Saving downpayment, Commercial property shopping, Downsizing
Stack of coins on a dark wooden table


Dear David, 

We are saving for the downpayment on our first home. We have 5% saved so far. Should we put off buying until we have a 10% down, to reduce our CMHC fees? – EVERY PENNY COUNTS

DEAR EVERY PENNY: Once you have your 5% downpayment saved, I advise you to get into the market as soon as you are ready. It’s unlikely you can save as fast as the real estate market typically appreciates, and the reduction in CMHC premiums earned by that extra 5% down won’t put you ahead of the curve. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you qualify to buy a home for $300,000. If the market is appreciating at a conservative rate of 4% per year, the value of that property is increasing at a rate of $12,000/year, or $1,000/month for the first year. While the value increases, you’re also paying down your mortgage at a rate of about 2.5% (or $7000 per year).

If you wait to save an extra 5% downpayment before jumping into the market, you’re losing ground. The reduction in CMHC premiums earned by putting 10% down on your purchase rather than 5% is pretty negligible (only a few thousand dollars). To build equity quickly, I would advise getting into the market sooner rather than later.


 Dear David,

We are trying to set up appointments to see commercial properties. We have time to go after work and on weekends, but our requests are getting turned down. Don’t they want the business? – SHORT ON TIME

DEAR TIME: If your real estate experience to date has focused on residential transactions, it can be a bit of a wake up call to learn that commercial real estate is a different world. Phone calls aren’t typically returned late at night or on weekends and for the most part, appointments are kept during typical business hours. If you keep these “business day” protocols in mind,  you’ll be much more successful in setting your commercial appointments.


Dear David,

My parents are in their seventies and want to downsize to a retirement community. Any advice to get them started? – MOVING MOM and DAD

DEAR MOVING: My advice to your parents would be to focus on the fresh opportunities in this next chapter of their lives. I often remind people that their car’s rear view mirror is much smaller than the windshield for a reason: they should focus more on where they’re going than where they’ve been. Once your parents have decided on their next step and can get excited about it, they can take a more business-like approach to selling their existing home. This allows us to employ our most effective strategies and get the best results.