There are only a few lenders making loans at this 580-599 range, so you need to make sure you are working with a local lender with a proven track record of being able to work with borrowers who have a similar credit and financial profile as yourself.
Here is a Trulia blog that gives some detailed guidance. http://www.trulia.com/blog/dfisher/2011/08/i_have_bad_credit
For some things that will help you evaluate your ability to get a loan now, rebuild credit and decide if renting or owning is best for you, you can click for more detail on this Trulia Blog:
Many clients have found it helpful to attend a homebuyers training course and counseling. Doing this also can qualify you for assistance with downpayment and closing cost. In order to register for a course and counseling, you may contact Community Link at 800.977.1969 or any other HUD-Approved Counseling Agency.
The amount of time to buy depends on what you need to pay off before you can get a loan and whether you decide to purchase at the maximum amount of your approval or something less. Although there are some $100 down, no money down and $500 down payment loans, you should generally have at least 10% of your total annual household salary or 3.5% of the purchase price of the home saved up for a down payment.
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