It is not so much what you think you can afford but, what the lenders say you can afford. They usually (depending on the lender) use a formula to determine how much in a mortgage payment they would allow you to have. Thereby determining how much you could borrow. Of course how bad your credit is will be taken into account. You really need to find a mortgage banker or broker that will work with you to first see if you qualify and then if you do not, to get you on the right track to get that approval. Sometimes it is some simple things that you have not done that can make a difference in your credit.
Also do you have money for a down payment? You will need to start saving some if not.
There is always the lease/purchase option. You can lease a home with the option to buy it as soon as you are able. You would generally have to put money down for the option (which would be non-refundable if you did not buy) which will lock in your price. In many cases you can negotiate that a percentage of you lease payment go toward your purchase price also.
Hope this helps,
Excellent question - - hope you got your answer. If you need more info, let us know.
Tina Evans, Principal Broker