Information on mortgages for a potential first time home buyer?

I would like to purchase my first starter home by mid 2008, but my credit is somewhat shaky. I have two credit cards (totalling 700) and one will be paid off by the end of the summer. I have 6 late payments on this card in the past 5 years of its existence, but the most recent was in 2005. The other card is 1.5 years old with perfect payment history. I have 4 collection accounts (2 with cell phone companies from 2003 and 2 for medical bills in 2006). On a good note, I obtained a car and paid the balance (before the end of the loan) of $ 6,200 in 10 months with never a late payment for 2005. Federal government student loans totalling $ 5,250 have also been on time for the past 14 months.
With this said, how hard would it be to obtain a mortgage? I’m sure the interest rate would be high, but I am so desperate to buy a house! I have lived in an apartment for 5 years and am tired of “throwing money out of the window.”

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