and Outs on How to do it Right
|by Jerry Draughon
been in Mexico, I look for ways to improve my situation. I have found
that house-sitting serves that need. I am able to live in beautiful
mansions that I could never afford under normal circumstances. Let
me tell you of one.
this.! Here's a three story home that is in the price range of between
one and two million dollars. It has a winding 12 ft wide staircase
with vines growing up the handrail. The living room encompasses three
rooms. There is the music room on one side, and then we come to a
double sided fireplace and a formal dining area in the center; behind that
is a full bar, then the entertainment section with everything you would
want. This magnificent room (or is it rooms) are bordered on the
back with a full balcony complete with another dining set and a full living
room ensemble and lazyboy.
overlooks the lake and its majestic mountains. At the end on this
room is another smaller balcony that overlooks some of the vista of the
lake, but a closer look at the mountain in back of the home.
The main balcony
must be fifty to sixty feet long with the other one being approx. 30 feet
in length. Now, this lovely home is staffed with a gardner/butler
and a cook/maid. They are there to help with my every whim. The larger
balcony overlooks the beautiful heated swimming pool and the vine covered
gazebo and the manicured grounds that are awash in colors. I have
an office with a computer and a patio with umbrella tables and an outside
bar near the pool. In my large mirrored bedroom is exercise equipment
and a heated Jacuzzi that holds six people. This wonderful home goes
on and on like this. Can you every wonder why I would force myself to put
up with these sorts of surroundings? Yes, as I said in a recent article,
I have a small 2 bedroom house that I use when I'm not in one of these
Let me tell
you how I obtain places like this.
First, I had
cards printed up stating that I house sit.
coming to Mexico, I obtained reports from my sheriff's department and
police department stating that I was of good character and that I had no
blemishes on my record or, in fact, no record at all. If you can afford
to be or get bonded, you will pick up more clients. Bonding is very expensive.
You may have to do one house at a time and always ask for a recommendation
after you are done, but tell them up front that you will expect one if
they are satisfied with your services.
Then you beat
the bricks and put these cards everywhere around town. Actually,
anyplace that you think will be beneficial to you. In general conversation,
just tell folks that you house-sit. You may have to build up to some
of the ones that I stay in now, but each one will give you another reference
Be sure that
when you go for the first interview that you dress conservatively.
Offshore Resources Gallery
|Be clean shaven
(if you're a guy) and otherwise create a good impression. Be sure
to answer all of their questions honestly and without hesitation.
You will need to determine the length of their stay away from home and
if there are any pets. Are there any chores that you need to do in
their absence, like pay their household staff or take the dog to the groomer?
the expected vendors or visitors that are liable to stop by while they
are away? You just don't open your door to anyone, for any reason,
in this area. Because you are in a very nice home, you might be looked
at as a potential victim. How can you reach the owners, if needed
in an emergency? What are the important phone numbers. What
is the procedure if the power goes off while they are away? Will
the alarms reset themselves when the power returns or do you need to call
the security people. Do they want you to wear a cell phone during
their absence? Do they supply a cell phone? Will they be leaving
extra moneys for incidentals, if needed? Do you have full run of
the home? Are there restricted areas? Do you have cooking privileges.
Is there hot water? (some people turn off the hot water heater, so ask
|If you are
driving, then this next segment is not of too much concern to you, but
if you are taking public transportation, then watch out for this.
If the house in on fairly level ground, no problem, how far to the bus
stop? I saw and turned down a home that was about ¾ of a mile
from the stop, and you had to climb over a hill to get there. If
you have cooking privileges and the house is higher up on the hill, then
adjust your rates. Should you take a cab? If so, it will eat up your
fees fast. One house that I sat, I had to stop 4 times to rest from climbing
the hill. Figure this type of problem into your fees. Can you
have a guest over? Find out if there are extra blankets and where
they are kept. It might get cold.
charge 50 pesos per day here in Mexico, but if there are animals, another
fifty. No snakes, or monkeys. If there is a hill that I might have
to climb or hire a cab to get to the property, then the fee is 100 pesos.
You might want to sit some houses for free. These are the basics.
Start with a medium home and, as you gain experience, go for the gold!
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