You may be a candidate for a USDA loan. 0% down , house must be in a "rural " area.
USDA â€“ Rural Housing Development Financing (0% Down)
The United States Department of Agriculture has for years made ZERO down financing for homes located in rural areas. While this â€œruralâ€ location may not sound appealing at first, the areas depicted on their maps have, in many cases, crept into suburban metropolitan areas. In the Phoenix metro area, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Buckeye, Goodyear, Surprise and even Maricopa have addresses that qualify. I and your lender have access to the USDA website to determine if the property youâ€™re considering qualifies for this loan program. With NO MONEY DOWN, a buyer can purchase a home and possibly finance even their closing costs!
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Your Local Expert
Central AZ Real Estate
Sounds like you'd be a good candidate for NACA's first time homebuyer program. Check out their site: http://www.naca.com. There is no down payment and no closing costs. They do, however, require that you have some savings (reserves) to ensure that you won't slip up on mortgage payments (along with unexpected repairs and other emergencies).
Rent to Own options are often loaded with stipulations that can appear "scammish" (i.e. option to purchase deposit will be forfeited if you're late on a payment). Most likely you'll be charged slightly higher than market average rent (which they will often times justify by saying a portion of it will go towards the purchase price.) Moreover, the option to purchase is often a price that is higher than market average. Its often times just a clever way for these property owners to generate extra income at your expense.
Your best bet is to check out that non-profit (NACA) and once prequalified, work with an agent to find something within your budget.
Good Luck. I think you'll do well in the long run by purchasing rather than renting. You stated you're in a bit of a pinch and need to find something quickly. If you have no choice, then please avoid the rent to own route. Put the extra money you'd be spending on that option into your bank account and work towards owning for less.