How to be a perfect host and make your house-sitters feel at home
First time you’ve had house-sitters? These tips will come in handy!
Remember, the secret of success is both parties sharing the benefits of the deal. You get back what you put into it!
Make it easy for house-sitters to get there
Send maps and detailed instructions, as not everyone has a GPS. Be clear about what time you prefer people to arrive. But don’t ask for the impossible and allow for flight times and traffic conditions.
Be ready when they arrive!
This isn’t the time to be packing the suitcases or checking the windows upstairs are closed. Make house-sitters feel the place is theirs as soon as they arrive. Show them round house and neighborhood. Where are the local stores? Introduce them to the neighbors. The more relaxed house-sitters are now, the happier they’ll be later.
Prepare instructions and documents well in advance.
Give plenty of thought to the contents of the Home Book (the home-book can be downloaded on this page). Make sure every important detail is written and avoid that embarrassing moment “And I forgot to write…” Information such as how to contact you in an emergency (or otherwise) is vital. As also numbers of the plumber, local medical services, etc. Further information makes all the difference, such as recommending what to visit and where to eat out.
Make people feel comfortable
Details make the difference. Check what people like to eat for breakfast. Find out in advance their special preferences and have them ready. This gives house-sitters more time to settle in, and they can do their shopping later on in their own time.
Prepare your home as if you were welcoming your friends
Take enough time in advance to clean it, make sure your place is looking its best. Your house-sitters will feel cared for.
Make sure the bedroom looks friendly and free up plenty of storage. Empty drawers, shelves and wardrobe in the bedroom are important for people to unpack quickly and feel at home. Free up space in the bathroom for personal toiletries and towels. Add a personal touch : a bunch of flowers in the bedroom, a bottle of water or a few chocolates in a bowl, a selection of literature on what to do and where to go.
Have a welcome meal prepared
Nothing particularly special, it can be the family’s favorite dish or a ready-made meal. Avoiding fuss makes people feel at home and means less complicated washing-up before you leave!
Tell house-sitters what news you want (and when) while you’re away
Some home-owners don’t want regular updates (except for emergencies of course). They like to leave everything in house-sitters’ hands. Others like to be kept up to date. Whatever’s best for you, be clear! House-sitters feel happier when they give you peace of mind. Specify phone, email, text messaging or whatever, and definite times.
On your return trip specify your ETA
Give home-sitters plenty of warning if you have to change the date or time of your return. The unexpected is never easy to deal with, and house-sitters generally like to plan cleaning the house in advance, so it is spick and span on your return. Depending on mutual travel plans, it’s best, whenever possible, to suggest a good last night’s sleep in your home especially if departing house-sitters have a long day’s travel ahead.
Say thanks for everything the house-sitters have done!
Saying thank you is fundamental, of course, but its importance can’t be underestimated, as too many articles have a one-sided view of house-sitters as taking advantage of free accommodation. Why not bring back a present in appreciation? Nothing complicated, of course, but a small gift from your travels always gives pleasure, and says more than words can.