Seek out a reputable lender such as Wells Fargo.
Make an appointment for you and your wife when the children are not a distraction.
The lender will be happy to go over details with you, pull your credit, offer you solutions to improving your credit such as paying off/down loans, helping you and guiding you through the process.
That is the first step.
Then you will know if buying a home is possible for you, and what price range you will qualify for, so you will know everything needed in this process.
Good luck with your new phase of your life...as I said, it will be a process in which you can look forward to owning your own home for your beautiful family to live in, enjoy and make memories...
When you know you are on the path to home-buying, you will then need the expertise of a seasoned agent...If you need help with a great agent in your area, I can help you find the best agent through my Relocation Network of cooperating Brokers...
Best Wishes and keep me informed...send me pictures of you and your family in that new house!
Michael Saunders & Company
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
If you don't already have a lender, I know an agent in your area that can help you with that. Her name is LeAnne Davis @ 256-283-4835. Website: http://leannedavis.yourkwagent.com/atj/user/HomePageGetAction.do. Email: email@example.com. She would be a great resourse to have when you get ready to purchase as well!
Be sure to tell her Jodi Smith from Atlanta, Georgia sent you! :)
Atlanta Real Estate Agent
Keller Williams Realty Consultants
You should first sit down with a blank piece of paper and document your money.
Do you have an understanding of how much money is coming into and going out of your household each month? From there you can realistically identify how much money you can spend on a home each month. Principal, Interest, Taxes, Hazard Insurance, and Mortgage Insurance. (http://www.bankrate.com)
Try to factor in Utilities, Food, Transportation and Savings.
ONCE YOU KNOW how much you can afford, you can go to a lender and let them tell you what you need to do in order to get approved for a mortgage. You don't have to spend what you are told you can afford. If you will look at yourself FIRST you can't let someone talk you into spending over 40% of your income on one bill (mortgage).
Begin buying a home with getting the financing in order. If you have things on your credit that are a hinderance a solid lender can walk you throught the process and help you get from Application to Closing.