Housesitting

HOUSESITTING RESPONSIBILITIES


While you are away, I can help with various responsibilities, such as:
  • Maintaining your home (having an occupied home provides a sense of security)
  • Caring for your pets (this enables your pets to remain in a familiar environment and enables you to eliminate costly boarding fees)
  • Providing peace-of-mind (I will communicate as often as you'd like and notify you if an emergency arises)
  • Maintaining your yard/garden and watering your plants
  • Tending to any minor house maintenance or repairs
  • Performing administrative tasks, such as: sorting through your mail (opening/scanning/emailing documents you wish to view), monitoring your voicemail messages, and running minor errands
  • Scheduling and supervising cleaning and/or maintenance personnel
  • Managing your AirBnB rentals

ABOUT ME


My name is Sarah. I am an emotionally intelligent and mature female in my 30s. I don't have any kids or any pets (though I love animals!). I am a vegetarian who doesn't smoke, drink, or partake in drugs. I am a neat, clean, and quiet person who values respect, planning, and communication.

I began my career as a tax accountant. I worked for one of the Big 5 accounting firms and later ran my own accounting practice. I then migrated to a different career, working as a product manager at Amazon. I've dabbled in editing and instructing at the community college level as well. I now enjoy a semi-retired lifestyle, though I frequently serve as a bike guide for various bike tours across the United States. My passions include bike touring, yoga, running, sailing, reading and writing, volunteering at the local animal shelter, traveling, happiness maximization, and sucking the marrow out of life.

WHY I HOUSESIT


Over the years, I've come to embrace the "voluntary simplicity" philosophy. The philosophy encourages a reduction of possessions and an emphasis on self-sufficiency. I've chosen this lifestyle not only because I want to focus on the things in life that really matter (friends, personal growth, etc), but also for spiritual, health, and ecological reasons. Slowly but surely, I've been shedding the possessions and long-term commitments that bog down my life and that prevent me from living the life I want to live.

I have simplified my lifestyle, and by doing so, I have deemphasized the need to work a full-time job in order to sustain myself. This enables me to spend time doing what I love most -- traveling, both domestically and abroad. As much as I enjoy traveling, though, I also enjoy coming back to my "home base" in the Pacific Northwest to reconnect with my friends and the beautiful mountains.

I do not have a permanent home. As such, I housesit when I am not on the move. Housesitting enables me to have a temporary place to live while I work on developing my entrepreneurial ideas and planning for my next adventure. Plus, housesitting allows me the opportunity to maintain my love for animals and plants.

I'm a huge fan of housesitting. It's a win-win situation -- you get someone to look after your home and pets, and I get to temporarily experience a sense of "home."

I was interviewed by "The Voluntary Life Podcast" about my early-retirement lifestyle as a housesitter. You can listen to My Interview with "The Voluntary Life" Podcast.

For more information about my housesitting experiences, you can read a blog post I wrote in January 2014 called The Nomad Sits Atop Houses.

MY RATES


I do not charge to housesit for homes without pets or for homes that only have cats. In light of the extra work required to care for dogs, I typically charge a modest fee for homes with dogs.

REQUIREMENTS


As I spend a good deal of time working online, I require that your home offer a decent and reliable wifi connection.

Although my home base is in the Pacific Northwest, I am open to housesitting anywhere in the world. Obviously, the length of a housesit needs to justify any travel costs to get to and from the housesit.

I greatly value communication, and so it is important to me that I communicate with you as much as you'd prefer. Some homeowners appreciate an update every few days, including photos of their furry friends. Others prefer the out-of-sight/out-of-mind approach. I'm fine with either method.

AVAILABILITY


My schedule is full for 2017.
Below is my availability for 2018:
  • January 23 - February 20
  • April 15 - May 20
  • October 15- December 31

If your dates fall outside of the above windows, I encourage you to contact me, as I may be able to adjust my schedule or recommend another housesitter.

Though I will housesit for any length of time, longer-term housesits take a priority in scheduling.

SETTING UP AN INTERVIEW


It is never too soon to arrange for a housesitter, particularly if you are looking for a housesitter for multiple months. If you are interested in having me housesit for you, please contact me and tell me about your housesitting needs, where you live, and the dates you need a housesitter. We can then set-up an interview in-person or an interview over Skype.

CONTRACT


I have a housesitting contract that I can send you. The contract includes a few pages of homeowner and housesitter responsibilities, as well as an addendum where you can fill in instructions (such as how to feed your animals, where the fuse box and water shut-off are located, contact information for your vet and neighbors, etc). Some homeowners appreciate the formality of the contract, while others prefer to use the contract merely as a framework.

REFERENCES & GRATITUDES


"I would recommend Sarah wholeheartedly! I had complete trust in her while she took care of our dog [Kokanee] and our house for two weeks. She clearly bonded with our dog, which was very important to us. It was enjoyable to receive the photos she sent while we traveled, as it reassured us that everything was going well. Sarah is very personable and it was with pleasure that we had her at our house and look forward to having it occur again!" ~Teri (Bainbridge Island, WA)

Kokanee plays at the beach and naps afterwards on my lap.

"Sarah is a very responsible person. She has attention for detail and a very kind heart. I highly recommend her as a house and pet sitter. I trust her and feel she would make the best possible decision in the event of an emergency, pet health crisis or house problem. I really appreciated that she kept in touch which kept me from worrying while I was away." ~Carla (Seattle, WA)

Min (Carla's kitty) lives for belly rubs.

