The do’s and don’ts when hiring a house sitter

As the festivities of Christmas and New Years start to kick off, many families up an leave and escape to holiday destinations, leaving their home and pets unattended.

Sheli Berger, the founder of Au Pairs and House Sitters for Africa, a house sitting and pet sitting agency in Johannesburg, explains how to choose the right house sitter during the festive season and talks about why it is essential to have a house sitter when going away.

With the increasing amounts of crime in our communities, leaving our houses unattended leaves us vulnerable for burglaries and break ins, Berger stated. She added it is essential that home owners be aware of their options to ensure their beloved homes and pets are safe when they are away.

“It can be very scary handing over your keys to someone that will care for your home and pets when you are away and it takes a lot of trust to invite someone into your home,” said Berger.

Berger went through some of the key tips and factors when considering a potential house sitter. Home owners need to meet with their sitters and check out their references,“ I would advise you interview your pet sitter many months before you plan to travel,” she added.

Berger stated when she looks for potential house sitters for her agency, punctuality is key and vital. Home owners are leaving their homes in the hands of strangers, they need to be 100% positive that this is the right person Berger added. Pet care knowledge is vital said Berger, house sitters must have their own car and a driver’s licence incase an emergency arises. Additionally, they should be street smart and vigilant stated Berger. Alarm education needs to be done months prior and should be discussed with security companies. She went onto say that simple things like waiting for the electric gates to close before leaving, locking all doors and closing all windows, switching on and off lights, pool maintenance, watering plants, gardening, emptying the mail box, taking dogs for walks and playing with pets are all essential things that need to be considered when getting someone to take care of your house.

“The most important thing is to trust your gut when you interview a house sitter, if you feel that something is not right for you, then do not take the chance even if they are saying all the right things.”

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