Stu Barnes Talks Real Estate

Welcome to my blog page.  Here I write about hot topics in the Real Estate market for Holly Springs, NC and surrounding areas.  I encourage comments and suggestions on what topics need to be discussed.  My client's and future client's opinions are very important and welcome.  

May 28, 2020

Summer 2020 is the New Spring for Real Estate

Why This Summer Is the 2020 Real Estate Season

Why This Summer Is the 2020 Real Estate Season | MyKCM

With stay-at-home orders starting to gradually lift throughout parts of the country, data indicates homebuyers are jumping back into the market. After many families put their plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we once called the busy spring real estate season is shifting into the summer. In 2020, summer is the new spring for real estate.

Joel KanEconomist at The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) notes:

“Applications for home purchases continue to recover from April’s sizable drop and have now increased for five consecutive weeks…Government purchase applications, which include FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are now 5 percent higher than a year ago, which is an encouraging turnaround after the weakness seen over the past two months.”

Additionally, according to Google Trends, which scores search terms online, searches for real estate increased from 68 points the week of March 15th to 92 points last week. As we can see, more potential homebuyers are looking for homes virtually.

What’s the Opportunity for Buyers?

Another reason buyers are coming back to the market, even with forced unemployment and stay-at-home orders, is historically low mortgage rates. Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac indicates:

“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic…As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago.”

With mortgage rates at such low levels and states gradually beginning to reopen, there’s more incentive than ever to buy a home this summer.

What’s the Opportunity for Sellers?

Finding a home to buy, however, is still a challenge, as this spring sellers removed many listings from the market. Though more people are now putting their houses up for sale this month as compared to last month, current inventory is still well below last year’s level.

According to last week’s Weekly Economic and Housing Market Update from

“Weekly Housing Inventory showed continued tightening. New Listings declined 28% compared with a year ago, as sellers grappled with uncertainty and hesitated bringing homes to market. Total Listings dropped 20% YoY, a faster rate than in prior weeks, leaving very few homes available for sale. As Time on Market was 15 days slower YoY, asking prices moved up 1.5% YoY.”

If you’re thinking of selling your house this summer, now may be your best opportunity. With so few homes on the market for buyers to purchase, this season may be the time for your house to stand out from the crowd. Trusted real estate professionals can help you list safely and effectively, keeping your family’s needs top of mind. Buyers are looking, and your house may be at the top of their list.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of selling, many buyers may be eager to find a home just like yours. Let’s connect today to make sure you can get your house in on the action this summer.

May 22, 2020

2020 Recovery

Experts Predict Economic Recovery Should Begin in the Second Half of the Year

Experts Predict Economic Recovery Should Begin in the Second Half of the Year | MyKCM

One note to make about this article is that it is quoting experts; Economists with degrees in this subject.  It is not based on those that have an imaginary degree in Internet Research which mainly derives from reposting articles from their favorite news channel.

One of the biggest questions we all seem to be asking these days is: When are we going to start to see an economic recovery? As the country begins to slowly reopen, moving forward in strategic phases, business activity will help bring our nation back to life. Many economists indicate a recovery should begin to happen in the second half of this year. Here’s a look at what some of the experts have to say.

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman

“I think there’s a good chance that there’ll be positive growth in the third quarter. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that there’ll be growth in the second half of the year…

So, in the long run, I would say the U.S. economy will recover. We’ll get back to the place we were in February; we’ll get to an even better place than that. I’m highly confident of that. And it won’t take that long to get there.”

Nonpartisan Analysis for the U.S Congress

“The economy is expected to begin recovering during the second half of 2020 as concerns about the pandemic diminish and as state and local governments ease stay-at-home orders, bans on public gatherings, and other measures. The labor market is projected to materially improve after the third quarter; hiring will rebound and job losses will drop significantly as the degree of social distancing diminishes.”

Neel Kashkari, President, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank

“I think we need to prepare for a more gradual recovery while we hope for that quicker rebound.”

We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but clearly many experts anticipate we’ll see a recovery starting this year. It may be a bumpy ride for the next few months, but most agree that a turnaround will begin sooner rather than later.

During the planned shutdown, as the economic slowdown pressed pause on the nation, many potential buyers and sellers put their real estate plans on hold. That time coincided with the traditionally busy spring real estate season. As we look ahead at this economic recovery and we begin to emerge back into our communities over the coming weeks and months, perhaps it’s time to think about putting your real estate plans back into play.

Bottom Line

The experts note a turnaround is on the horizon, starting as early as later this year. If you paused your 2020 real estate plans, let’s connect today to determine how you can re-engage in the process as the country reopens and the economy begins a much-anticipated rebound.2020 

May 18, 2020

Home Ownership Equals Wealth

#1 Financial Benefit of Homeownership: Family Wealth

#1 Financial Benefit of Homeownership: Family Wealth | MyKCM

While growing up, we were taught by our parents and grandparents that owning a home is a financially savvy move. They explained how a mortgage is like a “forced savings plan.” When you pay rent, that money is lost forever. When you make a mortgage payment, much of that money accumulates as equity in the home. So, what exactly is equity?

The equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on the mortgage. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe. That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity.

A recent study by CoreLogic explained that homeowners gained substantial equity over the last twelve months, and are essentially sitting on large sums of cash in their homes. In the study, Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic explained:

"The CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded a quickening of home price gains during the fourth quarter of 2019, helping to boost home equity wealth. The average family with a mortgage had a $7,300 gain in home equity during the past year, and a total of $177,000 in home equity wealth."

For most families, their home is their largest financial asset. This increase in equity drives the net worth, or family wealth, of the homeowner. Renters are not earning that benefit. Instead, they’re building the net worth of their landlord.

Bottom Line

Home price growth will moderate during the pandemic. But once a cure is available, most experts agree that home values will again begin to appreciate at levels similar to what we’ve seen over the last several years. In the long run, our family elders will be proven correct: owning a home is a savvy financial move.

May 15, 2020

COVID-19 Not Stopping the Market

Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year?

Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year? | MyKCM

Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone.

This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:

“After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.”

What does the survey indicate about sellers? 

Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes once stay-at-home orders are lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year? | MyKCMJust this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:

“The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.”

What does the survey note about buyers?

The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:

  • 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
  • 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
  • Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.

As we’ve mentioned before, buyer demand is strong right now, and many are simply waiting for more inventory to become available so they can make a move, especially as the country begins to reopen.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, let’s connect today. There’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours.

Contact Stu Barnes at 919-819-3956.

April 29, 2020

Buying a Home Now is Smart

Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes.

Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes. | MyKCM

Through all the volatility in the economy right now, some have put their search for a home on hold, yet others have not. According to ShowingTime, the real estate industry's leading showing management technology provider, buyers have started to reappear over the last several weeks. In the latest report, they revealed:

“The March ShowingTime Showing Index® recorded the first nationwide drop in showing traffic in eight months as communities responded to COVID-19. Early April data show signs of an upswing, however.”

Why would people be setting appointments to look at prospective homes when the process of purchasing a home has become more difficult with shelter-in-place orders throughout the country?

Here are three reasons for this uptick in activity:

1. Some people need to move. Whether because of a death in the family, a new birth, divorce, financial hardship, or a job transfer, some families need to make a move as quickly as possible.

2. Real estate agents across the country have become very innovative, utilizing technology that allows purchasers to virtually:

  • View homes
  • Meet with mortgage professionals
  • Consult with their agent throughout the process

All of this can happen within the required safety protocols, so real estate professionals are continuing to help families make important moves.

3. Buyers understand that mortgage rates are a key component when determining their monthly mortgage payments. Mortgage interest rates are very close to all-time lows and afford today’s purchaser the opportunity to save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.

Looking closely at the third reason, we can see that there’s a big difference between purchasing a house last December and purchasing one now (see chart below):Buying a Home Right Now: Easy? No. Smart? Yes. | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Many families have decided not to postpone their plans to purchase a home, even in these difficult times. If you need to make a move, let’s connect today so you have a trusted advisor to safely and professionally guide you through the process.

April 22, 2020

Virtual the New Norm in the Raleigh, NC Area

Keys to Selling Your House Virtually

Keys to Selling Your House Virtually | MyKCM

Being located in the Raleigh, NC area, Holly Springs to be exact, we are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The market is still active, not as active, but active all the same.  We have to respond accordingly and more than safe.

In a recent survey by, people thinking about selling their homes indicated they’re generally willing to allow their agent and some potential buyers inside if done under the right conditions. They’re less comfortable, however, hosting an open house. This is understandable, given the health concerns associated with social contact these days. The question is, if you need to sell your house now, what virtual practices should you use to make sure you, your family, and potential buyers stay safe in the process?

In today’s rapidly changing market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy when selling your house. One of the ways your agent can help with this is to make sure your listing photos and virtual tours stand out from the crowd, truly giving buyers a detailed and thorough view of your home.

So, if you’re ready to move forward, virtual practices may help you win big when you’re ready to sell. While abiding by state and local regulations is a top priority, a real estate agent can help make your sale happen. Agents know exactly what today’s buyers need, and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, according to the same survey, when asked to select what technology would be most helpful when deciding on a new home, here’s what today’s homebuyers said, in order of preference:

  • Virtual tour of the home
  • Accurate and detailed listing information
  • Detailed neighborhood information
  • High-quality listing photos
  • Agent-led video chat

After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are ways to proceed safely. Here are a few of the guidelines, understanding that the top priority should always be to obey state and local restrictions first:

  • Limit in-person activity
  • Require guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Remove shoes or cover with booties
  • Follow CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings

Getting comfortable with your agent – a true trusted advisor – taking these steps under the new safety standards might be your best plan. This is especially important if you’re in a position where you need to sell your house sooner rather than later.

Nate Johnson, CMO at ® notes:

"As real estate agents and consumers seek out ways to safely complete these transactions, we believe that technology will become an even more imperative part of how we search for, buy and sell homes moving forward."