"I had a feeling right when I met you that [you] would be a perfect fit - and I've been SO thankful having you there. It's made me so much more comfortable while I'm away knowing that you were there. You have been so communicative which has been a huge help. I love all the pictures of Ricki and [I am] happy to see that you guys definitely bonded over the last couple months. You are welcome over any time to visit both me and Ricki!...I really can't thank you enough for everything!!" ~Nikki (Seattle, WA)

Ricki loves playing in her teepee and snuggling.

"Sarah took care of our house and five cats for two months in early 2017 while we were out of the country. It is never easy handing over your pets and house to someone else but Sarah quickly gave us the confidence that she was the right person. She did an exceptional job. She was great with communication and sent us photos and videos of the cats often, especially at first to ease any concerns we might have had. She watched over the mail and let us know right away, with photos, if an envelope looked important. One of our cats is especially afraid of new people and Sarah took extra care with that kitty to make him accept her. Sarah took good care of our house as well. We have a large, older home on a couple of acres. She did a great job mowing our lawns. We used Whatsapp to keep in touch which made it easy to text and send photos back and forth without cost. Rarely a day went by where we didn't touch base about something and often it was just a few photos she would send of the kitties sitting on her lap or being fed. It helped for her in that we put together a lengthy manual about our cats and house so she had a reference source.Our house was neat and tidy upon our return and the cats were all happy and healthy and well fed. We would heartily recommend Sarah to anyone who is looking for a housesitter. Your pets and home will be in good hands and you can enjoy your time away." ~Christopher & Noel (Bellingham, WA)

The Bellingham kitties -- Mo, Fran, Sammy, Quincy, and Kukla.

"Thanks for taking care of my home while I was gone. It made traveling much easier. I didn’t get the feeling that I needed to go home and check on things like I have in the past while traveling – it relieved that homesick feeling that I occasionally gotten in the past. Oh, and thank you for leaving me a clean home to come back to." ~Jim (Seattle, WA)

"Thank you so much for your care. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know that Tiva trusted you to take her out on a walk, snuggle under the covers and greet you with kisses. I really didn't know if she could do that, or do that so quickly. Clearly you have a wonderful way with her." ~Kat & Willie (Seattle, WA)

Gotcha Tiva!

"I could not have found a better fit for my 5 cats and one dog. Sarah was great. I had a couple quirky instructions and Sarah handled them perfectly. She is a pet lover extraordinaire and spoiled my animals just like I do. Plus my house was spotless when I returned from my 3 week vacation. Thank you Sarah!" ~Lindsay (Maitland, FL)

Lindsay's crew: Christa, Hank, the five kitties at dinner,
Snoopy/Snuggles, Tiger, and Butterscotch.

"We just have to say how wonderful Sophie and Jasper look. We were quite surprised--in a very entertained way--to see they have both become downright fat! And both look superb and happy and content. We have never had anyone who did as wonderful a job with them as you, and we do thank you for it with all our hearts." ~Mary & Dennis (Seattle, WA)

Sophie plays string, while Jasper plays with the mouse in the box.

"We deeply appreciate all you did to enjoy and care for our home, and to keep Eleanor happy and healthy. We would love to have you come back anytime, and wish you well with your next imminent adventure." ~Dave & Amy (Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)

Eleanor sleeps on my head.

"Thank you so much for housesitting! I will definitely ask you next time I plan a trip, and feel free to give my name as a reference. My house was better cared for than when I'm here, and everyone has commented how much they like you!" ~Meg (Seattle, WA)

"I just had to write...to say how wonderful it has been to have you looking after our kitties [Sprocket, Mary Jane, and Persephone] and house. I can't imagine ever asking anyone else!!" ~Erin (Seattle, WA)

Sprocket, MaryJane, and Perspehone.

"The place looks GREAT! Thanks so much for taking such good care of things…including Magic, who seemed a tiny bit disappointed it was us coming thru the door and not you! ;) Truly, it's much appreciated." ~Michael (Seattle, WA)

Magic is the ultimate diva.

"[Pablo and Scooter] are going to miss [you]...Thank you for all your kindness and care with the boys. Oh geez, and patience with the diarrhea and vomiting! We are so lucky to have had you in our space and would be super duper happy for you to come again. Thank you, Sarah." ~ Jamie & Serge (San Francisco, CA)

Me, Pablo, and Scooter.

"We made it home! Thank you so very much for everything! You're a wonderful house-sitter and we and the zoo are all extremely appreciative!" ~Will & Joanna (Seattle, WA)

"The Zoo" - Rover, Catfish, Zoka, and Fido.

“It was a pleasure to return to our house and kitty [Mia] in such good shape.” ~Brian & Laurel (Seattle, WA)

Mia loves playing with her toys.

"Thank you for taking such good care of the house and the animals [Kua and Cazzie] while we were away." ~ Gray & Peter (Seattle, WA)

Kua and Cazzie relax after some fun'n'games.

"I do appreciate the pics of Sara. I know that she's adequately spoiled when you're there." ~Mike (Seattle, WA)

Sara's doggie face is irresistible.


I am happy to provide more detailed references, upon request.