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Home owner's checklist

Home owner's checklist – before you go!

Home owners – use this checklist to make sure you’re ready to hand over the care of your home and animals to your house-sitter on the day that you leave.

  1. Neighbours: Please let your neighbours, friends and family know that you have a house-sitter moving into your home in order to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
  2. Security systems: If you have an alarm system, you may consider making arrangements with the security company for a code and security password specifically for your house-sitter to use. Any keys for window locks should be left with your house-sitter.
  3. You may consider contacting your insurance company to let them know you will have a house-sitter moving into your home.
  4. Contact information: Please leave contact information so your house-sitter can stay in touch while you’re away. See the house sitting agreement for the contact information page.
  5. Emergency contact: You may want to ask someone such as a friend, neighbour or relative etc to act as a nominated contact person for your house-sitter to liaise with in your absence.
  6. Spare keys: Leave a set of spare keys with your nominated contact person and your house-sitter.
  7. Rubbish collection & recycling services: You need to make a note of which days your rubbish and recycling is collected. Have any recycling equipment available for your house-sitter to use.
  8. Compost: Make a list of what you would and wouldn’t like your house-sitter to add to your compost.
  9. Animal documentation: All of your animal’s records should be put together in a folder for your house-sitter’s easy access. These records could include: immunisations, tattoo, microchip, any lost pet register phone numbers, license, medical history and current medications.
  10. Animal supplies: Please stock up on enough supplies for your animals while you’re away. These supplies could include the following: • food (main meals, dry food, treats, chewing bones, drinks) • medications (flea, tick, lice, heartworm, worm and mange treatment – with dosage information) • toys (indoor chewing and tugging toys, chasing toys) • exercise equipment (lead, ball, towel, cold weather gear, muzzle, collar, harness) • identification tags, tattoo or microchip (featuring a contact number or a link to contact details on a registration list – make sure this information is current!) • bedding (basket, mattress with pillows, blankets or duvet, with spares for washing) • cleaning and grooming equipment (medicated shampoo, towels, hoses, brushes, scissors, clippers) • waste collection equipment (bags, gloves, litter, disinfectant).
  11. Home contents list: You may like to make a list of items you don’t want your house-sitter to use. Add this to your house sitting agreement.
  12. Out of bounds: You may like to write a list of any areas or rooms in your house or on your property that you don’t want your house-sitter to use.
  13. Pool maintenance: Have your pool equipment and chemicals available for your house-sitter to use. Attach clear written instructions to these.  As per level 4b water restrictions, House-sitters will not fill pools using potable water, or not at all if there is no pool cover.
  14. Parking: Describe what parking is allowed on or near your property including costs and restrictions. You may be able to arrange for a visitors parking permit for your house-sitter to use.
  15. Visitors policy: What is your preference for visitors to your home while you’re absent? If you have strong feelings about a visitors policy, include this information in your house sitting agreement.
  16. Rules and regulations: If your home is a condominium, a unit or a rental property, you may want to leave a copy of the by-laws or lease for your house-sitter to refer to.
  17. Internet access: Please consider giving the house-sitter access to your internet if applicable, stipulate any fair usage requirements (E.G. if on capped internet).
  18. Mail: Your house-sitter will collect all mail from your home mail box. Inform them if you’d like them to discard any junk-mail/advertisements.
  19. Home deliveries: You may want to suspend or cancel any regular home deliveries you may have.
  20. Indoor plant maintenance: Leave any supplies for your indoor plants out for your house-sitter. Attach written instructions to these.
  21. Use of your vehicle: If you are happy to have your house-sitter use your vehicle while you’re away you may consider the following: • familiarize them with your vehicle before you go • add their name to your motor vehicle insurance policy • have them confirm in writing that they will be liable for any costs and damages incurred while using your vehicle including paying any excess fees on any resulting insurance claim.
  22. Maintenance of your vehicle: You may want to have your vehicle maintained in your absence. This could include asking your house-sitter to start your car once a week.
  23. Use of your bicycle: You may be happy for your house-sitter to use your bicycle. Familiarise your house-sitter with any security locks you may use. Write down any code for a combination lock and leave two keys for any D-locks.
  24. Clean & tidy home and yard: It’s a good idea to ensure your house and grounds are clean and tidy in preparation for your house-sitter’s arrival. Note that in the house sitting agreement your house-sitter has agreed to maintain your home and garden to the condition that they first encountered it.
  25. Perishable foodstuffs: You may want to empty your refrigerator of any perishable foodstuffs. Although your house-sitter is probably happy to eat or otherwise dispose of these!
  26. Storage space: You may need to empty some cupboards and drawers for your house-sitter to stow their belongings.
  27. Storing valuables & breakables: While House-Sitting.CapeTown only employs reliable, responsible and trustworthy sitters, you may consider stashing away your valuables and breakables in a secure area.
  28. Clean linen: Put out clean bed linen and towels for your house-sitter.
  29. Meals: Discuss with your house-sitter what they are and are not welcome to eat/drink.
  30. Gas & electric: Leave instructions for the safe use of your electricity and gas services. Show your house-sitter where the relevant meters are as well as the fuse boxes and cut-off switches. Make sure there is enough electricity/gas etc to cover the length of stay of the house-sitter.
  31. Heating & air-con: Leave detailed instructions on how to program the heating and air-conditioning systems.
  32. Water & drains: Leave instructions on the location of your water mains tap and the means of access to your sewer system.  Please ensure there is a reasonable amount of toilet paper for the duration of stay of your sitter.
  33. TV / entertainment instructions: Leave instructions on how to operate any TV/entertainment systems for the House-sitter in Section 4.
  34. The home owner will be liable for any emergency purchases that are made by the sitter along with an additional R50 service charge per purchase, and payable together with the balance on return. (IE Pet food / electricity / cooking gas / vet bills / cleaner / gardener / etc)

 

Phew! Well done...you’ve made it to the end of this list! Now you can leave your home knowing that your house-sitter is exceptionally well-prepared to take on their duties and responsibilities toward you, your property and your animals. Relax and go.  Let me know if you think of any other items I should add to the list!