back to articles

Selecting a House Sitter

Posted June 7, 2011

So you have decided to hire a house sitter. What's the next step?

Step 1:   Register Your Home

Become a registered member of Then add your home, which enables house sitters to view and apply for your house sitting assignment.

Step 2:   Review House Sitter Profiles

Congratulations! Now that you're a registered member, take some time to review the profiles of house sitters that are looking for a house sitting assignment in your area. Select a few candidates that you feel may be a good match for your house sitting assignment.

Step 3:   Interview Candidates

Now it's time to interview candidates! This is an important step in finding the perfect house sitter. If the candidate lives in your area, it's always a good idea to set up a face-to-face interview. If they don't live close-by, a thorough phone interview can also give you some good information on which to base your decision.

It is important for you to feel comfortable communicating with the person whom you ultimately hire. Remember, you are entrusting your home, belongings, and possibly pets to this person. Here are a few questions you can use to help you make your decision.

  • Tell me about yourself

    Start by asking for general background information. Find out how long they have been in the house sitting business, how many house sitting assignments they have completed, services they provide when house sitting, etc. Let them do some of the talking so you can get an idea of their personality and their communication skills.

  • Why do you want to be a house sitter?

  • What services, if any, can you provide as a house sitter?

    After they have answered, this may a good time to let them know your expectations as a homeowner. For example, do you need them to care for pets, plants, lawn, etc?

  • Do you have any pets?

    Let them know your policy on bringing pets into your home.

  • Do you plan to have guests or other occupants in my home at any point during the house sitting assignment?

    Let them know your standpoint on guests, children, etc. at this point during the interview.

  • What kind of compensation are you looking for?

    It is important to settle to terms of the house sitting assignment prior to its initiation. Will you provide them with a free place to stay in exchange for caring for your home (i.e. taking care of the lawn, pets, plants, mail, cleaning, etc.?). Who will pay for the electricity, water, utility, etc. while you are away?

  • What is the time frame in which you are looking to house sit?

    Make sure the house sitter is available during the time frame in which you need them.

  • Have you ever been asked to leave a position? Tell me about that experience.

  • Why should we select you?

  • What would you do if you found out you needed to leave town unexpectedly for some reason during the house sitting assignment?

Step 4:   Request General Background Information

It is a good idea to find out about the candidate's background, criminal history, and education. Sometimes these types of questions may be awkward to ask during the interview itself. Thus, you may find it easier to create a short application form for the candidate to fill out. This application form should include questions such as:

  • full name and street address

  • reference names and phone numbers

  • address, phone and email contact information

  • emergency contact name and address

  • ask whether or not the candidate is bonded and insured

  • questions such as: Have you ever been charged and/or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain.

Step 5:   Obtain Official Criminal Backgroud Report

Before officially offering a candidate the house sitting assignment, it is a good idea to run a criminal background check. There are many agencies and websites that you can use to request a background check. Typically, all you need is their social security number in order to run the background check. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 80 percent of employers run routine background checks. So don't be shy!

Step 6:   Call References

Call references they have provided. It is preferable to speak to other homeowners who have used the house sitter, or previous supervisors from other places of work. Reference checking is essential to verify a potential house sitter's background and to give you added assurance that the intuitive sense that you have about a house sitter is well-founded.

Be sure to advise the person from whom the reference is sought of your objectives. Identify yourself and let them know that you are considering the candidate for employment as a house sitter. Let them know that you'd like to gain their perspective on their previous employment with the candidate.

Here are a few questions you could ask references about the potential house sitter.

  • What were the responsibilities of the position the candidate had while working with you?

  • Do you think the candidate is qualified to assume these responsibilities? Why or why not?

  • How did the candidate perform with regard to the house sitting assignment/ other duties during their employment?

  • What was the candidate's attendance record? Was the candidate on-time and dependable?

  • What are the candidate's three strongest qualities?

  • Would you rehire this candidate?

Step 7:   Make it Official with a Contract

When you think you've found the right person for the job, be very upfront about the terms of the house sitting agreement, the services they will perform while house sitting, and compensation or payment you expect from them. It may be useful to write a contract stating these terms and have both parties sign it.

back to articles