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How to Determine What Type of Living Situation is Right for You

Have you overstayed your welcome at your parents’ home? Or are you just ready to flee the nest and explore the real world? Either way, moving out is an exciting and exhilarating experience and a major milestone in a person’s life.

One of the things you should consider before you take the leap however, is whether you’d like to live by yourself, with your partner or with a roommate. It is a very personal decision, and there is no one sized fits all answer to the question. It comes down to preferences for personal space, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, how you like to spend your time, and how you like to spend your money. Whether or not you know anyone that you actually want to live with is another important consideration. Are you comfortable finding a room mate online? Do you prefer to move in with a friend? Does your partner make such a mess everywhere it would lead to the end of the relationship?

Here are some tips that might help you make that call.

The perks of living alone

  • You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. So go ahead and eat mac and cheese out of the pot. No judgment here.
  • You have all the privacy you need, so if you want to clip your toenails while watching TV in the living room, go ahead.
  • No roommate drama or “quirks” to deal with.
  • You don’t have to share the shower, kitchen, washing machine, or anything else for that matter.
  • You call the shots on what furniture to buy and what will suit your space.
  • You can feel good about yourself that you’re doing something independently.

 

The downside

 

Living with your partner, a friend or a roommate

  • It’s cheaper.
  • Companionship. There’s someone you can usually vent to about your bad day.
  • You may build a stronger relationship.
  • Perhaps you might meet new people if you don’t already know your roommate. It will help expand your social network.
  • It isn’t so lonely.
  • You can share chores.

 

Cons

  • You have to trust that they will hold up their end of the rent and chores.
  • You have to be respectful and considerate of the other person you’re living with. This may mean not having guests over at 2 a.m. when your roommate is working at 6 a.m. the next day.
  • Sharing has its downside. Maybe you wanted that last slice of pizza.
  • Being in the same space can lead to some friction. You may get annoyed at each other’s quirks.
  • If you’re moving in with your partner or even a friend you can risk ruining that relationship. You might get on each other’s nerves or argue over who did the dishes last.

How to Take Fabulous Photographs that Sell Your Item For You

We’ve been through how to make a great Kijiji ad – but after optimizing your description and doing your research, what can you do to make buyers desperate for your item? Great photos! Nothing sells an item like a great photograph that really showcases what an awesome find it is. Here are some tips to make sure your pictures are the best they can be:
A Great Picture Gets a Great Result on Your Ad

Use a high end camera (preferably a DSLR). We know you love your iphone, but the camera on a phone can’t compare to a high quality camera if you really want your photos to pop.

Stage your items. You know how in catalogs or store windows, items are placed artfully together in order to create a picture or idea? Pair your item with things that create an aspirational aesthetic – for instance, take a picture of your candelabra when full of lit candles, as a centerpiece on a fully set table, ready for a holiday. Take time to set up your patio set outside rather than snapping a picture of it while in the corner of the garage. Include a picture of your snowmobile in action while someone is riding it, rather than just stationary sitting on a trailer. Look through catalogs for some great ideas on how to best display your items.

Don’t show clutter. Make sure your item pops by ensuring that there is no dirt, dust, or unrelated clutter in the picture that distracts from your item. Understand the difference between clutter and items carefully picked for how they set each other off. This especially applies if you are creating a real estate listing. Clutter will distract buyers.

Feature all the angles. Capture any interesting features from multiple angles, and be sure to include a picture that clearly shows flaws. You want to show your item in the best possible way, but you shouldn’t misrepresent it, as this will cost you time and money later on when buyers are unpleasantly surprised in person.

Use daylight and/or a high quality flash. Natural light will make your items look much more attractive. Spend some time getting the lighting right and it will pay off with higher quality, clearer photos, and much more interest in your item.

Make it fun! Maybe you add personality by setting up a doll tea party in a dollhouse for sale, showing your child enjoying the swing set you are selling, or any detail that might make a viewer of your ad smile. Not only will the ad get more attention, but people will be more drawn to dealing with you as a seller if you can show that you have a fun personality and a sense of humour. Ads that are well crafted and have some thought put into making them fun often sell for better prices than ads that have been made in haste.

What is flagging? Why bother reporting ads?

