GENERAL HOUSE SITTING
Many different kinds of people housesit. They can be retired singles or couples, young families, working singles or couples and professional house sitters. Some house sitters house sit in order to secure free accommodation while they travel. Many sitters see the benefit of living rent free while other simply enjoy a change of scenery.
Most house sitters will house sit in return for free accommodation so it does not cost anything for the homeowner. However some house sitters are professional sitters and may charge for their experienced services.
The sitters' responsibility is to live in and look after the house they are minding. This may include house security, house cleaning duties, garden and lawn maintenance, caring for pets, forwarding mail and phone messages, the occasional odd job, and anything else the home owner and the sitter both agree on.
Basically, it’s up to you. From our research most home owners and house sitters tend not to use a house sitting agreement and simply choose to discuss things verbally. However, it’s very important to discuss all aspects of the house sit before it's confirmed to allow everything to run smoothly and avoid any confusion, so we do highly recommend documenting everything discussed either within your My Messages area in your ‘conversation' with the other party, within an email, using a house sitting agreement or another form of documention. Things that may need clarifying could be things like required pet care, garden care, who is responsible for paying for utilities etc.
Aussie House Sitters offers a house sitting agreement template that you can adjust to suit your needs if you desire one.
WHO PAYS WHAT?
Yes! We do not charge homeowners anything to find a house sitter.
Each house sit is negotiated between the homeowner and the house sitter so every case is different. Usually the owner does not pay the sitter. They house sit is in return for free accommodation. There may be times when a homeowner will offer some money for a house sitting job. For example if the house was situated in an undesirable location, or the length of the sit was not really desirable (too short), or there were lots of pets to care for and jobs to do, then the homeowner may offer to pay the house sitter a small amount.
However there are some professional sitters who may advertise on Aussie House Sitters to find sitting jobs, and they usually charge for their experienced services. It is up to each owner to decide if they are happy to pay for their sitter or not in this case.
We do not recommend this. Please keep in mind that the house sitter is there to do you a favour as much as you are doing them a favour - it's a win-win for both. In the majority of the cases it’s just a straight swap i.e. the house sitter cares for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation, and then who pays for the utilities costs are negotiated. Hopefully you should be able to work something out that seems fair to both parties.
Please remember, we are not a cheap holdiay rental site for homeowners to find a short term renter. There are other specific sites that offer this.
Each house sitting job is unique and negotiated between the sitter and the owner. Usually the owner will be happy to cover utilities for the sitter as they are taking care of their home and pets. If it's a shorter term sit especially, the owner will tend to cover utilities. On a longer term sit sometimes the owner will ask the sitter to cover some of the utilities they use e.g. heating, cooling and electricity, possibly internet.
As each sitting job is unique, it is up to the owner and the sitter to negotiate the payment (or non payment) of utilities before the sitting job has been confirmed. It's important that both the owner and the sitter understand what has been agreed to and that it's documented to avoid any confusion.
House sits run smoothly 95% of the time. Out of those house sits where something may end up broken or damaged by the house sitter generally the house sitter covers the cost happily if it was their fault. If the damage was caused due to the age of the house etc then the homeowner is usually happy to cover the costs of the repairs and not expect the sitter to pay.
Some home owners like to use a house sitting agreement to prevent any potential problems. Aussie House Sitters offers a house sitting agreement template that you can adjust to suit your needs.
REGISTRATION AS A HOUSE OWNER & PLACING A FREE AD
No. Within this modern age the internet is accessible to most people (we also like the idea of being environmentally friendly – no paper!)
You will need to have an email account when you first sign up so you can activate your profile but once you have registered you have the ability to choose to be contacted by phone if that’s preferable.
ABOUT THE SITE
House sitters register to list their profile on the Aussie House Sitters database. Here they can be found by Australian homeowners via the website. These homeowners are able to contact the house sitter directly.
Also, all registered house sitters are able to contact any of the homeowners directly via their house ads on the website.
