As Art and Bill have pointed out, contact a mortgage broker, preferably one who is a direct lender and does their own in-house processing, and who will make sure they have run all your info through Underwriting guidelines at the outset. In this current lending climate, problems often arise later in the process when a buyer is in contract to buy a home: Underwriters come back with "conditions" to be met that sometimes indicate the borrower has a problem or something was missed early on by the mortgage broker. It is really important to work with someone who is thorough and detailed, and who will work with you.
You may or may not be ready to buy, but a good mortgage person will work with you. I would not advise asking realtors to answer loan questions, or advice about what you should do re credit card payoffs etc. Only a lender can really advise you. Sometimes the "obvious" things one thinks should be done to prepare to buy a house is not the best thing to impmrove your credit. An example: Recently a client I have took it upon himself to pay off a small debt that was still on his credit report, but not under active collections. When he paid that bill, it then showed up on his credit as a payoff, but it actually hurt his credit a bit!
I would advise against working with real estate agents who also do loans, "Real estate broker/mortgage lender". It is a fulltime job to be a realtor, and full time job to be a mortgage broker.
I would recommend Mari Parsnick of Holmgren and Associates Morgtgage. She is outstanding with first time buyers, does lots of FHA loans, and is a pleasure to work with. She has worked with many of my clients, including taking the time necessary to educate them and get htem ready with a loan that works for them Mari@mortgageholmgren.com 510-339-2121 Good luck!
FHA does allow credit scores that low. However, most lenders have what is called overlays. This means their investors also have their own guidelines. The company I work for requires a 640. However, there are lenders out there that are still doing them below 640. But the higher your credit score the better the interest rate typically. But if you wait on that, rates could rise to higher then what you'd get now. So, I would check with a mortgage banker or broker to see what they could find for you. I might know of someone who could help you if you're interested. Let me know. Good luck.
The answer might well be yes, but not right now. I don't broker loans, but we do have an in-house lender arrangement with the Bank of Commerce Home Mortgage. I would be happy to arrange the contact so that you assess your borrowing power right now, and make a plan to improve in the near future if necessary. A loan officer can examine your situation and advise you how to strengthen your credit profile so that it will meet underwriter guidelines. We can get you started with a buyer's agent if you are ready, but even when we are not ready to do something, we can always work at getting ready to ready.
Art White (DRE #01273793)
Sales Manager and Broker Associate
Red Oak Realty