Finding house sitti...
 

Finding house sitting opportunities  

 

riverwed070707
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March 23, 2014 2:42 pm  

I've seen lots of posts in the classified here about house/pet sitters available. Wondering if homeowners on island use any of the house sitting sites designed to connect them with reliable sitters? I scoped out a few of the more popular ones but didn't see any USVI listings.

We'll be doing our PMV in the summer. Not opposed to renting a place but hey, can't beat free if someone is in need of a full time caretaker for their house and/or pets. I'd be willing to take (and pay for) a background check and my family owns a pet sitting business in the Midwest so I'm accustomed to working with all kinds of animals, administering medication, etc. Dates and length of time are totally flexible at this point but I'm hoping to get it lined up before the end of April so I have plenty of time to look for reasonable flights and give notice at work.


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JulieKay
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March 23, 2014 2:48 pm  

I can't remember what island you're visiting, so I'll speak about our experience on STX.

We have caretakers in our home - however I know that we (and others on STX I know) don't use caretakers/housesitters we either don't know personally or that don't come with local references from our friends.

There are a LOT of people willing to be caretakers/housesitters right now locally (so no need to look at websites to search), and there are too many horror stories from people who allowed people into their homes to stay sight unseen. Lots of people try to do what you're offering - visit for a while and be a "caretaker" to get a free stay somewhere. While you seem like good folks, there are many good folks who have turned into nightmares as caretakers.

I think it would be hard to find a housesitting/caretaking gig on STX without actually knowing someone on the island to vouch for you.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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OldTart
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March 23, 2014 2:51 pm  

Good luck, but most residents prefer someone who's been on island for some time, knows their way around and has local references.


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riverwed070707
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March 23, 2014 3:08 pm  

Good point. I can see how homeowners would be leery of someone not yet on island. Anyone ever take a damage deposit to give them a piece of mind about responsibility and reliability? I'd be willing to pay it in advance to reassure them we will be there when we say we're going to be there.

Also, we'd be looking at STT, WI or STJ.


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JulieKay
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March 23, 2014 3:32 pm  

A damage deposit would make no difference to me. It's about having reliable and trustworthy people. All a damage deposit does is give you money to clean up a mess when they make one, and then you have the headache of the mess...let alone you may not even have enough money for damages. Repairs in the VI are a real headache.

I just wouldn't do it, period, without knowing the person, knowing they are local, and have local references.

OldTart is on STT and you can read her response for STT.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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OldTart
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March 23, 2014 4:16 pm  

OldTart is on STT and you can read her response for STT.

My response was USVI general, not island-specific.


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pawsitive
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March 23, 2014 5:35 pm  

Riverwed, what island are you coming to. I may need part time pet/house sitters for the summer for my growing business. However, you would need to have references, be finger printed/background checked and trained. Will be posting employment notices soon.


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OldTart
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March 23, 2014 5:44 pm  

Also, I see you've been checking the classified section here on this site but have you also taken a look at craigslist? There's a subsection for temporary/sublets and you could maybe find something there which would be suitable for your PMV at a reasonable price.

http://virgin.craigslist.org/


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Alana33
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March 23, 2014 6:01 pm  

Riverwed, what island are you coming to. I may need part time pet/house sitters for the summer for my growing business. However, you would need to have references, be finger printed/background checked and trained. Will be posting employment notices soon.

Be that as it may, do not think employment would guarantee a place to live. Plus I would imagine a single person would find it easier to find house sitting position than a family with kids and all that entails. Think Pawsitive only does house checks, not actual house-sitting where someone is living in the home at night with pets which is what I would want if I needed a house sitter. Someone actually there with them not checking just once or twice a day.
Good Luck to you.


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JulieKay
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March 23, 2014 6:05 pm  

Be really cautious with Craigslist - lots of scams on there.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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riverwed070707
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March 23, 2014 6:27 pm  

Riverwed, what island are you coming to. I may need part time pet/house sitters for the summer for my growing business. However, you would need to have references, be finger printed/background checked and trained. Will be posting employment notices soon.

Coming to STT (or WI if there is an opportunity to stay there). I would actually really love helping out if the timing made sense. PM with details. Planning to be on island by the end of May or beginning of June.

Also, I see you've been checking the classified section here on this site but have you also taken a look at craigslist? There's a subsection for temporary/sublets and you could maybe find something there which would be suitable for your PMV at a reasonable price.

