Published in "Atlanta Home and Lifestyles" March 2001
You know the feeling - that knot that materializes in your stomach as you drive away from your house to begin a two-week vacation. By the time you hit the freeway, familiar refrains are running through your mind: Did I turn off the toaster? The coffeepot? The iron? :you wonder frantically. What if I left a burner on? What if we come home to a pile of ashes?
Thankfully, there's a cure for this same old panic attack: housesitting. If you don't have a friend or neighbor who can keep a steady watch over your home while you're away, a housesitter can be an invaluable aid to your sanity. And a Web site called housecarers.com can help match you up with someone in search of a house to look after - and, more importantly, someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Smoothly navigable and user-friendly, the site walks you through the whole process - from understanding housesitting basics (under such headings as "What are the standard guidelines of a housesitting agreement?" and "Why do people register to housesit?") to how to register and communicate through the site.
Issues dealing with homeowners' insurance, security and bill-paying also are covered. And when you're finally ready to look for a candidate, type in a few criteria (such as location) and browse the listings of prospective housesitters who fit them.
Of course, if you're interested in the flip side of the process - that is, becoming a housesitter yourself - the site is equally useful. Register your availability and preferences, and wait to see if there's a homeowner in your area who's desperate for a little peace of mind. Who says there's no such thing as a win-win situation?