I concur with the prior 2 responses about renting first, unless your credit isn't as bad as you may think. However, one of the things you may want to consider is a lease option. That is, find a home you really like and tell the owner you'd like to rent it with the option to buy down the road... This could help a desperate seller, as well as yourself, creating a win-win (I really hate that cliche) situation.
Of course, it is a bit more complex than that, but it may be a good strategy for you to move, live in the home you'll eventually buy, build your credit back to a level where you'll be able to get a loan, and not have to move again in a year or two.
As for neighborhoods, depending upon the price range you'll be able to afford, eastern hillsborough county - Riverview and surrounding areas - are probably your best bet. The LeRoy Selman makes communing to downtown very fast and easy (10 to 20 minutes depending upon traffic) and the home prices out there have dropped considerably... Good value for the dollar on a relatively new home.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call!
Pretty Dog Realty