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Nomadic Retirement Living

How to be Smart in a World of Dumb House Sitters

in House Sitting

smart house sittersHas anyone been completely honest with you lately?

I’m not talking about being polite and telling you that your breath is ripe, or your fly is undone.

I’m talking about the blunt type of honesty that is like getting hit in the face with a cold, wet, dish rag.

It’s when someone looks you directly in the eyes and tells you things you would rather not hear.

I don’t want to be the person to tell you – but somebody has to do it.

So let’s get to the point.

Have you been struggling to get more house sitting assignments? Has every application you made been falling flat and gone nowhere? Or do the house sitting assignments you do land SUCK  big time? Or maybe you are not getting good references – or none at all?

Well, it is not because of too much competition on the housesitting platforms. It isn’t because you are too young, too old, or because you are traveling as a solo traveler.

It might just mean you are dumb.

That right I just suggested you are dumb!

How’s that for a wet dish rag in the face?

And if you want to see the world traveling as a house sitter, you might want to get your act together.

Sure, some of you might be the in demand house sitters. The ones who are booked 18 months in advance and have more opportunities than they know what to do with, the ones with glowing reviews and home owners tripping over themselves to get you back. If you are, then you do not have to endure this house sitting sermon.

The rest of you may want to listen up.

The truth about being an in-demand house sitter.

It’s not how experienced you are as a house sitter, your background, your skills or any of that. Actually it has nothing to do with your abilities at all – it has everything to do with who you are.

It also has everything to do with the people you want to housesit for.

Many people who are attracted to house sitting think “Wow, I get to travel around the world, live in someone else’s house and drive their vehicle all over the place and don’t have to pay any bills”.

This attitude is reflected in their house sitting profiles – Me, Me, Me, – It is all about me!

With this approach, you will forever be viewed as just another dumbass house sitter nobody gives a crap about. If you do land a sit, you probably won’t get a decent review or be asked to come back.

You see the smart house sitter understands that it’s all about the homeowner’s needs. They know how to address those needs and provide a  valuable service.

The in-demand sitters are just plain smarter than you.

The in demand house sitters, the ones who live in the Tuscan villas, the ocean view properties, the ones with live-in staff. The ones who keep being asked to return year after year, are just plain smarter than most house sitters out there.

It is not that they have an Einstein level IQ that is not the kind of smarts we are talking about.

In fact you may be a genius, but be a horrible house sitter. You know, one of those people who are book smart but can’t tie their own shoes.

What we are talking about here is Emotional Intelligence and more specifically, strength of character.

Characteristics of smart house sitters.

  • The ability to understand a homeowner’s needs and the ability to meet those needs
  • The ability to communicate clearly and competently
  • They are truly interested in being of service to others
  • They are honest and act with integrity

Then there are the dumb house sitters:

They know all of the 7 Wicked Ways House Sitters Torture Themselves.

The dumb sitters are the ones who think the house sit would be a great opportunity to get married on the cheap.

They are the sitters who neglect their duties, and do not treat the owner’s property and belongings with respect.

The sitters who do not have the courage to tell it like it is, or the courage to tell the truth.

Dumb sitters do not take responsibility for their own actions – everything that goes wrong is somebody else’s fault.

Then there  are the sitters who leave house sits mid stay, because they got a better offer somewhere else (or some other selfish bullshit reason).

You have a choice. What type of house sitter do you want to be?

Do you want to be a smart one, one who will never have to worry about finding another sit and can face themselves in the mirror?

Or the dumb one, nobody gives a crap about and tries hard to forget?

What if you are one of these dumb house sitters?

Good news.

Unlike some mental abilities such as IQ, emotional intelligence and character can be learned and strengthened.

It has nothing to do with being born into the right family, going to the right schools, or even your genetic makeup. It is about deciding what type of person you want to be and then striving to become that person.

How does one become smarter?

Smart house sitters honor their word.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
—C. S. Lewis

Let’s face it, the world is full of flakey people- you know the ones who say one thing and do another, they tend to talk for the sake of talking.

“Yeah when you come to town give us a call you can stay in our home bla bla bla……..”  And when you do call there is no answer – the silence is absolutely deafening. What is their word worth?  Bugger all, they are just blowing lots of hot air.

Big Hat – No Cattle (as they say in Texas)

The effect for the person, whose word means nothing, is the erosion of their self-confidence. They know in the back of their mind, deep down in their subconscious, that they are full of crap. How can anybody respect themselves when they can’t believe a word that crosses their own lips?

Say what you mean

Mean what you say

Smart house sitters honor their commitments.

Smart sitters know that commitment means if you say you are going to do something – You fricken do it.

When considering a potential house sitting assignment, take some time and do your due diligence. Make sure you understand what is involved with the assignment before you commit.  Don’t commit lightly or frivolously and don’t over commit either.

