Housesitting is broadly defined as taking care of someone’s home while they’re away. That’s it. In reality, that can mean any number of things to the homeowner: care and feeding of animals (in my experience ranging from hamsters to ponies!), looking after plants, gardens, cutting lawns, trimming hedges, sorting (and possibly forwarding) mail… The list of obligations to the housesitter can be a long and diverse one.
I’ve been housesitting since I was fourteen-years-old. My mother jumped in to help a neighbour and her two kids (7 and 10) when the woman’s husband went to the store for cigarettes and never returned. She was forced back to work, and odd shifts didn’t help matters. I began helping out, too. After about a month, I was ‘babysitting’ the two kids, but that definition was pretty ‘elastic’. I made dinners for them occasionally, made them school lunches, and put them to bed once in awhile when their mom was working nights.
A neighbour across the street saw what I was doing and one day asked if I wouldn’t mind ‘looking in’ on their two cats while they went camping one summer. They didn’t pay me, but they stocked the fridge with cans of pop, and cupboards with chips and cookies. They also had a BIG colour TV and LOTS of channels. Of course, I said ‘YES’!
Friends told friends, and by the time I was 21 I had housesat in maybe thirty different locales.
When I moved to the west coast I ‘hung out my shingle’ when an opportunity arose (a young couple eloping!), and since then I’ve been a professional housesitter with stints in Seattle, California, Japan, Italy, the U.K., and across the Lower Mainland of B.C., and Vancouver Island. I lived in Singapore for a year and housesat more than a half-dozen homes there.
On occasion I also provide home and away ‘concierge’ administration services – Confidential Estate Management – for a negotiated fee in addition to looking after the home. This can include mail scanning and forwarding, bill payments, bank deposits and transfers, pick-ups and deliveries, etc.
If you or someone you know might benefit from this service, please visit my housesitting website to learn more. Cheers!