Please read through our FAQ for homeowners and house sitters, answering most of the questions that you will have about how Homesit and house sitting works.
As New Zealand's leading house sitting service with more than 26 years of experience, over the years we have found that most people want to ask us many of the same questions, so please find below answers and information for both homeowners and house sitters.
FAQ for Clients and Home Owners
Q What type of people house sit?
A Someone like you or your family and friends. House sitters join Homesit for a range of reasons. They are responsible people who love animals and often enjoy discovering different parts of New Zealand. House sitters tend to be people who find it suits their circumstances at a certain time in their lives. Maybe they have been overseas and are undecided where they now want to live. They may have sold their old home and be waiting for their new one to become available. They may be retired and see pet sitting as a way to have a change and see a bit more of the country. All Homesit sitters have to supply us with references that we check, attend an interview and authorise a police check.
Q Do house sitters pay rent?
A No, in exchange for accommodation they are providing a service. Homeowners may however discuss some payment for utility bills (particularly for winter or long assignments); and of course they will pay for non-local phone calls. House sitters will also replace any consumable items of yours they may use, if you have agreed they can do so in advance. As they are not paying rent you can set guidelines - for example, no parties, overnight visitors or other pets.
Q Can I choose my house sitter?
A Yes, you can ask us to send along more than one candidate and we are happy to do so if we have sitters available. However, as we are experienced at matching house and pet sitters with homes, in most cases the first sitter you meet will be very suitable and recommended for your particular needs. You will then be able to speak with the sitter directly and interview them to make your decision and talk over your house sitting assignment in detail. For example you may need a cat-lover, an energetic person to take a young dog on long walks, or a sitter who has experience with chickens, birds or tropical fish.
Q How do you screen your house sitters?
A House sitters supply three written references with contact phone numbers and/or email addresses so they can be verified. They also complete an advance security check through the police system before joining Homesit. We interview our pet sitters and house sitters to get an overview of their skills and capabilities to determine where their strengths lie in terms of home and pet care; and they complete a questionnaire.
Q What about my insurance cover?
A We recommend that you tell your insurance company that your home will not be empty and that you will have caretakers in residence. We suggest that you remove items of particular value or anything you do not want used by the house sitter. You could either leave them in the care of a family member or place them in a locked room. This will ensure that everyone can relax and it indicates to your insurance company that you have taken precautions.
Q How much does this service cost?
Please see our Branch pages for our pricing and options for home and pet care, or ask your local Homesit branch manager for a no-obligation quotation. This quote will be inclusive of GST. We can also quote for looking after your lifestyle block, homestay, bed and breakfast, plant nursery, or other specialised home-based business. Our all-inclusive prices are excellent value and very competitive in comparison with security companies, catteries, kennels, and the add-ons (such as dog walking fees) that those organisations usually require.
Q Is there a minimum or maximum length of time we can book for?
A Yes, we normally have a minimum booking requirement of one-two weeks, although we will take a shorter booking if we have a sitter available, so please ask. Discounts are offered for longer sits, and no maximum period applies. Each locality has a minimum charge, so check with your local manager. Deposits are usually non-refundable and special rates may apply during major holiday periods. Please enquire about the exact conditions in your area from your nearest Homesit manager. To make a no-obligation inquiry click here.
Q Which areas of NZ do you cover?
A. Homesit covers New Zealand’s major cities and urban areas as well as most regional areas of both the North and South Island. We work with home-owners and house sitters in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and areas including Tauranga and the Coromandel, Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, the Wairarapa, Nelson and Marlborough among others. Many of our sitters who work remotely or are retired are open to travelling and housesitting assignments in regional areas, some of whom may need a contribution towards their travel costs. Homesit is expanding throughout New Zealand so please check to see if there is a Homesit in your area. Find out more.
Q We have a farm/homestay/bed and breakfast (or other homebased business), do you have sitters who could take over when we go on holiday?
A Yes, we do have some sitters who are willing and able to look after your home and business. However, as we are not an employment agency we will provide a quote based purely on the house and pet sitting aspect of the assignment. An arrangement to remunerate your sitter for the extra time and responsibility involved in running your business will be your decision and should be negotiated directly with the potential house sitter.
Q We have certain valuable or fragile items that we would prefer no one to touch, what do you recommend?
A You can either put them away in a lockable room (please unplug all electrical appliances in the locked room) and leave the key with a family member, or leave them in a safe deposit box, or with friends or family. Your sitter will be able to relax and so will you.
If you have a question we haven't answered please email us or phone your local Homesit branch. We have many regular clients who are convinced that we offer the best solution to their home and pet care problems and they say it's great to come home to a warm, tidy home and happy, healthy pets.
To inquire further or book a house sitter, click here.