I have been keeping an eye on the listings and a sublet is a definite possibility. Thanks for the suggestions!


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DixieChick
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March 24, 2014 10:39 am  

We used house sitters from off island and on island.
One on island the worst. But doesn't mean all
Are. She came highly recommended also.


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gonetropo
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March 24, 2014 10:58 am  

We have been in need of a house sitter since arriving on island 6 years ago, primarily to stay with our dogs. After all of our trials, we HATE to go anywhere and leave someone at the house. It has been our experience that it is nearly impossible to identify someone who is not only accountable but reliable and TRUTHFUL.

We have used a few people that friends have recommended with varying results.

The house sitters have showed up the day before to begin, the night before at 9pm when all the dogs needed to be fed at 5pm, they have lost the dogs with no explanation, and one time we were called by our tenants that a line was at the gate with a gatekeeper to direct traffic for a party and that our dogs were locked in the house barking while the pool party was in progress! We have had glasses broken, people ironing on our $3000 dining room table, the computer broken, scratches on coffee tables, and the list goes on.

And we pay for this!

All I can say is be very, very cautious when employing anyone to watch your home, let alone your pets!


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Alana33
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March 24, 2014 11:51 am  

I just had a friend e-mail me looking for someone to housesit for 2 weeks for 2 dogs and 1 cat in a lovely home here in STT, starting now.
I used a fellow a couple years ago when I was going to be gone for 1 month and had my maid come weekly as well as clean the day, I came in so that I wouldn't have any surprises. I needed to have someone reliable as 1 of the 4 dogs dog needed meds for her epilepsy, twice daily at exactly 12 hrs. apart. Luckily, all was fine when I got back and there had been no wild parties or ironing on the table but you never know how things will turn out. I was lucky too when I went to New Zealand for 3 months and left a housesitter with 2 dogs tho had a friend checking in weekly to make sure all was well. It is a crapshoot tho. I really don't like having someone in my home but don't want to (plus can't afford to) board dogs for such long periods.


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JulieKay
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March 24, 2014 12:12 pm  

Ugh gonetropo, sorry you've had so many bad experiences.

Our one bad experience was several years ago, we had an older man recommended to us with references, etc., all seemed good - and for the most part it was good, he didn't do anything destructive in the house and he fed the pets as he should and so on. But when we got back from our trip I found a bag of needles in the pantry and that was that. I'm sure he was just sitting on the porch getting high - and I don't judge - but I am not comfortable with it in our house.

After that though we found a good friend and she did an awesome job - she sent us pictures daily and even cleaned our house before we got back! Unfortunately she has moved off island now. Normally I would have someone else to recommend but our other fabulous petsitter is no longer seeking new jobs.

We have had two sets of caretakers in our house while it's been up for sale and both have been great - no wild parties or breaking things. Part of the key is that we have another set of friends going by every other day or so to check on the house as well and make sure the caretakers are truly "taking care" of things. All has been good.

The hard thing is you can't go off of indicators like age or references, both off island and on - our best caretakers have been young people (20s to early 30s), and our current ones (who are wonderful!) are young and friends of another friend of ours, but really no references. I have heard horror stories about single ladies in their 50s, who you would think might be more responsible, but seem to have more issues for some reason. There really is no rhyme or reason, hence my posting above that most people are really cautious about having someone in their house they don't know - even with references.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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riverwed070707
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March 24, 2014 1:07 pm  

I just had a friend e-mail me looking for someone to housesit for 2 weeks for 2 dogs and 1 cat in a lovely home here in STT, starting now.
I used a fellow a couple years ago when I was going to be gone for 1 month and had my maid come weekly as well as clean the day, I came in so that I wouldn't have any surprises. I needed to have someone reliable as 1 of the 4 dogs dog needed meds for her epilepsy, twice daily at exactly 12 hrs. apart. Luckily, all was fine when I got back and there had been no wild parties or ironing on the table but you never know how things will turn out. I was lucky too when I went to New Zealand for 3 months and left a housesitter with 2 dogs tho had a friend checking in weekly to make sure all was well. It is a crapshoot tho. I really don't like having someone in my home but don't want to (plus can't afford to) board dogs for such long periods.

