Posts in Kijiji Tips

Tips for Savvy Garage and Yard Sale Shopping

If you’re a fan of shows like Storage Wars or Auction Hunters, you’ll understand the thrill of finding valuable treasure within heaps of what seem like useless goods and trash. Watching them sift through piles of old, sometimes unclassifiable junk only to uncover a rare collectible from the 70’s or a discontinued style of jeans that’s now worth a few hundred dollars makes us think of all the untapped potential that’s awaiting us in stranger’s homes in our own city or community.

Right now is prime garage or estate sale season! (For those who may not know, the simple difference between a garage sale and an estate sale is that an estate sale is where almost everything you see on the property is on sale, whereas a garage sale is more so a display of what the seller has decided to get rid of after carefully going through everything in the house.) As this season of garage and estate sales goes into full swing, here are ways to make sure you get the best deals and maybe even find your own Storage Wars-worthy treasure!

Tips on Getting the Most out of Garage Sales

1. Do your homework and get there early.

You may be out of school or enjoying a day off, but when it comes to scoring good deals at garage and estate sales, you have to be in the know and you should be there before everyone else. Sellers almost always go through media to advertise their sale, whether through Kijiji or through advertisements in the newspaper. People also post flyers on bulletin boards in local coffee shops and grocery stores. Once you’ve scouted out the sales you want to attend, you should get there early so you can beat out like-minded deal hunters and get first dibs on whatever it is you’re looking for.

2. Zero in on neighborhoods with the “vibe” you seek.

We’re told not to judge a book by its cover (and normally that’s good advice) but when it comes to garage and estate sales, this may be a tip you don’t have to follow to a T. While not 100% true all the time, the more upscale areas in your neighbourhood or city are probably more likely to have a larger amount of “high-end” treasure. Logically, this just makes sense. Now, this rule depends a lot on what it is you’re looking for. If you’re on a specific hunt for furniture, valuable jewelry, or larger ticket items, you’ll want to go to areas that you think will have the type of look or style you’re going for. On the other hand, if you’re just up for an adventure to find what you can find, then you can loosen the reins a bit and explore all neighborhoods.

3. Don’t be shy.

A lot of us cringe at the idea of haggling because it just seems rude to try and negotiate prices down. However, what you should know is that most sellers (especially at garage and estate sales) will ticket items higher in anticipation of negotiations from customers, so really, you’re just fulfilling your duties. Just remember, keep your negotiations polite, try to make conversation with the seller, ask questions about the item and maybe even the history of it, and if you’re not happy with the final price, just walk away and continue your search elsewhere! Don’t underestimate the power of walking away- playing a little hard to get can sometimes motivate the seller if they’re really looking to get rid of the item.

4. Be thorough.

The art of skimming is not your friend at garage and estate sales. Get your hands dirty and really dig through bins, baskets, and piles. Then, if you haven’t found much from your first walk around, take a second walk and carefully go over the items on sale again. The first time you go through a garage or estate sale, your eyes are still processing what you’re seeing, so walking through a second time gives you the chance to take in new things you probably missed the first time.

5. Make life easier for everyone.

This tip is short and sweet, and while it may seem like common sense, it’s worth mentioning: BRING CASH. The reality is a lot of us have gotten used to just carrying plastic around but that’s not going to work at a garage or estate sale since the average household doesn’t have a debit or credit card machine set up for your convenience. (Don’t forget, estate sales generally have higher-priced items, and while SOME may be set up to take credit card, it’s better to work under the assumption that they don’t, so bring cash accordingly.)

Ready to start treasure hunting? Find garage, yard, and estate sales all over Canada on Kijiji!

Categories:Community, Kijiji Tips

Popping The Question? Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy an Engagement Ring

As if finding “The One” wasn’t hard enough, finding THE ring for “The One” can be an even more stressful and confusing ordeal. The thing is, it shouldn’t be! The whole process should be exciting and teach you new things as well as open up the doors to a whole new chapter in your life. To get you prepped and looking forward to the ring finding process, here are 4 areas to take into consideration before you really jump into the search.