FAQ for House Sitters
Is housesitting with Homesit the lifestyle for you? Hopefully these questions and answers will help you decide. Please visit our How it Works page to find more answers to questions that most prospective sitters ask about house and pet sitting - http://www.homesit.co.nz/house-sitters/how-does-house-sitting-work/.
Q Do I have to pay rent?
A. No, Homesitting is a reciprocal arrangement. You receive free accommodation, in return for which the homeowner receives your services of housekeeping, minor garden maintenance and loving care for their pets. You pay for your own living expenses, toll calls and food. The homeowner usually pays utilities, ongoing costs and of course food for their animals.
1. How long will it take to obtain a housesit?
A.The registration process itself normally only takes a few days. You need to supply three written references with contact details as we do check these references. We also need to obtain a Police clearance, a simple and free process that takes 2-3 weeks.This document is a request by an Individual under the Privacy Act 1993 for a copy of any criminal convictions held by the Ministry of Justice's computer systems. We will send you a form to sign that allows the Police to supply Homesit with the necessary clearance from the Ministry of Justice. You need to get that signed form back to us as quickly as possible - scanned and emailed is fine.You are sent a copy of that clearance after it is processed.
We have to check your references and meet with you to fully explain the process along with some do's and don'ts. Then, although we make the recommendation, it is the client who selects the house sitter. Once an owner makes a booking, we refer to them one or two house sitters who closely match the profile that has been provided, and then it is up to the prospective sitter(s) and the client to arrange to meet and decide whether or not they feel comfortable with each other. Start the registration process here.2. Is there a cost to join up as a Sitter?
3. Can you guarantee continuity of sits?
NO. You cannot rely on Homesit to provide a permanent roof over your head. Assignments can be as short as a week or as long as several months, so a little flexibility and advance planning will help. Many homeowners are away for example on 2-3 week holiday or business trips, sometimes longer in winter months. Before you register, you should make arrangements to stay somewhere between sits, such as friends, family or other flexible situations. We can also often refer you to short-term accommodation which is suitable for our house sitters. Read more on http://www.homesit.co.nz/house-sitters/in-between-sits-accomodation/.
4. Why do you require so many references?
Because what we offer our clients is the security of knowing that we thoroughly research house siitter applicants to ensure they are trustworthy and reliable, as they will be looking after their homes and pets. Your references need to be written and we require current contact numbers for the referees, as we will check these. We prefer references to come from previous pet sitting and house sitting assignments, or asimilar person such as a landlord or letting agent or an employer.
5. How long is the average housesit?
Sits can range from long weekends to several months, with autumn/winter sits being longer than Spring/Summer ones.
6. I only want long-term sits; anything over two months would be okay. What are my chances?
Not great. In the winter the average sit is between four and eight weeks duration, and in the summer between two and four weeks. If you're not prepared to accept short housesits you will need to have interim accomodation that helps you cope with gaps between housesits.
7. I work long hours, leaving early and arriving back late, is this a problem?
It can be. Homesitting is attractive to owners because it provides security for their property and loving care for their pets. If you are not going to be there for much of the time, owners do not see much advantage to them and know their pets will be lonely much of the day. Many house sitters work from home, have flexible or part-time hours, or are retired couples.
8. I'm allergic to cats and I don't care for dogs, will this affect the sits I'm offered?
Yes, 98% of our assignments involve pets, if you don't like animals it is unlikely we will be able to offer you many house sits. Many of our owners have both cats and dogs, as well as chickens, rabbits, birds, tropical fish; and possibly other animals on lifestyle blocks.
9. I don't want to spend my weekends mowing lawns and weeding gardens, do I have to?
It depends, every housesit is individual and you will be able to meet and agree on the homeowner's expectations and needs in advance before proceeding:
some owners have contractors who come in regularly.
some owners may not require garden maintenance
for those that do, you should consider whether this is ok for you or whether you might pay for a contractor so that you do not have to do it. Otherwise, you should not take the sit.
you will always need to clean up and leave the home as you found it.
10. I smoke, although I'm prepared to go outside if necessary. What do clients usually think?
Almost without exception, clients specify that the sitter must be a non-smoker. You must be honest about this because a non-smoker is usually very perceptive about who is or is not a smoker and whether anyone has been smoking in their home. Some owners will indicate that they don't mind outside smokers.
11. Can I still house sit if I have children and/or pets?
Sometimes we have home owners who would be happy for a family to move in but the reality is that they are rare. Similarly, as the majority of our housesits involve caring for the owner's pets, it isn't possible to take your pets with you.
Home sitters are not allowed to deal directly with clients. Should clients deal directly with sitters it will result in both parties being removed from our database.
In order to register with Homesit we will need you:
to supply us with three written references
to have a current Police Check.
to meet or speak with us by phone/Skype for a personal interview.
If you feel that this is the lifestyle for you, please complete our online application form at http://www.homesit.co.nz/house-sitters/signup/.