House Sitter FAQs
GENERAL HOUSE SITTING
There are many different kinds of people who housesit - Retired couples, professionals who work from home, singles, young families, and those who love to travel and make new connections. There is no one stereotypical 'sitter' however, all sitters are caring, responsible and have plenty of life experience.
The reasons why people house sit are as varied as they are numerous. Many have been pet owners in the past and want that special connection with a pet again. Some do it as a lifestyle while traveling and enjoying the benefits of living rent-free. Most house sitters just enjoy the change of scenery and the chance to meet and befriend new pets and people.
A house sitter handles the day to day running of the home while ensuring the pets are happy in an environment they are familiar with and are loved just as the homeowner would.
A house sitter lives in the house while the homeowner is away and takes care of the home, pets and garden. When the home is occupied it is much safer than if it was left empty. Also, the pets are well cared for, the garden and lawn are maintained and the mail is collected, as well as any other jobs the homeowner and the sitter mutually agree on.
There are so many variables in applying for a house sit that we cannot guarantee anyone will be employed as a sitter using our service. If you demonstrate in your sitter profile that you are caring, reliable, and trustworthy, there is a strong chance a homeowner will choose you to take on their house sit.
The most successful sitters are the ones with a great sitter profile and who are proactive in contacting homeowners. If you regularly scroll through the list of homeowner ads and contact all those that appeal to you, this will give you the best chance of securing a sit.
With thousands of new homeowner ads listed each month you have an excellent chance of finding house sits in your preferred areas. All of the homeowner ads on our site are available for everyone to see, not just registered members. If you go to the website home page you can search for a particular location using the Refine Search options. If you find anything suitable you can join up and start contacting the homeowners.
Yes you can! We have many members who bring their pet house sitting. Understandably however, you will find there are always some homeowners who won’t want sitters bringing pets into their home. Some homes may be too small or not set up for pets or have pets that don’t tolerate other animals. This means you do restrict your chances somewhat. Having said that, there are homeowners who don’t mind at all having a sitter bring their pet with them. Homeowners will generally say in their ad whether or not they are happy to accommodate other pets.
Sure! We have many families who enjoy the opportunities house and pet sitting provides. House sitting as a family can really enhance your time together while greatly reducing the costs associated with travel.
There are always some homeowners who won’t want children in their home which means you do restrict your chances somewhat however, many homeowners, especially those with families of their own family, welcome having another family in their home. If you can show your family is respectful, reliable, and trustworthy, there is no reason why you can’t apply to house sit.
Yes. The lengths of house sitting positions can vary from between 1 day to 3 years +. Most house sits tend to be from 1 week to 4 months however, it is not uncommon for house sitting positions to be longer e.g. 6 - 12 months. You can do a search for house sits via the sit length in the search filters.
If a homeowner is happy with the way a house sitter looked after their home and pets, many will ask them back again for repeat sits. Word of mouth is the best way way to be continually employed as a house and pet sitter. If you engage in one or two house sitting jobs that are well received, you will probably get called upon for their next trip away, plus be recommended to the homeowner’s family and friends.
Every house sitter has to start somewhere. If you’re a friendly and responsible pet lover who loves to travel, there is every chance you will be successful in securing house sits. Most homeowners are willing to consider first time house sitters. First time house sitters tend to emphasise other qualities such as growing up with pets or looking after their own homes. All house sitters have a sitter profile where they can demonstrate the relevant skills and experience that homeowners are looking for.
This is up to the homeowner and the house sitter to negotiate. A house sitting agreement is helpful in clarifying the owner’s expectations and ensures both parties are clear on the terms of the arrangement. It is very important to discuss all aspects of the house sit before it is confirmed to avoid confusion and ensure everything run smoothly. Terms that may be noted in the agreement include, details of pet care, information on house and garden care, who is responsible for paying for utilities etc.
Kiwi House Sitters offers a housesitting agreement template that you can adapt to suit your individual needs.
WHO PAYS WHAT?
The most common form of house sitting is where the sitter looks after the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation and no money changes hands. There may be the odd occasion when a homeowner will offer some money for the house sitting job, e.g. if there are a lot of pets to care for and jobs to do.
There are some professional sitters who choose to advertise on Kiwi House Sitters and they usually ask for payment in return for their professional service. The vast majority of house sitters are pet lovers who believe receiving free accommodation in exchange for basic house and pet keeping responsibilities is a fair and positive exchange of services.
