Hello Sharyn, if you figure out what cities/zip codes you are considering, minimum number of bedrooms and the maximum payment you are looking to achieve you can be emailed listings to fit your search criteria. Beware of the many rental scams out there so you should consult with a licensed agent/broker for the status of any property of interest as well as whom you should be dealing with.
You should study RENT vs BUY options as you may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent in many cities. It only takes a few dozen questions to qualify, go over your options and email you listings to study and compare. Here are some links on crime statistics as well as some blogs to study such as RENT vs BUY, Which loan is right for me, Down payment and closing costs hurdles and Pre-approval in minutes.
These links may assist you with crime statistics:
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You could ask a real estate a agent to assist you with your bid as your paid representative. I believe Auction.com will allow a small representation fee to paid to your own agent out of the proceeds of the sale.
You can find an agent right here on Trulia at the top of this screen there is a button: "Find an Agent"
Or respond to one of the earlier posters in this thread: James Tan, Teri A , or Elizabeth W.... more
There are many "cash" investors that can purchase a home of your choice for cash and put you in a lease to own situation where part of your monthly payments would be put into an account to be used as a down payment when you are ready to take out a conventional loan. You can get into a house you really want now and have an exact date and price for when you are ready to own. Most investors can set you up with a great deal for a win/win situation if they know what they are doing.... more