Ted has offered some excellent advice and direction.
I would like to add the following information as I understand it, which may or may not apply to your particular situation. In a recent USDA Bulletin (no pun intended) comparisons were made indicating this loan is much like an FHA loan -- and even though the spouse is NOT going on the loan, they will count their Active debt againt the ratios. Key word: Active debt. Not chargeoffs The non-borrowing spouses debt is used to qualify the couple as if the borrowing spouse has the debt... They do not count the income and credit score ,,, only the ACTVE debt. (or what I call coop debt) Deferred student loans are included w/in 6 months of the application. Charge offs are not counted (collection accounts, not counted either) ACTIVE DEBT....Could be a friend or a foe. It raises your FICO scores, but makes it harder to qualify (ratios). If you reach an empasse on conventional financing, you could consider seller financing, which has fewer restrictions (but fewer choices of inventory). I know of 2-3 seller-financed homes available in Camarillo and Leisure Village.