Summer holidays are almost here, and most people are looking forward to a deserved break.
If you are going away, you need to consider who will care for your home, water the plants, and care for your pets. Hiring a house sitter has become a popular option in the absence of willing family and friends. It is reasonably cost-effective, and you will be sure that your home, garden and pets are safe and taken care of while you are away.
There are three significant advantages to hiring a house sitter.
- Having someone on the property is a good security measure – homes standing empty are easier targets for burglars.
- They will also be on hand to take care of the garden and any other day to day chores to make sure everything runs smoothly.
- If you have pets, you can avoid the stress and expense of kennels and catteries.
Your lawn and plants can die or suffer damage without regular maintenance, and reviving or replacing them could be costly. House sitters can also save you money when it comes to emergency repairs. They will be on hand to spot water leaks or burst pipes or geysers, as well as appliance problems, and can organise repairs.
The right person
It’s essential to find the right person for your needs, or you won’t enjoy your holiday. After all, you will be entrusting the house sitter with your most valuable possessions – your home and your pets.
Ask your friends for recommendations or look for a reputable company offering house sitting services that conduct in-depth screening of its contractors.
Various house-sitting options are available. For example, some homeowners want the house-sitter to live in the home and stay overnight, whereas others prefer daily visits. In this scenario, the house sitter will stop by once or twice a day to check that everything is in order.
Before making a final choice, be sure that your pets feel comfortable with the house sitter you choose and that the person is prepared to carry out the required tasks.
To make sure of this, write out a checklist of what you need them to do.
Tasks could include:
- Make sure the alarm is armed when the home is unoccupied.
- Carry out daily perimeter checks.
- Electricity checks - mains, fridge, freezer, geyser, pool.
- Clear the post-box and make sure delivered newspapers are not blowing in the wind.
- Open and close curtains and blinds daily.
- Switch lights on and off to make the home appear to be occupied – even if it’s not.
- Water plants and lawns when needed.
- Backwash the pool and top up chemicals when required.
- Put the rubbish bin out for collection and bring it back inside the yard after the bin collectors have collected the trash.
- Send daily text feedback.
- Provide fresh food, water and treats daily.
- Manage medication as needed.
- General daily health checks.
- Petting and playing - and walking, if you have dogs.
- Clean up pet droppings daily.
- Send daily text feedback with photos.
You should also contact your insurance service provider and your security company to ensure your premises are covered while you are away. Some insurers require you to notify them if your home is unoccupied for 60 days or more. They view this situation as a change in risk, and there may be an additional premium to pay for the period that your home is unoccupied.
You also need to let them know you have a house sitter staying on the premises or making regular visits if that is what you have decided on.
Once you have everything in place, you will be able to enjoy your holiday knowing that your home and pets are in good care.