Posts in Kijiji Tips

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

Hiring a Web Designer? The Skills You Need to Look For

If you have a small business and are looking to hire a web designer to increase your online presence, knowing who the best fit is can be tricky. After all, if you knew enough about web design to design a site, you wouldn’t need the help of a professional! Whoever you hire should have a good working knowledge or HTML, CSS, and javascript. Beyond that, it depends largely on what you are looking to get out of the website. Here are some questions that will help determine the skills your project requires:

 

How to Hire a Web Designer

  • Do you need content as well as a layout? If yes, you could either try to find someone who can provide a “one stop shop” for your website on a more ongoing basis, or hire a web copy editor as well as a designer.
  • Is your site a web presence for a brick and mortar business only, or do you also need it to be an e-commerce site? A site that supports transactions is much more complex than a site that only conveys information, so if you are looking to sell through your website, make sure your web developer has the experience and the know-how to get it right.
  • Do you have a mock up of how you want your site to look? If not, look for someone with some graphic design or user experience know-how to get it looking professional. If so, make sure you discuss your vision with them so they understand what you need.
  • If you want animations everywhere, make sure to find a good flash developer. If you prioritize getting traffic from google, make sure you find someone who knows how to make a SEO (search engine optimization) friendly website. Understand that you can’t always have it both ways – for instance, a flash website is not going to deliver strong SEO results. Talk with the potential candidates about your aims and potential drawbacks so you can be sure that you are on the same page.
  • Do you have a good rapport? You will be going back and forth with this individual quite a bit, so it is important that you get along and can understand each other. Bad communication will cost you time and money, so make sure that they are someone you enjoy working with, and who ensures they understand you before proceeding. If there is a language barrier, you might have a difficult time getting your needs understood.
  • Make sure you ask to view their portfolio, and ask for references (preferably from some of the same businesses as they display in their portfolio).
  • Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when comparing quotes. If one web designer quotes you for the initial set up only, and the other includes ongoing technical support, obviously the latter will be higher. Make sure you know exactly what services they are providing and you are paying for so you can make an informed decision.

Moving Out & Tight On Cash? How to Set Up a Home on a Budget

Whether you’re moving out on your own for the first time, setting up a home with roommates, or settling down after globe trotting, setting up a home sure adds up! While you may have dreams of magazine and pinterest worthy interiors, if you’re on a budget you’ll probably need to hold off on the décor until you’ve bought and paid for all the basics.

When you’re starting from nothing, your shopping list will be gargantuan, covering everything from furniture to trash cans to toilet paper, as well as filling up an empty pantry. But even though it’s a big job, getting yourself sorted doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have a budget to stick to, here are some ideas to help you save.
How to Decorate a Home on a Budget
The essentials
Working out what you need rather than what you want will help you cut down on your initial set-up costs. The best way to do this is make a list of all the items you think you’ll need for every room in the house. For example:

Living Room:
Couch
Coffee table
TV
Lamps
Once you know what you want in each room, go through the list and circle only what you’ll absolutely need on day one – things like the fridge , couch, bed, etc. These are the items you’ll want to buy first. Everything else on the list – like cushions, side tables, etc. – can be acquired slowly over time. By prioritizing your essentials you’ll significantly reduce your initial set up costs, allowing you to slowly save up your money for the rest. If you have time to save up and search for the perfect piece, you are more likely to find fabulous statement pieces that really add to the character of the room, as well as more time to hold out for a great deal.

Where to start?
When you’re just starting out, the first things you buy don’t have to be the best; they just need to get you through while you’re finding your feet. One way to stick to your budget is to get as much as you can second hand:

Friends and family: Friends and family love to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. You’d be amazed by how many couches, TVs and other items are just sitting around unused in people’s garages (that they’re probably glad to get rid of!) Sure, cast-offs from family are unlikely to be the hottest new style, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? You will have plenty of time to save up for a leather couch or a flat screen wall mounted TV once you have a good idea of how your monthly budget balances.

Social media: Don’t underestimate the power of your social networks. Let people know what you need and you never know who might be looking to unload a few items for very cheap or for free to a friend.

Kijiji: Of course, for anything you don’t find from friends and family, you’ll always be able to find great second hand deals on Kijiji! There are lots of free items posted daily, which you can jump on easily if you have the time to check often and the means to pick things up quickly (access to a pick up truck comes in handy when moving large furniture items). Set up an alert for items you hope to buy a little way down the line, so you will be notified when one is posted within your price range.

Setting up a new home can be costly, but there are ways you can cut down on costs. By focusing on the essentials and getting as much as you can second hand, you can probably get set up for much less. So take your time, ask around and graciously accept any items you’re offered. It may not look like the house of your dreams in the beginning, but you can always redecorate a bit further down the track.