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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