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housesitter_with_cat(MCT)—For many of us, summer is the ideal time of year to take extended trips away from home. It’s also the perfect time of year for burglars to go on the prowl for easy break-in opportunities where their activities won’t quickly be detected or reported.

Hiring a house sitter to check in on your home while you’re away is a great way to ensure your home is well-cared for and secure in your absence. Many pet sitters offer housesitting services or a combined service for homeowners leaving their pets behind. Most professional house sitters charge between $15 and $50 per visit, depending on the distance traveled, length of the visit, and duties required. Visits can range from as little as 20 or 30 minutes to staying in the house overnight.

“Some people don’t think these kinds of services are out there and they contact friends and family members, but it can be a burden oftentimes,” says Summor White, who co-owns Sitting Comfortably Pet Care with her husband, Shaun, in Kansas City, Mo. “We keep their home alive and we keep their pets alive.”

Most house sitters offer services to give the appearance of someone living in the home, such as bringing in mail, newspapers and packages; taking out the garbage; turning off and on different lights and opening and closing various window treatments. Many housesitting professionals recommend homeowners take with them or secure any valuables, especially those that can’t be replaced, but otherwise make their homes appear as if they are still occupied by not covering furniture or cancelling mail and newspapers.

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