What kind of People House Sit?
House sitting is a win/win proposition. As a homeowner, you get free security and other benefits while the housesitter receives, among other things, a free or cheap place to live. But you may be asking yourself, “Can house sitters be trusted? And how can I assure I have a reliable person?” After all, our home is often the biggest investment of our lives and we wouldn’t leave it with just anyone.
First of all, let’s look at what kind of people house sit. You may have wondered about this and it is certainly a primary concern. House sitters tend to fall into two main categories: people in transition and retired persons or travelers.
People in Transition
It is not uncommon for people moving through various changes in life to require temporary housing. This could be due to a change in schools, a period following graduating while looking for a job, a marital separation necessitating a move; a job transfer. Sometimes, people want to check out an area before deciding to relocate. Writers wanting a retreat, RV’ers needing a break from the road, vacationers, and academics on sabbatical are but a few of the many groups constantly in transition. These are usually intelligent and productive people who are simply in an “in between” time on their journey. Most are highly motivated people looking to move on with their lives in productive ways, any of whom may serve your house sitting needs well.
“Travelers” is a big category, as these can range from young people back-packing around the world to retired people enjoying the “golden years.” The latter is discussed below. Here, I wanted to say something about the “young” traveler
I have known many people who have traveled the world with little more than a back pack. At first glance, this may seem a bit scary to a homeowner. When looking for a stable person to watch over your possessions, a backpacker may not elicit a particularly positive response. And certainly not all back packers are appropriate. However, it’s also good to look at why these people travel and how they travel. Many back packers are people in their late-thirties or thirties. These are creative, independent people who have accepted the challenge to find ways to both work and play according to their own unique vision of what life should be. They often have their own businesses, which they can do several months on and several months off, or they have work they take with them wherever they go (stock traders, massage therapists, yoga teachers, internet marketers and the like). They are not necessarily drop-outs, druggies, or whatever other negative label we may conjure. One of the good things about this group is that they tend to be strong and healthy and can often be contracted for heavier work while you’re away. Having said that, however, I would certainly heed a good screening system when using young travelers.
Let’s face it: once we’ve been “chained” to a job, a desk, or other lifestyle for a few decades, we deserve some adventure. And, today, more retired people than any time in history are selling their homes and hitting the road. Among their strategies, these people are buying RV’s, taking jobs as park attendants, and house-sitting to see the world and supplement income.
Retired, semi-retired, and older self-employed people present many advantages to the home owner. First, they are often former home owners themselves. As such, they have a deeper appreciation of the investment involved than a younger person may. They have also seen their share of broken pipes, leaky toilets, septic tank back ups, pest incursions, bad tenants, security issues and the like. This experience, combined with their broad life experience in general, enables this group to respond to unexpected situations with a wealth of knowledge and confidence that may be lacking in someone with less experience. Just make sure, in hiring a retired person, that their health is good enough to do what is required. But this is usually the case, since unhealthy and frail people don’t ordinarily choose to galavant about or take on more responsibility than necessary.
Thank you for reading my house sitting blog. In my next post, I’ll discuss how to locate and interview prospective house sitters.