It sounds like some of these new practices might be here to stay.

Bottom Line

In a new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for sellers may be a great option. Opening your doors up to digital approaches may be game-changing when it comes to selling your house. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate through all that’s new when it comes to making your next move.

If you need help, I am always here...please reach out.

April 18, 2020

5 Bedroom Home in Holly Springs, NC

Holly Springs, NC is North Carolina's Premier Small Town

The beautiful 5 bedroom home is right in the middle of Holly Springs and has so many qualities home buyers are looking for in a new home.  Learn more information about this house at


April 16, 2020

COVID-19 and the Real Estate Market

Will COVID-19 Slow Real Estate?

This is when we really want that crystal ball.  I don't know the answer, but my gut feeling is yes, but only for a few weeks.  Even as I write this today, 4-16-20, houses are still coming up as newly active on the MLS and there are houses going under contract.  Not nearly as many, but goes on and folks have to move on with life, just now at a much more guarded and slower pace.

The ideal candidate 'seller' would be someone with a vacant house.  There are potential sellers out there that may be more susceptible to the virus, may be pregnant, may have young children at home, etc.  'Right now' may not be the ideal time for them to sell.  But, during this downtime is a great time to research the market, check out REALTORS that may be able to help you and also, it is a time to hit your "reset" button, because before you know it we will be back up and running.

If You Are Going To Buy or Sell..... sure to do a couple of things when leaving your house for showings;

-keep all lights on; this is a good idea anyway, but by doing this no one should have to touch your light switches

-leave interior doors such as closets and bathrooms open; eliminating buyers needing to touch your door knobs

-leave booties at the front door so buyers do not wear shoes in your home

-ask your REALTOR to do a video tour of the house so if buyers view online it will show a more life-like viewing

-disinfect your home with lysol or any other product to help eliminate germs after a showing


Buyers....only a few for you;

-use common sense; don't view a house if you don't feel well or have been sick

-do not touch anything in the house unless it is totally necessary

-wear booties

-ask your REALTOR to video the home for you if you cannot make it and if there is no link on the MLS

What's next?

We are all in this together and trying to figure it all out, but it is logical to think that for the next year or so we are going to be social distancing, wearing face masks, and bumping feet or nodding instead of shaking hands.  If you are in the market to buy or sell this likely will not stop you, nor effect prices.  But, just be wise and safe when viewing a home.

Jan. 31, 2020

Repairs and Home Inspections NC

Aug. 21, 2019

iBuyers; CASH Buyers in Real Estate

Nothing New

If you are paying attention to the Real Estate market you had to have seen how many ads are being displayed for "WE PAY CASH FOR YOUR HOME".  They will even go on to say that it is a fair offer.  Very subjective.  These "we pay cash" buyers have been around for a long time and is not going to go away.  What is a little different, is that since the market has been so hot recently, there are more of these companies showing up.  I know you have seen the ads.  Now, you are seeing big names get into the game....Major Corporate names getting involved.  Why not right?


Instead of the "cash buyer" theme, we are now seeing "iBuyers".  iBuyers stand for 'instant buyer'.  Sounds better marketing wise......


That is what it is all about.  I can't say I disagree with the concept.  It sounds really enticing to have someone walk in your home and just write a cash offer.  BUT, some don't even see your home, they just look at the numbers, compare size and age to other homes close by, send you the offer and you are under contract.  Then, you MAY have them come back a few days later and say....oh, by the way, we need to adjust our offer because of the condition of your home.  Some companies do come in and look at your home and make you an offer.  You say 'no' and viola, they say, "OK, I know you don't like our offer, but now let us list your home for the price you think it is worth".  JEDI Mind Trick???  Maybe. Maybe it's right for some.  I don't know, but talking to more than one Real Estate Firm is worth it's weight in 'equity'.

Common Sense

As noted previously, the cash buyer thing is nothing new.  What is new is the big names coming in and making an offer and then saying, "OK....then let us list it for your price".  In my opinion this is brilliant marketing and nothing wrong with it. At the same time, most people are smart enough to read between the lines.  You are intrigued by the thought of a quick cash offer, get the company in your house for "that offer", you don't like "that offer", then they say they can list your home for "that offer" you want.  Again, this may work for some, but one should always think things through.  Is this best for you?  Maybe.

The one thing I can say for sure is there is definitely a market for this business model and again, there is nothing wrong with it in my opinion.  The ideal candidate for this model would be someone who has not kept the house up over the's called 'deferred maintenance'.  They really just want to get out as they may or may not have a lot of equity, may or may not have a lot of time for the sale to happen, and frankly, just as the ads say, they don't want to deal with the traditional process of selling a home.  There is the flip side to that scenario, a homeowner that wants their house marketed professionally to show off how awesome their house really is and to get top market dollar for what they have rightfully earned.

Just be informed.  Make prudent decisions.  Choose an agent you trust.  It is, obviously, what is best for you!