We recently got an email asking if we would come and house sit back in our old hometown of Minneapolis. I looked at the dates of the sit first and realized that they wouldn't work for us since we will be in Portland. Out of curiosity I looked at the rest of the listing and wasn't surprised that he had no applicants. There are several reasons why I would never consider taking this house sit.
As house sitters without our own house, we don't think about how to attract a house sitter. We think more about how to avoid a bad house sit or reasons to consider house sitting. But we thought it would be worth looking at what we look for when we choose a house sit.
How to Attract A House Sitter
1. Lede With the Pet
Many house sitting websites promote their listings through daily emails and on their home pages. They use the primary photo in the listing as their thumbnail, so it's important to have a good lead image here. We've seen listings with pictures of the homeowner smiling on a beach, which makes me think of a dating website instead of a house sitting website. And your pet is the real reason you want people to sit for you, isn't it? Nothing draws a good house sitter like a cute dog or cat.
2. Follow With Your House
I think most house sitting sites offer you 10 image slots. Take full advantage of the space provided by the house sitting website! It's helpful to see the kitchen and the bedroom and the living room and the outside of the house. So many listings only have a few pictures of the house, if any at all. We skip right on by those listings because there is just too much unknown, and it makes me think the homeowner is hiding something.
3. Not Just any Pictures
This isn't totally necessary, but it's helpful to have pictures that can attract the attention of a potential house sitter. Your house may not be pretty, and your pet may have a snarly tooth, one eye and 3 legs, but everything can be made to look better with better photography. I'm not saying to cover up the truth with some fancy editing. That would only build a false expectation of the house sit and end in disaster. But at the very least make sure the pictures are oriented properly and clearly show the pets and the house.
4. What About You?
It's super important to know a little bit about you, the homeowner. This 'about you' paragraph will communicate volumes to your future house sitter about what kind of person you are and how you will be to work with going forward. It will help you find people with similar interests and values, and those are the kinds of people you want for your house sit. A lot of information can be communicated in a short paragraph about what's important to you. This will help you weed out house sitters you wouldn't want in your home. We saw one listing that said: "No Trump Supporters!!!" While this is a little strange, it gets a message across about who the owner is, and who they are looking for.
5. Sell Your Location
Even if you don't think it needs to be sold, you need to sell it. The one thing I noticed about the listing in Minneapolis was that it was in the winter and he didn't mention weather at all. We used to say that the weather was the one thing keeping Minnesota from being overrun by douche bags, and to some extent there is some truth to this.
Most people stay away from Minneapolis in the winter, but those who live there know how amazing it can be - there are loads of trails to hike on, frozen lakes to skate over, and if you aren't the outdoorsy type, plenty of cultural events, galleries, bookstores and coffee shops to tuck into to keep warm. An outsider may take a look at the location and the dates and just keep scrolling until they find a house sit on a tropical island with a pool.
What about you? Are you a house sitter? Are you thinking of using a house sitter? We primarily use Trusted Housesitters and have sat for 12 months of our two odd years of full time travel. We've sat in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Israel and Minnesota and have upcoming commitments in Los Angeles, Portland and Norway in the summer of 2018.
We've written a bit on the topic of house sitting, but by far the most interesting thing is our pet profile page. Since we don't have any pets of our own, we temporarily adopt a them around the world through housesitting!