Buying cheddar instead of brie and brewed coffee instead of lattés; clipping coupons and eating in — every penny counts when you’re saving for a down-payment on a house.

It takes time, effort and lots of self-control, but nickel and diming our way through the year has paid off for my boyfriend and I. We’ve finally saved enough for a down-payment on our first home.

Living in Calgary, in particular, has made saving for that down-payment a challenge because of the cost of the average home here. But thanks to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), homeownership, even in this city, is within our reach.

Traditionally, you need to put down 20 per cent of the purchase price of a home here in Canada, but mortgage loan insurance makes it possible for people like us to pay less up front.

“CMHC can help out through the mortgage loan insurance products we offer approved lenders for the consumer,” says Mary Ann Krahulic, Business Development Manager at CMHC. “But one of the key elements is having a strong credit history and a background that demonstrates not only your ability but willingness to pay your debt on time.”

These mortgage loan insurance options give borrowers like us the opportunity to purchase a home sooner with little or no down-payment based on what we can afford.

For us, having the option to pay a five per cent down-payment rather than 20 per cent means we don’t have to rent for the next three or four years — or however long it would take to save $75,000 to $80,000.

“Flexible down-payment options are not for everyone. The focus is on young professionals with a demonstrated credit worthiness and the financial means to manage their debt,” says Krahulic.

>> To find out more about the insurance products that are available and what would work best for you, visit CMHC’s website at or call our toll-free number at 1-800-668-2642.

Courtney Peers is a Marketing Consultant with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Calgary.

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