Absolutely horrid advice from Diane. Understand: I very much like lease-options and one might even be appropriate in your case. But (leaving aside the all-caps and myriad misspellings), her description of lease-options is simply bad. "They don't look at credit." Of course they do. You can go into a lease-option with weak credit, but the seller (and agent, if there is one) will absolutely look at your credit and the prospects of improving it by the time you exercise your option.
"Have to put a little more down to rent it goes toward your down payment savings...." Huh? The amount you lease the property for is negotiable. Any credits (and there usually are some) are negotiable. The credit might go toward the down payment OR to the purchase price.
Whether you void the option due to a missed payment depends on the negotiated terms of your option.
Making changes to the house? Check your lease agreement. And your option agreement. Sometimes that's permitted. Sometimes that's not.
So, let's get back to reality.
You asked about renting. You'll probably have a better chance renting a property directly from the owner. Second best: The same property through a real estate agent. In both cases, especially with the individual owner, you'll at least have a chance to plead your case. If you try renting an apartment, it's very likely the apartment complex management has hard-and-fast criteria about credit scores, income, etc. In other words, your chances of finding a flexible decision-maker is greater dealing with the actual owner.
Second: Sometimes offering to pay multiple months of rent up-front helps. (Sometimes not.) But then, at least, the landlord may feel a greater sense of security.
Third: Work to clean up your credit.
Hope that helps.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU ;-)
This is a great question. I recommend that you repost this question in our Cleveland section to get more answers, which you can find here: http://www.trulia.com/voices/activity/Cleveland-Rentals-57-9611
Good luck with your search,