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Living Smart: Hiring a House Sitter

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By Angie Hicks

“The first thing we do is check the mail, newspaper and packages because, even though people stop those, we still sometimes find those things there,” says Linda Edwards, owner of Nana’s Pet Sitting, LLC in Charlotte, N.C. “We’ll pull out their trash and recycling and bring it in. When we go in the house, we search every room and look in the bathrooms for leaks. We flush toilets and don’t leave the bathroom until the water stops running. We’ll water plants; alternate the lights. We check every single door in the house and make sure all the windows are locked as well.”

Hiring a house sitter can add a level of security to your home in more ways than one. Not tending to your home for an extended period of time could be a recipe for disaster, should an emergency occur. In addition to a regular presence of someone entering a leaving the home, a house sitter can also identify and act on potential safety or costly issues, like a leaking pipe, power outage or fire hazard.

Edwards said because of severe storms that regularly hit the Charlotte area, she’ll check for downed trees and storm damage. Edwards said she once went into a client’s home and found the gas turned on at the stove. White said one of her clients experienced a flooded basement while away, but the house sitter was able to contact the appropriate contractors to minimize the damage.

“We were able to handle the situation, while keeping their stress level down simply because we were there every single day checking the home, ensuring everything was in order,” White says. “That’s an extra step a house sitter can take care of instead of the homeowner coming home five or six days later and everything is completely ruined.”

Homeowners considering hiring a housesitting professional should thoroughly check the person’s background, read reviews and check references, and ask for proof that they’re insured and bonded.

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