FHA mortgages require a 500 credit score, and most FHA lenders minimum score requirements tend to be 600, 620, or 640 - with FHA anything less than a 580 score requires a 10% down payment, otherwise just 3.5% down is required.
VA mortgages have no score requirement, but VA lenders score requirements are similar to FHA's. VA is 100% financing for Veteran's.
USDA Rural Development mortgages have no score requirement - however if you go through a lender most will have 620 or 640 minimum scores, but if you go Direct to USDA they do not have any minimum score requirements, but it takes a little bit longer - Henniker is in an eligible area. http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do to check the eligible areas and also if your income is not too high/within eligibility limits as well.
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac mortgage programs require a 620 score, however with less than 20% down you will likely need at least 660-680 scores.
Credit score isn't the only item considered though, what is on your credit report is equally as important. If there are late payments or delinquent accounts in the last 12 months when you apply then that can curtail your chances of qualifying. If it's free of those items for the past 12 months then your credit is likely good enough as it is. If there is good reason for negatives, such as an accident at work that prevents you from making money, a medical situation keeping you from working, or a death of a family member who was a wage-earner (among other situations) then that is taken into consideration.
I recommend you get your scores from http://www.myFICO.com - it's not free but you can get a very accurate Equifax score (the same identical one us mortgage lenders pull) and also your TransUnion score (which will use a slightly older scoring model than us mortgage lenders use, so it is a little off from what we get). Unfortunately any Experian score you can get as a consumer over an internet website is what we call a "FAKO" score because it is just a real rough estimate, not exact.
I recommend you visit the http://ficoforums.myfico.com website and read up about "Understanding FICOÂ® Scoring" and there is also a section about "Rebuilding Your Credit". These are actual people like me and you helping out others with their expert knowledge on how to get your credit situation back on track - you post a question and you get feedback, just like here at Trulia.
Congratulations on wanting to improve your credit and buying a home.
The 1st thing you should do is start paying your bills on time and contact a loan officer. They should have a few more suggestion to get you on the right track and what you would qualify for.
Prudential Verani Realty