is so important to meet with your lender early on in the home buying process.
In fact ideally you would have your initial meeting six months out, so you would have time to fix anything that might need it. Your lender can tell you what you need to do most and in what order. This is what will maximize your credit the fastest. If you don't yet have a lender, talk to your realtor and tell him/her exactly what your concerns are. That way you'll be given a choice of lenders to interview who are best equipped with helping you in this situation.
The following article is well intentioned, but the are some points in there that I disagree with. Depending on the person it may all be true, but it does not apply to all people. Here is my example: It claims that it is a myth that short sales are better than foreclosures on your credit report. That is misleading because there is no category for "short sale" in a credit report. It can only be reported as having been satisfied and perhaps some other words that mean that the debt no longer exists, but is not a foreclosure. This variance alone can mean as much as 50 points (to the positive) in your credit report. Hardly the same as a foreclosure. Here is the article in MoneyWatch.com.