The world of housesitting is amazingly diverse – which makes it interesting and extremely rewarding. This also means that some advertised housesits are more desirable than others.
We have been housesitting and monitoring housesit advertising sites since April 2012 and although every one of our sits has been a wonderful experience, we have noticed that not all sits are equally desirable.
Sadly not every housesit involves amazing people and pets creating wonderful memories. Some turn out be less than idyllic. We often see ads for sits we would not touch with a 10-foot pole and hear horror stories from other sitters.
To ensure housesits are dreams and not nightmares house-sitters need to do their homework – there are some people out there you would be much better off not meeting or housesitting for.
We decided to put together a somewhat tongue in cheek list of the sits you may want to avoid.
The Shanty Sit:
Some homes could be from the cover of Better Homes and Gardens where others would be a better fit for the cover of Better Shacks and Shelters. – Some Shack owners expect sitters to live in substandard accommodations without privacy, proper cooking facilities, running water or proper sanitation. To avoid these; get pictures, ask for a tour of the property on Skype! Ask lots of questions, even ask for references from previous sitters – and NEVER assume.
The Zoo Sit (aka Circus Sits):
These are the types of sits where the sitter has to look after 17 dogs, 23 cats, 2 horses, 5 goats and a herd of milking cows. Unless you are a total animal freak and don’t mind getting up at 4:30 AM to milk the cows or spending 3 hours a day picking ticks off the dogs you may want to give this one a miss – or better yet be compensated for your efforts.
The Prison Sit:
We classify two different scenarios as a prison sit. The first is where you are expected to look after dogs with severe separation anxiety. Some pet owners stipulate you have to stay with Chomper 24 hours a day – they may “allow” you to go for groceries but the neurotic dog has to go as well. Even if you adore dogs this could be a little trying.
The second prison sit scenario involves owners who want their housesitters to provide 24/7 security for the property. Insisting that one person is present at all times. If round the clock security is required, either the owners are paranoid or the home is located in an area you may not want to live in anyway.
The Slave Labor Sit:
Some people look at housesitters as desperate people who are a source of cheap labor. These folks think performing labor in return for a roof over their heads is a fair deal. As a housesitter you provide a very valuable service – choose clients who value what you provide as a home and pet sitter. Unless you are desperate just say next!
The Lets Shack-up Sit:
This is the type of housesit where you are expected to co-habitate with the owners of the property. They may want you to pay rent, contribute to utilities and/or provide slave labor as well. We have heard stories of owners who never leave the property despite their claims to be away for extended periods or those who really need hired help as they cannot manage the property by themselves.
The Baby Sitter Sit:
This is the type of sit that crosses the line from housesitting to caregiving. Some homeowners think it is OK for sitters to look after elderly parents, bratty teenagers, or invalid spouses. Stories of owners leaving their bed-ridden spouses behind, with the sitter now having to provide meals and act as nurse as well have crossed our ears.
If you like providing this type of service–it is a calling for many people–then share your gift and hopefully get some compensation. Otherwise, this may not be an enjoyable “housesitting” experience.
The General Contractor Sit:
There are homeowners who think it would be great idea to leave on holiday while they have the kitchen remodeled, and even a better idea to get a housesitter to “keep an eye” on the contractors!
There are several problems with this from the perspective of the sitter – one if you have ever lived in a house during a major renovation you know it can be very dusty, noisy and not to mention inconvenient. Secondly being responsible for contractors can be a major pain in the ass – not to mention a potential liability – we avoid this one.
Mail Order Bride Sit:
Some homeowners use housesitting wanted ads as a means of finding a love interest. Honest! If you are looking for love this may work for you.
The George Orwell Sit:
This is where the homeowner has security cameras in the house and will be watching you. Do you really want to be monitored? If so you may want to make sure your activities on the sofa are suitable for a family audience! We have also seen housesit wanted ads where the pet owner wants to board their pet in the sitters home and set up a security camera so they can keep an eye on the pets – Creepy!
Housesitting is about finding a perfect match and although we avoid these types of sits, they may be perfect for you. As a housesitter it is your responsibility to know exactly what you want and exactly what you do not. When choosing house-sits make sure you do your homework to ensure there are no nasty surprises.
Our clients have all been awesome people, the pets always a reflection of their owners and we have enjoyed every minute. This is perhaps because we look very closely at ads and do not apply for or accept scenarios that do not fit our criteria.
Hope you got a chuckle from our list of untouchables.
Our last word of advice –
Be choosy – there is a world of perfect housesitting opportunities out there!