don't get involved with the idea of buying a foreclosure as being the "best" for you.....forget what "you've been told" and rely on your agent for guidance..............you will be required to have bank approval (ie - a pre-approval) to buy any home, not just a foreclosure.
Just so you are prepared............some questions you will be asked have to do with your income and amount of debt.......do you have student loans? car payments? credit card debt? any past due loans....collections?.........financial issues?
Do you have steady employment (for the past 2 years?).............I don't know what the prices are in your area, but you may look into an FHA Loan - that will require only 3.5% as a down payment..not sure how your $15,000 factors in...............but these are all questions a loan officer can answer.
You're not expected to already know about credit scores and mortgages and exactly what the process entails.....not yet, anyway!..
Where to start?
Here's what I suggest.
1. Find a local agent - ask for recommendations from friends, perhaps, or stop by a local real estate office - speak to the manager, and ask for the name of an agent experienced in working with first time buyers.
2. Have an initial conversation/consultation with the agent, and let him or her give you an overview of what to expect. If you do not feel comfortable with this agent, do not hesitate to ask for someone new to be assigned.
3. Also......and this is important - Ask for the name of a recommended mortgage rep (you could also start out at your local bank) ..........that's a big p[art of getting this process started.
4. Meet with the loan officer/mortgage rep......... he or she will explain about credit scores and the other items you will need to provide in order to see what you might qualify for in a loan. They will go over the costs and fees and what your monthly mortgage payment might be..including taxes and insurance. They will (should) explain step by step, what to expect. If you feel you're not comfortable with this person......move onto someone else..........ask to have the different loan programs explained..... and do not be afraid to ask questions!
5. At some point after this initial meeting, the mortgage rep will run you credit, and discuss your scores with you......... if there are any issues, they will suggest how you can go about fixing them
6. At the same time, the Realtor you are working with can help keep you on top of the market (email you listings and discuss them with you sharing your feedback)...... you can begin exploring areas and styles of homes.
7. Once you know where you stand in regard to a mortgage approval;.........you can really begin looking for homes and exploring your options.
Ask your agent any and all questions you may have.........that's what he or she is there for............to help guide you through this process, holding your hand along the way!
It never hurts to do your own due diligence, too....so feel free to read up on the home buying process for your specific area.
Hope all of this helps..........I just sold my son and daughter-in-law a home, and even though "Mom" is an agent - they had the same questions and confusion you're expressing.
It will all come together!
Best wishes to you!