Stu Barnes Talks Real Estate

Welcome to my VLOG page (Video Log).  Here I talk about All Things Real Estate not only in the Raleigh, NC area market, but on a national level. If you have a suggestion for a new topic to be discussed please submit and I will be happy to address.

May 27, 2021

Sunset Ridge South | Holly Springs, NC | Subdivision

Holly Springs is the best small town in North Carolina and one of the best in the Country. Sunset Ridge was one of the first subdivisions in Holly Springs.

Sunset Ridge consists of Sunset Ridge South...the older section and Sunset Ridge North.

Below is a video drive through of Sunset Ridge South in Holly Springs, NC.


Posted in Holly Springs, NC
April 12, 2021

The 2021 Real Estate Market

Why Everyone Should Read This

As I type this paragraph, buyers of residential real estate all over the Country are scratching their heads trying to strategize on how to win a bidding war on a house.  I am a REALTOR® in the Raleigh, NC area.  Raleigh is now the 3rd most competitive market in the USA to buy a house. 

COVID certainly didn't do the housing market any favors at the beginning of 2020, but something happened a few months after COVID struck and kept us all at home.  People all of a sudden wanted to buy a house.  Builders previously forecasted 2020 to be a slow year so building supply speculations were at a minimum, then COVID kept a lot of workers in the factories that make building supplies at home and out of work.  It would take months to get windows put in a newly framed house.  All of this built up DEMAND.  All of this lowered SUPPLY.  This created a huge inventory problem in not only North Carolina, but all across the Country.  Currently inventory sits around 1-2 months supply.  6 months is healthy.  There are more REALTORS® than houses 'for sale' in our Country right now.  It is a problem, but things can change overnight.

A Little Background

Around 2010 or so the market was almost the exact opposite of what we are seeing now.  I am an independent agent, not with a big Firm, but definitely a seasoned, experienced agent.  When we were going through a recession I had on average 13 listings.  But, it didn't matter because nothing would sell.  Home owners would complain about their agents not doing enough to "market" their home.  You would see expired listings and new for sale signs in the same yard over and over thinking a new agent would magically change the market we were experiencing.  Now, the majority of agents have that many or more "buyers", but no houses to show them.  My... how times have changed.  Again, this current market can change overnight.

Here's What Agents Are Seeing

If you were thinking of selling in a couple of years...for example, your kids will be in college and you were planning on moving to the coast...SELL NOW and rent somewhere for a couple of years!  This market will not be like this forever and who's to say in two years your home will be worth what it is now.  We have no way of knowing, but I very seriously doubt it will be a seller's market like it is currently in a few years.

Most agents are both buyers' agents and listing agents.  Listing agents have an easier job than they did 10 years ago.  

A day in the life of a buyers' agent goes like this.  A home will come on the market on a Wednesday.  The listing agent will say showings start Thursday.  If you do not make an appointment immediately the slots will fill up and you will not even get a chance to show the house.  We are generally allowed 15 minutes to show a house and if you overlap or take any time from a different agent's spot you are fined.  This is partly because of COVID guidelines, but also because there are so many buyers wanting to see a house.  A year ago we would have an hour slot vs. the 15 minutes slot we are seeing.

We will show a house and then an announcement will come from the showing service that the seller will make a decision on Sunday evening as they have multiple offers.  Please have your highest and best offer in by 5pm.  Now, some sellers may say I don't want to keep showing the house..."we received so many offers I want to accept "this" one."  Well, the agent must abide by the sellers' in some cases, even though there is a deadline, you may not even get a chance to write an offer.

*I showed a house last week that had 46 offers in 2 days.  My buyers made an offer, but didn't get it.

A year ago making a full price offer was a great offer and would likely get the house.  Then if you heard there were multiple offers you may offer a thousand dollars more.  Now..............we are seeing listings get:

*CASH offers

*very high due diligence fees...$5K, $10K, sometimes $20K.  It used to be $2K was very high.

*over list price offers....$10K, $20K, $30k over list.

*very short due diligence periods....3 days, 10 days.  21 days was the typical dd period.

*sellers are getting lease back periods

When Will This End?

Again, things can change over night.  My personal opinion is that with the vaccines rolling out sellers will feel more comfortable with putting their homes on the market lessening the inventory shortage.  This time of year (April) is typically when we see more inventory.  Builders will be catching up and mortgage rates will likely "slowly" rise.

All of these things may bring back a sense of normalcy to the market.  A HUGE misconception is that all agents are just raking in the money because the market is moving so fast.  This. could not. be. further. from. the. truth.  The truth is most agents are losing out on offers and their buyers are taking a break until things cool off.

If you are in the market to buy a house you really have to like and trust your agent and LISTEN to them.  If they are telling you to offer a certain amount over list price there is a reason for it.  If you are selling your home you really have to like and trust your agent and LISTEN to them. If they are telling you to wait until Sunday to make a decision, there is a reason for it!

