Credit may not grow if you do not use your cards. Trying making small purchases and maintaining a minimum balance while paying for them.
Since it sounds like you're still in the research phase, I thought I'd tell you about a free mobile app my company Federal Title developed for iPhone & iPad that calculates your entire cash to close amount. Just enter a purchase price and specify a state & county, then the app will tell you how much you should expect to pay at the closing table (including a breakdown of down payment, mortgage, taxes, fees and closing costs). closeitapp.com
Download link from the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/close-it!/id647917344
With your pre-approval in hand you will be ready to move forward with an opportunity.. You will have time to research or receive a referral for a qualified loan officer to assist you with the purchase of your dream home. The loan officer will be able to discuss the availabilty of first time buyer programs, grants, etc. Having a loan officer start the process now will give you an opportunity to gauge the changes in the housing market and interest rate. Most lenders will not allow you to lock-in on an interest rate only after you have a ratified contract on a property. There is no crystal ball to tell us when the rates will rise in the coming months......
If you would like to discuss your home buying options or need a lender referral send me an email......
BB&T also has an excellent mortgage program that allows for 100% financing, 3% down, or 5% down, but that depends on your credit and income.
FHA doesn't take care of your fees because that's your costs to purchase given that you are only putting down 3.5% with an FHA loan program. So FHA incurs more risk with your loan.