They say ‘Your home is your castle’ – right?
From humble homes, to luxury mansions, home owners all over the world need to leave their ‘castles’, and for a myriad of reasons they take leave of absence of the place dearest to their heart.
They leave behind their world treasures, their family heirlooms, their treasured memories, their precious plants, pampered pooches, feathered friends, and much, much more.
Most are going on a vacation, but whatever the reason they don’t need the added stress of worrying about what they have left behind. They want peace of mind that their pets are fed, clean, healthy, walked or whatever is their routine. They want their plants and lawn alive, not dead. They might want their pool tended to, or the services they already have in place overseen (gardener, pool attendant, cleaner etc) to ensure their house and garden remain as lovely as the day they left, and well cared for.
Others want someone in their home for added security, so it is lived in, and not burgled. This is often the case for a property waiting to be sold, a deceased estate, or world trip.
Whatever the reason, the home owners want peace of mind.
So a new wave of executive and luxury house sitting professionals are on the rise. Experienced folk who often live a life of travel themselves, and are called on to come and stay. Sometimes a few days, and other times, weeks or months.
And we are such a pair. We find ourselves more and more being offered lovely homes all over the world to come and stay in, and to offer our services that give the home owner peace of mind.
This time we have had the joy of a few weeks in Scotland. A retired airline executive couple needed to visit family oversees, and we were invited to care for their lovely country estate.
This comprised of a two story historical home; large double block; lush and expansive duck pond; vegetable gardens; greenhouse; manicured lawn; and stunning garden.
Their adorable two dogs were probably the most well behaved and clever pair we have had the joy to love and befriend. They were so special, and obviously showered with affection by their owners, and we so enjoyed being able to do the same.
They had their own ‘sweeties drawer’, and each evening would bring us a ‘bag of sweeties’ so their repertoire of tricks could be rewarded. (watch the You Tube Video).
The larger dog had even been trained to ring his own front door bell after he had been let out to relieve himself.
Such clever and adorable pooches!
Along with the dogs came a number of ducks, two hens (one brooding), and the sweet sound of many winged birds to feed, including the odd pheasant.
All in all, a truly beautiful sight to look out upon on a sunny day.
We arrived early and stayed nearby (which the owners kindly organised in a historic antique filled loft), giving us ample time to ‘learn the ropes’.
As the dogs needed some medical care there was also some extra requirements in our learning curve.
We had the use of their Mercedes Benz vehicle which the home-owners kindly added us to their insurance.
A lovely upstairs area including our own en-suite which gave us plenty of room to feel like this was ‘home’ when we stayed. Room to unpack our personal belonging.
Fresh flowers in vases greeted us, and a myriad of other incites that the home owner left to show they appreciated having us at their house sit.
An additional joy for us as house sitters included the unlimited high speed wi-fi; the fridges, freezers and pantries well stocked with food and drinks; and even all the kitchen cupboards clearly labelled. The house was very tidy and clean, and the garden and lawns were all immaculate when we arrived. This really made for a smooth settling in time.
As I needed to catch up on a lot of article writing; planning the next leg of our world journey; and some educating of my son, we did find we rarely went out in the car. And with a myriad of Country Interior Design magazines for my perusal; and Explorason loving the Flight Simulator, Cable TV, and Netflix too; we just loved staying in and caring for this lovely property and cuddly dogs.
The two long country walks a day with the dogs helped us to get fit and healthy, and we just had time to enjoy the creature comforts of our beautiful surroundings. It was easy to email the owners overseas with the odd question if a need arose.
This Scottish executive house sit was a delight.
We also made friends at the Oasis Church and even attended an art session for a day there, learning with the guidance of a professional artist (thanks John) – something we both enjoyed immensely as it allowed us to make new friends, release our inner creative flow, and was a great art lessing time for Explorason (world-schooling).
I was pleased with my painting and gave it away to a lady who was aiming to set up a respite home for children with cancer, so this felt really nice. We also felt like family – and that really touched us. It made our time here extra special.
