RealEstate Ke > Neighborhood safety > How to Ask Your Neighbor to Watch Your House (15 Tips)

How to Ask Your Neighbor to Watch Your House (15 Tips)

Travel season is ramping up, and 63% of Americans are planning vacations this year according to a survey by YouGov Plc commissioned by Bankrate.

As you gear up for your next getaway, finding someone to watch your house while you’re gone brings peace of mind. Professional house-sitting services can be pricey. Why not ask your friendly neighbor for help instead?

Nearby neighbors make ideal home caretakers when you travel. They can check on things daily and deal with any issues that crop up. And it’s a great way to strengthen community ties!

Follow these 15 tips to successfully ask your neighbor to serve as your vacation housesitter. Coming home from your trip to a secure house will be a breeze.

1. Choosing the right neighbor

You’re heading out on vacation soon and need someone trustworthy to keep an eye on your place while you’re gone.

Who are you going to call? Your neighbor, of course!

But not just any neighbor will do. You want to choose someone reliable who will take the responsibility seriously. After all, you’re putting your home and belongings in their hands.

Pick a neighbor you’re tight with and have a good relationship with. You know, someone you’ve exchanged more than just a head nod and a “hello” with. A neighbor you’ve actually hung out with and chatted over the fence with.

Bottom line: choose a neighbor you trust, someone who won’t throw a rager at your house, or “borrow” your antique coin collection while you’re sipping piña coladas on the beach. This is key for peace of mind on vacation.

2. Picking a good time

Do you have a neighbor in mind that you want to ask? Sweet! Now it’s time to pick the right time to approach them.

You’ll wanna find a convenient time that works for both of your schedules. Swing by when you know they’ll be home – maybe after dinner or on the weekend.

Don’t spring it on them last minute though! Give them some heads up, ideally 1-2 weeks in advance if you can. This shows you respect their schedule and gives them time to plan.

No one likes having a favor sprung on them out of nowhere. So pick a chill time when you can catch them outside getting the mail or mowing the lawn.

Give them a friendly wave and ask if they have a few minutes to chat.

3. Giving advance notice

Building on that last point, it’s clutch to give them plenty of advance notice before your trip. I’m talking at least 1-2 weeks if possible.

The more heads up you give, the better. This gives your neighbor time to juggle their own schedule and responsibilities to accommodate watching your place.

Giving short notice puts them in a tough spot and they’ll be more likely to say no. You want to make it easy for them to say yes!

So as soon as your trip is booked, stroll over and give them a heads-up. Say something like:

“Hey, Jim, the family and I are heading to Hawaii next month from the 14th to the 21st. I know it’s a long way off, but would you be able to keep an eye on the house for me? Totally fine if you can’t, just wanted to ask!”

Boom! Politely asked with plenty of notice. Now the ball’s in their court.

4. Being understanding of refusals

Does your neighbor agree to watch your place? Awesome! But what if they can’t?

Be understanding if your neighbor says no. Don’t take it personally. We all have different commitments and schedules to juggle.

Your neighbor Aubrey might have to work. Your neighbor Ned might be headed out of town himself that week. And your neighbor Leslie may just not feel comfortable taking on the responsibility.

Respect their decision and don’t pressure them if they decline. The last thing you want is to force a “yes” out of guilt or awkwardness. That benefits no one.

Simply respond with:

“No problem at all! I totally understand. I appreciate you considering it.”

This will go a long way to maintaining your positive neighborly relations. And who knows, maybe next time they’ll be able to help when their schedule allows it.

The key is asking politely without attachments to the outcome. A “no” is totally okay!

5. Preparing your home

Does your neighbor agree to become a home sitter?

Awesome!

Now it’s a good idea to prep your house so things are in tip-top shape when you jet off.

Tidy up inside and outside so your place looks neat and well cared for while you’re gone. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, sweep the floors, clean the bathrooms – you get the gist.

Make their “job” easier by having your home in order before you skip town.

Bonus: you’ll come home to a clean house!