Popping the Question? What you need to know before buying a ring

1. The 4 C’s

Jewelers throw around the 4 C’s as if everyone in the world should know what they are, when in truth, most of us who haven’t needed to go diamond shopping before have no idea what a single C is or what the C means.

Without going into every intricate detail, the short version is this: The 4 C’s stand for Carat (the unit in which the weight of the diamond is measured), Clarity (how flawless or devoid of scratches and imperfections the diamond is), Colour (exactly what it sounds like), and Cut (the width and height, as well as the symmetry of all the faces on the diamond).

Each C has its own grades and levels which affect it’s pricing. Obviously the larger the diamond, the more perfect the clarity, the clearer the colour, and the more intricate the cut, the more expensive the diamond is going to be.

When choosing a ring, your budget determines which C’s are your top priorities. For most of us who don’t have a money tree growing in our backyard, it’s helpful to figure out which C matters more to you. This is all based on personal preference as well as the taste of the person you’re buying for. Some people are willing to sacrifice on the size of the diamond if it means the clarity and colour of the diamond are higher whereas others believe size is more important since the naked eye can’t always see the imperfections of a diamond. Then there are those who feel like the cut is the most important since it can make even a smaller diamond seem more brilliant by the way it catches light and sparkles. Ultimately, it really is about personal preference.

2. The Alternatives

We’re raised to believe that THE ring has to be a diamond ring, but we live in an age where there are a lot of other options that are just as, if not more eye catching and beautiful than a diamond. Other than for the purposes of tradition or status, diamond alternatives can make the engagement ring truly unique (not to mention save you quite a bit of money.)

Here are just a few diamond alternatives that are growing in popularity and are definitely worth looking into as part of your options.

  • Moissanite: A lab-made stone that sparkles as well as any diamond and is almost as hard, making it quite durable and worth the money. It is significantly less expensive than a diamond. Where it lacks slightly for some is in colour. Moissanite tends to be less white than a diamond, but they are able to be made in a variety of colours.
  • Asha: Even less expensive than a Moissanite, this diamond alternative made from diamond carbon bonds is a step up from a cubic zirconia (probably the lowest end of the clear coloured diamond alternatives), but quality wise, it does lack in the durability and sparkle department.
  • Precious Stones (Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz, amethyst): so much attention is given to diamonds that people forget about how gorgeous and outstanding precious stones can be, especially with a beautiful setting and maybe accent diamonds on the side if you really want there to be diamonds somewhere on the ring. They come in colours that diamonds just can’t replicate, and like the other diamond alternatives we’ve mentioned so far, you’ll be spending far less on a ring with a precious stone versus a classic diamond ring.

 

3. The Options

Just like the stone in THE ring, you have plenty of options when it comes to WHERE to get THE ring. People tend to run straight towards chain jewelry stores found at the nearby mall when they really should be exploring all their options in order to get the best deal.

  • Second-hand rings shouldn’t be overlooked! Although this option requires you to be very careful and to do your research extensively, getting an engagement ring second-hand from sellers on Kijiji can not only save you money, but get you one of a kind or antique rings that just aren’t found in stores.
  • Buying online is also another possible cost-effective option, however, just like with the second-hand ring option, the key to a successful online ring-purchasing experience is asking as many questions as you can, researching the right type of questions to ask, and checking out reviews as well as asking around for people who have used this method.

 

4. The Style

Last but not least, consider the style of the person you’re buying THE ring for. Ask their friends, snoop around their closets, take sneaky pictures of jewelry they already own and use all these clues to find out what type of ring they’re going to gravitate towards. Rings don’t just come in one style- there are modern rings, celebrity imitation rings, vintage-style rings, deco-rings with intricate designs, two-tone rings (mixing metals), or classic rings, to name just a few. Knowing the style of the ring you want is crucial because the way the stone is set, the designs on the band, and the overall look of the stone is based on the style. It’s not only about the stone in the center of the ring.

