Your House sitter content by Roving JayHomeowner Perceptions

First Impressions - make it goodOne of the reasons for my new-found interest in the house sit process, is because I recently posted a homeowner listing on a Housesitting Listing Site and I was surprised by some of the replies I received.

Here’s some of the examples of how not to apply for a housesitting gig, and the snap judgements that I made about them, which got them kicked off the “potential” list.

First Impressions Count

Some may think my snap judgements are a little harsh, but let’s be honest, how many times have you made snap judgements about people?

Here’s a quote I found on About.com :

“Snap judgments are, first of all, enormously quick:  they rely on the thinnest slices of experience … they are also unconscious”©


All applications are shown in quotes, and the content is posted verbatim; with no editing by me, except where noted with “XXX” to preserve anonymity.


1.  The Short and Sweet Application

“Hello, we can help you out with the house sit. If you are interested please let us know and we can give you all the info and ref. you need. Greetings”

I’m all for short and sweet, and I like people you get to the point, but I thought this was a little too brief, and it didn’t give me enough information to assess whether I was interested.

My Snap Judgement:

“They can’t be bothered to put much effort into this application, as this is their 15th ad application today, so they’re just cutting-and-pasting a generic response into every application — one size fits all!”

2. The No Time to Read the Requirements Application

“i would love to look after your pet. I am a freelancer and spend a lot of time inside, so I will be good company for it….

OK, first and foremost I advertised a house sit, and ticked the “no pets” in the listing, and also included the NO PETS requirement in our introduction for the listing.

How not to apply for a house sit

Secondly, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but homeowners are a sensitive bunch. They love their pets and that’s why they are willing to welcome strangers into their house to love and care for them.

The majority of the pet owners put their pet’s name in the listing because they’re part of the family, so how caring does it seem to refer to their beloved pet as “pet” and “it”?

My Snap Judgement:

“They didn’t read our ad, and didn’t take the time to find out what our requirements are.”

Tip:

If you don’t see their pets name in the listing, check the description they’ve put under their pet’s photo – meet Honey:

Pets name in the house sitting listing

3.  The It’s All About Me Application

“I’ve been to the Greek Islands many times, and I love that area of the world.  I would really like to spend some extended time in XXX (particularly the area that you house is) during the time that you need a housesitter. 

I’m presently working on some creative projects, including photography and writing projects.  I’m also taking time to enjoy my life and exploring the world one country at a time, and my dream is to stop in each country at least once.

I’m a travel junkie, and it feeds my passion for new adventures. I feel so blessed to be living this lifestyle that I’ve chosen for myself ……. (it goes on and on!)

I have many references attached to my profile.  Here are iexerpts from a housesite that I completed last month in XXX …..”

Spelling mistakes aside (everyone gets a pass on a typo or 2), what struck me about this was the focus on “me, me, me, I, I, I”.  Although the tone of an application letter should be friendly, shouldn’t part of the focus be about the house sitter meeting the requirements I laid out in my ad?  I’m all for a bit of self-promotion, and learning a bit about my house sitter, but can we cover that in the skype call during the interview process?

My Snap Judgement:

“Enough already about you, what about me?”

4.  The I’m Too Lazy to be Professional Application

“i would love to help with your house sit.  i have lived in XXX for brief periods over the years and would be able to manage your apartments responsibly.  in addition, i operated a hostel for many seasons so i understand the needs.  i am a single, fit female, active gardener, quite writer, so i would stay close to your property.”

This is a personal irk … I actually liked the sound of this applicant, but it bugged me that none of her sentences started with a capital letter.  What’s ironic, is that she’s a writer!  I know house sitting is not a paid job, but couldn’t it still be approached with a bit of professionalism?  I don’t want applications to look like text messages.

My Snap Judgement:

Option A:  “You’re typing this from a mobile device and don’t know where the shift key is – or your autocorrect isn’t working.”  Alternatively, “You can’t be bothered to take the time to put together a professional looking application.” Either way, it’s a NO.

How psychology can help your emails make a better first impression

TIP:

There are plenty of free online tools for checking your spelling and grammar. Two that I use a lot is Hemingway Editor and Grammarly, and if you use a word processing app like Word or Pages, they have built-it spellcheck and grammar.


First Impressions Count

Some may think my interpretations are a little harsh. But let’s be honest, how many times have you made snap judgements about people?

Here’s a quote I found on About.com :

“Snap judgments are, first of all, enormously quick:  they rely on the thinnest slices of experience … they are also unconscious”©

Homeowners receive lots of replies

Homeowners get inundated by replies to their housesitting listing, and on sites like Trusted Housesitters you can see the range of how many replies they’re received. But just because you see a high number, don’t let that deter you from applying. Cream rises to the top!

My Homeowner process

  • I delete any application that I don’t get a good feeling from, so that I can create a list of potentials. This is even more important when I get a large response to my ad.
  • Right or wrong, snap decisions are made when there is only the thinnest slice of experience to go from, and these application emails are pretty thin slices to base judgements on.

Remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about the homeowner (and their pets). What can you do for them? How can you reassure them that their home will be in good hands? That’s your task as a housesitter – and your goal should be to get onto that potential House sitter shortlist.

Common Curtesy

I always respond “Thanks but no thanks” to the applicants who made the short-list, and I’m surprised by how few applicants actually acknowledge that curtesy.

But there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve received a response, and they’ve ended up sitting for me because my other sitter dropped out, or didn’t turn out to be as suitable as expected.

From the other side of the equation, I always acknowledge and respond to homeowners who take the time to thank me for my application. I received a “thanks but no thanks” email from a housesit in Half Moon Bay that I responded to.

A couple of weeks later the homeowner reached out to ask if I was still available, because their #1 pick wasn’t available any more. Guess who spent 2 weeks in northern California over 4th of July weekend?

Montara Beach Near Half Moon Bay California

House sitting for Nyla and Poppy at Montara Beach Near Half Moon Bay California

Last Words

Yes it’s a pain responding to housesitting ads, but in order to be a successful you need to take the time for each and every application to understand what the homeowner is looking for.

4 Tip Tips about how NOT to apply for a #housesitting gig. #FirstImpressionsCount Click To Tweet

 

Quote © The Power of First Impressions