House Sitting Jobs

Learn how to find a house sitting job and what to expect once you land it.

If you're in between houses or just don't want to bother with rent, housesitting might be for you. You can start out by putting ads in the local paper where you wish to live. Post notices on local bulletin boards and let people you meet know that you're looking for a place to look after.

You should like animals if you're getting into housesitting, since the majority of people will have pets for you to look after. Some may only need to be let out once in a while, while others require much more intensive care. When you meet with the owner of the house, make sure they show you all the routines, including pet care. Ask them to write everything down and ask about special tricks they have to keep an animal quiet, get it inside, etc.

Once you get a call about a house, set up an appointment to come over and learn about the pets and layout of the house. Every house has a quirk in it somewhere. Whether it's that the tv doesn't work unless the bathroom light is on or the front door has to be jiggled in a certain pattern to open, make sure they tell you. And get it in writing, because you won't remember later!

You should be shown around the house and yard and meet any pets that you will be looking after. Find out if you should sleep in any one room or on the couch. Most people let you choose, but some are very particular. Make sure they show you where the cleaning supplies are kept, since it's inevitable that you will spill something somewhere and need to clean it up. There's nothing worse than running through a house, trying to find a mop while coffee runs toward the living room carpet.

Now for the moving in. Depending on how long you will be staying, you will need more or less food. You shouldn't have too many personal belongings, as they tend to get left behind and annoy people. A few changes of clothes in a duffel bag and a book or two will suffice.

Get settled in one room, and try not to spread out too much, it only makes it more of a hassle when you leave. Contain your belongings to the kitchen and bedroom as much as possible. Then, when you leave, you won't be searching the whole house for your missing stuff. Not to mention, it won't be lying out and tempting a dog that likes to chew.

Never ever leave pets in the house longer than the owner suggests. To do so can have horrible results. Urine and dog feces are not fun to clean out of Persian rugs. And the animals always choose the worst possible place to do their duty. Yuck.

Enjoy your stay, but when it's time to leave, make sure you clean up behind yourself. Leaving dirty dishes or a messy bathroom won't impress the owners and leaves you with fewer references. Not to mention eliminating the possiblility of further jobs! You should be well out of the house before the family returns, even if this means moving out your stuff and returning later to let the dog out.

Some jobs pay, some don't. If you want to make a living at it, it's obviously better to take the paying jobs, but do be aware that they are usually more complicated, with more or difficult pets and precise duties. This can be the ideal job for the right person though, so try it and have some fun!

BASIC RULES: Don't trash the place, or invite a bunch of friends over. Clean up anything spilled immediately. Don't use their things unless told you are allowed. Stay out of unused bedrooms. Leave a light on for them when they return. Own up to anything you accidently destroy and offer to replace it.

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