There is so much more to what is going on now than I can put in writing here.  If you are not currently working with an agent please give me a call whether you are buying or selling and I can help you make prudent decisions.





Feb. 25, 2021

UNC Rex Hospital in Holly Springs, NC

Holly Springs, NC has a population of roughly 35,000.  A hospital has been in the talks for a long time, but finally in the Fall of 2021, it is opening.  Watch this brief video of the construction status as of February 2021.


Posted in Holly Springs, NC
Feb. 19, 2021

Types of Siding for Your Home

Different Types of Siding

Yes...there are different types of siding to choose from when building a home, but what if you are buying a resale home....what type of siding does it have?  Here is a short clip about the different types of siding we see around here in North Carolina.


Feb. 15, 2021

What is an Easement? What does Landlocked mean?

When buying a house you may see the term "easement" and wonder what the heck that may also here the term "landlocked" and not know what that means either.  Check out this short explainer video.


Feb. 15, 2021

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Most people think of a water heater as being a huge missile shaped machine either up in their attic or in their garage.  The tankless water heater isn't brand new, but fairly new in the housing industry.  Take a few minutes to see what one looks like and how they work.


Sept. 2, 2020

Price is not the only thing in Real Estate

It’s Not Just About the Price of the Home

It’s Not Just About the Price of the Home | MyKCM

When most of us begin searching for a home, we naturally start by looking at the price. It’s important, however, to closely consider what else impacts the purchase. It’s not just the price of the house that matters, but the overall cost in the long run. Today, that’s largely impacted by low mortgage rates. Low rates are actually making homes more affordable now than at any time since 2016, and here’s why.

Today’s low rates are off-setting rising home prices because it’s less expensive to borrow money. In essence, purchasing a home while mortgage rates are this low may save you significantly over the life of your home loan.

Taking a look at the graph below with data sourced from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the higher the bars rise, the more affordable homes are. The orange bars represent the period of time when homes were most affordable, but that’s also reflective of when the housing bubble burst. At that time, distressed properties, like foreclosures and short sales, dominated the market. That’s a drastically different environment than what we have in the housing market now.

The green bar represents today’s market. It shows that homes truly are more affordable than they have been in years, and much more so than they were in the normal market that led up to the housing crash. Low mortgage rates are a big differentiator driving this affordability.It’s Not Just About the Price of the Home | MyKCM

What are the experts saying about affordability?

Experts agree that this unique moment in time is making homes incredibly affordable for buyers.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR:

“Although housing prices have consistently moved higher, when the favorable mortgage rates are factored in, an overall home purchase was more affordable in 2020’s second quarter compared to one year ago.”

Bill Banfield, EVP of Capital Markets, Quicken Loans:

“No matter what you’re looking for, this is a great time to buy since the current low interest rates can stretch your spending power.

Mortgage News Daily:

“Those shopping for a home can afford 10 percent more home than they could have one year ago while keeping their monthly payment unchanged. This translates into nearly $32,000 more buying power. 


Homeowners are the clear winners. Low mortgage rates mean the cost of owning is at historically low levels and who gains all the benefits of strong house price appreciation? Homeowners.”

Bottom Line

When purchasing a home, it’s important to think about the overall cost, not just the price of the house. Homes on your wish list may be more affordable today than you think. Let’s connect to discuss how affordability plays a role in our local market, and your long-term homeownership goals.

Posted in Buying
Aug. 27, 2020

Existing Home or New Construction?

Should You Buy an Existing Home or New Construction?

Should You Buy an Existing Home or New Construction? | MyKCM

Finding the right home to purchase today is one of the biggest challenges for potential buyers. With so few homes for sale and construction of newly built homes ramping up, you may be wondering if you should consider new construction in your search process. It’s a great question to ask, and one to look at from the pros and cons of what it means to buy a new home versus an existing one. Here are a few things to consider when making the best decision for your family.

New Construction  

When buying a new home, you can often choose more energy-efficient options. New appliances, new windows, a new roof, etc. These can all help lower your energy costs, which can add up to significant savings over time. With programs like ENERGY STAR, your home also helps protect the environment and reduces your carbon footprint.

Lower maintenance that comes with a newer home is another great benefit. When you have a new home, you likely won’t have as many little repairs to tackle, like leaky faucets, shutters to paint, and other odd jobs around the house. With new construction, you’ll also have warranty options that may cover portions of your investment for the first few years.

Another solid benefit to new construction is customization. Do you want a mudroom, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors, an office, or a multipurpose room to homeschool your children? These items can be customized to your specific needs during the design phase. With an existing home, you’re buying something that’s already completed, so if you want to make changes, you may need to hire a contractor to help get your home ready for your family.

