Tuesday, 7 April 2009

house sitters and house sitting

We often have house sitters come and stay in our home and people ask me how we have so many visitors to take care of "our boys".


Well I will explain a little bit about it.
We are often away, especially weekends and we have two small Tenterfield Terriers that need to be cared for.

We live in an apartment on the 18th level of a condo on the west coast of Singapore. They need to go OUTSIDE for a walk, a wee and of course 'other business'. We need someone here to help with this process!


I place an advertisment in two on-line house sitting sites:


http://www.housecarers.com/


http://www.mindmyhouse.com/


Asking if anyone is coming to Singapore for a holiday or are they passing thru Singapore and wanting to stay a few extra days. If and when people reply to the ad, we make contact via the private email system that the two sites offer.

We then ask what they are expecting or offering and we exchange emails for a bit and then decide out of the few that are interested, who we may accept.

Sometimes there is more than one person.... that is up to the home owner entirely. We prefer two people though.
All quite simple.

Or, we go into the sites and browse around looking for someone that fits our criteria.


Either way, we make contact and if we both agree with what the other offers....then we go ahead and make arrangements with our travel plans knowing that we have someone coming in to take care of Pokey and Oscar.


We do not pay anyone. We offer free accommodation only.

The sitter gets to stay in Singapore (for free) on a bit of a holiday and we get to go away with peace of mind knowing the boys are being cared for.


We have had many wonderful sitters stay here. Can't possibly go thru them all, but we have used sitters for over 10 years now and in all that time have had only ONE sitter that I would not have back again.

We have had people that are traveling from Australia to the UK via Singapore and wanted to stay a few extra days, others that live on a yacht and need to 'spread out a bit' for a few days, some are here on business and want to save the cost of a hotel, one lady from Venice wanted to get away from the cold weather last Christmas..... and the list goes on.....


a few things to be aware of:

You save money!

  • the majority of house sitters work for free.
  • save a bundle on pet care fees as in pet walkers.
  • No kennel or cattery fee's
Find exactly who you want
  • find the perfect person by searching the database of either website for sitter available adverts
  • create your own sitter wanted advert and have house sitters contact you through a blank form
  • create/edit/show/hide your advert instantly
  • set up an email alert on these sites – find out immediately when new house sitters become available in your area
  • taking care of your dog, cat, bird etc.
Remain secure
  • remain anonymous until you choose to reveal your identity
  • work with fully informed house sitters
  • download the plain-English house sitting agreement and Before you go! checklists
  • someone is in your home while you are away.
  • collecting mail
  • watering plants
The sitter has their own room and bathroom here, plus we have the EziLink cards 'topped up' for their use while here. For those reading this that don't know what an EziLink card is, it is a credit card sized card for use on the train and bus all over Singapore. Once the credit value gets down to about $5.00 we top it up to about $20.00 and that will last over a month.

Singapore also has a TOURIST PASS for one day or up to five days.


We also make sure there is fruit juice, bread and cereals in the refrigerator and cupboards for the sitters so they won't go hungry on the first day!


We have a sitter arriving tonight from Queensland, Maureen will be here until April 21st. Already I have the fruit juice, milk, yoghurt etc in the fridge. The EziLink card is on the shelf in her bedroom along with a list of things she may need to know about being here also regarding the dogs. Where the Vet is located, how to get the train, places to visit while here, where the best shopping is, all that sort of thing plus our emergency contact details.


The day Maureen departs, we have two delightful sitters arriving from New Zealand by the name of Tracy and Della. They are on their way back to Europe, so are staying here for a couple of weeks and departing the first week of May.


Now Tracy and Della have a couple of websites. one on their travels and one for their 'professional life' as sitters:


http://www.chezvous-sitters.co.uk/

http://tracyanddella.blogspot.com/


so if you are anywhere in Europe reading this blog, bookmark the above as one day you might have the need of a sitter!


I hope this blog helps a bit if you are considering what do when next you go on holidays.


any questions about house sitting, just ask ..... it is understandable to be concerned using sitters for the first time.

10 comments:

Tracy and Della said...

Leone,
Very helpful entry. And, thank you so much for including our links - too kind.
Have a great time in Batam.
See you soon!!

Chris said...

Dear Leone,

we are a German couple staying in Singapore for 11 weeks. At the moment we are living at a condo in normaton park, but only for December. If it is possible we woud love to sit your house and of course your cute dogs for the last six weeks from jan 01st up to feb 14th (except jan 31st up to feb 06th). We are in Singapore to writing our diploma thesis, getting expert interviews and doing research in the libraries. So we will have enough time to sit the dogs.

Kindly Regards

Chris & Katrin

PS: please contact via email if you are interested: singapore2011@gmx.de

Lisa L said...

Dear Leone,

Thanks to your Blog, you have introduced me to the world of House Sitting.....which I think is a wonderful way for my cocker spaniel's life to remain stress-free while we are away on vacations in Singapore.

I have a few questions that I was hoping you could answer:
1. Do you spend the first and last night with the sitters to introduce them to the condo/dog?
2. Do you meet them at the airport?
3. When you agree on dates, do you sign some sort of contract? How do you know they won't back out?
4. Did you ever charge your sitters for utilities? or deposit? I see them on one of the security contracts provided by the online site.

