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Q: How much do we need for a down payment on a home?

Diana says...
According to Maria Racanelli, vice-president of personal banking at BMO Bank of Montreal, a down payment can be as low as 5 percent. Mortgage Rule of Thumb: Before you buy a home, speak to a mortgage specialist. After all, a house is the biggest investment you’ll ever make. As a general benchmark, Racanelli says no more than 32 percent of a couple’s gross monthly income should be spent on housing costs, including mortgage payments, property taxes and, in the case of condos, maintenance fees.

Diana Cawfield is an award-winning financial writer with more than 10 years experience. Send her your questions here.