What kind of people house sit? We answer home owners' most-asked questions.

Here are answers to several of the main questions our clients often ask as they talk with us about getting a live-in house and pet sitter for their home, making important decisions about security and pet care during their absence.

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 house sitting as a way to have a change and see a bit more of the country. All Homesit house 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 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 visit our FAQ http://www.homesit.co.nz/faq/ and Owners' pages, email us or phone your local Homesit branch manager. We have many regular clients who are convinced that we offer the best solution to their home and pet care needs while they are away from home and they say it's great to come home to a clean, tidy home and happy, healthy pets in their own environment and routine.