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Closing on a home takes longer than most buyers and sellers think. Making sure you know how long the process actually takes will help you be more prepared.

When it comes to the calendar most buyers are overly optimistic. An unrealistic timeline is one of the most common home buyer mistakes. With a regular sale if you're already pre-approved you can expect to close within 30 to 45 days from the time you get an agreement to purchase. To be on the safe side allow 45 to 60 days. With a foreclosure, aim for the same 30 to 45 days to close. With a short sale, there are many variables including whether it even gets approved or not. If approved it could take anywhere from three to nine months depending on the bank's approval process.