Well, I'm now in Madeira
In a strange twist of fate, I found English-speaking hosts who used to live in Spain and wanted someone to speak Spanish with their kids
Sounds like a very portuñol-inducing experience? Honestly I expected much more interference. I did say branco instead of blanco, and also slipped in a random interaction on my day off, but otherwise I've been able to switch smoothly between the languages
(In fact it was much worse when I heard a lot of German today and couldn't stop thinking in German
) In the beginning the hardest part language-wise was to speak Spanish to the kids but English to the parents. This has got better very quickly.
Anyway I can definitely confirm the things I've mentioned before. Especially, double-check the things that really matter even if they're mentioned in the profile (and have a backup plan). For example it's important for me to have a good internet connection, and I avoided hosts who ask you to wash the dishes for them. My hosts even gave me their address, but it turned out they were merely planning to move to that place - something went wrong and they didn't. This means that for the first 4 days we lived at a place with no dishwasher, then on Saturday of all days (arghhhh) we moved together to a nicer flat (and had to clean up the old one as thoroughly as possible)
The new place had no Internet yet so I spent nearly 6 hours at a café. Well, it's nice to have been able to explore two different neighbourhoods but I definitely didn't sign up to help them with the move
Also random but they're backpackers which is something I admire, but this means the kids have relatively few toys
I won't count exactly but I had contacted over 50 hosts before them (possibly 60-70, not sure). By now I've contacted 85. Definitely don't stop contacting new hosts until you've reached a definitive agreement with someone. For some reason several hosts from Spain stopped replying when I asked about their daily routine, like at what time the kids go to bed. Most likely they just found someone better.
Also if you're told that you can pick any dates (say, any after XX/YY), PICK THEM ASAP or explicitly ask the host to wait.
My biggest disappointment so far was maybe when I was one of the first people to contact a new host in Málaga (a vegan/yoga place), they were very enthusiastic at first but then stopped replying. I don't know if I made a faux pas or they just got so many requests from people who are actually knowledgeable about the vegan&yoga stuff that I was no longer an interesting candidate. (they wanted me to translate their stuff into Russian... I definitely understand the topics well enough to be able to translate into my L1
) So don't get your hopes up even if someone is enthusiastic, maybe unless you can do things like carpentry, plumbing and whatnot.... My impression is that the site is full of digital nomads
More thoughts... Your profile is mostly important for getting hosts to contact you. So far I've always been making sure that it lists the skills I offer and the country where the host is, but if most hosts check anything it's probably the reviews only. My current host didn't even know I speak Finnish