View Full Version : house sitter or lock up?

02-08-2015, 22:10
So what did you do, or plan to do about securing your house while you are gone? I live in a borderline neighborhood, too close for comfort from the ghetto. I have several neighbors who are very good people, But the people across the street worry me, evidence of previous drug traffic, etc. 2 yrs ago my house was broken into and my big screen stolen, the $20K stereo wasn't touched, idiots!!. I was being lazy about using the deadbolt and setting the alarm at the time. stupid of me. I have a couple of neighbors I would trust with a key. My ex-wife lives near by and would stop by frequently. I've been asking around for a house sitter with no response yet. So what to do??
Push harder for a house sitter? or move out any thing expensive and worth stealing and lock up? My alarm is not hooked up to central.

02-08-2015, 22:17
Do you own your home or rent? How Long are you going to be gone? If you own I would get a house sitter. This summer I got a local deputy to sit my place and take care of my dog. Worked out well. If you are renting I would put everything in storage and move out of the neighborhood. when I got back. You would save some on rent.

02-08-2015, 23:03
How can you trust the house sitter? Are they bonded professionals or someone found on Craig's list? They could really clean you out if they wanted to. Plus you might plan to be gone for 5-6 months, but what if your not? Do you kick the house sitter out who might have planned on being there for the duration?

Either way, put anything you can't afford to loose in secure storage (Hard Drive, personal papers, etc) and don't worry about the rest. Maybe buy theft insurance. Have your friends keep an eye out.

02-08-2015, 23:26
I have done housesitting and looking after rural property, since college.

The housesitter has to be discreet, not telling they are housesitting, or, where, and have no one over to the house.

They are not to disclose where they are staying at the time.

These are the "rules" for a housesitter.

If they can't do that, maybe they want to "entertain"
or have a few friends over at your house: that is not housesitting.

If you can, find a deputy, a fireman or like that in your community who would like to keep the rooms they rent, but have a change of scene for x-weeks or x-months.

The housesitter is to look around and be aware of how you left things, because you want to step into your house like you only left that morning, not better, not worse.

If they can do that, they are a housesitter.

If you want rent, you want to sublet.

That is not a housesitter.

Few young people, including college age, housesit. It would be rare to find one.

Some younger people are more mature than their age. One might work out.

Having found a housesitter, so your house isn't vandalized, put everything expensive that can be carried off in storage, perhaps at the house of a trusted friend.

That is housesitting.

Find a housesitter, who has housesat for someone else: ask how long? Contact the people they housesat for.

Either that, or break-in a someone new to housesitting.

02-09-2015, 03:25
My personal preference: Wireless, motion detecting cameras . The system I have sends videos to my phone. So, if someone breaks in Ive recorded the whole event. Other good thing.... The recording go to an external server. This means if they find the cameras, destroy everything, ....... the record is still preserved. And I can call the police and prosecute.... Or......

02-09-2015, 06:16
I would keep it simple and safe. Take all the portable stuff of value and move it into a storage locker somewhere close by. That would be electronics, appliances (younger than 5 years), computers, files and important documents, wall and shelf art of any value, good (new) clothes and shoes, and items like that. Leave the balance of your belongings in place and take photos of each room on digital film in case there is a problem and you have to make an insurance claim.

Be sure your homeowners/tenant insurance is paid up through your return time. If you are using a house sitter or someone to check the place, be sure your insurer will provide coverage (some policies will not cover your stuff under those conditions). House sitters are fine but can sometimes be more trouble than they solve if they are new to the area and leave a window unlocked where they shouldn't, etc. You really only need someone near by like a cross hall/street neighbor to check on the place once every few weeks to be sure the mice have not taken over. You may way to leave a new mouse trap or two out for them in case that happens. Have them run water in all the sinks, showers, and tubs to keep the P traps full of water and not allow sewer odors to get into the house. Flush the toilets to keep them active. Also, to collect door hangars, newspapers, mail, and other detritus left at the door. If you are leaving a car, it should be moved in the driveway periodically to mimic use. Walks and driveway should be shoveled if you get that kind of precipitation.

Lastly, invest in a few wallplug timers and learn how they work. Set them up to be active in the early morning, turning lights on and off around the house, and in the evening to mimic how you move around the place. With your valuables locked away and some inexpensive means to keep visible signs of your absence to a minimum, you should be fine.