At the end of the day, The One is going to love whatever you pick because it came from you, but if you’re going to be shelling out a significant amount of money, you’re going to want to think about all your options and really do some thinking and researching before you choose your final ring.

How New Landlords can Protect Themselves from Problem Tenants

Everyone’s heard the horror stories about bad tenants first hand or through the grapevine, they can cause damage, cost money and sour your experience as a landlord. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid turning these nefarious tales of tainted tenants into reality.

Better safe than sorry: Rental Application Forms – This is the first and most important step in finding a great tenant because it tells you about their rental history, lifestyle, employment, friend and family references and other details that may help characterize the potential renter. Always check the facts and if you don’t get the right information, request more or move on. If information on the application sounds unlikely or fishy, it probably is so don’t reel this one in.

Protecting your interests: Move-In Inspection Report & Tenancy Agreement

A move in report is an essential step to protecting your interests, it’s even required in some provinces prior to move-in. This report should be created during a walkthrough with the tenant prior to move in, details are important to note because this will be the basis for resolving any disputes that arise from damage caused by the tenant. Similarly, a tenancy agreement sets the tone for the relationship between the tenant and landlord. There are many free online agreement templates but to best protect your interests it’s prudent to consult your local landlords organization, they often have great resources available.

Do your research: Short term gains can equal long term pains

Due diligence is your best friend. Before jumping into landlord/tenant relationships learn as much as you can. This is a job, the dwelling is your asset and rental income is a part of your future. You wouldn’t gamble with any of these in your day to day life so don’t roll the dice on this one; hedge your bets and protect your interests.

For more resources in Ontario and across Canada this is a great place to start!

Renting in a Landlord’s Market: Scoring a Great Apartment when Vacancies are Down

Low vacancy rates are great news if you are a landlord, but significantly less so if you find yourself searching for a new apartment. Finding a good apartment at a reasonable price is significantly more difficult when rental units have a low vacancy rate. Not only will the prices for accommodation be higher, but the competition between renters to land a choice apartment can get fierce. What do you need to do to land a great pad when vacancy rates are low?

Finding a Great Apartment When Vacancy Rates are Low

Be realistic. If you are moving out of your parents’ house, moving into a new city, or switching to a more central or expensive neighborhood, you may be in for a shock at the size of apartment your budget gets you, or the sticker price to live somewhere up to your current standard. Spend some time browsing apartments similar to what is within your budget on Kijiji before going to a showing so you have a good idea of what the market is like before you start going for showings – that way, you can identify a good deal when you come across one.

Separate wants from needs. Before seeing any apartments, figure out what you consider absolute must haves, and what you can live without. Is central air conditioning really a must have if you see a great unit that has good airflow? Do you need in unit laundry if there is a Laundromat in the building? Knowing what you will and will not compromise on before your search will help you make decisions on a tighter timeline.

Figure out the prices of all the things you think you need. Maybe you feel you need access to an underground parking spot, but have you looked into what the cost is for street parking in your city? How does the premium of having a reserved spot compare to a monthly parking pass in the area of the building? If parking is easy to come by in the blocks near your apartment, is it really worth shelling out the difference?

Be prepared to act. If you see a great place, assume landlords are telling the truth when they say they have a lot of interest. If you want to move in, be prepared to negotiate and lock down the agreement on the spot. Research what is standard in your province for documents required to sign a lease, and bring it with you to every showing. This may include a copy of your credit report, a letter of employment, bank statements or pay stubs, and the contact information of your current or past landlords. A reference letter from a prior landlord stating that you were a good tenant and paid on time may help you be more competitive as well.

Familiarize yourself with signs of rental fraud and local laws. Scams become more common when the competition for apartments is tight, because fraudsters know people are under pressure to lock down a good deal. Similarly, unscrupulous landlords may demand things that they have no right to, such as cash deposits before any binding agreement is signed. Be wary of any requests for cash or other similarly untraceable transactions. Stick to cheques, credit cards, certified cheques, and other traceable forms of payment, and never send money online for an apartment that you haven’t seen.