I feel your pain. Even where we are now, which is not a beautiful beach destination, we try to find someone to stay in our home (usually paying them to do so) because my older dog gets too stressed in a kennel situation and we've had terrible luck with pet sitters that have not stopped by when scheduled (we've come home at 5 p.m. to find our dogs in and never let out for the day) and didn't latch the gate (which we gave very specific instructions not to use because it doesn't work well) resulting in the dogs getting out. So hard to find good people.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences, and sorry to hear so many of you have had bad ones. I put an ad up on craigslist just to see what we come across and I've had a couple hits. Maybe it will work out and maybe we'll end up renting but either way, the input here is invaluable.

As a house sitter, are there things we should look out for and be careful of? I've gathered from reading here there aren't really specific areas to be leery of, and certainly we'd ask for photos of where we'll be staying before making a decision. Anything else that would help prevent a bad situation from our perspective?


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Alana33
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March 24, 2014 1:30 pm  

You'll probably want a list of expected duties that need to be performed while house-sitting, in writing, including any monetary compensation in either direction and you will need to rent a car to get around. I never have given a housesitter the use of my vehicle (or access to keys) as way too many liability issues. You can PM me if you have concerns about location you think of choosing, if in STT.
I have a fully furnished 1x1 vacation rental that is quite affordable if you are here for a week during summer and also rent at a much reduced rate during the summer/off season on a monthly basis for guests doing PMV's. I do have return guests for 2 weeks in June,
right now. PM me if you have an interest as have availability before and after. Sorry, can't accept pets tho and it's suitable for 2 persons max. and you need a car in this location.


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gonetropo
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March 24, 2014 7:58 pm  

Someone who has stellar personal attributes and is accountable and reliable could make a killing housesitting/pet sitting on these islands.
We just haven't found that person yet and by the time we do, we will be history.

Also, someone who started a reputable, clean and efficient kennel for pets would do well. We can't leave our dogs in a 4' x 4' pen for weeks on end with no one around from 5pm to 8am. I would go crazy too! For a few years, we lived in Michigan and Canada and had great clean and reputable kennels. The dogs even had a pool at one of them. They had a huge inside and outside area and they even gave them all baths the day we picked them up. Maybe we are too picky but our dogs are our family here!

Something for someone to consider. You know it would be a great business with all the people who own pets here and travel back to the States to visit family and friends.


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Ms Information
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March 25, 2014 12:56 am  

Ugh gonetropo, sorry you've had so many bad experiences.

Our one bad experience was several years ago, we had an older man recommended to us with references, etc., all seemed good - and for the most part it was good, he didn't do anything destructive in the house and he fed the pets as he should and so on. But when we got back from our trip I found a bag of needles in the pantry and that was that. I'm sure he was just sitting on the porch getting high - and I don't judge - but I am not comfortable with it in our house.

XXXXXXXXXX

JulieKay, It just occurred to me that NOT every person who uses needles is an illegal drug user. You may know more about this situation than you shared here, but this man might have been diabetic and needed to use needles to control his insulin level. That is where most approved needles are used.

I will admit that it wasn't very responsible to leave his sharps around for others to find...but..What was the real story?


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JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
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March 25, 2014 1:08 am  

Ugh gonetropo, sorry you've had so many bad experiences.

Our one bad experience was several years ago, we had an older man recommended to us with references, etc., all seemed good - and for the most part it was good, he didn't do anything destructive in the house and he fed the pets as he should and so on. But when we got back from our trip I found a bag of needles in the pantry and that was that. I'm sure he was just sitting on the porch getting high - and I don't judge - but I am not comfortable with it in our house.

XXXXXXXXXX

JulieKay, It just occurred to me that NOT every person who uses needles is an illegal drug user. You may know more about this situation than you shared here, but this man might have been diabetic and needed to use needles to control his insulin level. That is where most approved needles are used.

I will admit that it wasn't very responsible to leave his sharps around for others to find...but..What was the real story?

He was a confirmed drug user. Our handyman told us about him, and then he came back seeking more work when he was obviously high. These were not needles for a diabetic. Diabetics generally keep clean needles and don't re-use them over and over or keep them in a dirty baggie. But the confirmation was with our own eyes.

"This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." ~Gary Lew


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pawsitive
(@pawsitive)
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March 25, 2014 8:25 pm  

Pawsitive Living does daily "house checks" as mentioned above, but we also do Overnight Pet Stays/House Sitting. We also offer discounts for extended trips (7+ days). You can learn more about our services at www.PawsitiveLivingVI.com. Hope everything works out for you.


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
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March 26, 2014 5:59 pm  

Nice website and looks as though you're on your way to filling a much-needed niche! How long have you been in business?


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