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Home Guru: Buying a Home of the Past, Leaving it a Home of the Future

Home Guru: Buying a Home of the Past, Leaving it a Home of the Future

By Bill Primavera When I first met Kim and Matt Cozza and their teenage daughter Sydney, I knew I would enjoy helping them find a home because they said they would consider an historic one. As a realtor, I had developed a specialty in historic homes, having studied early American architecture at The College of […]

Home Guru: Dirty Jobs Gal Reveals the Most Disgusting and the Most Horrific

Home Guru: Dirty Jobs Gal Reveals the Most Disgusting and the Most Horrific

By Bill Primavera When the bundle of energy that is Hillary Sheperd bursts into a room, or in this case, into the sidewalk café where our networking meeting was taking place, you can’t help but take notice. I overheard her apologize to friends for her tardiness with snippets about “traffic” and just having had to […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera When I announced in the office sales meeting at William Raveis that The Home Guru Team was just about to list a great “mother/daughter” house, my office manager, Doris Ellias, gently advised me that “now it’s suggested that we refer to them as ‘extended family’ houses.” Oh, no, I exclaimed mentally, now […]

Home Guru: Hire an “Ombudsman” First!

Home Guru: Hire an “Ombudsman” First!

By Bill Primavera It was more than 40 years ago, but I still feel the sting of being swindled by an unscrupulous home improvement contractor. As a young couple, my wife and I had just managed to qualify for a mortgage and cobble together enough money for a down payment to buy our large historic […]

Home Guru: The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Refinishing Floors

Home Guru: The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Refinishing Floors

By Bill Primavera The historic house was one of the loveliest I had ever listed, but it was on the market for over a year and, while it had many showings, it hadn’t yet gotten a single offer. When it came time to relist it, the owners and I considered what else we might do […]

Home Guru: Homeowners Want to Know How the Real Estate Market is Doing

Home Guru: Homeowners Want to Know How the Real Estate Market is Doing

By Bill Primavera For more than a dozen years, The Home Guru has been observing and writing about the housing market and home building design, repair and maintenance. I have focused on hundreds of widely varied subjects, sometimes into areas quite unexpected. Who would expect a home columnist to write a treatise on mattresses or […]

The Home Guru: Bouncing From Leaves of Grass to Neighborhood Diversity in Our Towns

The Home Guru: Bouncing From Leaves of Grass to Neighborhood Diversity in Our Towns

By Bill Primavera The conversation started on Fourth of July weekend about a beautifully written essay in The New York Times by a man who had found “Leaves of Grass” to be a beacon of hope when growing up as an Evangelical in the South harboring the secret that he was gay. My wife somehow […]

The Home Guru: A Myth-Busting Primer About Mold Around the House

The Home Guru: A Myth-Busting Primer About Mold Around the House

By Bill Primavera When she visited at Christmas, my daughter Emma alerted me that there must be mold in our living room. She could sense it as soon as she walked into the room, which is used only for special occasions nowadays. I looked into each corner of the room along the baseboard and found […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

 By Bill Primavera When you are working on a job around the house or in the garden, are you like me in that your mind wanders to dreams of worlds to be conquered or occasional regrets about paths not taken? I had never thought about what might occupy the minds of others as they tackle […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera There’s some lucky stiff spending eternity on top of Marilyn Monroe, either through his vanity or warped humor or his wife’s open-mindedness or wealth, or whatever circumstances led to the shelling out of $4.6 million at auction on eBay in 2011 to buy the crypt just above the blonde bombshell’s final resting […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera When I was a bachelor living in Manhattan, I had an acquaintance who would occasionally visit friends living in “the country” over the summer weekends. Maybe I was a little jealous about not knowing anybody outside the reaches of the steamy city because I had little patience when he called me one […]

Home Guru: The Freedom of Going Stark Naked (With Windows, That is)

Home Guru: The Freedom of Going Stark Naked (With Windows, That is)

 By Bill Primavera “Oh, no!” I exclaimed when I came home one evening to see the monstrosity of a commercial sign that had been installed directly across the street from our townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. It was a large glaring light box with the name “G. Marcolini & Sons Wine & Spirits,” so outsized that […]

Home Guru: My Personal Campaign to Paint Every Front Door Red

Home Guru: My Personal Campaign to Paint Every Front Door Red

By Bill Primavera This week, just when I thought I had finished my checklist of things my clients Diane and Don had to do prior to the listing of their home and the brokers’ open house, Don mentioned that he would paint the front door. Embarrassed that it was one item I hadn’t thought was […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera For several years now, I’ve noticed that my Home Guru column has often shared the same page as the Miracle Home Improvements advertisement. I didn’t know anything about the company, so I thought I’d call and introduce myself. When I asked for the owner I was directed to Robert Sniffen. I thanked […]

Home Guru

Home Guru

By Bill Primavera When I rented my first apartment without roommates, my first purchase for it, even before I bought a bed, was a rug. It was a beautiful Karastan with a tree of life pattern in predominantly blue and red. I bought it as a hand-me-down from an eccentric friend who was a window […]

Home Guru: Avoiding a Horror Story When it’s Time to Move

Home Guru: Avoiding a Horror Story When it’s Time to Move

By Bill Primavera When I told my wife that I received a cold call from a moving company and agreed to meet with a representative because the caller seemed so nice, she went into panic mode. “Oh, my,” she said, “haven’t you heard all the horror stories about movers?” Before the end of the day, […]

Home Guru: A Psychic Medium Does a 'Reading' of The Home Guru’s Home

Home Guru: A Psychic Medium Does a ‘Reading’ of The Home Guru’s Home

By Bill Primavera You’ve heard of psychic mediums doing “readings” with people, like the Long Island Medium on TV, but did you know they can be done with houses too? I had never considered the notion, but then I never knew that Bob Buchanan was a psychic medium. I had known him only as a […]

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, […]