Commercial real estate

For over a decade, the Canadian real estate market has experienced growth that far surpassed any rational expectations.

In 2023, the reset of interest rates slightly cooled the market’s fervor, yet the core momentum remained unabated.

Currently, the prospect of rising interest rates looms, driven by increases in the Government of Canada’s five-year bond yields—a precursor to changes in the bank’s prime lending rate.

This development casts doubt on the possibility of interest rate relief in the spring or summer of 2024. I could be wrong.

Understand Ownership and Operating Costs

This context underscores the substantial costs of owning and operating commercial real estate for business owners.

While the residential market garners extensive coverage in media, this discussion will focus on the less-discussed commercial occupancy costs. I recently spoke with a Vancouver practitioner who highlighted a modern, high-tech development in an upscale neighborhood.

The going rate for a vacant commercial condominium there is $2,400 per square foot. Consequently, acquiring a 1,000-squarefoot space demands an investment of $2.4 million, excluding closing costs.

This price tag does not cover the additional expenses for leasehold improvements, which could ascend to another $500,000. Moreover, equipping the practice with necessary technology and equipment may require a further six-figure investment.

Hence, the total initial investment for launching a fully operational new practice in a 1,000-square-foot commercial condo in this elite Vancouver area could reach over $3 million.

This figure represents the debt burden from day one. A metaphorical $3 million ribbon-cutting ceremony, indeed. The journey to debt freedom begins thereafter, patient by patient, potentially spanning decades for the ambitious doctor.

To some, this scenario may resemble a perpetual commitment to a financial institution.

  • Amortized over 20 years
  • At the current prime interest rate of 7.2%
  • Monthly payment: $27,557
  • Total payment over 20 years: $6.6 million
  • Interest cost alone: $3.1 million!

A Harsh Reality

The financial strain on a young doctor would be immense, with the pressure to generate income being nearly insurmountable. Including wages, supplies, lab fees, and other operational expenses, the breakeven point for such a practice is a minimum of $60,000 per month.

And this calculation hasn’t yet accounted for personal living expenses. Therefore, anticipate an additional $250,000 in line of credit usage within the first year, with potentially more in the second year. In summary, within the initial years, this scenario could see the doctor facing $4 million in debt.

By the third year, with some fortune, they might manage to draw a salary between $50,000 and $80,000, yet still grapple with a $4 million debt and over $25,000 in monthly interest payments.

This is the harsh reality of real estate ownership for a new, state-of-the-art practice occupying 1,000 square feet in downtown Vancouver.

For illustration, consider doubling the space to 2,000 square feet and recalculating the figures—truly startling!

Navigating this level of debt while adhering to ethical standards in practice is a formidable challenge for any doctor.

Do you have a debt repayment story to share?

Contact me at: – I might feature your story anonymously and enter you into a draw for a free appraisal.

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp


Jackie has 30 years of experience in the industry as a former banker and now the Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at or 1-844-764-2020.


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Dont flush practice value down the toilet!

While originally spun from the dental world by Tim Brown, President of ROI Corporation, this story resonates just as profoundly within the realm of optometry.

Reflecting on Tim’s eye-opening narrative. “Why Toilets Matter”, it’s clear that the nuances of practice environment extend far beyond mere aesthetics or functionality. They’re crucial to the very valuation of an optometric practice.

Here’s a curious tidbit that Tim shared, illustrating the point perfectly: A dental office in an older medical building introduced door codes for bathroom access, changing them occasionally.

Sign in dental practiceImagine, if you will, a patient viewing this sign!

This isn’t just about security or modernization; it’s a testament to how amenities, as mundane as bathroom access, can significantly impact a practice’s perceived value.

Amenities such as these aren’t just physical attributes; they’re reflections of how a practice values its staff, patients, and overall operational ethos. And guess what? This wisdom utterly applicable to the optometry world as well.

Tim draws from a decade of hands-on clinical experience before venturing into the appraisal and valuation arena, He has navigated diverse practice settings, each with its unique challenges and comforts. The conclusion? The quality and availability of facilities like bathrooms genuinely matter.

Imagine the daily grind in an optometry practice – it’s a marathon of mental and physical exertion. From the moment you step through those doors, it’s non-stop. The availability of a private space to catch a moment’s breath between patients isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Yet, disappointingly, this basic requirement remains elusive in many settings. Consider a working mother returning from parental leave, the absence of a private, comfortable space for necessities like breast milk pumping – relegated instead to a cramped public restroom! Disheartening.

Key Point: Minor Details Impact Practice Value

We’ve witnessed firsthand the discomfort of staff and patients sharing a too-close-for-comfort restroom adjacent to the waiting area. The thought of a healthcare professional emerging from such a space, only to engage closely with a patient, underscores a glaring oversight in hygiene and privacy standards.

The dialogue around these issues isn’t new. These seemingly minor details can profoundly affect the morale of your staff, the satisfaction of your patients, and ultimately, the financial valuation of your practice.

In echoing Tim’s sentiments, it’s clear: The gold standard for any healthcare practice, optometry included, must advocate for private bathroom and a dignified, clean space for staff. Let’s not overlook the basics, for in them lies the foundation of our practice’s value and integrity.

Link to Previous Jackie Joachim Articles,

Link to Tim’s original article.

Jackie Joachim, COO ROI Corp


Jackie has 30 years of experience in the industry as a former banker and now the Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation. Please contact her at or 1-844-764-2020.


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