“Flagging” is bringing an ad or reply to an ad to the attention of our customer service team. All ads on Kijiji have a link in the top right hand corner that enables you to “report ad”, which drops down to reveal the following options when reporting:

Scam/Prohibited: intended for ads which are fraudulent or that violate Kijiji posting rules. Ads which are clearly fraud (for instance, an English Bulldog puppy for less than $200) would be an example of when this is an appropriate flag choice. It will be clear to the moderators as soon as they review that this is not a legitimate ad. Drug paraphernalia or weapons is another example of an appropriate time for this report, as those are a clear violation of the rules. If it offends you personally or you had a bad dealing with the poster this is not an appropriate time to use this reason when flagging, as this will not be clear to the moderators.

Duplicate/Spam: intended to call attention to when an individual is spamming an item or service. Spam that is clearly based out of country (for instance, a drop ship service for a given item from China) or duplicate ads posted by the same user are examples of when to use this. This is not intended for ads that you don’t think should be on Kijiji, but that do not violate any rules on posted content.

No Longer Relevant: this is intended only for ads that have been sold, or that are advertising a service, item, or event that is no longer relevant, such as concert tickets to a concert that has already occurred. This option does not bring the ad to the attention of moderators, instead, it prompts the poster to remove the ad if it is no longer available.

Miscategorized: intended for ads that are in the wrong category or location, such as a dog being posted outside of the pets category, a car posted in buy and sell, or a house located outside of Canada being posted in houses for sale in Toronto.

Type a Reason…: intended for times when a flag will need supplemental information for the violation to be clear. If the poster is performing a “bait and switch”, is selling something that has been recalled, or something that they are legally not permitted to sell, these would be appropriate times to add additional clarification when flagging an ad.

What if I accidentally flag an ad or reply? Don’t worry – flags do not cause automatic removals or bans. Since flags are reviewed by humans, if the flag does not make sense it will not result in any negative action.

Finding Reliable Tenants: How Do I Screen Applicants Effectively?

As a landlord, protecting your investment should always be top of mind. A good way to achieve that is to find a tenant that will pay rent on time and take good care of your rental property. That, however, can be easier said than done. Some landlords run into problem tenants who know how to manipulate the landlord and tenant relations rules in each province to cheat landlords out of several months rent. Some tenants have also been known to provide false letters of employment and have even created fraudulent credit reports. As a landlord, you have to choose carefully. Don’t ever let your guard down. It is better to have an empty unit for a month than end up with a tenant that doesn’t pay, damages the property, or both. After all, it isn’t much of an income property if it isn’t generating any income (or causing a loss).

Finding Reliable Tenants

Screening tips
To avoid these bad tenants, you should be taking the time to screen each potential tenant. That means creating a rental application that asks them important questions like how much they make and where they work. You should also ask for some references that you can call to verify the information they have given you, a letter of employment and permission to run a credit check. Take some time to chat with them and learn what they are like as people, and ask some specific questions about their job and their lifestyle preferences to ensure it is a good fit all around. After all, there are reasons that an apartment or neighbourhood might not be right for them, and if you can let someone with severe allergies know that the neighbors have dogs, you can potentially save both parties the trouble of a living arrangement that isn’t going to work out long term, and concentrate on finding someone who will be the right fit for your income property.

Be weary of tenants who seem too good to be true. It’s possible they have copied someone else’s credit report and given it to you. You should look into using your local landlord association as a resource. Often times if you become a member you can get discounts on things like running credit checks on potential tenants. That credit check, provided by a third party company like TVS or Equifax will provide a financial history of the person looking to rent your property. You can find out if they pay their bills onetime and also their dealings with former landlords.

Another way to find a tenant best suited for your rental property is to contact the potential tenant’s former landlords and learn about their character and rent-payment patterns. You may also want to ask them to provide a criminal record check.

What not to do
Even though you may want to know every detail about the potential tenant to help you make an informed decision, you should make sure you aren’t asking questions that may cross the line. Human rights legislation in each province states you cannot select or refuse a tenant based on their race, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status (e.g. children) or disability. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your respective province’s human rights code to find out more.