Taking the Mystery Out of Dads: What to Get for Your Dad This Father’s Day

When we were kids, our dad was “our dad”. Not anything else- just our dad. He was the guy who grounded you when you failed your math test, the guy who slipped you some extra cash when you and your friends went to the mall so you could buy something extra for yourself, the guy you called when a spider needed killing or a question needed answering.

Then we grew up and it hit us. “Our dad” might actually be a couple other things too. He might be the man who dreamt of playing lead guitar at a sold out stadium show, or the man who drove up North every Sunday before you were born to go bust out the fishing rod with his buddies, or the man who knows every obscure hockey stat known to man because he’s been following his favourite team for ages.

No matter who your dad is, one thing is certain: our dads all have things they loved and were passionate about before we existed and took over their lives.

As adults, here’s our chance to give back a little piece of themselves they might have put aside to raise us into happy, normal people.

You may know exactly what to get dad this Father’s Day, or you may be one of the many who are stumped. Whether your budget is big or small, here are a few gift ideas and things to consider.

(Now, we know that our dads are too special to pigeonhole indefinitely, but here are 5 common “Dads” that may serve as a good jumping off point when trying to find that perfect way to say, thanks dad.)

The Techy Dad

The Techy Dad probably knows more about the new PS4 or what to look for in a big screen TV than you do. He’s the one who asks you what the specs (specifications) are on the laptop you’re looking at, or the new cellphone you’re thinking of upgrading to. Many dads tend to shy away from splurging on these gadgets themselves though, so Father’s Day would be a great time to spoil them. Keep in mind that buying brand new may not always make sense depending on the gadget you’re looking at. New TVs depreciate in value so quickly and new cell phones often can’t be purchased without renewing a contract, that buying “second-hand” is actually more practical (and what does a techy dad appreciate more than practicality?).

The Outdoorsy Dad

The outdoorsy dad is that all-Canadian guy who taught you how to throw a baseball and forced you to learn how to tie bait to a fishing rod when you were a kid. Showing your appreciation for your outdoorsy dad can range from taking HIM camping or on an adventure in the “wild”- driving him to the destination and handling all the details, or replacing his old golf clubs / tackle box / BBQ grill- (you get the idea.)

The Dependable, Likes His Routine Dad

The dependable dad is likely a guy who appreciates sentimental gifts. He doesn’t need much and he’s pretty happy with everything he already has. This dad is often the hardest to shop for, but that’s what makes him so special. The dependable dad will love gifts that have a personal touch- maybe the first novel you enjoyed together in first edition? Or a re-created childhood picture of you and your siblings in a nice large canvas taken when you’re all adults now? Or search for vintage records, memorabilia, or other niche hobby items that he mentioned loving when he was growing up but put aside as he got older. Anything that shows you’ve been listening to him all these years will really hit home for your dependable dad.

The Cool Dad

The cool dad is the dad your friends all want to hang out with or go to for advice because he just “gets it”. The cool dad has good taste in music, fashion, food, and in general, hasn’t let growing older stop him from keeping up with life’s pleasures. The cool dad will love gifts that bring new experiences. Rent a luxury car for a day, take him out on a yacht, find tickets to an upcoming concert and bring him- the possibilities are pretty vast for the cool dad.

The Beer and Game Day Dad

The beer and game day dad took you to your first professional sports game and you’ll find him on game day/night relaxing with a beer in hand yelling at the TV. The best gift for this dad is tickets to see his favourite team play. Kijiji makes it easy to find the perfect tickets depending on your budget. Season ticket sellers almost always have their tickets posted in the classifieds which provides plenty of seat options for you based on how much you want to spend. Nothing will spell out appreciation to dad quite like watching a game live with a freshly poured beer in hand as he cheers on with the crowd.