I suggest you contact a lender with regard to your credit and ask them to pull a credit report. Sometimes credit is better or worse than originally thought, but if you don't know where you are - you can't possibly know "where" or how far you need to go. Perhaps you simply need to rebuild your credit or pay off a few outstanding debts unresolved in your bankruptcy. A lender can give you a strategy and an approximate timeline for home ownership. They can also give you a prediction of estimated costs (down payment and closing) associated with various types of mortgages. This is the info you need, and you can only get it from a lender.
Any area closes to a school is going to get a lot of traffic. If you are looking for peace and quiet, I might suggest some other areas.
But this traffic probably reduces the amount of buyer competition and therefore means that you could buy it at an excellent price.
If you have kids that would go to that school it could be a great buying opportunity.... more
Now, now. Carolyn asked about Pre-Foreclosures; I'm sure she knows the property is not technically for sale and may NEVER be for sale if the borrower is able to get loan modification or bring their payments current.
Carolyn, the following website is from HUD. It has links to homes for sale by the U.S. Marshals, the IRS, and others. Many of these properties come with hazards and liens attached, so I do highly recommend working with an Agent if you plan on purchasing one of these.
When a home has finished the foreclosure process and is actually owned by the bank, it is typically listed on the MLS and any Realtor (or Realtor.com) can provide those.