House Sitter FAQ's
1. How does your service work?
Our web site is a meeting place for Home Owners who require sitters and House Sitters looking for sitting opportunities. We provide the means for these people to meet each other and are not involved with matching Home Owners with House sitters ourselves.
It's free for home and pet owners to become members and use our service to contact our sitters and be contacted by them. For house sitters annual membership is $49.
We provide a fully internet based service and all you need to know and how to do it is on the website in the Question and Answer and How-to pages. Also to help our members, when you join, you will get access to our free eBook 'a guide to house sitting' which explains in detail how things work.
2. What duties are expected of the house sitter?
House sitters are expected to perform agreed tasks regarding the care of the home owners' property and pets and can include house security, house cleaning duties, garden and lawn maintenance, caring for pets, forwarding mail and phone messages and the occasional odd job. These tasks will have been discussed and agreed to prior to acceptance of the house sitting position.
Some experienced house sitters will prefer to bring and use their own linen and household cleaning products and some even like to use their own cooking utensils. The house sitter is also expected to supply their own food.
3. Am I sure of getting a House sitting job?
There are too many variables to guarantee anyone employment as a house sitter using our service. Things such as location choice, location flexibility, date flexibility, duration flexibility and how your profile is perceived, all play a part. Each Home Owners needs and expectations are different and ultimately they choose whom think will most suite their requirements.
4. Do we get paid for House sitting?
Not usually, but everything is negotiable between you and the Home Owner. In the majority of cases it's a straight swap where House Sitters care for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation. However there maybe exceptions when a homeowner will offer some money for the house sitting position.
5. Does the House sitter pay rent to the Home Owner?
No, in the majority of cases the House Sitter pays no rent.
6. Do I need Insurance?
The insurance companies we contacted all said having an unpaid house sitter would not affect the home owners home and contents policy, in fact they prefer to have someone living in the house as opposed to leaving it vacant. They said everything would be covered as normal in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy. The only thing you need to check is whether your possessions are also covered. All insurance companies are different and many do not cover the possessions a house sitter brings with them into the home. In this case, if you are concerned, you need to arrange your own contents insurance. If you are being paid to house sit or you are paying rent to the home owner then the home owners policy will be affected and you will need to arrange your own insurance.
7. Who pays for the utility costs (electricity, gas, etc)?
We have found that in most cases, for assignments lasting from a few days to over a month, the home owner usually doesn't expect payment for use of utilities. However some home owners may require that a small payment be made for this purpose especially if it's a long term assignment. These things are negotiable between both parties.
8. Do you get long term House Sitting positions?
Yes some can be. House sitting positions can be anything from 1 day to 2 or more years but generally the length of a House Sitting position varies between 1 week and 4 months with the most common being between 2 and 6 weeks. You can search our 'house sitting positions' database by length of sitting position at any time to see what's available.
9. Can I mind a home with my pet?
That's up to the Home Owner, some don't mind while others don't like strange pets in their homes. It is a matter for discussion between both parties.
10. Can I mind a home with my family?
Some home owners prefer not to have children in their home whereas others may actually like children because, if they have pets, it provides more play opportunities for them. The home owner will usually state in their ad if families with children are not suitable. As always first impressions and how you "sell yourself" are the key factors. For sitters ‘first impressions’ are their profile, so a good profile is a must. Please take the time to read our blog post on how to make sure you have a good profile. /blog/48-how-to-win-that-house-sitting-position
11. How long does it take before a House Sitter can contact Home Owners?
Registering on the site and taking up the House Sitter membership option is quick and easy. Once registered, if you paid by credit card, you are able to contact Home Owners immediately. If paying by other means, such as debit card or bank transfer, access will be activated when payment has cleared.
12. I live outside Australia can I still join as a House Sitter?
Yes you can. Most home owners will consider over seas house sitters and certainly an overseas police clearance is acceptable. Because of your location, a face to face interview is obviously not possible so for the home owner to get to know you a number of telephone or Skype chats will certainly help. Another very important aspect is your house sitter profile. We all know of the importance of making a great first impression and for the house sitter, your first impression is your profile page so you should take the time to make it a good one. Photos of you on your profile page are a big plus.
