Another thing to consider is the total cost of owning a home. This includes the principal and interest on your mortgage payment, the property taxes, home owners insurance, an association fee if you are in a condo or town home, as well as utilities repairs and maintenence. Chances are this will come out well above the rental you are paying now.
There are a lot of other reasons to own a home, but it might be smart to take your time and regroup now. Down the road you may be in a better position to buy.
I don't know your area, but what that probably means is an older property that someone's owned for awhile. Their total payments on the property should be much above what you'll be paying; while lease options can work under such circumstances, owners don't like eating large negative cash flows. And it's possible that the house you lease-option will have been completely paid off by the owner. So they own it free and clear. But, probably, it won't be in great condition. It'll have been vacant for awhile--maybe because it doesn't show all that well or needs updating. The owner's rented it for quite a while and would prefer selling, but knows that in today's market, with that particular property in the condition it's in, it won't sell.
So you come along with solutions to both the owner's problems. You want to rent today--solving the immediate problem of the property being vacant. And you would like to buy at some future date. Make that date at least 3 years from now. That'll give you time to improve your credit and accumulate some savings. The owner won't mind; there will be cash coming in today, and the prospect of selling the property in as-is condition in a new years.
Structure the lease-option so a portion of your rent is credited toward the purchase price. It can be as much as the owner will accept. You might start off at 50% credit, going down to 20% as a negotiating maneuver.
There's more to it than that, of course. But do some research on lease-options and see what's available out there.
Look online at Craigslist.com under Real Estate. You will liley find a lease option that you can get and or a Lease purchase or wrap around contract. This will be your best shot Andrea. Some people would probably be willing to get creative with you rather than loose a home or Condo to the Bank. Having some downpayment would probably be a must in this situation.
If you have a desire to own you will. That I am certain of. Realtor's and others will be hard pressed to help you as the fee involved is either so small or none at all! I really wish you teh very very best in recovering form your Divorce and am sorry to hear that you are disabled.
Life is a tough thing most of the time. That is why you have to savor the good stuff!
Dirk T Knudsen
"The Real Estate Doctor"