For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergencies. Midway through SW Florida real estate’s busy selling season also finds us at the beginning of many a homeowner’s personal vacation season. For those whose homes are on the market, one of the benefits of having a close working relationship with their SW Florida real estate agent means that they can take off for their out-of-town holiday without having to worry about losing prospective buyers. If my clients instruct me to continue showings in their absence, it’s no problem; likewise, if they’d prefer to hold off until their return, the showing schedule is juggled accordingly.
When a house sitter is part of the picture, it’s a low-stress showing situation, as well. Good house sitters keep their client’s property in order on a day-to-day basis anyway, so with the agreed-upon advance scheduling, showings can proceed as usual. It’s especially nice when the SW Florida homeowner returns to find good news on the real estate front!
There are two truisms about leaving your most valuable asset—your home—in the care of any house sitter.
The first is to select the sitter wisely. It’s usually best to go with a neighborhood favorite: someone who is local to SW Florida, who comes highly recommended by neighbors, and who views house sitting as a professional calling. That doesn’t mean he or she should necessarily be a full-time house sitter (many great sitters have other jobs). It does mean that, since it is at least a part-time occupation, he or she has a reputation to preserve. Cousin Mark or Aunt Mildred might be more than competent enough to do the job, but if it seems to them more like an imposition rather than a calling, the results can be less than top-notch.
The second necessity for getting a satisfactory (and safe) house sitting result after a first-rate house sitter has been recruited is to provide the raw materials that allow them to do their best job. In the house-sitting realm those raw materials consist of good information: the vital information that you usually take for granted, but which is necessary to oversee the proper functioning of the property. The information should be made available in a carefully assembled and written list. Some (not all) of the items you gather could include your on-the-go contact information at each destination; alternative contact persons; names and phone numbers of any service persons scheduled to be working on the property; emergency numbers for the SW Florida maintenance professionals you rely on for things like plumbing emergencies; and—at the top of the page, right after “911”—the SW Florida emergency numbers for police and fire departments. Elsewhere, near the TV and other electronics, it’s also considerate to write out in explicit detail how to turn them on. As we all know, in today’s world, that can require a page or two…
For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergencies. When your property’s operations/emergency list is complete, be sure to reserve some time to go over the items with your house sitter—before Getaway Day, when the schedule can easily grow too hectic to do the briefing properly. And if your house really is currently on the market, include your real estate agent’s contact information— which I hope is mine!