Also, take out the trash and perishable food so nothing funky is sitting inside for days/weeks. And make sure things work – no leaky faucets, dead lightbulbs, or wonky appliances.

By leaving your home guest-ready, your neighbor will feel comfortable stopping by each day or week to check on things.

6. Asking politely

You’ve picked the right time, given advance notice, and prepped your home.

Now it’s go time!

When you meet up with your neighbor to pop the question, be polite and respectful. This is your first impression after all.

You’re asking for a favor, so don’t just bark demands like:

“Hey, can you watch my house while I’m in Hawaii next month?”

Nah. Start off on the right foot by being friendly and gracious right off the bat. Smile and ask how they’ve been. Ease into the ask.

Say something like:

“Hey, Jenny! How’s it going? I wanted to ask you a big favor if you have time…I’m headed to Hawaii next month and was wondering if you could keep an eye on my place while I’m gone. I’d really appreciate it!”

See, starting with a warm hello and acknowledgment sets a positive tone and shows this is a favor you’re grateful for.

Even if they say no, you’ve made the experience pleasant for everyone by being polite and considerate. That’s key!

7. Providing details

If your neighbor gives the green light, the next step is providing all the crucial details they’ll need to take care of your home.

Give them the full scoop – when you’ll be out of town, how to reach you in case of emergency, if anyone else will be stopping by the house, any maintenance or tasks you need to be done like:

  • Watering plants
  • Collecting mail/packages
  • Mowing lawn
  • Checking for damages

The more info you can provide, the better! Create a checklist of tasks and instructions to leave behind for your neighbor caretaker.

This makes it crystal clear what you’re expecting and prevents any confusion down the road. Consider it a mini home-sitting manual just for them.

8. Suggesting specific tasks

In addition to the basics like bringing in mail and watering plants, you can give your neighbor some specific tasks and requests to really make it look like someone’s home.

Here are a few ideas to suggest:

  • Park in your driveway occasionally
  • Move your car around the block now and then
  • Remove any flyers or door hangers left on your door
  • Turn lights on/off on a schedule
  • Have packages delivered to their address instead

Giving them small assignments like these helps keep up appearances that you’re actually home, discouraging any potential break-in attempts.

When making requests, be reasonable of course. And always phrase it as an option:

“If you have time, would you mind parking in my driveway a couple of times while I’m gone? No biggie if you can’t!”

As long as you’re polite and grateful, your neighbor will likely be willing to pitch in and help keep your home secure.

But give them the flexibility to say no to anything that’s too much trouble.

9. Offering a spare key

Here’s a question to consider – should you offer your neighbor a spare key to get inside your home while you’re gone?

There are pros and cons here. A key allows them easy access to:

  • Water plants
  • Check appliances/plumbing
  • Look for damage/leaks
  • Bring packages inside

But it also gives them unsupervised access to all of your belongings.

Only offer a key if you completely trust this neighbor. If you have even the slightest hesitation, it’s better to decline the key option.

You can instead leave a hidden key outside that only they know about. Or make sure they have the contact info for another trusted person with access who can meet them there if needed.

The choice is yours. Just follow your gut – you know this neighbor better than anyone! If you do hand over a key, be sure to get it back as soon as you return from your trip.

10. Notifying neighborhood watch

If your neighborhood has an active neighborhood watch or community group, leverage this resource!

Let your neighborhood watch know the dates you’ll be traveling and ask them to keep a special eye on your home while you’re out of town.

The more eyes watching out, the better. And your neighbors involved in the watch have already shown an interest in keeping the community safe.

Reach out to whoever runs the program (maybe a block captain or committee member) and ask them to pass the word.

Don’t announce your travel dates to the whole neighborhood – that just lets potential thieves know your home will be empty! But the watch group can quietly keep tabs without spreading the word.

At the very least, a heads up to neighborhood watch means they won’t accidentally report you as away if they don’t see activity at your home.

Always good to loop them in!

11. Following up afterwards

Your trip is over and you’re back home with a golden tan. Don’t forget to complete your neighborly duty!

