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Home Guru: Joys of a Realtor’s Life, from Babies to Restaurant Reviews

Home Guru: Joys of a Realtor’s Life, from Babies to Restaurant Reviews

By Bill Primavera – At a rough period in my life as a publicist, my regular line of work, I got involved in real estate. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. You see, realtors don’t just sell houses and commercial properties made of wood, steel, plaster and brick. […]

Home Guru: A Wild Story Illustrates What Do-It-Yourself Chores to Avoid

Home Guru: A Wild Story Illustrates What Do-It-Yourself Chores to Avoid

By Bill Primavera Some of you may be old enough to remember the men’s movement of the mid-1970s, which I tolerated for a short while. Men would gather to pursue personal growth and to relate better to others by sharing issues and discussing how we might best deal with them. Personally it didn’t do much […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera Women who have fought to claim their right to have jobs traditionally reserved for men have always fascinated me, and I have championed their cause. When I was an operations officer at the Culinary Institute of America in the 1970s, I looked around and saw that only two of the 1,200 enrolled […]

Home Guru: You May Not Believe This Personal Story, But I Swear It’s True

Home Guru: You May Not Believe This Personal Story, But I Swear It’s True

By Bill Primavera This column comes with an advance warning: You may not believe it, but it’s true. It involves a feng shui seminar the Home Guru Team sponsored last week for my fellow associates at William Raveis Real Estate to celebrate my birthday. I had recently met a fascinating feng shui practitioner named Deanna […]

The Home Guru: Hello, Mr. Trump, Sorry I Waited So Long To Shake Your Hand

The Home Guru: Hello, Mr. Trump, Sorry I Waited So Long To Shake Your Hand

By Bill Primavera God has a great sense of humor. In the early 2000s when the Cappelli Organization came to Yorktown to reveal a plan for a large, luxury residential complex it wanted to build, I thought to myself I’d never want to live in a place like that. I thought it was just too […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera Buyers are liars and sellers are storytellers is the first adage I heard when I got into real estate. While I got the gist of what the second phrase meant, I couldn’t quite grasp what agents meant when they called buyers liars. Then I caught on when I would hear such things […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera The Home Guru has been away for a couple of weeks. The announced reason was that I was enjoying some well-deserved vacation after five years of never missing a single deadline, but really, I just needed to stop. I just needed to pull the emergency cord on practically everything that goes with […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

Do you remember the story of Chicken Little, the fable in which the central phrase is “The sky is falling?” Normally we apply the phrase to people who manage to incite an unreasonable fear in others. Recently, I was told about a prospective homebuyer who had the heck scared out of her by the way […]

Home Guru: It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, No, it’s a Stink Bug!

Home Guru: It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, No, it’s a Stink Bug!

It’s late and I’m sitting in my easy chair, comfy cozy with my comforter pulled up from my toes to my chest, protecting me from a cold winter’s night. My half glasses resting on the bridge of my nose, making me look like old man Silas Marner, I’m squinting into my laptop, happy as a clam […]

Home Guru: When Homeowners Decide Who They Don’t Want as Neighbors

Home Guru: When Homeowners Decide Who They Don’t Want as Neighbors

“Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see,” was one of my mother’s favorite expressions when teaching me how to find my way in life.  When I became old enough to think for myself, however, I asked myself, what kind of nonsense is that? But after a formal education as well […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

While usually it is the function of buyers to order a home inspection once they decide to place an offer on a house, would you consider it outrageous if I were to suggest that a seller should order one even before the home is listed? Would you think it even more extraordinary if I suggested […]

Home Guru: My Lifelong Attempt to Ban Foam Rubber From My Home Life

Home Guru: My Lifelong Attempt to Ban Foam Rubber From My Home Life

Perhaps you’ve never thought much about foam rubber as a stuffing for furnishings, but I for one have never cared for it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, but I’ve always had a kind of inborn aversion to the way it feels and performs. A few months ago when […]

Home Guru: Housing Report: Party Like it’s 2006 and in Your Own Backyard

Home Guru: Housing Report: Party Like it’s 2006 and in Your Own Backyard

Never one who was big on remembering or quoting verse from the Bible, I do sometimes think of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verses 1-4. You know, the passage about the appropriate times to do this or that, when to mourn or rejoice, and all that? It’s gotten me through the low spots when I’ve thought, okay, […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

Except for those dastardly swinging doors, which I never liked and think are one of the  world’s most dangerous inventions, every door needs something to grab on to in order to be opened and closed. It’s that round or oval device that you rarely think about, even though you wrap your hand around it at […]

Home Guru: How To Find a Great Realtor? One May Fall from the Sky!

Home Guru: How To Find a Great Realtor? One May Fall from the Sky!

