Tips for Buying and Selling on Kijiji (or Craigslist)

Kijiji is a service that allows anyone to post free online classified ads. You don’t even need to register to post an ad. Kijiji and Craigslist are just two examples of extremely popular no-cost online classified services. Last week I covered What I Like About Kijiji.

This week is all about tips for buying and selling on Kijiji or Craigslist:

Use photos

It’s extremely easy to post photos. You don’t even have to register to post an ad with a photo. It lets people see what your selling and clearly shows the the state of the item.

Post a price

I don’t even contact a seller who says ‘please contact’. Just tell me what your price is. If I can’t see it in person, I’m not about to start negotiating a price.

Price reasonably

We have had tremendous success selling anything we’ve posted on Kijiji really quickly. Usually it’s sold within hours of posting an ad. We’ve sold everything from wagons, winter coats, bedroom sets and even a piano.

Before posting I do a search for similar type items and put the price at just a little bit under. So for example, when selling the wagon, I did a search for the same one and found 4 of them for sale for $40. I posted ours for $35 and it was gone within the day.

Do your research

My husband has been keeping his eye out for an American made Fender Stratocaster. He saw one recently that seemed like a reasonable price. Then when he read the fine print, he realized it was a low end model and the person was in fact selling a used one for more than they go for new! Be honest with what you post and do your research to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

Look outside your own city

When looking for our bedroom set, we set a budget, saved some money and then started looking. We knew we wanted something in solid wood and we were hoping for a four poster bed. We checked regularly and still found nothing. Finally we expanded our search to surrounding cities. Immediately we found the perfect set 100 km away. Even with the cost of renting a van to pick it up, we still came in $250 under budget and we found exactly what we were looking for.

Check frequently

Checking regularly is the key to finding exactly what you want. The good stuff goes fast. My brother-in-law furnished his entire cottage from Craigslist. It’s gorgeous. It doesn’t look used. It looks like something out of a magazine and suits the cottage perfectly. He said he did it by checking every morning and every evening. He had a list of what he was looking for. He knew his budget and he kept checking.

Use the search feature

Trying out Kijiji the first time can seem overwhelming. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of items posted. If you type in exactly what you’re looking for and define the parameters a bit, you’ll only see the types of ads you want.

Stay safe

Use a generic e-mail address, not one with your name in it. Don’t post your address online. I don’t even post my home phone number. I usually let interested buyers contact me by e-mail at which time I give them my address and phone number. I don’t want someone looking me up and showing up at my door without notice.

A friend learned this lesson the hard way after she posted her daughters dance shoes online. Within the hour a man showed up at her front door saying he just looked up her last name and tracked her down by the google map on the site. He needed those shoes now! Ever since, she switched to her generic e-mail that doesn’t contain any personal information. There are some weirdos out there but there are also ways you can protect yourself.

Make it readable

f u wnt me 2 buy wot U r selln, plz uz real wrds. I don’t want to have to use google translator to figure out your text speak. Explain what the item is. State your price. Use some descriptive words. Explain how you’d like to be contacted. Use spell check.

Use Kijiji Etiquette

  • Once someone has said they are coming to purchase your item, give them a time limit and edit your add title with the letters PPU at the end. This stands for “pending pick up”. If the person is a ‘no show’, you can remove the PPU.
  • Normally we get anywhere from 1-10 replies to our ads. I write to the first one and explain they were the first to reply. They give me a time. I explain if they aren’t there with an hour of the time they stated, I will offer it to the second person. I also contact the next people in order and explain that they are next in line and will be contacted if the first person doesn’t show. It’s irritating to reply to an ad an hear nothing back.
  • As soon as the item has been picked up an paid for, delete your ad.

Using Kijiji or Craiglist is a great way to get good stuff for a great price. It’s also a great way to sell the things you no longer want and get some money for it!

Do you have any additional tips that I might have missed?

Kathryn works in public relations and training for a non profit. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Her passions include personal finance and adult education. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.

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Kathryn has been a staff writer for MDJ since January 2009. During the day she works in an office. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.
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Wayne Brittain
2 years ago

I have offered free items on Kijiji. I live out of the city and indicated that in my ad, When contacted by interested parties who ask where I live, I send them the information and in many cases I hear nothing back. A simple “I can’t drive that far” would be a nice way to end the exchange but a no repsonse is pretty inconsiderate.

6 years ago

Hi quick question in Alberta can you return a vehicle back to the person you bought it off of?

Garth Duguay
6 years ago

This was a great article and even learned something new from it.

We happen to have a store in the Capital City Fredericton NB, and most of our customers come right from ads we have on Kijiji. Over the years I’ve been really happy with the customers, and people I’ve got to meet thanks to Kijiji. Recently something really neat has come about. That is my invention to advertise on Kijiji a lot faster. It helps with reposting ads that have disappeared deep into the pages of Kijiji, and have them up at the front pages again. 15 seconds has been the average re-post time. As a matter of fact uploading the images always takes more time than re-posting. The service is Speed Reposter ( and conveniently enough can be used with other similar websites like Kijiji.

Paul Mazurkiewicz
6 years ago

I was looking for a source on this thing I read once where if you offer 80% of an item’s value, usually a seller will accept.

Anyway great post. It’s got some legs six years on.

Here’s my way more recent post on the same subject if anyone’s interested

7 years ago

“I don’t even contact a seller who says ‘please contact’. Just tell me what your price is. If I can’t see it in person, I’m not about to start negotiating a price.”

I wonder if she realizes that please contact is to invite offers or maybe the person does not want people just looking up the map and dropping in….
So they say please contact – meaning arrange a time or offer a price.

Negotiating price … you set a price say $50 and people email offering $10…
Obviously lots of people like to negotiate.
Next is the person that offers a price, arranges a time and never shows up.
Then you get some that ask for pictures – I have to wonder what is wrong with their eyes – the ad has a picture…. all they have to do is look.

Next there are the ones that ask” is it still for sale” likely if the ad is still up.
So you reply and get no reply back. Or they ask what is the phone number … well it’s on the left of the ad… just click to see.

Next is the scam artist texting you … so you reply and when you get the phone bill it is full of international text … and at a cost. Best to just call the person instead of text reply – this way you know at no cost.

And last of all… I wonder if the writer realizes that with say 100 ads … how much time it takes to picture all of them and then go look them up to price them ? If you can even find the exact item sometimes …. and that is after sorting pictures, describing the item and then doing the post.

Basically in pricing … it’s a game… if you don’t mind just pricing cheaper than the next guy – as the writer suggests which is basically playing giveaway … then it’s easy to sell. Getting a decent price that is fair value – or what something is worth – that’s a different story.

8 years ago

another thing you can do to increase views and hopefully chances of selling, is to do some rss feed submission to rss feed directories. Just make sure they are reputable and frequently visited.

9 years ago

Great tips. In addition to CL, another site I’d like to use in Canada to post free ads is:

9 years ago

When I was in Canada, I sold most of my used appliances on kijiji and I could easily sell it in 2 days. Kijiji is a great place to buy and sell things if you are in Canada. You can get positive replies if you know how to use keywords, title, description and great picture in your listing.

cashback cards
11 years ago

Research, research, and research will make your posting, buying, and selling smooth sailing on either kijiji or craiglist. I always check and see what prices are going for around on these, and compare both for whatever item I am interested and then do more research on other sites such as ebay to compare prices and other information about the item.

Thanks for the tips!

Canada Deals
11 years ago

Don’t forget to use a legal “Bill of Sale” so nothing comes back to bite you in the a**. Most government sites have these available for printing.