Follow up with your home-watching neighbor and let them know you’ve returned safely and that everything looks good.

A simple “Thanks, we’re back from our trip and the house is perfect! We really appreciate you watching the place for us” will do.

Following up is just a thoughtful final step. It brings closure to the favor and shows gratitude for their help in looking after your humble abode.

You’d want the same courtesy if you watched someone’s home, right? So pay it forward and send them a quick “thanks again” message.

This is key for maintaining positive ongoing relations with your neighbors. And next time you need a house sitter, you can call on them again!

12. Offering to reciprocate

To take your neighborly gratitude to the next level, offer to return the favor!

After they watch your place, say:

“Hey, if you ever need someone to watch your house when you go out of town, I’m totally available! Just let me know, I’d be happy to help in any way I can.”

This sends the message that you’re willing to watch THEIR place next time they take a vacation.

It’s a great way to reciprocate and show your appreciation for their help. Plus, it makes both of your lives easier knowing you can count on each other when travel comes up.

You can even offer to help with something sooner like:

  • Watering plants while they’re away for the weekend
  • Keeping an eye on their home during a short trip
  • Taking in mail/packages if they’re traveling

Look for small opportunities to pay the favor back and prove you’re reliable too. Good neighbors help each other out! Building this two-way trust is so valuable.

13. Being clear on expectations

Before your neighbor commits to watching your place, eliminate any guesswork by clearly laying out what you need from them.

Explain must-do tasks like:

  • Watering indoor/outdoor plants
  • Collecting mail and packages
  • Mowing lawn if needed
  • Checking appliances and plumbing
  • Setting out trash/recycling bins

The more details you can provide upfront, the less they’ll have to figure out. Give clear instructions to set you both up for success.

You can even create a custom checklist for them to follow. This is helpful if you have pet care, pool maintenance, or other specific asks.

The goal is to be detailed and thorough so your neighbor caretaker knows exactly what to do and feels confident in their role.

14. Providing emergency contacts

Before jetting off, take time to provide your neighbor with important emergency contact information.

Give them your own contact details like:

  • Cell phone number
  • Hotel details
  • Email address
  • Social media accounts

That way they can reach you if any pressing issues come up at the house that require your input.

Also, provide a backup emergency contact like a family member or friend who lives nearby just in case. This gives your neighbor an additional lifeline if they can’t get ahold of you.

Having multiple points of contact provides peace of mind for both parties. You’ll relax on vacation knowing your neighbor can handle anything that pops up.

And they’ll feel more prepared with direct access to you and a backup resource in case of emergency.

Sharing this info helps protect your home and gives you extra assurance while you’re away.

15. Expressing appreciation

When you return from your trip, take time to show your neighbor how grateful you are for their help. Don’t just say thanks – demonstrate it!

Here are some ideas to really express your appreciation:

  • Give them a thank you card with a gift card or cash inside
  • Send flowers or treat them to dinner
  • Buy them a gift based on their interests
  • Simply write a heartfelt thank you note

Even a small gesture goes a long way to show your gratitude. And who doesn’t like being appreciated?

A genuine thank you maintains your neighborly bond and motivates them to help you out again next time. So avoid just a quick “thanks” – go above and beyond to express appreciation.

After all, keeping an eye on your home is a big favor to ask, so remember to return their kindness. This ensures goodwill on both sides!

Conclusion

Asking your neighbor to watch your house while you skip town requires some forethought and prep.

By picking a responsible neighbor you trust, giving them plenty of notice, providing detailed instructions, and expressing genuine appreciation, you can feel at ease handing over your keys.

Following these tips will ensure your request is well-received and your home is in good hands while you unwind on vacation.

With a reliable neighbor caretaker, you can focus on creating magical memories instead of worrying about home security. Plus you’ll strengthen your community ties for the future.

So don’t stress about finding a housesitter – just head next door! Remembering to be polite, respectful, and appreciative will make the experience positive for everyone.

Here’s to happy travels with peace of mind knowing your home is secure thanks to your friendly, helpful neighbor!

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.