What would a house sitter want you to know before you place your home and pets in their hands? I share some things I've learned in five years of professional house sitting that just might help you if you've got plans to travel this summer.You won't find any tips about how to choose a house or pet sitter here — ask friends for recommendations and call references — but you will be recommended to hire someone who will stay overnight. If you've got pets, it's an important part of keeping them happy and loved with constant care, and safety-wise, having someone there frequently can really make sure your house is watched over.
And you won't find the obvious (like leaving all the necessary vet/pet/home information before you leave). What you'll find here is a list of things that I've discovered, that you may not have thought of, that makes things go really smoothly when you've charged someone in protecting your home and caring for your pets while away. Keep your relaxing vacation from being ruined by worry!
Establish your pet and house routine with your sitter. Not only do pets prefer being fed and exercised on a routine, keeping them on schedule can help allay any tummy troubles and behavioral issues.
Let your sitter know who might drop by the house. Let them know if a friend will be coming in the middle of the week to grab something or if you expect packages and where they usually get delivered (one time an unannounced package got left by a side door to get rained on, in my case).
Explain all the tech stuff very clearly, but then also consider what to do in tech emergencies. Like if a rainstorm knocks out power and messes with the internet, cable and security systems — let your sitter know where the router is in case they need to reset it. And make sure the sitter knows your alarm system password in case they set it off and the security company calls.
Here are two things sitters (I) can inexplicably never locate: The can opener, Band-aids.
Let your neighbors know there will be someone new and leave an extra key with them.
Explain any house quirks you can think of. Does the washer overflow if you put it on a certain cycle or a door in the house stick sometimes?
What are some unusual or particularly helpful things you've discovered you have to tell house and pet sitters before you leave on vacation? Anything you've learned from mistakes in the past?
(Image: Adrienne Breaux)