Improving your credit score for a home loan?

I would like to purchase a home in 2014 I’m currently paying off negative things on my credit reports. I only have one big ticket item which is a hospital bill for $ 3000.00. Once everything is paid off how long should I wait to apply for a home loan? What else do loan companies look for when you apply? How much when I qualify for a loan should I put down towards the house? Also I live in Louisiana if that would help. Serious replies only

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