A drop-off in buyer demand and rising home inventories has made putting a house on the market trickier for homeowners whose properties appreciated during the boom and who hope to retain their gains. Attracting a shrinking pool of buyers without losing too much financial ground can be tough. To make the most of your real-estate dollars, follow these tips:

  1. Know the playing field. Study your local market and investigate other homes for sale, local asking prices and what buyers are paying. Visit open houses in your area. Be savvy to market trends and how what things are worth.
  2. Price competitively. Because of the growing number of properties on the market, buyers have a greater number of homes from which to choose. If a home is overpriced, a buyer will dismiss it and move on to the next one. Consult with your real estate agent on an appropriate price.
  3. Don’t be quick to pass up offers. The longer your house takes to sell, the more money you lose. Don’t be quick to turn down an offer, because making a deal now, instead of later, can save you money in the end.
  4. Negotiate. Offer concessions, such as making minor fixes. Small expenditures, by possibly speeding a sale, can go a long way in preserving the substantial home-price gains.
  5. Play up assets. Now that there are more properties on the market, sellers must impress buyers. The strategy is to allow a new owner to imagine himself in the home. Remove clutter. Pay for some inexpensive landscaping. Determine what the popular “look” is in your neighborhood and mimic it.