Good credit is always a great place to start. Karen, unfortunately, the mortgage industry has seen a lot of crisis nationwide. One segment of that industry was "subprime" market. That means loans that are granted to buyers who perhaps don't have the best credit. The subprime lending market is virtually nonexistent now. The best thing I can advise for you is to get linked in with a good first-time homebuyer's counseling program. One of the best in your area is Woodbine Community Center and Affordable Housing Resources.
Both are known for stellar first-time buyer programs. You'll learn tips and secrets to get more financial support, counseling and ways to improve your credit. Trust me, you won't regret learning and growing with either of these organizations. Neither have marketing undertones; so, don't fear the "sell" here.
I'm so proud of you for starting this dialog. You CAN make this happen! Best of luck!