House sitting is not for everyone, but I love it. I get to live in new and different places for short or long peroids, meet new and interesting people and their amazing pets and live without some of the burdens of a fixed address. There are significant responsibilities though, and these should be treated with the gravity they deserve.
When agreeing to take on a house sit there are two questions that must be asked every time.
If you are a house sitter ensure you ask the home owner before commencing each and every sit how they would like maintenance to the home handled in their absence.
Every home can potentially need maintenance work at any time. Windows can break, plumbing can fail, electricity can fault. One of the most important reasons this question must be asked is that the person or persons you are sitting for may not own the property. Asking this question is also a great way to invite the people you are sitting for to bring up any quirks the property may have that you will need to be mindful of. Things like leaks, sticky locks or jammed windows that often go unchecked or lived with.
By this point a couple of reliable channels of communication and the frequency and circumstance the owner would like to be contacted should be established. I recommend mobile phone number, email and a social media messenging service. Ask for a list or preferred trades people if there is a likelihood they will be required, a pre approved spend level for probable repairs and agreed payment terms. Do not agree to make payment yourself.
All of the sits I have done were both house and pet sits. Understandably the home owner has a great deal of emotional investment in the well being of their animals. Before the key handover I always ask how any pet illness or accidents should be handled, do they have a preferred local vet? Is the animal known there? And again what will be the payment terms, can an invoice be issued or payment by credit card be arranged by owner.
Asking both of these questions will ensure both parties are confident and happy that should an unfortunate situation arise where these plans need to be implemented they are done to the owners satisfaction and resolved in their absence. And rather than being awkward or difficult subjects to broach by raising both of these questions the sitter is demonstrating that they are conscientious and capable with dealing with any situation should it arise.
If you have a trip coming up and would like my help let me know when you need a sitter and where you are located and I will respond to you personally.