Most of these answers have some good advice. You should contact a reputable lender that has the patience and time to take with you to go over your credit report and talk with you about things that you can do to improve your credit score. You need someone that will work with you and work in your best interest.
You should also sit down, and go over your personal finances. Put down your earnings that you bring home, versus your bills that must be paid each month. Make sure that you include everything you need to live. Not what you want, but what you actually need. Form a budget that you can live within and try to stick to it and make sure that you include some savings. If you are living check to check and cannot save any money, you definintely need to think about where you are currently spending your money and how you can cut back to save. Having money in savings will help you keep your credit score up in the future because it will allow you to pay your bills even if you are out of work or have some kind of a problem. It also viewed as a very important factor in being qualified to buy a home. Lenders want to see that you are able to save money in case of emergencies so that they know you will be prepared to always pay your mortgage.
I would be happy to sit down with you and help you form a budget. I live in Harford County and it would be no problem to meet with you and set you up with a local reputable lender that will help you as well. If you get prepared financially before you buy a home, your experience will be much brighter. Contact me anytime!
Contact a good loan officer. Ask them where you are - and how to get where you want to be. Any good reputable loan officer will be able to tell you the steps needed to fix your credit.
If you are credit "challenged" and still want to get into a home, then you should look for a Rent to Own or Lease with the Option to Purchase house. Many investors, like myself, do these kind of real estate transactions.
Many times you can get rent credits towards your down payment as well while you start the credit improving process.
Also, after you have made your payments on time for 12 months, then 12 months and one day is considered a refinance, not a purchase making it a little easier to qualify for that all elusive loan these days.
Many investors will work with you on time as long as you are working on improving your credit.
If you need a great referral for your area, I know of a few up that way. Let me know.
I hope this helps you.
I am a mortgage consultant and, as Megan stated in her reply to you, the first thing that I do for my clients is run a credit report (from all 3 credit agencies) along with a credit analyzer. The credit report, plus the credit analyzer allow me assess my clients credit report and also give them specific direction as to what needs to be done in order to fix their credit. This is a VERY important step and should be your 1'st.
I would also recommend to get pre-approved vs. pre-qualified given today's volatility in the lending industry. Getting pre-approved is a more detailed process, which usually take about 2-3 business days. However, it will provide you with a letter from the lender stating that they will lend you a certain amount of money and will make you a much stronger candidate in the eyes of the seller.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. email@example.com