Hate to say it but your best bet is to find a Realtor you trust, and pick their brain. Go to a bank and ask to speak with a mortgage officer. Ask about homes they are trying to get rid of and what you could do to qualify for them.
Look up information about "short-sale". Also look for people offering "private notes" or "owner financing." As you educate yourself, you will discover what you can do and have a better grasp of the risks involved. Then you will make informed choices instead of being some loan officer's conquest. :)