Buying a home in Denver nowadays is not easy, particularly in its highly coveted neighborhoods. They offer the best of all worlds — quiet, leafy living with an easy to commute work and access to all the exciting amenities Denver has an abundance of.

I love working with buyers, and given today’s extreme seller market, they have a tough time. We find success, but it’s not easy. So, I want to broadcast what I’ve learned that will help other buyers position themselves for success, particularly those wanting to buy into the Denver neighborhood lifestyle, my specialty.

Here are my five Denver neighborhood homebuyer secretes to success.

Understand the market

Sellers are in a dominant position. Expect the unexpected. Some sellers and their listing agents may behave in an off-putting way. That’s ok. I advise my buyers to separate the home from the sellers or listing agent.

It’s easy to get emotional, have feelings hurt and even think sellers have slighted you. And that’s understandable. We’re talking about huge sums of money and a very emotional experience.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

Feel the emotions, but don’t them get in the way of your dream home.

Some buyer clients recently let this happen. They presented a strong offer on a house and were in a multiple offer situation. The sellers hemmed and hawed and then countered at a higher price. The attitude they gave off turned off my buyers, and we went looking elsewhere.

I always support my buyers, so we continued our hunt. But for new buyers out there, it’s important to note that this hot seller’s market requires steely nerves and a cool hand.

Understand timing

Buyer activity in Denver, particularly in Denver neighborhoods is creeping earlier and earlier. It used to really ramp up in March and April, but this year it started in earnest in February and early March.

Next year, expect it to creep even earlier, perhaps even late January. This means time your search accordingly.

Often you can find the best deals on the margins when there’s less competition, but also, of course, less inventory. For example, now is a good time to look — still great showing weather, but, given the early start to the buying season, lots of inventory has hit the market and some sellers are ready to make a deal.

This is one reason I make a point to keep a close eye on real estate stats and trends — timing really matters.

Drive around

It’s hard to really know where you want to live until you’ve been there. That might sound like a no-duh, but it’s critical to refining your search and being prepared to pounce when the perfect home hits the market.

Early in the process, spend a Saturday driving around. Each neighborhood is different, has a different character. That’s why I keep a close eye on my core neighborhoods. But it’s your eyes that matter.

How does the neighborhood feel? Is it close to the type of amenities you like? How’s the commute to work?

Most importantly, does it feel like home?

Be ready to pounce

Follow the cougar MO — when it’s time to act, leap. That’s why doing your preliminary research (schools, commute times and visiting the neighborhoods) is so critical.

Buyers have to pounce on homes they like in this market.

Because in this market, when a house lists, it goes, quick.

I prep all my buyer clients to be ready to act ASAP, even placing an offer the same day as a home lists. That’s what it takes in this market.

Prepare for a roller coaster ride, and hang on

Homebuying is tremendously emotional. There’s nothing like the vulnerability that comes with dreaming of your future, investing a huge amount of your earnings and competing with many other hungry homebuyers that makes this endeavor a tense one.

That’s why perspective is critical at the outset. Be prepared for multiple offers; be prepared to lose a few homes you love.

But stay in the game, be persistent and you’ll end up with your perfect home. Persistence wins the journey.