The answer to your question depends on several factors, including your state of residence, the type of program for which she is trying to qualify, and the prospective lender's rules regarding first-time buyer programs.
There are two common types of first-time buyer programs: those offered through government agencies and those offered by private mortgage lenders.
Government programs are administered by both the Federal government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), and by various state housing agencies. The qualification criteria for the programs vary by state, so you should check with your state's housing authority to find out if your wife is eligible for its program.
Programs offered by private mortgage lenders also have their own eligibility guidelines, so check with potential lenders as to your wife's eligibility.
Although I encourage you to speak with lenders and government agencies, your wife would not qualify for most programs that I have researched. The first question most programs ask is "do you own a home." In legal terms, if your wife is listed on your deed, she is a homeowner. The deed, not the mortgage, is the official document establishing ownership. Each program has its own rules, though, so I encourage you to ask various lenders about loan options available to you and your wife.
I hope that his helps you make the right decision for your particular situation, but be sure to shop around and find a loan that meets your needs.
If you would like more information, please visit our mortgage resource page.