You may even want to close earlier in February, especially on a pre-owned home so you cant paint or do whatever before moving in. If you close the middle of February you mortgage payment will not start to April 1 (you will prepay taxes etc at closing).
I agree with everyone on the board..get you lender in place now but understand rates cannot be locked in usually more than 45 days. Right now rates went down so they are under 6% if you have great credit. You need pretty good credit nowadays to get a loan unless you can put 20% down in cash. I am happy to put you in touch with several excellent lenders--shopping mortgage rates (which is like shopping money !) will not put additional dings on your credit since lenders can see what it is your doing.
We're looking to move out of Dallas around the same time. We're sad to have to leave. We've only been here for 1.5 years, but my husband job requires a relo. Please check out the link below.
Here's some more info about the area, for what it's worth:
I was RELENTLESS with research when moving to Dallas from Des Moines, IA. I used the Neighborhood Scout website (highly recommend it)-- and researched schools and neighborhoods to minute detail (looked at schools, crime rates, quality of life, diversity, etc). We narrowed our search to South Lake and Allen. Opposite sides of Dallas. I am SO glad we went with Allen. While South Lake is lovely, what I love about Allen, that South Lake does not have, is DIVERSITY! My caucasian daughters, coming from Iowa, now have best friends from India, Finland, Germany, as well as many from around the USA. Meanwhile, some friends of ours recently left South Lake because their daughter who is part Latina, was getting harrassed for the color of her skin in school-- in the third grade! It is also getting a reputation for being all about what you have, how you look, etc. We don't feel that kind of pressure here in Allen.
Again--both are lovely communities... but I highly recommend you ask around before making such a big investment.
It's 4 bedrooms + an office on mainfloor that could be a bedroom--has full bath. This neighborhood is SO awesome! HUGE mature trees (highly unusual in a brand new development!), creek, pool and spray park... biking trails. We're going to miss it.
Today is the best time to start looking. Traditionally, January and February a lot of people who get a yearly bonus equal to an annual salary or larger buy for themselves to occupy or for an investment.
Please e-mail or call me and let me know what your looking for.
Direct dial: 214.734.4789
If youy are not working with a Realtor, I'll be happy to assist you.
Your first step is to get prequalified, through the lender of your choice. I do however recommend using a lender that has a good name, and can provide you with references. Once you are prequalified you can then know exactly the price range of home to start looking for and a qualified agent can help you find the neighborhoods in the cities you would like to live in, or can qualify to live in. The process can vary depending many times on lenders promptness or lack there of. Time frame on closing on a home can vary as well depending on the sellers needs as well as yours, that is negotiable. I have closed homes in as few as 10 days from time of purchase and I have closed homes months later. Your best bet right now is to find an agent that will help you through the process and will explain in detail what takes place when buying a home and can protect your best intrests.
If your goal is to be in your new home at the end of February, you are looking to make an offer any time between now and mid- January. Typically, closings might average 45 days or so. It can be done in 30 days, and sometimes less. If you found a property in December, many sellers will work w/ a 60 day closing, especially in this market.
Do pull your credit ASAP if you have not already done so. You will need to get pre qualified, and if there are any errors on your credit history, you will want to get working on corrections. Once you know your credit profile is correct, you can begin learning about options for loan programs good for you. This will help you in determining the price range of homes you will search.
Best of luck to you!