I responded to your initial inquiry on 2-6-2011.
That source of information is still valid.
It is illegal for any real estate agent to 'steer' people away from or to certain neighborhoods. To do so can result in loss of their license and source of income.
You are aware that a Realtor working with you the buyer is generally paid not by you but by sharing the commission the seller pays the listing agent? The listing broker shares the total commission with the selling broker. I hate to use the word 'free' but.....
Sounds like you are at a point where you need the assistance of a good buyer's agent to guide you along the path toward home ownership,.......one who can help you not make wrong turns.
For example, your Realtor can help protect you from doing a lease option with someone who doesn't even own the home, or with someone in foreclosure, etc.
Let me know when you'd like to get started.
Bob@ForTheHomeBuyer.com 727-781-3994 c 727-709-0161