13. What payment options do I have?
You can pay by credit card or debit card. We use PayPal's secure online payment gateway. You don't need to be registered with PayPal or need to be a PayPal member to be able to use your cards.
14. How do House Sitters contact Home Owners?
After registering and paying the annual fee, if you paid by credit card, when logged in you will see a messaging area at the bottom of each home owners ad which you can use to contact them. If paying by other means, debit card or bank transfer for example, access to contact the home owner will be activated when payment has cleared.
15. Do you send out renewal reminders?
Yes, we email reminder notices a few weeks before your membership expires.
16. Is there a disadvantage to being a first time House Sitter?
Most Home Owners will consider first time House Sitters. There are many qualities a person brings to the job and just because you may be new it doesn't mean you will not be as good a House sitter as someone who is experienced.
17. What is a Police Check and where can I get one?
A police clearance or police check is an official document stating you have no criminal record.
In Australia you can either call in at your local police station and fill out a form or search on line for the term "police check" or "police clearance" followed by your State. The form and copies of proof of identity, needs to be endorsed by a JP and sent off with payment to the relevant authority. The fee is around $35 to $55 depending on which state you are in.
In the UK this document is known as a "basic disclosure" check. UK residents can obtain one from ‘Disclosure Scotland’, which is a government agency and covers the whole of the UK. A fee of £25 is required. http://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk
In the USA you can call in at your local police department, fill out a form and request they conduct a local or state criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. They will let you know what else is required, such as fees and providing them with notarized proof of identity. More information can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/legal-matters/criminal-record-check.html
18. Before I join can you contact a homeowner to see if their position is still available?
I'm sorry but we do not provide an availability checking service as the House Sitters membership period is 12 months which is ample time for sitters to obtain multiple sitting positions even if not successful in obtaining the one that first attracted them.
19. I'm young (19), will I get a sitting position?
We have quite a few people around your age join us as house sitters and some are more successful than others. There is no doubt that your age and inexperience is a disadvantage however, depending on how you present yourself both in your profile and in your communications with the home owner, you can make up a lot of ground. We consider that a House sitters profile is very important in determining how often they are contacted and how successful they are. Please take the time to read our blog post on how to have a good profile. /blog/48-how-to-win-that-house-sitting-position
20. Is the house-sitter allowed to take a break or holiday (even for the weekend)?
The home owner engages you to look after their property and pets while they are away and you need to be in attendance to be able to fulfil that obligation. In return you are offered free accommodation. Having said that, everything is negotiable with the home owner. For example, if the sitting position is for a reasonably long term and you want a break, the home owner may be able to arrange for a neighbour or friend to come in for a couple of days. You need to discuss this with the home owner before the house sitting assignment commences so that arrangements can be made beforehand as they are unlikely to be in a position to be able to make alternative arrangements while they are away.
21. Will I need references?
References are a definite advantage and for new house sitters a character references from people of standing in the community that have known you for a reasonable amount of time are acceptable. Have you rented or are you renting a property and can you get a reference from the owner? Have you looked after a friends property or pets at any time? They could give you a reference. You could get a reference from your boss at work. If you play sport or belong to a sporting team your coach might be able to help. If you attend a church the principle there may provide a reference.
Naturally the best reference is a recommendation from someone you have house sat for. It can be written, or if the referrer agrees, can be permission for the enquirer to contact the referrer for a verbal recommendation. If the home owner from your last position was happy with your performance they would be happy to give a written reference as well as a verbal one. You shouldn't be shy about asking - and you should get their permission before offering their contact details to others. Home owners will want to check references so including a contact phone number is important. We have found that most people who are willing to give a written reference don’t mind including their phone number.
22. I'm a sitter. How do I put an owner ad on?
To be able to put on a home owner ad you need to log out of your house sitter account and register with us as a home owner using a different email address. You can open a different Gmail or Hotmail account and forward all mail going to it to your regular account - that way you can continue to only use one email address to manage your Mindahome messages.