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Should you hire a house sitter or a Home Watch professional?

We often talk to homeowners who aren’t sure what the difference is between a house sitter and Home Watch.  When you are going to leave your home for an extended period of time, you should definitely know your options so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

House Sitters

A house sitter is typically someone who will live in your home during the time that you are away.

The main benefit of a house sitter is if you want to leave your pets at home.  A house sitter will be able to take care of them so you don’t have to board them.  They will also be there more or less at all times which will keep your house looking lived in and hopefully deter any opportunistic criminals.

The downside is that you don’t know what kind of wear and tear you might have to your home. They will use your facilities during their stay so in addition to the costs of their services there will also be an increased cost of your electricity and water bill too. Some house sitters operate informally meaning that they do not have insurance against damages which means that you become responsible for any issues that arise.

Home Watch

Home Watch is a service which includes a regularly scheduled visit to your property while you are away and a report on the status to you for each visit.

A Home Watch professional is someone who is insured, bonded and runs a professional business.  They are trained to locate and report on issues they observe at the property to the owner while your home is vacant such as rodent infestation, leaking pipes, air conditioner issues or damages from severe weather.  You will receive a report after the home visit to let you know that everything checks out at your home or bring to your attention minor issue that could grow to costly damages.

In case an issue arises, the Home Watch professional will immediately contact you. You will be able to instruct them on how to deal with the issue. They will be able to manage the issue on your behalf using the contractors that you specify, or use someone from their trusted network.

Home Watch has been known by many names: house watch, house check, home concierge, caretaker, absentee home service, property watch, and so on. Regardless of the name, a Home Watch service performs scheduled visits to “vacant” properties while the owner is away.

Since your home is vacant other than the home checks there will be no additional wear and tear and no additional costs to you.  

Whether you decide on a Home Watch professional or a house sitter, be sure to check their credentials, reviews and make sure that they have the proper insurance in place.

Want to learn more? Read our post on Hiring a Home Watch Company.