Warm regards,
Lisa

Lisa L said...

Dear Leone,

Thanks to your Blog, you have introduced me to the world of House Sitting.....which I think is a wonderful way for my cocker spaniel's life to remain stress-free while we are away on vacations in Singapore.

I have a few questions that I was hoping you could answer:
1. Do you spend the first and last night with the sitters to introduce them to the condo/dog?
2. Do you meet them at the airport?
3. When you agree on dates, do you sign some sort of contract? How do you know they won't back out?
4. Did you ever charge your sitters for utilities? or deposit? I see them on one of the security contracts provided by the online site.

Warm regards,
Lisa

Leone Fabre said...

We have used house sitters for well over 12 years, at least once a month ... never had any problem with any of them "backing out", not to say it would not happen.

I find that once a sitter makes contact, you soon form some sort of relationship and gut feeling too.

Check if they are on FB (Facebook) if they are and you can link thru to them, you certainly get a bit of an idea of what they are like, amongst their friends, about animals, life in general.... well worth checking their personalities that way.

I rarely meet them at the airport, most times they come by cab. But I certainly do send directions and advice as to what cab or where to get one etc. If they are ayounger couple, you will find they will come by public transport... but determine all that well ahead of time.

You will get at least 4 or 5 replies to a query for a sitter ... decide on which one, but make sure you reply to the others to say they were not successful 'this time'. You may need them in the future, so always be thoughtful of them too.

Sometimes we had the sitters stay a night - or even longer - before we went away .,... it depended on where they were coming from, how long they were staying etc. Also gut feeling plays a big part here too.

We have made some wonderful friends that were once our sitters .... some of our sitters have come back 3 or 4 times even...

I never signed any contract in the 12 years of sitters ... but thats up to you. I often asked for a copy of their passport, though not always.

but ALWAYS I asked for their flight details IN and OUT of the country .. that seemed to give me enough piece of mind.

We never charged our sitters for anything. We always left enough food (milk / bread / juice etc) for their first day at least ... You can set your landline to have outgoing international calls locked if you feel insecure about phone usage.

For your first time, try using sitters for a weekend or just a few days ..... then once you feel comfortable... next trip make it longer. But having a house sitter is much fairer for your animal. They are at home in their own environment.

I recommended many of our sitters to friends in Singapore and never had any problems.

But do read the house sitting site thoroughly before you feel comfortable about the whole issue.

The above comment by Tracey and Della, were house sitters for us too .... they travel all over the world house sitting.... maybe if you make contact you could use them if they ever travel thru Singapore!!

House sitting certainly ended up being a stress free way for us to have holidays plus leaving "our boys" happily at home.

My email address is:

leonefabre AT gmail DOT com

if you have any further questions, or I can send you a few contacts we have used over the years that maybe of help.



Lisa L said...

Dear Leone,

Your response was fantastic!! To be honest, I was not sure if my message would meet you. So I was astonished that you replied so quickly. Your information was very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to give me such insight and so many details!

Like you, I feel that my dog would be much happier and less confused if she were able to stay in her own environment. As you know....they are our babies!

Thanks again,
Lisa

I'll let you know how our first house sit goes....going to try for October.

Lisa L said...

Dear Leone,

Thanks so much for your fantastic response!! To be honest, I did not know if you would receive my message. So it was a pleasant surprise when you responded so quickly. You have done a wonderful job answering my questions and giving me important information.

Like you, I feel it is important for my "baby" to remain in her own environment while we are away. I believe it will be less stressful and confusing for her.

Thanks again for you help!!
I'll let you know how our first house sit goes. We are planning for one in October.

Warm Regards,
Lisa

Meme said...

Hi Leone, We've recently adopted a puppy and we were very relieved to have found your blog. We live in Singapore and we were going crazy thinking of ways to take care of our beloved dog when we go away. Most of the people i see in mindmyhouse are not in singapore yet, from your experience, they really travel all the way to Singapore to house sit even for just a week? Thank you!

Leone Fabre said...

There are many good reliable sitters that are traveling thru Singapore and are happy to house sit for a week or a weekend, just so long as they know well ahead of time.

Most use Singapore as a 'stopover' so its a win win situation.

One of the comments (above) is written by Tracy & Della, they maybe traveling thru Singapore towards the end of the year (not really sure) but you could check with them as I know they are heading south to Australia around November. But there are others too ...

all you do is put a permanent ad in MindMyHouse or HouseSitters, saying you want someone for short periods of time, you might get one or two that are 'in transit'. YHou can always ask for a copy of their flight details to be sent to you, its a sort of 'guarantee' they will be coming too!

best of luck.

Travel with a Baby said...

Hi Leone,
My husband & I are web developers, who work from home, and are currently traveling around Asia spending a few months in each place until we return to Australia in mid-November. I hadn't thought about house-sitting in Singapore until I read your post, but we'd be very interested if you know anyone in need of a sitter during September-November. We have a 16month old so the animals would need to be comfortable with children. My little guy loves animals and is very gentle, and I would of course supervise any interaction.

Thanks! :)