Six reasons to say NO to a house sit

From mismatched expectations to unfamiliar pets, we explore six reasons to decline a house sit. Host, sitter, home or pets – consider all aspects for a successful match.
man with dog
Picture of Kirsty Carter

Kirsty Carter

So you’ve had an invitation to care for someone else’s home and pets. It’s in a country you’ve always wanted to visit and the pets look adorable. But there’s something that’s not quite right. 

From mismatched expectations to unfamiliar pets, in this post we explore six reasons to decline a house sit. 

You are not comfortable with the animals

If the house sitting assignment involves caring for pets you’re not familiar with or comfortable handling, it’s best to decline to ensure the wellbeing of the animals. For example, many sitters do not have experience with large, energetic dogs. These dogs can be very powerful on the lead and sometimes unresponsive to direction. Sitters should feel confident in being able to handle them and find creative strategies for managing their enthusiasm

We cared for a fully grown but still puppy-like German Shepherd. Our first walks with him left us with sore shoulders and a reluctance to do more. One of our solutions to this was to give him a good run around in the backyard chasing a ball before setting off on our walks. This took the edge off his energy levels and made him much easier to handle. 

You are not comfortable with the host

Sometimes you talk to a host and you just don’t “click”.  This dissonance could stem from differing communication styles, conflicting expectations or simply personalities that don’t mesh well. In such situations, even if both parties are courteous and professional, there might be an underlying tension or unease that makes the housesitting experience less enjoyable for both the sitter and the host. If a sitter feels this at the first meeting it may be best to decline the sit opportunity.

Some other reasons to decline a house sit:

  • The host is not willing to show you their home and your bedroom
  • The host is intoxicated when you speak to them
  • You get the feeling the host thinks you are a servant, and doesn’t see the arrangement as a two-way street
  • The host shows no interest in you
  • Hosts are very negative about their experiences with most or all of their previous house sitters
  • Hosts don’t make time to meet you and get to know you
  • Multiple changes to the conditions of the sit after the host and sitter have agreed to the arrangement

Sometimes, experienced individuals develop a keen intuition about situations. If something doesn’t feel right about the housesitting arrangement, trust your instincts and decline.

You are not comfortable with the home

If the home doesn’t align with your expectations you might wish to decline the opportunity.  For example:

  • The house does not meet your cleanliness standards
  • The house is very cluttered
  • Your bedroom is not comfortably set up for you
  • There are security cameras inside the home that the host is not willing to disable for the duration of your stay

You are not able to do what the hosts want

If a homeowner’s expectations for tasks and responsibilities exceed what you’re willing to take on, it’s best to decline and avoid any potential conflicts. These expectations might range from the amount of time spent with pets or caring for sick pets to cleaning or gardening responsibilities.

Host expectations cover a wide spectrum. Some will retain their cleaning,  gardening and pool maintenance services for the duration of the sit. Some will continue with doggy daycare while they are away, giving sitters time off from pet care. Others will leave all these tasks up to the house sitter. 

It’s important to make sure that what is asked of you is consistent with what you are willing to provide. If not it’s best to decline the sit.

Conflicting commitments or plans

There are some circumstances under which you might need to decline despite enthusiasm for the house sitting opportunity. These include:

  • You have existing, conflicting house sitting commitments. Occasionally,  one of our sits ends before the next one starts. If we are enthusiastic about both we may split up.  One of us will go to the next sit for a day or two while the other stays in the previous sit.  Or our host may find a short term solution for the overlap. Either way, if a solution can’t be found we decline the second sit.
  •  You want a break from house sitting

Time and money

If you are a paid housesitter and the compensation offered doesn’t align with your experience and the effort required, it’s reasonable to decline in favour of more suitable opportunities.

If the housesit requires significant travel expenses or time to reach, it might not be financially feasible or practical for you to accept.

If the housesit starts too soon and you don’t have sufficient time to prepare or adjust your schedule, declining is a responsible choice.

When declining a house-sitting offer, professionalism and clear communication are key. Express your gratitude for the opportunity while explaining your reasons for declining in a respectful manner.

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