Most prospective tenants are honest and are looking for an apartment and landlord that will be a good fit and a good experience for all involved. While it is important to protect yourself, be mindful of coming across accusatory or paranoid in requests for background checks (particularly criminal record checks), as the vast majority are not out to scam rent, and many would be offended by the insinuation.

Sources and more information:
OntarioLandlords.org
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Landlord and Tenant Board

Thinking of Buying a Down Jacket for the Canadian Winter? What You Need to Look For

We all have wardrobe “staples”- basic items of clothing that almost every person has which mix and match to work in every situation. From a structured black blazer and nice dress pants, to a white t-shirt and your go-to sweat pants- no matter what other goodies are added to our closets, these are the basics we come back to.
Buying a down jacket
For Canadians, we also have our cold weather staples to help us get through those long winter months- a warm scarf, thick gloves, toque with a pom-pom and boots of some sort.  The leader of the cold weather wardrobe staples is the coat. However, not all coats were created equal.

When we were younger, we sometimes sacrificed function for fashion, choosing that beautiful cashmere wool coat over the plushy, down-filled long parka because the coat was more “figure-flattering”. Well, as winters get colder and ice storms keep coming, we’ve smartened up. Looking trendy isn’t going to help us forget that our legs are freezing and our faces are stinging from the wind.

Over the past few years, down jackets have established themselves as the new winter wardrobe “must”. These jackets are filled with soft goose or duck feathers which insulate really well. They come in a variety of lengths from short (hitting the waist) to long (hitting the mid-calf), and everywhere in between. Hoods with a good lining (fur and faux fur are popular) also help make sure all your body heat stays close to you.

Depending on the quality and brand, these down jackets don’t always come cheap. With its popularity growing, there are some things you need to know, whether you buy it used or new, to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Think About Your Needs:
We all have different jobs, routines, habits, and interests. All these factors influence what type of down jacket will work best for you. Length and weight of the down jacket are important aspects of the jacket to keep in mind. If you’re out in the cold all day or for very long periods of time or you’re constantly outside doing winter sports, it would make sense to invest in a full or medium length jacket that will shield you from snow, ice pellets, hail, biting wind, etc. On the other hand, if you just need a warm jacket to shield you from the walk from your office building to your car (and maybe a few outings in between), a short to mid-length would work fine. Often, the longer your down jacket is, the more expensive it will be which is why it’s important to know your needs in order to figure out if what you’re buying is worth it.

Along with length, weight is also important to consider. Same rules apply: if you’re going to be wearing the jacket for a long time everyday, obviously you won’t want to buy a down jacket that is incredibly heavy. Heaviness in a jacket also affects pricing, which leads us to our next point:

Fill Power:
Fill power affects the weight and cost of your jacket. The “fill” of your jacket depends on the type of down (feathers) used and also how much is filled per cubic inch. The “Fill Power” is listed on the label or tag. As a general guideline, any number over 550 is usually a good jacket that will keep you warm. However, for optimal warmth and insulation, you would want a jacket with a fill power of 750 or higher. The higher the fill power, the less “plushy” or poofy your coat is going to be. As with the first point, this is something to consider if you’re outside a lot and need to be flexible and moving.

Inspection:
Whether you’re purchasing a down jacket second-hand or from a store, it’s important to carefully inspect it. But what exactly should you be looking for?

The most important aspects of your down jacket are the following:

  • There shouldn’t be any gaps or holes where the feathers stick out.
  • Compress the jacket to double check for unwanted spaces and gaps
  • Look at the material it’s made out of; nylon and polyester are 2 of the more common and durable fabrics
  • Make sure you’re buying a down jacket made specifically for your gender because the stitching is different for men and women
  • If you’re buying used, ask the seller how long they’ve used the jacket, or inspect it for signs of wear to get an idea of how worn it actually is

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Decide Which Features You Actually Need:
When you start heading down the rabbit hole of down jackets, you’ll notice that there are actually A LOT of added-on features that SEEM necessary but can sneakily add on to your cost. Zippers, extra zippers, latches, hoods, hoods with fur trim, hoods with real animal fur trim, buckles, adjustable hems, and Velcro straps are all extra details on a down jacket that can boost its style factor but may not be as nice to your wallet. Do your research and find out how each feature actually affects the function of your down jacket before deciding what you do and don’t need.

Categories:Kijiji Fashion