First Time Home Buyers

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Hey guys! This post is probably a little different than most, but I desperately need some advice! My husband and I are preparing to buy our first home. We took an unconventional approach to start the process and we moved in with my father-in-law so we could start paying off some debt we have. We would be considered low to moderate income at the moment, so we are looking for the most affordable way to buy a home. We have heard about FHA loans and also the USDA.

We actually spoke with a lender about a month and a half ago who ran our credit, unfortunately our credit didn't meet the minimum requirement for USDA, but we've been working really hard on building credit. We have taken out a small secured loan from our bank to help build credit, and we've made 3 payments on that now. We have both paid off our vehicles. 

Any any advice on how we can build up our credit would be appreciated! Also advice on the best route for first time home buyers who live off of a modest income. 

Thanks everyone!!!