Cash deals can close fast; I've seen two weeks. However, it depends on whether you're in the city or a strict municipality that requires dye tests, occupancy permit inspections, etc. That doesn't go any faster in a cash closing. And, as the other respondents have pointed out, title companies are going to be pressed to the wall next month. If you're in the city, lien letters and final water bills will surely be delayed as well.
I have an FHA that started in late September, scheduled for 11/20 -- and I'm holding my breath :-) I have another cash deal in the works, which would also make the deadline -- but that client isn't a first-time buyer so it doesn't matter. Bear in mind that lots of non-tax-credit-qualifying people also happen to be buying now, and are competing with "credit buyers" for the same loan and title services!
I wouldn't let the tax credit expiration disrupt your home buying plans in any case. If you're qualified to buy and can't get cash together, just buy anyway, expecting not to make the deadline. You might get lucky -- and they might well extend the credit. If they do extend it, it will probably be done in the last few days. They want to avoid having everyone hold off buying, hoping for a higher credit!
Lots of things might happen. It could just expire, of course. Other proposals include raising it to $15,000 and/or expanding it to all buyers (probably still with income limits, I'm sure). You might actually get a higher credit by "missing" the deadline.
Also, the credit depends on your individual tax situation, which can be complex. I think it's best to make your buy/no-buy decision based entirely on other factors, as if there were no credit, then be happy if you happen to get it. Good luck!
I have heard of lenders who will consider something up until Ocober 23rd closable by the 30th, but it will be a nailbiter!
All is not lost as the possibilty of an extension to the credit is looking very good, but of course is not guaranteed. My recommendation is to get your pre-approval and if you have a place in mind, but an offer in immediately if you want to take advantage. Make it very clear to the lender and closing company that you want to take advantage of the credit, and that a closing by the 30th is absolutely necessary. They should be able to let you know if it is doable.
Let me know if I can be of any more assistance!
Unless they extend the program, you must close on your purchase by November 30th, and more than likely that will not be enough time to get your loan approved and closed.
The volume of closings that will hit, all trying to close by the deadline? Oh boy.
It will be like trying to watch a python digest a hippo. Gonna get clogged up there in the middle, plus a major holiday takes out the last Thursday (and maybe Friday) prior to the end of the month. The title/escrow companies are going to need combat pay.