From Premier Lending, here is a handy Home Buyers Guide that will help you through the loan and buying process. I found this guide through a newsletter which also includes tips on improving your credit score. Here are the 7 points in brief:

  1. Review your credit report for errors and/or inaccuracies
  2. Reduce your credit card balances. High balances affect your score, especially if you have balances greater than one-third your gross monthly income.
  3. Avoid the temptation to cancel credit cards, especially if they are never used. This could adversely affect the ratios that go into developing your score.
  4. Avoid taking out any new credit cards. Opening a lot of cards can make you look desperate for cash, but your goal is to look responsible. 
  5. If you don't have any credit cards at all, consider getting one or two and using them responsibly.
  6. Pay all your bills on time--every time! Call and make the payment by phone if you would be late otherwise. And consider setting up auto-payments to avoid missing payments.
  7. But if you have a late payment, ask for forgiveness. Your creditor may require the request in writing, but if you have an otherwise good record, the creditor may make a "goodwill" adjustment. 

Most importantly, don't assume you can't get a home loan. Talk to a lender (or two)--You might be surprised! If there are credit concerns, they might be able to show you how a few simple actions can help you get the credit score you need and quickly. If someone else's bad actions are still showing up on your credit report, a lender may be able to help you document that you are creditworthy or give you guidance on how best to remedy the situation.