Buying guide

Tips for finding the perfect Trade Me listing

With thousands of items listed daily, we’re sure you can find the perfect listing on Trade Me.

Last updated: 14 June 2023

Using Trade Me’s search features and filters

Using our search features and filters will help you find what you're looking for. 

Search bar and categories

When typing in the search bar, always double check your spelling and spacing. Did you know that using a quotation, an asterisk or even capital letters can help you narrow your results? Here are some more tips to help you search Trade Me effectively.

Categories are important too. If you simply type ‘Fridge’, you might be surprised to see more fridge magnets than fridges. Select the ‘fridge and freezer’ category to show relevant listings.


From here, you can apply advanced filters to further narrow your search:

  • Sort – choose ‘Most Bids’, ‘Highest or Lowest Price’ or ‘Closing Soon’ to sort listings in a methodical order.
  • Condition – toggle between ‘used’ or ‘new’ to view second-hand or refurbished versus brand new items only.
  • Filter – if buying an item that’s covered by Buyer Protection is important, filter by Ping or Afterpay. If you need a quick purchase, select ‘Buy Now’ to view auctions offering a fixed price.
  • Location – when looking for large or delicate items you’d rather pick up, select your region and/or city.
  • Sale or $1 reserve – if you’d rather browse casually than seek something specific, you can check the ‘on sale’ filter or check out the $1 reserve auctions from the home page where you’re guaranteed to spot a gem.

Choosing the perfect Trade Me listing

Once you’ve whittled down your search, here are some tips so you don’t miss out:

Use your Trade Me watchlist

You can add a listing to your watchlist from the search results page. Once you’ve added the listings that stand out to you, you can review them all in one place – remove items from your watchlist that aren’t suitable, and easily compare your final selection.

  • When you’ve added an item to your watchlist, you can set up email reminders to be notified when the auction is closing.
  • If an auction ends without a winner, the seller has the option to relist or send a fixed price offer to those members that had it watchlisted.
  • If you lose an auction, watchlisted items will move to your ‘Lost’ list so you can look back on what you missed out on, or what it sold for.

Place auto-bids

Don’t want to manually get into a bidding war? No worries, set up an auto-bid.

Decide on the maximum price you’re prepared to spend, and let the auto-bid do the work for you by keeping you the top bidder up until that price. Don’t worry – it won’t bid up to the price you’ve set right away, or for no reason.

Not only will you avoid potentially missing the auction, an auto-bid ensures you don’t end up spending more than you want to.

Buy Now

If the listing looks perfect and has a Buy Now price, remember that it will disappear once the reserve has been met, so don’t wait too long.

Use your Trade Me watchlist to ensure you never miss the perfect listing.

If you haven’t found what you’re looking for…

Use these features to your advantage to help find what you’ve been looking for:

Saved searches

If you’re happy to wait for the right listing, make sure you’re using Trade Me’s ‘save search’ function. When you save a search, the keywords, categories, and filters you applied will be saved to your favourites.

Conduct a past search with the click of a button and receive new listing notifications as soon as they’re published. Playing the waiting game could get you a great bargain!

Save the seller

You might love the quality of their photos or perhaps their secondhand clothes are the perfect style for you. When you come across a great seller, save them to your Favourites and receive email notifications when they list something new.

Contact the seller

Although every listing should have a feature photo and a great description, not all of them do. While minimal photos and information can be discouraging, don’t let it deter you from the listing. Use the Q&A to request more detail and you might be surprised by the response.

Start your search today!

One of the most fun parts about shopping on Trade Me is that when you find what you’re looking for, you could get it for a price that you decide. While it might take some planning and patience, our tips, tricks and tools will help you find the perfect listing, in the perfect way for you.

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