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Before heading out on your trip, be sure to provide the house sitter with a list of emergency contacts and service providers, the names and phone numbers of anyone else who has access to the home and other pertinent information, like where the electrical breaker panel and water shutoff main are. A qualified house sitter should ask for this information up front.

White says her staff leaves clients a list of times they enter and leave the home and what took place during the visit. They also provide email updates during their visits.

“If they have a mobile device, they’re able to receive real-time information as to how their home held up and how their pets did through the day,” White says. “You want to return home to a happy home, as well as happy pets and a happy lawn and garden. A lot of extra benefits come with having a pet sitter or house sitter.”

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care.

© 2013, http://www.angieslist.com/
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