We are in the middle of buying a foreclosure. The length of time is really dependent on how fast the bank moves. We made our first offer early November and it took a few days for a counter offer. We immediately countered that offer and we did not receive the counter from that offer until the week of Thanksgiving. We signed and turned in all the paperwork that week, and it took a full week for the bank to sign the agreement. Right now we are in the Pending Option stage, and are booking an inspection asap. The goal is to close December 14th. We are able to take care of our side of things pretty quickly, but it seems we need to leave a lot of wiggle room for the bank.
We did not pay asking price. Our initial offer was 10% less with seller paying closing costs, and we finally agreed to 6% less than asking and seller paying $5600 in closing costs, which will probably leave us paying about $400 in closing costs. The seller also threw in a home warranty.
You cannot renegotiate price after the inspection, so take unexpected costs into consideration when you make your offer. The home we are buying is only a few years old, has not been vacant very long, and when we walked through nothing really stood out as needing repair. Still, you never know, so the Home Warranty is nice to have, and getting the seller to pay more of the closing costs, so we have more cash on hand for unexpected repairs, was important to us.