FHA looks for a credit rating of 650, with a 3 1/2% downpayment plus funding fees (which will come out to be around 5%-which you have). The lenders will look at your debt to income ratios, and the guidelines change as to what they are looking for. I would recommend that you contact a mortgage banker. Keep in mind that talking to a banker and getting a pre-qualification does not cost you anything- and it is the first step to see if you can get a loan before you go out looking at homes.
There is also the USDA program, which is government sponsored, with no money down, credit also needs to be around 650, and the debt to income ratios cannot be too high. Also, USDA fits most Atlantic County areas except those with "city" ie Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Absecon, Egg Harbor City. They do fund in areas with "township" names.
The downpayment assistance program I think that you are asking about was for Atlantic City. It was offered for people living and/or working in Atlantic City (property located there as well). There was also the policeman/fireman next door program, but I am not sure if these programs are still in effect. In any case, your best bet is to contact a lender. They are the folks that will know the best options for you-again, at no charge to you. They get paid when the loan closes.
I can certainly recommend a couple of good bankers for you to contact. Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Northfield, NJ 08225
Office: 609-645-0009 x 36
The best way to determine if you can purchase a home by yourself now, will need the help of a co-signer, or will need to wait until some of the debts are paid off is to speak with a qualified mortgage professional or broker in your area who handles FHA loans. The good news is that your 5 percent down payment and FICO scores (if at or more than 620 "mid score") will qualify you for an FHA loan. However, the debt to income ratio may be exceed the allowable amount for your area., so talk with a mortgage professional for the exact ratios allowed in your area.
As for additional assistance, you can easily obtain this information by contacting your County's government offices or housing division for more information. Many cities, as well as counties, across America provide low cost or no cost assistance for first-time home buyers looking to purchase property in their area. A quick call to your County's government offices should answer all of your questions about available loans and grant programs. Keep in mind that grant money is normally "set" for a year, so it can run out if there is a high demand for finance assistance in your area. Move quickly to have your application into their offices for any assistance programs before searching for a home.
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA