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MindMyHouse News 22 May 2006

by Susan Holtham, 22nd May 2006

In this edition: lots of new sitter wanted adverts for you to peruse from the Caribbean to Japan; it’s now easier for home owners to hide their adverts; we’ve listened to our members and have given house sitters a way to track their messages to home owners; two more elucidating pieces from our Australian Blogger on Assignment; results are in for our polls on security deposits – to pay or not to pay; and finally, how to get more involved with the site – think of us as your home on the web!

Posted in: MindMyHouse News2006

Dear MindMyHousies,
Hello again from this eleventh glorious edition of our little community newsletter. I feel I can say that our community is not so little now at over 1600 members from around the planet.

To our great joy, the site is getting busier by the day – as of today (19 May) we have a record 18 sitter wanted adverts live on our site! These adverts can come and go at a surprising speed so the total will no doubt have changed by time you read this but we thought we would give ourselves a little warm fuzzy here anyhow. 

In this edition: lots of new sitter wanted adverts for you to peruse from the Caribbean to Japan; it’s now easier for home owners to hide their adverts; we’ve listened to our members and have given house sitters a way to track their messages to home owners; two more elucidating pieces from our Australian Blogger on Assignment; results are in for our polls on security deposit – to pay or not to pay; and finally, how to get more involved with the site – think of us as your home on the web!

Attention house sitters – your services are required here!

Home in California’s Sierra Mountains needs a homebody for love and care of home
If you don’t mind climbing stairs and think you can cope with the slightly thin air at 6300 feet (1920 metres) elevation then you may want to apply for this position. Exact dates to be confirmed but you may be required throughout the year.

Twenty-five acres of glorious country in Texas needs you for two weeks this spring
This is a fascinating opportunity for someone who wants to the pleasure of caring for African violets and toy poodles (before retiring to watch some satellite TV). Property comes with four ponds and a windmill!

Six month assignment in a ranch-style home on 1/3 acre in the sunny southern state of North Carolina
Fancy a May-November romance with two dogs and a cat in Gastonia, (near Charlotte)? This sitter wanted advert comes with photographs so check them out!

Walk to the beach in Cape Cod this summer!
Two weeks in glorious Cape Cod this June sounds wonderful to us. Are you up to ‘parenting’ two adorable French bulldogs?

Hotter than July in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Three medium to large dogs need you for nine days this July in Florida. Chill out inside the owner’s new home and swim in the ‘small but private pool’ whenever you like!

Frequent opportunities to stay on two acres in Rye, New Hampshire (USA)
With further dates to be confirmed, these home owners require short term loving care for two large dogs. Are you interested in short breaks with lawns, woods, gardens and beaches?

A repeat assignment near the sunny west coast of Florida (USA) for an over-55 (or two)
Two adorable kittens are looking for a cat lover aged over 55 to enjoy all the facilities that this adult community has to offer.

Cat lover required for two weeks this summer (and winter) in Greenfield, Massachussetts (USA)
In the words of the home owner ‘nice location for city dwellers who may want a couple of weeks in the country’.

A townhouse awaits you for five weeks in Tokyo, Japan this summer
Cat lovers required to enjoy some peace in this quiet retreat in Tokyo this July to August. Golf practice nearby!

Does five months in the Caribbean call you?
Two friendly old dogs want to share magnificent sea views with you from a guest apartment attached to 14 acres on a Caribbean island. Some ride-on mowing is required.

(To contact these home owners you need to login to your account area first)

Home owners – we’ve made it a lot easier for you to hide your sitter wanted adverts

If you read some of the recent messages from home owners on our testimonials page http://www.mindmyhouse.com/advice/testimonials.php you will see that home owners’ sitter wanted adverts are now very successful at attracting replies from our house sitter members. So successful in fact, that we recently had a sitter wanted advert published live on our site for a record three hours!

Because we know that you spend some time and energy composing your adverts and also may need to advertise for a house sitter again in the future (life’s like that isn’t it?) we have made it much easier for home owners to hide (rather than delete) their sitter wanted adverts. This is a nice way to store your advert on our database – sight unseen – until the next time you need to advertise for a house sitter. The previous six-step process has been refined into a much more convenient three as follows:

  • login to your account area with your email address (username) and password
  • choose ‘edit/show my advert’ from the left-hand menu
  • click on ‘hide advert’

It’s done!

Tracking your messages to home owners

As a result of feedback from two of our house sitter members the webmaster has recently added a nifty new feature to the site. Previously when using our contact form system to respond to sitter wanted adverts it may have felt that after pushing the send button your well-written and lengthy messages to home owners simply vanished without a trace. We’ve realised that you may want a record of these application letters for your own future use or reference. Now, when you contact a home owner through our contact form system you will automatically receive a copy of your message at your email address. See, all you had to do was ask! If there’s anything else you would like to see different about our site just write and say so!

Our Blogger on Assignment publishes more gold from sunny Queensland (Australia)

We introduced Clare, our resident Blogger on Assignment, in edition five of MindMyHouse News (November 2005). Clare actually publishes her own online blog called Temporary Shelter which contains some of my favourite reading. We love to pick and choose from her blog excerpts and have recently published two of her choice new pieces for your reading pleasure. In her second piece Housesit Rejects, Clare explains how she finds herself in the enviable position of being able to turn down offers of house sitting assignments. Lucky girl! In her latest piece we find out all about her ‘non interference rule’, where it seems her good intentions seem to be getting her into trouble. This is blogging gold from one very experienced house sitter.

Security deposit polls – statistics are in for house sitters and home owners

Over the past two months we’ve been running two polls on our homepage covering the hot topic of security deposits. We asked house sitters if they expected to have to pay a deposit and home owners how often they asked their sitters for one. The results are very interesting (for the likes of me anyhow). Although our poll would cut no ice at the Kinsey Institute I think that the 115 house sitters and 15 home owners who took the time to answer our questions have given us a little snapshot of what is going on out there in the big world.

It seems that our home owners and house sitters share similar expectations when it comes to the paying of security deposits. Although home owners tend to ask for a security deposit 20% of the time while house sitters only expect to pay one 13% of the time. Hmmm… I wonder if this could be a cause for conflict between the two parties when it comes to negotiating the agreement? It also seems that home owners are more than twice as ambivalent about the whole issue (should I ask for a deposit or shouldn’t I?) than house sitters are.

View polls currently on MindMyHouse: http://mindmyhouse.com/advice/polls.php

MindMyHouse – think of it as your home on the web!

There are plenty of ways to get more involved in the MindMyHouse project. We want you to feel as if MindMyHouse is one of your homes on the web! If you have a story to tell which is loosely themed around house sitting why not submit it for publication in ‘Bloggers on Assignment’ in our Community area. Or if you want your fifteen minutes of fame simply answer my questionnaire and I’ll write up the story of your life and house sitting adventures for publication in our ‘Meet the house sitters’ section. Or you can take a minute to leave a comment at the bottom of any of the published pieces in our Community area. And I always welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can still improve our service to you our valued members. I’m all ears!

Happy house sitting (or best of luck with your sitters!)


Susan Holtham
aka the team at MindMyHouse

About the author: Susan Holtham

Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!