Jason, one thing to consider: if you have collections on your credit, they may not go away in seven years! If the collection agency refiles, they will stay on there until they are paid off. It may be more sensible to use some of the down payment money to pay these items off or negotiate a settlement, depending on how large the items are.
It may a number of months to accomplish clearing your credit and getting those scores up a bit. But right now we are experiencing the best buyer's market we have had in a long time and it would be a shame to miss that window. And just recently in the lower priced single family homes, we are starting to see multiple offers again. This indicates that our market is definitely correcting itself.
Perhaps you might consider a lease purchase. There are many vacant homes on the market and there are enough owners that are desperate enough to sell that they will consider a buyer with viable option money which you actually have. You won't be able to consider any of the foreclosure properties or short sales on the market, but quite a few owners are now priced to the foreclosures to get their property sold. We may be able to find you a good deal on a home you like to take advantage of the market conditions now and give you time to get financing.
But before that we have to make sure we can get those credit scores up in a reasonable time! Give me a call at 702-596-7821 and I can not only get you with a lender that can help clear your credit, but I can also discuss the ramifications of doing a lease purchase.