House-sitting Safety: How to stay safe, while house-sitting.

Everything Kaye!
House-sitting in the cityPhoto byTahiti Spears, Chicago

So what is house sitting? House sitting is when someone asks another person to stay in their home while they are away, sometimes with the trade of the sitters home, other times for pay. It depends on what route you take in becoming a house sitter. Since our dog stays with my daughter and grandson when I'm away. I've only taken house-sits, where I'm provided accomodations in exchange for watching their home/ pets. Most homeowners love the fact that I have a pet, the homeowner simply feels more relaxed having someone in the home for emergencies and to entertain their fur babies. Not only do you get free accommodation, you experience a unique way to see a new town, in the comfort of a home and not a cookie cutter hotel. Vacation accommodations is easily one of the most expensive aspects of travel. But housesitting takes away this cost entirely. My first couple of house-sit were in Ohio, I was honestly a little nervous. Especially, the Toledo, Ohio one( that was the quietest house sit I've done, and no pets lol). I could really explore the town, and visit the museums all day. It was in a nice neighborhood, with friendly neighbors. I'm still a newbie, and I know I won't exclusively only travel through House-sitting, but it's a great option. Now if I can only get one on Tybee Island. I'll be in Tennessee next month. It's a weekend gig. ( I only do weekend stays). I would think that I would write more away for the weekend, but sometimes the homes artwork causes me to daydream, or I play with the pets a little bit too long. So I end up writing in my head a lot of times but it's worth it!

After recently going to see the movie See For Me, I was asked are you still going to house-sit after seeing what happened to her? My response, why not someone can easily break into my own home and do the same thing. Everything we do in life safety will always be a concern. We should obviously not put ourselves in danger, by making foolish decisions, but we can't live in fear. Fear is paralyzing, which will cause you to stop living life. If you want to use house-sits as a option for vacationing, do it scared, being scared is okay. But not in fear. I put together a list of security precautions when house sitting for those that are new to house sitting, and reminders to other housesitters. Here are some security precautions that I take when house sitting:

(This first one is really for those that are just starting to house-sit). Start by sitting close to home or in a city where a family member or a friend lives. Until you learn how to solve a lot of things that might come up when your house sitting you want to have somebody to bounce things off or to come over and help you if you have an emergency, like a water leak or a missing pet. But also if you get scared your first night, it helps to know that you have someone close by that you can count on. My first house-sit was in Columbus Ohio, it was still close to home and I have friends that live there. Remember to always ask the homeowner if someone can come over while your house-sitting.

Second, always lock doors. This seems easy enough to know, but sometimes if in your own home community you're able to leave your doors and garage unlocked; you may not be able to do so in the home that you're sitting. You want to make sure that you keep the homeowners possession safe, and keep yourself safe in a unfamiliar community; no matter how nice it is. Set alarm. If they are comfortable giving it to you, make sure you ask the homeowners for the alarm code. They should give you both the code and the password to tell the alarm company should the alarm accidentally go off while you are there. Thirdly, remember you are there to make it seem like the family is home, to deter criminals and care for pets. Make sure to collect newspaper and mail, you might want to also go out and greet the mailman. You don't have to tell him that your house sitting alone , just greet them.

Fourth safety measure, having guests over. In my opinion, house sitting is best for those that are introverts and/or couples. “It is only acceptable for a house-sitter to have guests over if they have them preapproved with the owner. As a couple you have someone there with you. An introverts tends to need a lot of alone time, so just being in the home with the owner's pets, (because most sits, include watching and caring for the families pets), is enough. Even after you have the owner's permission to have guests over, be very selective about who you invite over because you may not steal anything from the home, but someone you invite over may not always have the best intentions. And never invite anybody over you just met in this particular city or country! Also don't announce to everyone you meet in the city that you're sitting. I know you're excited but just keep that information to yourself. That goes for sharing online, don't share the owner's home online without their permission. Talk about your house sitting experience after you return home.

This may not seem like a safety concern to most, but to the owners of the home and to those that live in the neighborhood where "the sit" will take place, if the sitter does not have these for skills/traits; the home and pets will not be kept safe. You must have good communication skills,because you need to ask a lot of questions and keep up communication after the homeowner has left for their vacation. You need to be able to follow instructions and not be a know-it-all, listen to the instructions even if they seem simple enough. (Don't yeah, yeah, yeah, the instructions). They can become life or death instructions in the middle of a house-sit. House sitters must be organized. Instructions, notes, passwords and alarms codes, need to be organized and kept in a safe place. Cleaning up the home, especially the kitchen. Any place in the home where a fire could break out, like the kitchen or a fireplace, should be kept free of paper and clothes, and other household items. You also, must like and really love pets. Like I previously stated, most houses-sits have pets. Dogs have to be walked. They are trading your free stay in their home, for a piece of mind.
House-sittingPhoto byAshlyn Ciara

Ways to get house-sits. You can get a house-sit through a company like Trusted House Sitters or, Nomador, and Rover. Be very careful getting home- sits on places like Craigslist. I think after you do a dozen or so through a company, you'll know what you're looking for when it comes to finding houses on Craigslist. I love word of mouth too, I've got one through another house -sit. I really want to travel around Canada after my son leaves for college, so I'm glad that there is always a lot of houses available in the Canada. And there will always be naysayers to anything that you desire to do. But we can't say it enough do what's best for you and the way that you want to live life! Get started house-sitting and be safe!

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Retired cosmetologist, writer, blogger, and local guide for Google Maps. I'll be sharing helpful stories, local happenings throughout Ohio. Including breaking news, and places to eat.

Dayton, OH

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