Household equipment and appliances vary from house to house. Given a drawer full of manuals and a day or two, we can generally work out how most things work without too much trouble. Nevertheless, it’s best to go over the main ones with the home owner during a handover session.
Some of the things you will want to ask are:
Is a car necessary and will one be provided? Who should we contact if it breaks down?
Will the homeowners need dropped off at and picked up from the airport? If so what are the dates and flight details?
What are the owners contact details while away?
Where is the mains water tap?
Where is the main fuse box? (This is important as using too many or faulty appliances can sometimes cause the switches to trip)
How does the heating/air-con/water heater work?
If there is a gas supply, is it mains or bottle? Where is the bottle and how do we replace it?
How do the shower, washing machine, cooker, tv, dvd, any other appliances work and where are the manuals?
What is the security code for WiFi/broadband?
Where do we put trash and how often is it picked up? What can we re-cycle and how?
What garden and pool maintenance is required?
What plants do we need to water, how often and how much?
Should we collect mail?
Are there any bills expected that we should look out for and pay? Where do we pay them?
What security measures should we take when we go out – windows, doors, locks, alarms?
Who has a spare key?
Who should we contact in an emergency?
Anything else we should know? This one covers those little idiosyncracies that most homes have – sticky doors, funny noises, leaky taps, that sort of thing.
You should also ask the home owner to give you a list of contact numbers for tradespeople they use and the local vet. Wardrobe and drawer space in the bedroom and cupboard/fridge/freezer space in the kitchen are appreciated.
Finally – don’t think you’ll remember everything. Write it down. Some of our sittees type up a list of instructions, others jot it in a notebook. It’s handy for them to keep for future house-sits too.