If you are listening to the real estate news right now and agree that it’s an ideal time to buy or sell a home, you soon may be looking for a great realtor to help you through the process, and it should be fairly easy to find one. In fact, you may even have to […]

The Home Guru’s Crystal Ball for 2014 Housing Predictions

The Home Guru’s Crystal Ball for 2014 Housing Predictions

In the real estate world, 2013 was quite a year to observe and ponder, wasn’t it? Quite unlike any other in recent history. Considering that it was clawing its way back from the doldrums of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, it had a lot of catch-up to do and, while uneven, it […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

As this newspaper arrives for your perusal on Christmas Eve, my historic home looks like a Victorian Christmas card with a tree elaborately decorated with hand-made ornaments, garlands and lights, but not without some difficulty. Once again, the lights of the self-lighting artificial tree did not work, at least not all of them, and I […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

You’d never know it to meet me today but before reaching the age of five I didn’t speak a word. That was in the days before autism spectrum disorder had been diagnosed and certainly there was no treatment available for kids like me who were non-social, withdrawn and didn’t verbalize. But from what my mother […]

Home Guru: Plan a Great Guest Room But Watch Out for the Smell of Fish

Home Guru: Plan a Great Guest Room But Watch Out for the Smell of Fish

Sleeping overnight in another person’s home can be delightful or a real drag, depending on the planning or lack of it that goes into the guest accommodations. I’ve experienced both situations. The first time I was an overnight guest was as a senior in college when I was invited to join my roommate for a […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

“House on fire!” the police officer shouted in one incomplete sentence when I asked why the road not far from my home in YorktownHeights was blocked. It’s always upsetting to hear about a house fire, but when it’s in your own neighborhood, it takes on special meaning. As it happens, the road block was between […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

It had been a long time between visits with blacksmith Bill Fitzgerald. The last time was almost 30 years ago when I asked him to assemble on my property a number of wrought iron elements– fencing and columns–that I had collected from various salvage companies and antiques shops. Expertly, he welded the old pieces together […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

Many years ago when my wife and I discovered our dream home in the country, we were delighted that we could figure out a way to turn a one and a half-story saltbox wing with all original 18th century details into a separate apartment. We’re convinced it was and still is the most charming rental […]

Home Guru: Housing Inventory, Sales and Mortgages

Home Guru: Housing Inventory, Sales and Mortgages

At least once or twice a year, I like to take a “snapshot” of the moment in the housing market as a sort of historical record, and the very promising developments in the past six months prompt me to do so now. But first the bad news. While many signs in the market are pointing […]

Home Guru: Call Ghostbusters for Haunted Houses?

Home Guru: Call Ghostbusters for Haunted Houses?

Do you sometimes think that needed information comes to you in a strange, synchronistic way, above and beyond objective reasoning? Last week, to observe Halloween with a spooky story, I wrote about a long-kept secret of my family living with a varied assortment of spirits in an early19th century house in Brooklyn Heights. I was […]

Home Guru: A Spooky Story

Home Guru: A Spooky Story

Only after years of writing about homes and what happens in them do I feel confident enough about how readers may regard me to tell a spooky story that I repeatedly placed on the back burner for fear that I would be perceived as crazy.  Halloween is as good a time as ever to share it. […]

Home Guru: Streaks and Moss on the Roof? How About a “Roof Shampoo?”

Home Guru: Streaks and Moss on the Roof? How About a “Roof Shampoo?”

Isn’t it a great feeling to shampoo your hair and have it be clean and shiny again? You can give your house the same treat. Funny how problems and solutions sometimes come together. I had been noticing some dark vertical stains developing on the north side of my roof, and it seemed to happen over […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

It’s a sure sign that you are getting up there in years when suddenly you find that you’re working with the second generation of family-owned businesses that have provided home maintenance services for many years. It happened with my tree service, my plumber and now my lawn maintenance company. Just recently I received an introductory […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

When he said it, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. In just a few minutes while meeting with a new customer, he managed to insult my national heritage while identifying himself as a racist at the same time. It was when I was young in the real estate business, […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

If your house is on sewer, you may think septic systems have no application to you. But as I understand it, as many as one-third of us within the reach of this newspaper are on septic. And if you’re not, you may someday fall in love with a house that is, like I did. When […]

Home Guru: Why Do Homes Appreciate While Most Things Tank in Value?

Home Guru: Why Do Homes Appreciate While Most Things Tank in Value?

Imagine my surprise last week when I read a real estate piece in The New York Times about the home of my old friend and working associate Bill Houlton, whom I hadn’t seen or heard of in more than 30 years. I was sorry to learn that he had passed away before I had the […]