As we are being honest here, yes sometimes a house sit does not work out as expected.

You might find yourself in a situation where you find yourself saying, “I don’t like it, this is inconvenient, I’m bored, this is too much work, I’m uncomfortable”. So what do you do?

Unless the owner has misrepresented themselves, lied about the assignment, or if the situation is causing harm to your physical well-being, my advice is:

Suck it up Buttercup!

Honor your commitment.

You have heard the stories about house sitters who accept an assignment of several months duration. Halfway through, they call the owners stating they will be leaving. The reason being they got a better offer elsewhere!

Other stories revolve around sitters cancelling at the 11th hour, leaving the owner high and dry for no good reason. Smart sitters act with integrity. Which means honoring their word, and their commitments, even if it is inconvenient.  Those who do this, develop  strong self-trust and self-confidence.

Smart house sitters tell the truth.

House sitting is about developing mutual trust, based on a solid foundation of honesty.

Some house sitters do not what to tell the truth because they fear they will not get a potential assignment.

Problems can also occur from by not wanting to tell people things you think they may not want to hear.

Having the courage to tell it like it is  powerful. Don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes as most have good bullshit detectors.

Be honest with your abilities and experience when applying for a housesit.

For instance, if you are planning on getting married on the property or want friends to visit you during the sit, ask the owner’s permission before you accept the offer, don’t tell them an hour before they leave.

Be honest with what happens during the housesit; if you break something fess up.

In a nutshell be a grown up…… Take responsibility for your actions.

Smart house sitters are selfless.

“Success in my opinion, comes when you are living a fully engaged life in which all your gifts are put to their maximum use.” – Stedman Graham

Instead of approaching house sitting from a self-serving perspective, smart sitters ask what they can do to provide value. Successful sitters ensure they make the experience easy, simple, hassle free, and low risk for the home owner. They  strive to provide an exceptional level of customer service.

Providing outstanding customer service is just smart business.

We all have talents, gifts and abilities, such as the gift of being of service, the gift of hospitality the gift of craftsmanship….

Being a house sitter allows the smart ones to share their gifts and abilities.

With a little thought and very little effort you can make the homeowners experience of using you as a house sitter go from “ok” to “wow”.

Put yourself into the shoes of the homeowner, and ask what you can do that would make their lives easier at every step of finding and having a house sitter.

If you are handy, ask if there are any small projects they would like doing during the sit such as painting, fixing the lawn mower, or trouble shooting some ongoing problem.

Be of service and offer to drive them to the airport and collect them upon their return.

Use your hospitality skills and make the owner feel welcome in their own home when they return:

  • Make sure there are basic staples; milk, bread, cheese, eggs, and fruit.
  • Leave a vase of fresh flowers
  • Buy a nice bottle of wine and leave a thank you card.
  • Have a meal ready whether you are going to be there or not.
  • Make sure the house is cleaner than when you arrived, the garden/yard is in good condition and the pets brushed and free of ticks, burrs, and sticks.

Being a smart house sitter – the meat and potato’s.

Being a competent house sitter is not  just about the ability to look after the pets and a property while the owner is away.

It is about the type of person you are.

“We don’t see things as they are;

we see them as we are” ~ Anains Nin

Here’s’ the deal folks. Dishonest people attract dishonesty and if your word is crap you are going to attract more crap, most likely  a big stinking heap of it.

Personal character is everything – you do not live in a vacuum. Your intentions, words and actions have a huge impact on others and whether your life is full of happiness, abundance, and prosperity.

If you want to succeed as a house sitter, and as a person, you have to honor your word and honor your commitments. You need the courage to tell the truth and to take full responsibility for you actions. You also require a genuine desire to provide a valuable service to others.

Strive to be the type of person who can be alone and truly enjoy the company.

Are you willing to become that person?

Or do you want to be some dumbass house sitter who is constantly burning bridges and always on the lookout for the next sucker.

The choice is yours.

About the author: Being born under a wandering star, has meant Michael has spent his whole life either traveling or plotting his next adventure. At age 44 he escaped the rat race and now pursues his passions for travel, photography, Tai chi, and sampling the world’s cuisines.

1 comment… add one
  • Alexandra Gordon November 12, 2017, 6:14 pm

    Thanks for writing this article, Michael! For all those willing to be “smart house sitters”, they (and you!) are welcome at HouseSitMexico.com. It’s a great place for both experienced house sitters and it is a GREAT platform (I believe literally the best platform) to start a house sitting career. We have a higher % of newbie sitters (given that so many are future retirees checking out Mexico) and we have a far lower ratio of sitters to house sitting opportunities (so it’s less competitive). 🙂 Alex

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