Kiwi House Sitters does not accept homeowners charging house sitters rent. In the majority of the cases the arrangement is a straight swap where the house sitter cares for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation. There maybe times when a homeowner may ask for a weekly contribution from the house sitter, e.g. if there are no pets to care for and very little jobs to do, or if the house sit is for a longer length of time. Remember, all the details are negotiable between both parties and should be discussed prior to confirming your house sit.
There is no one correct way house sitting works. Each house sit is unique and everything is negotiable between the sitter and the owner. In most cases, the owner is usually happy to cover the utilities in exchange for the sitter taking care of their home and pets. On longer term sits, e.g. 4+ weeks, it is normal for the house sitter to contribute to, or even cover the utility costs e.g. heating, cooling, electricity and possibly internet.
As each sitting job is unique, it is up to the owner and the sitter to negotiate the payment (or non payment) of utilities before the sit commences. It is important that both the owner and the sitter are clear and open in what has been agreed to and that it is documented to avoid any confusion.
It is absolutely FREE for homeowners advertising on Kiwi House Sitters to find a house sitter. It costs only $65 for house sitters to be a member for 12 months and there are NO extra or hidden fees! We do NOT charge for metropolitan zoning like other house sitting websites, and we display your profile 24/7, 365 days a year!
Yes! We do not charge homeowners anything to find a house sitter.
REGISTRATION AS A SITTER
The most common form of payment is our credit card option where you make a secure and easy one step payment online with eWAY. Alternatively, you can make an online payment via PayPal.
You should receive your login details via email within minutes after you register. If you have not received this email within an hour (and you have checked your junk mail) please email us and we will re-send you your details.
Kiwi House Sitters offer FREE Homeowner ads on our website. Anyone can view these ads however, only registered house sitters have access to their contact details. The house sitters are able to contact any of these homeowners directly to make an enquiry. Keep in mind that many homeowners choose not to place an ad, preferring to scroll the list of sitters and contact them directly.
To contact a homeowner you need to login and click directly on their ad. If the homeowner has included their phone number it is made visible here however, most choose to be contacted by email only, in which case you click on the 'Contact this homeowner' link. A message box appears, you type in your enquiry and click the 'Send message' tab. Your message goes directly to the homeowner's personal email account. You will receive an email notification when the homeowner replies letting you know you have a new message in your account.
Registering as a house sitter with Kiwi House Sitters is easy and fast, usually taking just 5 to 10 minutes. Once you have registered you are able to scroll the homeowner ads and contact homeowners immediately.
Unfortunately we do not offer this service. If we contact a homeowner to confirm their ad is still active and they reply ‘yes’, by the time the house sitter registers and sends a message, the position my have already been filled – hence a frustrated and annoyed new member.
If you've sent a message to a House Owner (using the contact button on the house listing) and haven't got a reply, this is usually due to one of two things:
- THE JUNK FOLDER: The email notifying you about the owner's reply may have been sent to the JUNK folder of your email program (these emails come from a different address to the admin address used for your account). CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO ADD US TO YOUR ADDRESS BOOK.
- THE HOUSE OWNER: Most House Owners reply to all enquiries promptly, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes they forget, or are away from their computer for a while - it's even possible that your message email notification is lost in THEIR junk folder.
WHAT TO DO:
- CHECK YOUR MESSAGES: Note that you can always login to your account and check your Messages there - if the Owner did reply it will appear here, regardless of whether or not you received an email notification.
- ADD US TO YOUR CONTACTS LIST: This will ensure that all message notifications get to you.
- TRY AGAIN OR MOVE ON: You could try sending another enquiry, or you could just assume the House Owner is not interested, and move on. There are lots of fish in this sea.
Yes – we email a reminder notice 2 weeks before, then again 2 days before your membership expires.
ABOUT THE SITE
House sitters register and list their profile on the Kiwi House Sitters website where their profile can be viewed by thousands of New Zealand homeowners. These homeowners then contact the house sitters directly to see if they are available to house sit. Some owners choose not to place an ad; they simply browse through the list of sitter profiles and click "Contact".
All registered house sitters are able to contact any of the homeowners that have advertised on the website.
It's very simple really.
No. The enquiry message you send automatically creates a reverse link back to your profile. So the homeowner who receives your enquiry can simply click on this link and find your profile very easily.
Simply login to your account, click on the ‘Edit’ link and then click ‘Save changes’ once you have added or changed your data.
