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Home Guru: Retirees Scaling Back and Moving On

Home Guru: Retirees Scaling Back and Moving On

By Bill Primavera Like many people at my stage of life, I’m planning projects for not just one house but for two, as I prepare to move from an oversized house to a brand new smaller one, a beautiful new condo with many nice amenities. I’m organizing what needs to be done with my current […]

Home Guru: Be Glad That Real Estate isn’t as Sexy Anymore

Home Guru: Be Glad That Real Estate isn’t as Sexy Anymore

By Bill Primavera Real estate isn’t as sexy as it once was, and it probably won’t be for a long time to come, according to the pros. Why would I relate real estate to sex, you might ask? Well, you know the game of association, right? I’ve been thinking about Donald Trump lately, someone who’s […]

Home Guru: Fixtures, Getting Weird About What Stays and What Goes

Home Guru: Fixtures, Getting Weird About What Stays and What Goes

By Bill Primavera Buyers and sellers who seem perfectly nice and normal throughout the sales transaction can suddenly lose their cool when the seller asks at the last minute that a modest chandelier over a kitchen table be excluded among the fixtures included in the sale. “Oh no, you don’t,” the buyer might say, “it […]

Home Guru: What if We Don’t Like What Neighbors Put on Their Properties?

Home Guru: What if We Don’t Like What Neighbors Put on Their Properties?

By Bill Primavera When I had the great pleasure of taking on this gig as The Home Guru, I suggested to the publisher that I make my columns personal in approach. After all, a column devoted to real estate and home maintenance could be quite dry and, honestly, unless we’re all HGTV addicts, exploring such […]

Home Guru: When Homes Came in a Big Box From Sears, Ready to Assemble

Home Guru: When Homes Came in a Big Box From Sears, Ready to Assemble

By Bill Primavera When I received a call from a 92-year-old gentlemen telling me that he had read every one of my articles since I started writing as The Home Guru, I was quite flattered. And, when he told me that he wouldn’t consider having anyone else sell the house that he had lived in […]

Bill Primavera

Home Guru: A Herald of Angels Behind Housing ‘Freedom’ for the Disabled

By Bill Primavera My friend Dave Goldberg, the plumbing and heating supplier in upper Westchester who retired from his own business, called me last week to tell me that he had joined the board of Freedom Gardens in Mohegan Lake and asked if I might visit. He didn’t have to tell me what it was […]

Home Guru: Living 'Over the Store'

Home Guru: Living ‘Over the Store’

By Bill Primavera Would you believe that 52 percent of American companies operate as home businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration? My wife and I have been in that category almost from the day we were married and perhaps, at least on my side of the family, it was ordained. I was fascinated […]

Home Guru: A Little Secret in One of Our Most Interesting Cities

Home Guru: A Little Secret in One of Our Most Interesting Cities

By Bill Primavera Of all the wonderful and diverse communities we have in the Hudson Valley, one of the most intriguing for both its promise of the future and grittiness of the past is Peekskill. Historically, Peekskill is known as an American industrial center for its iron plow and stove products and for Binney & […]

The Home Guru: Secret Paths and Gardens as Places to Transport Oneself

The Home Guru: Secret Paths and Gardens as Places to Transport Oneself

By Bill Primavera When I was 10 years old, I had a summer experience of great wonderment. My father had taken a short-term work assignment in Lynchburg, Va. My mother, he and I took up temporary residence in an antebellum mansion that had come upon hard times after the Civil War and was split up […]

Home Guru: Lady Macbeth May Have Said 'Out Damned Spot' But Sometimes We Can’t

Home Guru: Lady Macbeth May Have Said ‘Out Damned Spot’ But Sometimes We Can’t

By Bill Primavera As a young child I was overly impressed by the movie “Gone With the Wind,” especially Scarlett O’Hara’s line, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Whenever there’s been an unpleasant task at hand, I’ve frequently pulled it from my bag of tricks to accommodate procrastination. Now as I tread gingerly through my Golden […]

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 […]