It is a GREAT time to be a buyer! Definitely talk to a lender to determine your options. Ask them about programs that might be available that can help with down payment.
I can recommend First Mortgage, Tim Trauscht is great to work with and if your score needs to go up a bit he can direct you on how to get up to where you want to be. 708-359-5169.
I would also suggest you find a real estate agent. It can take months to find just the right house. then at least 30 days to close after you are under contract. if you happen to put in an offer on a Short Sale, it can take many months to get to the closing table.
check out my website if you would like to start browsing current listings in your areas of interest, no cost, no obligation just current information. http://snoble.illinoisproperty.com
when you are ready to talk to realtors, talk to 2 or 3. Ask questions - how long have they been in the business, are they full time, are they primarily a buyer's or seller's agent, where are they located, etc. Treat finding a realtor like a job interview, you want to find someone that you feel comfortable with because you will be spending a lot of time with your agent :)
contact me if you have questions