HOME BUYING OPTIMISM IMPROVES IN THE SECOND QUARTER

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), more Americans believe that now is a good time to buy a home. In their second quarter Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey, the number of respondents who strongly believe it's time to buy increased to 38 percent. 

What's driving the boost in optimism? First of all, home price increases are slowing down. While it's true that homes are getting more expensive, they're doing so slowly enough for buyers to catch up. Second of all, more Americans believe the economy is improving.

Home sellers' optimism has also increased. 45 percent of sellers now believe that it's a good time to sell, up from 37 percent in the first quarter. This is likely due to the fact that they're more confident that their home will sell as more buyers enter the market. If more Americans put their homes up for sale, it will help to relieve inventory shortages and lead to a more balanced housing market.

LATE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS HIT RECORD LOW

Part of shopping for a house to buy is calculating whether or not you'll be able to comfortably afford the monthly mortgage payment. Nobody wants to buy a house that causes them financial stress.

The key to choosing a house that's right for you is figuring out your approximate payment and how that fits into your monthly budget.

Of course, having a steady job and a consistent income will help make your mortgage payment easier to manage. Which is why the improved job market is among the reasons credited for mortgage delinquencies being at record lows. According to new data from Black Knight, late mortgage payments have fallen to a nearly 20-year low.

Just in the past year, they're down 7.5 percent, and combined with foreclosure stats falling to a more than 18-year low, the improvement represents a major turnaround from where things were since the financial crisis and housing crash. This isn't surprising, as the labor market has been stronger in recent years. With increased job security and growing wages, more homeowners have been able to avoid financial stress and stay on top of their payments.

HOW TO STAGE YOUR HOME IF YOU HAVE KIDS

If you're trying to sell your home, staging it right is essential. If you have kids, staging can be difficult, but there are things that you can do to make your home look more appealing to the average buyer. This article shows you how to stage your home for potential buyers.

SQUARE FOOTAGE CAN BE MISLEADING

The square footage of a home is something to consider, but it doesn't tell the whole story. A home with a lot of square footage might not feel that big if it has a poor layout. According to this article, a home's floor plan is more important than its square footage.