Why We Housesit in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, and Beyond…

Looking for top-notch house-sitters and pet-sitters for your San Francisco Bay Area/Santa Cruz/northern California home and pets? We’re John Soares and Stephanie Hoffman, and we live in Ashland, Oregon, just across the state line. We love hiking the high mountains and swimming the clear lakes in summer, and we also dig our area in late spring and early fall.

But we’ve had it with the cold winters in this area, so for the last five years we’ve arranged house-sitting gigs in San Francisco and Santa Cruz during those coldest months. And we love it! (And we love San Francisco so much that you can tempt us just about any time of year.)

You get the peace of mind of knowing your house and pets are in the competent and caring hands of responsible people. We get to stay in your beautiful home and enjoy the mild climate and beautiful area.

About John and Stephanie

John Soares is a former college instructor who has been a successful freelance writer for businesses and nonprofits since the early 1990s. John’s also the author of two hiking guidebooks: 100 Classic Hikes in Northern California, third edition,  and 75 Hikes in California’s Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park Regions, revised edition. John also writes the Northern California Hiking Trails blog. John has a B.S. degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in political science, both from UC Davis.

Stephanie Hoffman works as a business counselor for the Southern Oregon University Small Business Development Center. Stephanie has a B.A. degree in psychology from SUNY Albany and a M.S. degree in organizational psychology from CSU San Jose.

What About Pets and Pet-Sitting?

We absolutely love dogs and cats. Our 14-year-old super-sweet golden retriever Molly passed away in July of 2010. We miss her so much!

You can see pics of her and read about her life on John’s hiking blog.

Molly, John and Stephanie's beloved golden retriever, 1996-2010.

Molly, John and Stephanie’s beloved golden retriever, 1996-2010.

We presently have no pets and don’t plan to have any in the foreseeable future.

What is the Cost?

We typically don’t charge for house-sitting or pet-sitting because we feel it’s a fair exchange: we get to stay in a nice home during the winter months and you will have a very responsible couple taking care of your home and pet(s).

If your home requires upkeep beyond the usual (we can discuss this), or your beloved pet needs an abundance of extra care, then a per-day fee will be considered.

Our Ideal Situation

We like comfortable and clean homes in safe and quiet areas. We’ll treat your home like we do our own home (and we own our own home).

Here’s what we need:

  1. A comfortable bedroom for sleeping with at least a queen-sized bed
  2. Internet access
  3. Typical things in a house: kitchen access, and in general the same privileges you’d give to honored guests

Here’s What We Do For You

  • Take care of your pet: food, water, meds, walks…and love and attention
  • Gather mail/newspapers/UPS deliveries
  • Water house plants
  • Deal with any sudden emergency: pet to the vet, plumber, etc.
  • Clean up after ourselves
  • And we’re open to discussing other to-do’s
  • We’re also non-smokers and non-druggies (‘cept the occasional glass of wine and John’s coffee)

Got References?

Yup — really good ones.  Names and phone numbers available on request.

In the meantime, read these house-sitting references/recommendations, including ones left on John Soares’s LinkedIn profile (you can also read the last three on LinkedIn if you are logged in there):

San Francisco
“All we’ve heard from the girls since we’ve been back is how much fun they had and how many walks they went on. I think you’ve set a new standard of living for them 🙂 Thank you so much for taking great care of the girls and our home. It was so nice to come home to a clean house!”

Brett Rogers
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2011

Soquel/Santa Cruz

“John and Stephanie did house and pet-sitting for us last winter and we would absolutely ask them again. We met them just prior to departing on our vacation for the first time and immediately knew we could trust them to take great care of our dog and our house, which they did. They checked in with us regularly while we were gone, since that is important to our peace of mind. Our house was clean and neat when we returned, with flowers and a wonderful thank you note, and our dog was her usual mellow self. I’m not sure she even missed us! I highly recommend them and want to have them back next year.”

Erin Conway
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2010

Santa Cruz

“Everything looks great here and thanks so much for your careful attention to our house and pets! Hope you are doing well. We will certainly recommend you and feel free to use us as a reference. Thanks again.”

Steve Larson
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2011

Scotts Valley

“Thanks Stephanie and John for caring for our home and kitties! You guys were awesome! The house looks great and feels extremely well cared for.  We felt great knowing you were here, and appreciate how everything was taken care of. We will definitely call you in the future when in need again.
All the BEST to you and yours!”

Paul Hawk and Megan Hawk
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2011

Ashland, Oregon

“I highly recommend John Soares as a house and dog sitter. We recently hired John to sit our house and dog while we were out of the country for 10 days. We were very impressed from our first meeting by the professionalism and thoroughness of John’s housesitting checklist. He kept in email contact with us while we were away as we requested, and when we returned we found a happy dog and a house in perfect condition. We were truly able to relax knowing our house and dog were in John’s hands, and can give him the highest recommendation with absolutely no reservations.”

Kathryn Lancaster
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2011

 Ashland, Oregon

“John is timely and responsible and is willing to go beyond nominally house-sitting by taking care of pets and doing chores. In our case, when John comes in summer he takes a lot of time to run the gravity irrigation system for our very large garden. John is kind and gentle to our cats. He is almost always available to house-sit for us for either short or long visits. We would highly recommend John as a house-sitter.”

Nancy Soares
chose us for House & Pet Sitting in 2008 and several times since

You Guys Sound Great! How Do We Proceed?

Send John an e-mail: johnsoares99 -at- yahoo.com with some brief info about you, your house, your pets, and the dates you need us. John will get back to you promptly, and assuming we feel like a good fit, we’ll arrange to talk further.

John and Molly taking a snooze.

John and Molly taking a snooze.