If you are like most Canadians, you are well aware that the national real estate market has cooled. However, with any changing market comes a new opportunity. With today's incredibly low financing costs and in some markets, an easing of price increases, the monthly carrying cost of many homes is becoming more affordable. That is good news for some homebuyers, especially first time buyers, who may have previously been locked out of the market.

First time buyers will represent an increasingly important segment of the market. In an exclusive study of first time buyer preferences across North America - including right here in Canada - finding a home at the right price was the biggest concern for 49% of first time buyers, far outdistancing any other factor, including property value appreciation, which came in at only 7%. The bottom line? First time buyers are far more concerned with getting into a home and managing their carrying costs. Whether or not their home achieves big gains in value, is not their primary concern as they try to break into the housing market.

So, as a seller, how do you attract these increasingly important first-time buyers? The study indicated that these buyers did not want to invest additional money into improving the property. Rather than shopping for fixer-upper bargains, they wanted something turnkey ready. Not surprising, when you consider that this group is typically young professionals trying to get their career on track, and perhaps starting a family at the same time.

The message is clear - if you can offer a first time buyer an affordable home that does not need work, is in an accessible area to get to work, shows well and carries like rent, you will be hitting their buyer hot buttons. In addition, ticking all those boxes on a first time buyer's checklist means you have greatly improved your chances to win these buyers, regardless of how property values may or may not be appreciating at the time.