The year you were born predicts the year you will buy your first home Two new generations are taking over the new home economy for 2015. Buying their first homes in 2014 and 2015 will be Generation X, born from the early 1960s to 1976 and Generation Y, the first part of the Millennial generation, born from 1977 to 1994. Like almost every generation, their life spans have included economic slow times, but the good news is consumer confidence today is growing. While the American economy is slow-poking its way toward full recovery, it is nonetheless growing more and recovering more with each passing year. Generation X and the early Millennials will be seeing friends and former classmates invest in homes in the coming year. It's important that this new generation prepares itself for home ownership, one of the main avenues for wealth and security. To prepare for home buying, the new generation will have to pay close attention to credit scores, one of the most important factors in buying a home. There is room for optimism there. Lenders are increasingly loosening standards for credit scores. In addition, FHA insured loans can give a first-time borrower lower down payments, lower closing costs and easier credit qualifying. You must have two lines of credit to qualify for an FHA loan. If you are planning on buying a home soon, make sure you have credit and you pay on time. Credit scores are important. FHA requires a credit score of at least 580 for maximum financing. Lower scores, down to 500, can mean a borrower would have to put 10 percent down on the home. In fact, plan on a down payment of at least 10 percent. Some lenders will require more, even up to 20 percent. Lenders will look at total debt, also and that includes student loans. Many lenders will require that your total debt, including mortgage, be no more than 45 percent (or even 35 percent) of your total pretax income. Some first-time buyers may wonder if it is all worth it. After all, real estate has had a bad rap since 2008 and many are wary of getting into it. But the bad old days of the recession are behind us. Home values are rising every year. While they might not rise as significantly as they did in 2013, experts predict values will continue to rise with each passing year. That means the homes bought now will be worth more next year and beyond. The payment on a 30-year mortgage will never rise. The same can't be said for apartment and home rentals, which are predicted to go up by 3 percent each year. And none of that goes back to your net worth as home equity. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a homeowner moving up, your real estate agent can help you make an informed decision about any property.