1) The minimum credit score requirement for most loan programs is 640. You are well over that!
2) The Loan Program Type will be determined by where you buy and if you have funds for down payment.
2a) If you want to go with a $0.00 down loan program, you can choose to take advantage of the USDA Guarnateed rural housing loan (Section 502). This loan, however, is only available in 'eligible' areas . You would have to do some research to see if your area is eligibile.
2b) If your area is not eligible for the USDA Loan your next lowest down payment program is the FHA 203(b) loan. The FHA Loan requires a 3.5% down payment. Some of this down payment can be provided by the State through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA for short). Their website is http://www.OhioHome.org. Feel free to do your own research on this grant program - if you are a new graduate you may be eligible for their 'Grants for Grads' program. You will still need at least 1% of your own funds to purchase.
3) Once you decide upon a Loan Program the next step is to determine how much you qualify for. This is determined by taking your Gross Monthly Income and calculating your Debt Ratio & Housing Ratio. Your Debt Ratio also varies by loan program. For USDA the debt ratio is 41%. For FHA the debt ratio is 43%.
3a) Example: If you make $3,000 per month you would multiply this by 43% for a FHA Loan. 43% of $3,000 is $1,290. This is your debt ratio. From this $1,290 you must deduct all current debt obligations (Car Payments, Installment loans, Revolving credit cards, and student loans if they are not in deferral for at least 12 months). Let's say your total debt is $600. You would take $1,290 and subtract $600 - this would leave you with $690. The $690 is the maximum house payment you could afford (including taxes and insurance and PMI where applicable).
3b) Using the example above, we also must calculate your "Housing Ratio." The Housing Ratio is 31% of your gross monthly income. 31% of $3,000 is $930.
3c) For qualifying, we use the lower of the Housing or Debt Ratios to determine how much you can afford to buy. In this example your Debt Ratio is $690, your Housing Ratio is $930. The lower of these two is $690. This is the maximum house payment you can afford.
4) Now you have enough information to determine what loan program you should use, how much money you will need for a down payment, and how much of a payment you can afford. The next step is to get with a Lender to obtain a pre-approval letter and move forward with making an offer on a home.
I'm aware that this is a LOT of information, but it does give you the 'inside scoop' in how we, as loan officers, cacluate how much you can buy and what loan programs to use.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please don't hesitate to ask. As you can see there is a very large and helpful community here on Trulia.
Best of luck to you in your search for a home, happy new year!
You also mentioned the Ohio First Time Buyers Program. There is a Rate based program and also a Tax Credit Program. I personally like the Tax Credit Program. Below is a link to a calculator that should allow you to estimate the tax credits available. Again you should talk with a lender familar with these programs.
Senior Loan Officer, Mortgage Solutions
email@example.com - Work
702-241-0206 - Mobile
702-368-0059 - Work
6655 W. Sahara Avenue Suite A-212
Las Vegas, NV 89146