Existing Home

When buying an existing home, you can negotiate with the current homeowner on price, which is something you generally don’t get to do with a builder. Builders know their material and construction costs, and they have a price set for the model you’re buying. So, if you want to negotiate, then maybe an existing home will be best.

For many families, having an established neighborhood is also important. Some buyers like to know the neighbors, if it’s family-friendly, and traffic patterns before making a commitment. When you buy new construction, you won’t have a full view of some of those details until the lots around you are sold.

Finally, timing comes into play. With an existing home, you can move in based on the timeline you agree to with the sellers. With new construction, you need to wait for the house to be built. Depending on the time of the year you’re buying and the region you’re in, the weather can also be a factor in the timeframe. This is something really important to keep in mind, especially if you need to move sooner rather than later. Over the past few months with COVID-19 and social distancing regulations, some areas for new construction have been delayed.

Bottom Line

Whether you want to buy a newly built home or one that’s already established, both are great options. They each have their pros and cons, and every family will have different circumstances driving their decision. If you have questions and want to know more about the options in our area, let’s connect today so you can feel confident making a decision about your next home.

Posted in Buying
Aug. 8, 2020

Working Remotely; The New Reality

How Is Remote Work Changing Homebuyer Needs?

How Is Remote Work Changing Homebuyer Needs? | MyKCM

With more companies figuring out how to efficiently and effectively enable their employees to work remotely (and for longer than most of us initially expected), homeowners throughout the country are re-evaluating their needs. Do I still need to live close to my company’s office building? Do I need a larger home with more office space? Would making a move to the suburbs make more sense for my family? All of these questions are on the table for many Americans as we ride the wave of the current health crisis and consider evolving homeownership needs.

According to George RatiuSenior Economist for

"The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers' geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term…Although it's too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it's clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof." 

Working remotely is definitely changing how Americans spend their time at home, and also how they use their available square footage. Homeowners aren’t just looking for a room for a home office, either. The desire to have a home gym, an updated kitchen, and more space in general – indoor and outdoor – are all key factors motivating some buyers to change their home search parameters.

A recent survey indicates:

“In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase was a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% [of] that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.

Clearly, Americans are thinking differently about homeownership today, and through a new lens. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.”

Through these challenging times, you may have found your home becoming your office, your children’s classroom, your workout facility, and your family’s safe haven. This has quickly shifted what home truly means to many American families. More than ever, having a place to focus on professional productivity while many competing priorities (and distractions!) are knocking on your door is challenging homeowners to get creative, use space wisely, and ultimately find a place where all of these essential needs can realistically be met. In many cases, a new home is the best option.

In today’s real estate market, making a move while mortgage rates are hovering at historic lows may enable you to purchase more home for your money, just when you and your family need it most.

Bottom Line

If your personal and professional needs have changed and you’re ready to accommodate all of your family’s competing priorities, let’s connect today. Making a move into a larger home may be exactly what you need to set your family up for optimal long-term success.

June 8, 2020

Supply and Demand During Covid-19

Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand

Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand | MyKCM

As we enter the summer months and work through the challenges associated with the current health crisis, many are wondering what impact the economic slowdown will have on home prices. Looking at the big picture, supply and demand will give us the clearest idea of what’s to come.

Making our way through the month of June and entering the second half of the year, we face an undersupply of homes on the market. Keep in mind, this undersupply is going to vary by location and by price point. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), across the country, we currently have a 4.1 months supply of homes on the market. Historically, 6 months of supply is considered a balanced market. Anything over 6 months is a buyer’s market, meaning prices will depreciate. Anything below 6 months is a seller’s market, where prices appreciate. The graph below shows inventory across the country since 2010 in months supply of homes for sale.Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand | MyKCMRobert Dietz, Chief Economist for the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) says:

“As the economy begins a recovery later in 2020, we expect housing to play a leading role. Housing enters this recession underbuilt, not overbuilt. Estimates vary, but based on demographics and current vacancy rates, the U.S. may have a housing deficit of up to one million units.”

Given the undersupply of homes on the market today, there is upward pressure on prices. Looking at simple economics, when there is less of an item for sale and the demand is high, consumers are willing to pay more for that item. The undersupply is also prompting bidding wars, which can drive price points higher in the home sale process. According to a recent MarketWatch article:

 “As buyers return to the market as the country rebounds from the pandemic, a limited inventory of homes for sale could fuel bidding wars and push prices higher.”

In addition, experts forecasting home prices have updated their projections given the impact of the pandemic. The major institutions expect home prices to appreciate through 2022. The chart below, updated as of earlier this week, notes these forecasts. As the year progresses, we may see these projections revised in a continued upward trend, given the lack of homes on the market. This could drive home prices even higher.Home Prices: It’s All About Supply and Demand | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Many may think home prices will depreciate due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus, but experts disagree. As we approach the second half of this year, we may actually see home prices rise even higher given the lack of homes for sale.