I'm sure your agent has good intentions, however it is up to you ultimately to make the decision of what and when to make an offer and choose the settlement date. Asking to close in February is not that far of a stretch. Anything farther out than that might be a bit too far for most sellers unless it's a short sale. See what your lender says about how long it would take. It's is up to the seller whether they want to accept an offer with an extended settlement date (giving the lender 30days at least to approve in addition to your specific circumstances.) All sellers have an ideal timeframe that they would like to sell. Some allow for "time on the market" and some want to sell immediatly. It may work out for the best with a seller to settle in February or so, and it's not up to your agent to make that call. Mr/Mrs seller may LOVE the fact that they are under contract (and won't have to worry about keeping the house perfect for showings,) but have some extra time either to find their home of choice or have extra time to pack up after the holidays. OR like I said before, if it's a short sale you're probably safe either way. Not all sellers are looking to settle immediatly. Your agent works FOR YOU. You call the shots whether they like it or not. I would start looking now unless your lender says it would be March before you could get approval. If ;that's the case I would suggest waiting or only putting offers on short sales for a little while because they take longer to settle.
Best of luck,