Go and find a good Realtor in your area. They can help you find a reputable lender who can help to get you pre-approved. There are all sort of first time home buyer programs such as bond money, Rural Development loans etc. A local lender will know what avenue you need to take.
I know that a lot of lender's here in Oklahoma can help clients that have a credit score of 620 or higher with a FHA mortgage. I think that there is a lender that can help you out. I would call local Realtors and see who they would recommend.
I would say to at least interview 3 Realtors. You would want to make sure that you hire a FULL TIME REALTOR. A lot of Realtors only work on a part time basis. I also think that it is important for a Realtor to have a marketing budget...ask questions and see where they market. Make sure that you are getting the services that you pay for. Don't make it all about the commission. You can find Realtors that list for a standard listing fee...remember you get what you pay for. Hire a Realtor who is works in the area that your home is in. A local Realtor who knows the area is always your best bet. Good luck!!
I would say to meet with a local Realtor in the area that you are looking at. Ask them for 3 lender referrals and then I would go and get pre-approved through a lender to see where you qualify and have an idea of how much money you will need to bring to closing. The Realtor should be able to set you up a search that fits your criteria and your needs.
I would call you local Realtors in the area and ask them their experiences with that lender. If they have had a bad experience they will let you know. I would also say to not shop lenders too much...you do not want everyone and their dog pulling your credit score.
Get in contact with a local Realtor in your area who knows your area. Have them set you up a search of houses that meet you criteria so that you are familiar with the market. If you know that you have good credit and are not worried about getting a loan then ask your agent for lender's names and number about 3 months out from being ready to buy. Get pre-approved and then have your agent start showing you homes. Your agent should know the estimated time on the market for homes in your area. Ask you agent to educate you on the buying process in the area...do houses usually go for asking price?? Do the seller's help with closing costs?? etc.
It takes a very long time for a credit score to go up even after you have paid debt off. My advice to you both would be to save as much money as you can in the next few years and pay off all debt.
I think that you feel comfortable with whatever you buy. Now in saying that termites are VERY common so based on when the house was built - I would not be that concerned with termites; especially if there is no damage. You can always get a stuctural inspection - they can usually give you a good idea about water damage and runoff. However, if you feel like the home was not constructed to meet your needs then "yes" get out of the contract but I would always ask you Real Estate Agent because we see a lot and give good advise to your concerns.