It’s easy! Homeowners can either place a free ‘I need a sitter’ advert and have one of our registered house sitters contact them directly via email (and/or phone if that suits better) OR they are able to scroll the list of house sitters and directly contact those they feel suitable. We recommend doing both to increase your chances of finding that perfect house sitter.
Generally we reply to all email enquiries the day we receive them but please allow 48 hours depending on demand.
A REPLY RATING appears on a member's search listing and profile page, as a series of 5 dots. This rates the member's responsiveness to (first contact) messages.
If a member has responded in a timely fashion to every first contact message, their REPLY RATING will remain at a perfect 5 points.
For every (first contact) message that goes un-replied, a point is deducted. To redeem a lost point the member needs to answer promptly to the next two (first contact) messages that come through.
Our members occasionally suggest that a rating system would help them choose between candidates.
While ratings can be useful for some sites, they can also be very damaging in others. We have carefully considered introducing a ratings system, but have decided against it because we feel that it could have a negative impact on many of our members, which would be completely unwarranted.
• Subjectivity: Choosing a House Sitter is an incredibly subjective task, involving a mix of characteristics, experience and "chemistry". All homeowners have different standards, expectations and personalities. While one homeowner might think ‘0 stars’ another might think ‘5 stars’ about the same experience.
• Love: This site and the community of people involved are characterised by generosity, responsibility and respect. We value this and work very hard to affirm and maintain it. We feel that a ratings system has too many potential negatives for some members that would undermine the wonderful spirit of the site for no real benefit.
• Unreasonable criticism: It only takes one negative comment to destroy a House Sitter’s chances of getting any further sits. A house sitter could be trying their best, but if they don’t have detailed instructions they might disappoint an owner without meaning to. A rating would unfairly punish a sitter in this instance.
• Quality: It is genuinely hard to find a ‘bad’ House Sitter or Homeowner. The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands of sits that happen every year are fantastic exchanges that are wonderfully satisfying for all parties.
• Confidence: There are many things that help build confidence in a House Sitter, which we believe are actually more helpful than a rating. These include references, referees, endorsements, number of completed sits and personal history. And don’t underestimate the importance for homeowners to take time to talk with a potential sitter. This is a great way to have confidence in what the sitter can provide.
• Incentive: An argument for ratings is that it provides incentive for a House Sitter to perform well. We feel that good performance is already an outstanding feature of our AHS members. House sitters genuinely want to do a great job for their owner and homeowners genuinely want to make the sitter’s stay comfortable and enjoyable. Good character and common courtesy drive our members to "perform" well. We have other more practical incentives for sitters to perform well, these include receiving positive endorsements, repeat sits, referrals and additional references and referees.
• Skewing: ‘Ratings’ may help in choosing a camera: is it what was expected, did it arrive on time etc. These factors can easily be measured faiirly. However, given the same sitter, five different homeowners could rate them very differently, so it is hard to see this as a fair measure. Sitters performing at the same level of expertise can be "marked" differently and if this is displayed on the site, it is not a fair assessment and not helpful for either the sitter or the owners looking for a sitter.
• Endorsements: To help in selecting a sitter, we have “Endorsements” from previous house sits. This is a feature that is becoming popular in many sites. It means that members can be rewarded with positive recommendations from other members, and it adds an important layer of credibility to a sitter's profile.
• Complaints policy: For those rare occasions when a Homeowner or House Sitter has experienced a problem, we are always available to hear complaints about members and we do take appropriate action. We have a thorough complaints procedure we use when needed.
Endorsements from a previous house sit assignment (from either the house sitter or homeowner) add a lot of credibility to a member's profile, and they reward and promote good citizenship.
Both house sitters and homeowners are able to compose an endorsement for the other if they feel like spreading the love, and rewarding them for a job well done.
If a homeowner has security cameras in or around their home it's important to inform the house sitter of this while negotiating the house sitting job. Some house sitters may not feel comfortable if security cameras are installed. Many house sitters will be ok with this but it's up to the homeowner to inform them before the house sit has been confirmed.