Michael DiPasquale never anticipated that a job posting on Workopolis would end up altering his life’s direction. “Coming to Dunpar was a bit of a fluke,” admits the 34-year-old Toronto native. At the time, he had just passed the rigorous chartered accounting (CA) exams and was working for Deloitte. But he answered the ad to see what would happen, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 2009 when Michael started as assistant controller, he didn’t know much about real estate, but now can’t imagine being in any other industry. “I’ve developed a real passion for it. I take real pleasure knowing I’m contributing to building communities when we take empty land and make neighbourhoods even better.”
Like his boss, Michael believes in the product so much he lives in it. “And not because my boss gave me a great deal,” he adds, “but because it’s solid construction and really well designed for living.”
Both Michael and his wife, Andrea, a chartered accountant, love the townhouse so much, they can’t imagine living anywhere else. There’s the Bloor and Kipling neighbourhood, of course, but the home would be hard to replicated he says. “We entertain friends a lot, and the space is perfect for that, with the large open living area and the deck right outside the kitchen.”
Their friends love the house so much that one couple has just purchased and moved into a townhome next door from them. Michael and Andrea have been thinking about a larger home in the same neighbourhood but he says it’s impossible to find. “The detached homes are so expensive, and frankly you just don’t get the same kind of space we have, the big master bedroom, walk-in closets, well laid out living and dining areas.”
It also suits their foodie personalities. Andrea is the cook, says Michael, and he’s the taste tester. “She likes to try new things and I’m more than willing to sample them. But we also love to go out to the great Toronto restaurants, and this location is perfect for access – just hop the subway or grab a $20 Uber and you’re downtown so fast.”
Michael is in the age group when people start buying real estate. With land and construction costs soaring, houses eat up a sizable portion of income. His advice when buying? Research the builder.
“Houses cost so much more than 10, 15 years ago, so make sure you buy something you can live in,” he says. “We do a lot of research on townhomes around the city. Some have good layouts, but many do not. You want a home that is functional, not just nice looking. Good design doesn’t cost a lot more, it just takes a little more time and forethought to figure out how people really live and then create a floorplan to facilitate that.”
Michael thinks that when the market slows down, because it eventually will, people will become more cautious about what they buy. But he also thinks Dunpar is in a good position for that time: “Our townhomes are well made and well designed. John [Zanini, president of Dunpar] has always lived in his homes, and when something isn’t working well, he perfects it for the next project.”
Since Michael started, Dunpar has expanded to over 50 employees and is currently offering five projects, including Jutland Square, a new commercial building with units for sale. The company has also ventured into rentals with The Ossington. And a further six or seven projects are upcoming.
Life is busy and Michael turns to sports to unwind. Up to now, golf has been his game, but he’s recently found rock climbing. Local gyms suffice when he’s in Toronto, but his preference is in the outdoors. He will head to Arizona where John Zanini has a home, and they climb the hills around Scottsdale. “It really helps to clear your head,” Michael finds.
Michael DiPasquale, CPA, CA is now the Chief Operating Officer of Dunpar Homes.