However we never stayed out too long from the home, because the home and pets were our first priority.
Many executive home-owners really do value the services of a professional house sitter. Whilst we care for many a variety of both executive and humble homes; and the love of a pet, a place to call home, and the warmth of the home owners hospitality feels payment enough; there are times we have really been blessed with something a little extra that makes our job feel rewarded.
As we felt so appreciated and cared for at this house sit, it prompted me to ask some fellow house sitting friends (including the Facebook group House Sitting World) to share some of the things that they have delighted in when house sitting, and how some owners had gone ‘above and beyond’.
- Complimentary flight, train, bus or transportation to / from the house sit
- Use of a vehicle – some included luxury models
- Maid / Cleaner
- Baby-sitting service
- Firewood, Bog, Briquettes and all heating needed for the winter
- Unlimited high-speed wi-fi
- Petrol money / card for the vehicle
- Gardener / Lawn mower service
- Million dollar location, island cliff-top home, mountain retreat, country mansion, castle etc to live in etc
- Pool maintenance man
- Consumption of any fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs from the garden; eggs from the ducks and hens
- Netflix /Cable TV / In-home Movie Theatre / Wii / great range of DVD’s to watch etc
- Monetary gift
- Payment for house sitters services
- Lovely guest towels and toiletries often in a luxurious arrangement
- Bathrobes and slippers
- Sports Club / Gymnasium / Golf Club visitor access / membership
- Maps of the area, notes on places to visit, and even sometimes entry tickets to museums, events etc
- Money from duck and hen eggs that are sold to the local organic shop (this was especially for Explorason)
- Christmas – many came to the home to see the Christmas tree up / decorated for them / gifts under the tree
- Use of sporting / gym / water sport equipment – motorised and non-motorised
- Inclusion of house sitter on car / household insurance policy
- Food in the fridge / freezer / pantry
- Organised local friends to have them over for a meal etc
- Key to the liquor cabinet / bar fridge
- Welcome gift
- Thank you gift
- Thank you card
- Glowing reference
- Gift on return from the home owners holiday destination
- Taken out for a meal / share a meal with the owner when they arrived
- Locals arranged to delivery of fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs etc.
- Chocolates – including on Valentine’s Day
- Free use of their private pool / spa / jacuzzi
- Clean home; space for the houses-sitter to unpack their personal belongings,; and a tidy garden etc
- Welcome basket of goodies
- Bottle of wine / champagne (sparkling wine) on arrival
- Massages twice a week, paid for by the home owner
- Fresh flowers in the home
- Accommodation paid for nearby leading up to the house sit (so the house sitters can come early, get to know the area, and what is required )
- Separate guest cottage / apartment / house /cabana, and were invited to stay on for a vacation after the homeowner returned or prior to the house sit
And the one that left us all speechless?
- All Expenses Trip to Hawaii, complete with $1000 Spending Money was the treat for one house sitter !!!!
Comments – we want them!
It is nice to feel appreciated be it big or small, and if you are a house sitter, have you ever had anything nice left for you? Did any of the things we mention, ever happen to you?
Or as a home owner, did you do anything special (big or small) for your house sitter?
Or if you have a house sitting site, what is something that stands out to you?
We’d love to know, so please leave us a comment below.
House Sitting Services we recommend
If you are some-one who has a lovely home, and darling pets you want to leave in the hands of a capable house sitter; or if you are a house-sitter offering an excellent standard of service, then read on.
At the base of this article you will find several house sitting sites we recommend. Some have even offered a special for this article.
Click on the links to join or take a look.
BONUS SPECIAL – Please use the coupon code EXPLORAMUM-25. It will give anyone using it during registration a full 25% discount on any level of account. Offer expires 25th July, 2015
BONUS SPECIAL – Please use the coupon code EXPLORAMUM – 10% off annual plans. Valid until the end of the year.