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Frequently Asked Questions from sitters

 

What are the benefits of house sitting?
What are the requirements to become a sitter?
How long is the average house sit?
How many house sits will I get?
What do I bring to a house sit and what can I use of the homeowners?
Can I have friends and family round during a house sit?
Can I bring my own pets to a house sit?
Is house sitting a good option for families?
What happens if I accidently damage something?
Does the sitter pay rent to the homeowner?
Do I get paid to do house sits?
How much does it cost to become a sitter?
Why can’t I see available house sits before registering?
How do I get started house sitting?

 

What are the benefits of house sitting?

Every sitter comes into the lifestyle with different goals, but the most common reasons for house sitting are:

  1. Saving money - Active house sitters will book 75% or more of their year into house sits which means they save a LOT of money by not renting and paying utilities.
  2. Travelling – Travelling around beautiful New Zealand, living in different locations and experiencing other people’s lifestyles. House sitting is an adventure!

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What are the requirements to become a sitter?

Integrity and reliability are the main things we look for in new sitters. We get feedback from homeowners after every sit to ensure you are doing a good job. You must be able to follow a homeowner’s instructions and be a good communicator. In addition to the character qualities needed for the role, you also need to meet some basic requirements:

  1. You need to love animals. 98% of house sits have pets requiring your care. For most homeowners, this is the #1 reason they want a sitter.
  2. You will need to have an email address, mobile phone and access to the Internet.
  3. You need to have a place to stay in between sits.
  4. You must have no past or pending criminal convictions. We will get a Convictions Report processed before you can begin house sitting.
  5. You must supply at least two written references from previous house sits, landlords, employers or referees who can vouch for your character.
  6. You must agree to our Terms and Conditions.

If you meet these requirements, go ahead and begin your journey!

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How long is the average house sit?

House sits can range in length from a few days to several months, but your average house sit would usually be 3-4 weeks. The longer house sits tend to get booked by our more experienced sitters so we encourage new sitters to book as many smaller jobs as they can to build up experience and references so they are ready when longer sits come round.

 

How many house sits will I get?

That is the million dollar question, which is very hard to answer because it is the homeowner whom chooses which sitter they want. Without sounding too wishy-washy, your success is really determined by how much you want to make house sitting ‘work’. We find the 80/20 rule in play, with 80% of sits going to 20% of our sitters who treat house sitting seriously because they have a big goal e.g. saving a house deposit in two years. Those who don’t put effort into writing a good Intro Letter or uploading quality photos and references for homeowners to view, don’t seem to get sits as often.

Our active sitters are booking 75%+ of their year in house sits. But it does take work to get to that level where you have house sat for 20 homeowners and 10 of them go away twice a year and ask for you back EVERY time.

Then again, we have many casual house sitters who just want to get out and house sit 2-3 times per year and aren’t fussed about down time in between sits. It is up to you what you want to do, but we will work with you to help you achieve your goals through house sitting.

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What do I bring to a house sit and what can I use of the homeowners?

Usually for your first house sit you will bring WAY too much. You don’t need your pizza oven, mini BBQ grill or that third suitcase of clothes. Overtime you will learn the art of living light and bringing only the essentials.

It’s always best to consume your own food and bathroom products on a sit but if you have used anything, make sure you replace it with the same product. In our experience, it’s far safer to use your own products and avoid the stress (and expense) of replacing homeowners’ products. One sitter found this out the hard way when an ordinary looking bottle of wine turned out to be a $1500 vintage. Another sitter received negative feedback on their profile because they finished the homeowner’s Kérastase shampoo and replaced it with No Frills. It’s best to just bring your own consumables!

You may decide to bring your own linen, although most homeowners are fine with you using theirs. But if you bring your own linen, it helps when moving out as you can just make the bed with the homeowners linen rather than waiting on the washing machine and drier.

 

Can I have friends and family round during a house sit?

In most cases the homeowner will be fine with you having guests over but it is always best to ask permission and discuss how many guests they are happy with. A big no, no is having someone stay the night in the homeowner’s house and you would NEVER have a party in a house sit.

 

Can I bring my own pets to a house sit?

No. You are there to care for the homeowner’s pets and cannot bring any of your own pets with you.

 

Is house sitting a good option for families?

We have a few families house sitting with us, but it is very difficult for them to book sits as the homeowner will usually favour a single or couple as their sitters. Also, house sitting can be unpredictable with down time in between sits and usually requires moving every 3 to 4 weeks. Feel free to call us on 0800 748837 to discuss your situation.

 

What happens if I accidently damage something?

Accidents happen. If you break a wine glass or the dog tracks mud through the carpet, just be honest with the homeowner. Usually when you offer to replace a broken item you will find the homeowner says not to worry about it.

For bigger accidents, you are covered for up to $2m under The Housesitting Company’s Public Liability Insurance. The intention of the policy is "to cover accidental loss or damage to property/persons caused by the house sitters. Intentional damage is NOT covered." We also require the homeowners to have their own House and Contents Insurance to cover any loss or damage that wasn’t your direct fault.

If you had a situation where you felt an insurance claim would be necessary, then please contact The Housesitting Company first to explain the situation.

 

Does the sitter pay rent to the homeowner?

No. The sitter lives rent free in exchange for caring for the homeowner’s pets, home and property. For longer sits (5 weeks or more), the homeowner may ask for a contribution towards utilities (such as power and water) although this is very rare.

 

Do I get paid to do house sits?

No. As a sitter you volunteer your time in order to enjoy the house sitting lifestyle and it’s benefits (such as saving on rent). The Housesitting Company works in a similar model to a job recruitment agency, where we take a fee from the homeowner by helping them find a suitable house sitter. We do not make any money from sitter membership fees, as these don’t even cover the cost of getting you setup as a sitter and paying for your insurance cover. Should a homeowner that you met through The Housesitting Company contacts you directly asking you to house sit again, please ask them to book you through us. This is the only way our business can keep it’s doors open and continue to provide you with house sits.

 

How much does it cost to become a sitter?

Membership is completely free outside of Auckland. Auckland memberships cost $59 annually as this is our busiest region and we like to limit the amount of sitters we have so you have better chances of booking sits.

 

Why can’t I see available house sits before registering?

Our homeowners generally have nicer homes and are more security conscious. One reason they choose The Housesitting Company is because of our professional service and the fact that only registered members can view our house sits.

If you are wondering how many sits we get in the areas you are interested in, feel free to call us on 0800 748837

 

How do I get started house sitting?

We’re so glad you asked! Click the link below to fill out our rego form and you will receive instructions on how to complete your sitter profile and book a meeting with us. Our aim is to have new sitters processed and applying for sits within a few days.

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