02-09-2015, 07:00
I checked into (googled) house sitters some time ago and found there are professional services that one can call, just like calling a plumber. Some have background checks and everything. Like anything, one gets what one pays for. I don't recall the prices. My thought is to arrange with them to also send mail drops as needed. One can also hire private security firms to check on your place but my experience with some private security firms is that the guards can be sketchy (I worked as a private security guard for a while when in college). If I can't find a family member or close friend, I'll likely go with a professional house sitter.

I have home video surveillance that I set up myself and even caught two people burglarizing my house a year and a half ago. I may upgrade to a service that I can monitor from my cell phone when I am able to thru.

02-09-2015, 07:50
I'd find a family member or friend go the route of a professional house sitter to occupy the house while I was gone. In addition to crime, there are a lot of other things that can happen to unoccupied homes, ranging from pipe breaks to critters, that you wouldn't want to leave unaddressed for months. There's also the issue of basic maintenance such as cutting grass, etc. that need to be done even if the house is unoccupied. If I had to use a professional house sitter, I'd ask a trusted individual at home to act as a local contact. I might even use a local realtor to handle short term rentals for those new to the area or in between home buying transactions. The last thing I'd want to worry about is trying to manage a property from hundreds/thousands of miles away using home automation devices that may let me see something (if I had a robust enough internet connection) but not really do anything about it.

02-09-2015, 09:00
From my experience in such a neighborhood in Denver, it doesn't matter a bit if you're gone for three months or three hours. If someone wants your stuff and you're not home, it's pretty much gone.

My solution is to keep nothing in the house that's critical to my happiness and well-being. The more I hike, the easier that gets. I'm not very attached to "stuff" anymore.

I also try to make it just a little more difficult for the "smash and grab" set. Put in a steel security door with a strong deadbolt. It's amazingly easy to go through a typical lockset and wood door jamb, as I learned in the fire academy.

02-09-2015, 09:07
House sitting for 6 months via a professional service would be cost prohibitive I would think given your description of your house.

Letting a family or friend's early adult child stay there for that time to experience being on their own may be a great way to go and give them the helping had needed to give them a start in life - extra good karma points. For that you may need to have the house checked periodically and have the neighbors (the good ones) watch and report.

Letting the house go dark, I would suggest moving the expensive stuff into storage or into another secure area, such as a friends garage (and make sure insurance is paid up) and again have the good neighbors watch and report. You may want to get a professional to help you close it down depending on your handiness, perhaps shut off the water install a freeze alarm etc. It is a option that could work and may be the easiest.

Renting out the house for such a short time can be problematic and tenants will not treat your home as you do, and you may actually incur more expense then you get from rent.

From my own AT Thru, I did find the trail did provide (and continues). It is my belief if you are meant to do the trail the solution has to come about. I had this in multiple forms in getting ready and every major obstacle that got in the way was removed. And this doesn't even seem that major, as you already have some very workable solutions, one (letting it go dark, moving stuff into storage) is already entirely in your hands.

Good Luck

Hot Flash
02-09-2015, 09:36
From my own AT Thru, I did find the trail did provide (and continues). It is my belief if you are meant to do the trail the solution has to come about. I had this in multiple forms in getting ready and every major obstacle that got in the way was removed. And this doesn't even seem that major, as you already have some very workable solutions, one (letting it go dark, moving stuff into storage) is already entirely in your hands.

Good Luck

You can believe "the trail will provide" all you want, but that doesn't make it true. There's nothing magical about setting yourself up to do a long through hike. It comes down to having the time, the money, and the determination. That comes from you, not 'The Trail.' Just because you were able to figure out how to do it, doesn't mean you were "meant" to do it. It simply means that you figured out how to do it, and you didn't encounter any misfortune big enough to dissuade you from it.

02-09-2015, 19:56
Side-stepping the theological connotations of this question, I have a bit of an offbeat suggestion for you. If you know a professional dog-walker or pet-sitter, you can ask him or her if they know of someone who might be interested in an open-ended stay. For some reason people who do dog-walking seem to have a big network of folks who are looking for unconventional ways to make money, and who might like a free place to stay for a while. There are a lot of free-lancers out there these days, and the "price" is certainly right!

Good luck!


The Solemates
02-10-2015, 10:35
while we have never left our permanent residence for months on end to do a thru hike, we leave a lot more often than most normal people do for periods of a 1-3 weeks. we always get a housesitter. the peace of mind it gives you is well worth it.

02-10-2015, 21:43
I put things in storage and put lights on timers.