A house sitter temporarily lives in a residence that is not hers to deter intruders and keep the household in shape while the regular occupant is away. She may live in a rental unit or a house that is owned by the resident. Her job may last a few nights up to several months. In some cases, she may work for an agency, though most house sitters are independent contractors.
People are commonly reluctant to leave their homes unattended for extended periods of time while they travel for business or pleasure. They frequently worry about burglars or vandals invading their home or destroying property or landscaping outside the house while they are gone. Others fret over mail or newspapers not being collected in a timely manner. The presence of a sitter and the absence of uncollected deliveries typically discourage prowlers.
Other duties normally performed by a house sitter include the upkeep of the home and yard. She is generally required to perform light housekeeping to keep the house free of dust and clutter. Watering houseplants, grass and outdoor foliage is generally expected of her. If she is in charge of the property over an extended period of time, she may be required to ensure the grass is cut and trees and shrubs are trimmed and pruned. If a swimming pool is in her care, she may be required to keep it clean.
Administrative tasks undertaken by a house sitter may include paying utility bills and opening mail that appears to need urgent attention. The absent resident may ask her to monitor bank account activity for unusual credit or debit card transactions. A list of contractors is often supplied to the sitter in case plumbing or electrical repairs are required. Taking telephone messages and greeting visitors are customarily part of her job.
In some cases, a house sitter may concurrently serve as a pet sitter. She is frequently in charge of the feeding, watering and care of house pets, such as dogs, cats, birds, hamsters or small reptiles. If a dog is in her care, she is normally required to take it outside for exercise and to meet bodily function needs.
There is normally no educational requirement for this position. A sitter commonly builds her resume and list of references through providing services for friends and family before she seeks work from the general public. Having a vehicle and a valid driver’s license are common requirements of people seeking the services of a house sitter.