Typically, you want to allow 60 days to find the right home -- 30 to 45 more days to go through the inspection and loan process. Roughly, only 38 days remaining before a 90 day process might put the $8,000.00 stimulus check (set to expire November 30th) at risk for you first time home buyers.
Its going to be a log jam at the end of November. Builders, lenders, and title companies are going to be bursting at the seams to meet the deadline. Avoid the strain and stress of standing in that line -- start looking online and getting inside your favorite properties sooner rather than later.
Here is a convenient search site to save your top ten list. Drive by those favorites today, and start narrowing in on your preferred neighborhoods. Do you need help discovering which areas might be best for you? Send an e-mail with your questions, start asking your friends about their commutes to work/play, and get in your car (grin)! Driving to the houses you like online can really show you the difference between which neighborhoods you like, and which you can strike from your list right away.
Most importantly, try and write down the answer to your crucial search question: What am I looking for in my next home?