Copyright © 2005, Ian White
Everyone seems to have accepted the fact that the days of leaving your door unlocked are over. The rise of crime is affecting everyone, not just those who live in the larger cities. In fact, homes in rural areas are being targeted like never before--due to the opportunity a secluded area provides to the burglar. Statistics tell us that theft of property is among the highest of all personal crimes committed in the United States. While many families do install some type of house alarm, this alone does not bring complete peace of mind. Home alarm devices can be disabled by a crafty intruder.
These facts alone would explain why many people are turning to house sitting directories to help them find a house sitter when they need to be away from home for an extended time. The presence of a human is the main deterrent to a burglar. When you have a house sitter come into your home to live while you are away, you can almost be guaranteed your home will not be targeted by a thief or vandals.
While safety is the number one reason people are seeking out house sitters, they are quickly finding there are many other added benefits. First and foremost, they are saved the cost and worry of boarding their pets while they are away. Pets are happier when they are left in their own environment and kept on their usual routines. Many pet owners find they are not able to enjoy their vacation when they are forced to leave their pets at a kennel. For the individual or family who has to relocate for months at a time, having a house sitter greatly reduces the stress upon a family pet, and the money that is saved from boarding fees can be astounding. A house sitter can see to the many diverse needs of your pet such as feeding, walking, grooming, playing and health monitoring.
People that do have to be away from home for an extended time are finding it is much easier to have a house sitter come and live in their home--rather than renting out their house or imposing on family or friends to come by to tend to the day to day issues. House sitters can do tasks such as checking mail, routine lawn maintenance, home repair, and more. Having a house sitter can bring assurance that when you return from your travels you will still find healthy house plants or gardens--and that your goldfish is still alive! Your house sitter saves you the expense of arranging for pool and lawn maintenance while you are away, as well. House sitters are also invaluable if a major problem arises within you home, such as a leaking hot water heater or storm damage.
So, how does one go about finding a house sitter? The safest way to locate a house sitter is to go through a house sitting directory. Here you can find a house sitter which can meet your needs. Standard guidelines for a house sitter generally include them taking responsibility of your home, pets and property in exchange for rent free accommodations. Other individual needs can also be added to your house sitters guidelines such as arranging for them to supervise a major home repair while you are away.
You may be wondering who actually does house-sitting? You may be surprised to learn there are many individuals who become house sitters because it gives them the opportunity to save money on their living expenses. This enables them to save money for their own homes. Other house sitters may be retirees who are looking for a change of environment after years of work, or they wish to relocate to your area to be near relatives. A few individuals who are temporarily relocated due to their employment may also look into house sitting. House sitters are everyday people just like you and me.
It is usually standard that house sitters will be responsible for paying the utility bills while you are away. This takes the worry off a home owner who is concerned about coming home to a large phone or electric bill. All other bills, such as taxes, mortgage and home insurance is still the responsibility of the owner.
When you contact a house-sitting directory you will have access to their data base of registered house sitters. Registration for home owners is usually free with most directories. You privacy is assured, and your personal information will not be given out to any prospective house sitter. You alone decide when you are comfortable with a house sitter and are open to having him or her know your personal information.
When selecting your house sitter, you should only choose one that can meet all of your criteria. Once you have narrowed down your choices, you will be given references for the candidates. This is an important part of the process when selecting a house sitter. Many times you will be able to talk with other home owners who may have used this individual as a house sitter in the past.
Once you have decided upon a possible candidate, you will want to interview them. During the interview you will want to let them know what you desire from them when they are living at your home. This is when you can tell them about your pets, home maintenance such as a pool, mowing or shoveling snow. This is also when you can get to know the personality and character of your prospective sitter. You need to be assured you are having an animal lover come into your home if you have pets. It would be unreasonable to have someone come into your home who is allergic to cats if you have one for a pet. Also, if someone is fearful of animals, your dog may not get as much interaction as they need.
When you have chosen the house sitter you are comfortable with, you should have a contract drawn up. This contract can be obtained through most house sitting matching services, or you may prefer to have your family attorney draw it up. This contract needs to be as detailed as possible. It should thoroughly explain your expectations for home maintenance, pet care, emergency contact information, etc. If you would like to have a major home project completed, such as having someone come in to clean your gutters, or replace your windows while you are away, you should have all the details included in your contract.
It is advised that you have a face to face interview with your house sitter, or at least have them arrive a few days early so you can show them particular things about your home. While they are there, you can familiarize him or her with aspects of your home, such as window that likes to stick, or how to program the alarm system. This is also a great time for your house sitter to interact and make friends with your pets. They can see the routine of your pet throughout the day. This will help them tremendously. For instance, if you have a dog that does nothing but sleep all day behind the recliner, your house sitter will know this is normal and not a sign of illness. However, if you have a dog that bounces off the ceiling and he or she is laying around in a stupor all day, your house sitter will know this is out of character for that particular pet.
The peace of mind a house sitter can bring to you when you are away from home is priceless. Using a house sitting matching service is also the safest and speediest route to take when looking for a house sitter. Both the home owner and house sitter benefit by these matching services. The sitters can enjoy being in a new area while saving money for school or a home. Retirees are particularly pleased to be chosen as house sitters. Becoming a house sitter allows them an opportunity to travel to a place where their fixed income may not have afforded them to visit otherwise. Home owners can be assured they are not imposing on a family, friend or neighbor to watch over their home. The comfort level that a house sitter can bring to a pet is also a major plus. House sitters not only help deter your home from being the target of a burglary, but they step into your shoes and take care of the small things on a day to day basis.
Author Ian White is founder of http://www.housecarers.com/
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