As far as Kiwi House Sitters is aware all the homeowner ads visible on our website are active and available however, we do rely on the homeowner to remove their own ad. We do stress to all homeowners the need to remove their ad as soon as they have filled the house sitting position to avoid house sitter disappointment. Each homeowner has the ability to activate, edit and deactivate their advert 24/7.
The house sitter list is ordered by the last person to login to their account - not alphabetically. This means whenever you login to your account your profile moves to the very top of the sitters list on page one. Also, once logged in clicking the 'Save Changes' button within your 'My Sitter Profile' page returns you to the top of the list. We recommend you do this regularly so homeowners can find you easily and are more likely to contact you directly. This system means active house sitters will stay near the top of the list and those who no longer require a house sit or who are currently on a house sit filter towards the bottom of the list.
You do need to have an email account when you first register to enable you to activate your profile however, once you have registered you can to choose to be contacted by phone if that’s preferable.
The reply rating system is intended to make communication a faster and happier experience for all members.
A reply rating appears on a member's search listing and profile page as a series of 5 dots. This rates the member's responsiveness to first contact messages.
If a member has responded in a timely fashion to every first contact message, their reply rating will remain at the ideal 5 points.
For every first contact message that goes un-replied, a point is deducted. To redeem a lost point the member needs to answer promptly to the next two first contact messages that are received.
Our members occasionally suggest that a ratings system would help them choose a suitable house sitter.
While ratings can be useful for some sites, they can also be very damaging in others. We have carefully considered introducing a ratings system however; we feel it has the potential to have a negative impact on some of our members, which would be completely unwarranted.
- Individuality: Choosing a house sitter is a unique responsibility involving a mix of personality, experience and "chemistry". All homeowners have different requirements and expectations and what one homeowner might see as ‘0 stars’, another might feel ‘5 stars’ about the same experience.
- Love: Our site and the community of people involved are characterised by generosity, responsibility and respect. We value this and work very hard to affirm and maintain it. We feel that a ratings system has too many potential negatives for some members that would undermine the wonderful spirit of the site for no real benefit.
- Unreasonable criticism: It only takes one negative comment to destroy a house sitter’s chances of getting any further sits. A house sitter may be trying their best, but if they don’t have detailed instructions they might disappoint an owner without meaning to. A ratings system would unfairly punish a sitter in this instance.
- Quality: It is genuinely difficult to find a ‘bad’ house sitter or homeowner. The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands of house sits that happen every year are fantastic exchanges that are very satisfying for all parties.
- Confidence: There are many things that help build confidence in a house sitter, which we believe is actually more helpful than a rating. These include references, referees, endorsements, the number of completed sits and personal history. Don’t underestimate the importance for homeowners to take time to talk with potential sitters. This is a great way to have confidence in what the sitter can provide.
- Incentive: One argument for ratings is that it provides incentive for a house sitter to perform well. We feel that good performance is already an outstanding feature of our AHS members. House sitters genuinely want to do a great job for the owner and homeowners genuinely want to make the sitter’s stay comfortable and enjoyable. Positive communication and common courtesy drive our members to "perform" well. We have other more practical incentives for sitters to perform well including receiving positive endorsements, repeat sits, referrals and additional references and referees.
- Endorsements: To help in selecting a sitter, we have “Endorsements” from previous house sits undertaken via our site. This is a feature that is becoming popular in many sites. It means that members can be rewarded with positive recommendations from other members, and it adds an important layer of credibility to a sitter's profile.
- Complaints policy: For those rare occasions when a homeowner or house sitter has experienced a problem, we are always available to hear feedback and we do take appropriate action. We have a thorough complaints procedure we use when needed.
Endorsements from a previous house sit (from either the house sitter or homeowner) add a lot of credibility to a member's profile, and reward and promote positive experiences.
Both house sitters and homeowners are able to write an endorsement for the other if they feel like spreading the love and acknowledging them for a job well done.
Yes! We spend a lot of time and money doing this every day of the year across all mediums to encourage homeowners to list with us. We believe the more homeowners who use our site to advertise for a sitter, the more jobs to apply for and therefore better value for your money.
We pride ourselves on our customer service and endeavor to reply to all email enquiries the day we receive them. Please allow 48 hours depending on demand.
If a homeowner has security cameras, either internal or external, it's very important they inform the house sitters of this while negotiating the sitting job. Some sitters may not want to take on a job if there are security cameras. As a sitter it's your right to be informed if an owner has security cameras in or around their home so you can decide whether you're willing to take on the house sit or not. Many sitters are still happy to do so, as long as they are informed and given the choice to decide if they are comfortable with this.