Jill, let a professional investigate your ability to buy. contact a mortgage broker and get pre-approved. As far as buying, this is your first step (not a pre-qualification, see:. http://www.Steven-Anthony.com/default.aspx?pp=39377 for the difference between the two) so you can be ready to act when you need to, or be aware of any issues that may prevent you from buying when you want to.
FHA is the best deal in town right now. The 3.5% minimum down payment provides you many options not available with other programs out there. FHA also allows you an extra $8K in loan (that does not affect your debt-to-income ratio), provided itâ€™s used for energy efficient upgrades on the house you buy.