First, know your numbers. You typically need a credit score of 660 to get approved.
Your DTI ratio is your monthly debt divided by your monthly income. You need a score of about 30-percent to qualify. If you're not there, start by paying off accounts with small balances and get caught up on your bills.
Next, go with who you know. Do business with institutions that already know you. They can pull your profile from their own database to see if you're worth the risk.
Finally, private banks can be stingy but the government isn't as iron-fisted. Find government-backed lenders that are giving loans through federally backed programs. These are great for homebuyers with less than stellar credit. Money you can get your hands on, if you know how and where to look.