Hello Clara and thanks for your question.
On the average, you should anticipate the following time line:
1. About 2 weeks for a preapproval from the mortgage broker/lender, provided you have all of your documents available and completed
2. About 2 months to find a home
3. About 30-40 days to close escrow using a conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan and about 45-60 days to close escrow if using an FHA loan.
So, given this window, the very very latest that you can be in contract (in other words, having found a home and having had your offer accepted by the seller) would be October 1, 2009, if using an FHA loan.
Good luck and you better get moving!!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA