What I want to talk about this time is the one sure-fire way to catch the attention of a homeowner. I have written about this in THE HOUSE SITTING BOOK, (no longer available — contact me if interested), but two recent happenings cemented home – once again – just how important this one little tip is.
The first time you reach out to a homeowner, appealing to them why you are the perfect candidate for the job, your letter may be among one hundred or more similarly-worded appeals. All the potential house sitters tell stories about their high level of responsibility, experience taking care of homes and pets, and how they love house sitting and meeting great folks around the world. They leave laudatory references that would impress even the most skeptical of homeowners.
So how can you set yourself apart from all those qualified, wonderful, experienced house sitters?
I had not one, but two great situations lately that made my heart so happy. Here’s what happened:
- Linda, a woman who read my book, emailed me that she landed her first house sitting assignment by using my one tip.
- A homeowner who I recently contacted to win a short house sitting assignment in New York City told me she picked me because I was the only person that made a comment about the photos of her dog.
That’s the tip: Simply mention something personal about their photos.
Here’s what Linda told me she did to land an assignment:
She made comments about the homeowner’s photos and asked a question about the pets. It started an email conversation between Linda and the homeowner, establishing a connection. Here’s an excerpt of her letter to the homeowner:
It looks like you like to travel as much as we do with all the wonderful photos on your wall. I noticed a photo of Venice and we’ll be there next month as well. Your house is charming and has a cozy cottage feel to it. We are also looking forward to taking care of your cats. Are they any specific breed?
It really couldn’t be any simpler. Besides giving her qualifications, Linda took the time to speak directly to their photos and words.
And in the situation where I won an assignment:
I was the only house sitter that mentioned the homeowner’s precious dog in my opening letter to her. And, you know, to her, the dog is the biggest and most important reason for hiring house sitters. I was shocked to be the only applicant to specifically mention her dog, but it proved to me that this is the one thing to set you apart from the pack. So easy – just talk about their pets. (Or something else in their photos or words.)
Moral of the story: Turn your attention to the homeowner. When you write that first letter of introduction, pick out something that speaks to you either in their photos or their words. This has to be genuine. The more genuine you are, the quicker the sentiment gets right to the homeowner’s heart.
What I said to the homeowner about her dog was that he looked so cute digging in the sand and my only regret was that we would be house sitting in winter and couldn’t take him to the beach and watch him doing that in person. That’s sappy, but it’s what I really felt when I saw the picture, and it touched the homeowner enough for her to award me the assignment. They say a picture tells a thousand words. What are the homeowner’s photos telling you? Get in close and pick out little details. Be genuine and be simple.
What do you think of when you look at their home? Do you long to be in that setting? Are the landscape plantings similar to ones you have? Does a porch look inviting for a nap?
What about pictures of their pets? Do they look like rascals? Have you had the same breed before or like that particular breed? Is their photo caught at a perfect moment?
All people want is to know you pay attention and care about connecting with them. Your observations make them feel closer to you. And it works.
Then of course you can go on to give your shining qualifications, which may or may not be different from the dozens of other applicants. What really sets you apart are your comments about their specific photos and words. I wish you happy and safe travels always and all ways. ~Josie I love to offer tips on house sitting. Click here for a menu page of more tip-related articles.