Hello, getting ready to apply for a mortgage is certainly a big decision, so completely understandable you're a bit nervous about it.
It sounds like your credit scores are in pretty good shape. One thing I want to note is, are you sure one of the hard inquiries is from the collection agency? Collection angencies are allowed to look at your credit but this would be a soft pull. Hard Pulls are only for when you're applying for credit somewhere.
As for your loans, these aren't crazy high payments, so you might be okay. You didn't include your income so it would be hard to say where your DTI level would sit. If you want to include your income here, can help determine if that would a good DTI level.
I would certainly try to refinance those student loans as you would almost certainly get lower interest rates and help get your payments down. That would then help you be more comfortable with your monthly payments after securing a mortgage. I would not be too concerened with them pulling your EQ report as those are paid collections and aren't likely to have an affect on the new loans. I don't think I'd aggressively pay them down anymore than you already are. The balances are high enough where you'll already be paying on them for a while. You'd be better off saving that other portion of money for downpayment and closing costs.
At around 5% down payment, there are some conventional loan options out there that will work with this. Your scores seem like they'll be plenty good enough for the conventional route. I would ask whomever your apply with to give you quote comparisons for FHA vs Conventional and see the costs of both options
Hope this helps
Out of curiosity, why the wish to buy after renting for the last 15 years? Especially, assuming no childeren will still be living at home.
I've done a little research into owning versus renting, and it'n not that much cheaper by the time you add interst to the loan and housing upkeep/repairs over the years. I've gone back and forth several time on whether to buy or keep renting, simply because rent is getting a tad outrageous lately. But it's still cheaper than the expense of owning, and being single I like the feeling of not being tied down to a place.
Just curious is all, since it seems so many people seem to want to buy a house. And some at a very young age today, yet don't stay very long.
My grandaparents didn't buy a house until very late, my Parents were in their mid thirties before their first house purchase.
In those days you bought a house tostay there most of your life, and possibly retire there. Or at least until kids graduated. But today I see so many people moving after about 5 years. I guess I don't quite get the house buying appeal. Then again I don't stay too long in one place, so owning probaly isn't right for me. I bought my first house very young and have rented it out 90% of the time, due to work I couldn't stay there. But couldn't sell it because it was close to Family etc.
@Janus I think as you mention it depends on what people want to do. Personally I've had a few times where I was renting, liked where I was living. However, after my lease was up the owners decided they wanted to sell to someone and I had to move. So I hated that feeling of someone deciding for me I had to move. For yourself where you mention you don't stay in one place long, renting makes a lot of sense.
So in summary I think it depends on a personal preference. Personally I don't want to move every 5 years. I do have younger kids so that factors into it.
As someone else mentioned they will use your middle mortgage score (not average). So even if your EQ is lower, that's okay since it won't be used. I think your scores are plenty good enough to qualify for a great rate. As a reference I have a middle score of 670 and was just approved for 4.075.
As for the student loans, as the other poster mentioned this may be true. I also did a FHA, and they simply just used the payment that shows on my Credit Report. They didn't even ask to see my payment agree with the loan servicer. So if you're already on the fixed payment plan, you're likely fine.