aren't necessarily emergencies.

6. Choose Wisely

You can't really beat having a trusted loved one as your house sitter, but if no one's available, try the next best thing. TrustedHousesitters.com is a great resource for connecting with experienced professionals with the references to prove it. MindMyHouse.com is an alternative site that even lets you search for sitters around the globe. Always remember: people can steal your identity easily when left to their own devices in your home. Don't take choosing a house sitter lightly just because you're busy planning your vacation. Once you find a good house sitter, you will likely be able to use them year after year.

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