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Could it Be? Yes, My 500th Column as The Home Guru

We are part of The Trust Project
The Home Guru as an activist to save historic homes, along with wife Margaret, in Brooklyn Heights many years ago.

By Bill Primavera

Welcome to this milestone column written for The Examiner over a nearly 10-year period.

Actually, “The Guru” gestated more than 15 years ago, first for the former North County News in Yorktown Heights, as a way to promote the start-up business of a fledgling real estate agent. Let’s reminisce about what has transpired for all of us as homeowners during that time and for me as a realtor sharing my observations of the housing industry.

It was the tragedy of 9/11 that prompted me to take a second job as a realtor as an adjunct to my public relations business. As a specialist in fine restaurant promotion, my business had taken a hit, as had upscale restaurants at that time.  Also, not knowing how safe travel would be after the terrorist attacks, my wife and I made a conscious decision that I should stay home for a while rather than maintain my hectic coast-to-coast travel schedule.

That decision signaled panic time for me, a stranger in my own town where I spent maybe only 20 percent of my time. In switching gears to make a living locally, I relied on two basic skills I used in public relations: salesmanship and writing. I decided to get into real estate because I had always had an interest in it and because I could arrange my scheduled around my PR gigs.

I got my real estate license and, at the same time, to promote my practice, I asked The North County News if I could start writing personalized articles about real estate, which I found no one else was doing.

Over the years, The Home Guru developed a life of its own.

Four years ago, when I collected an anthology of my columns from this paper into my book, “Musings of the Home Guru: Armchair Observations and Advice about Buying, Selling and Fixing Homes, Both Practical and Absurd,” Adam Stone, the publisher of Examiner Media, flatteringly wrote in his forward, “When Examiner Media launched The Home Guru column I remember feeling somewhat skeptical that a real estate column could remain vibrant in a community newspaper week after week. Boy was I wrong.”

I had every advantage in keeping my columns vibrant week after week, when one considers that my subject matter involves where we are born, where we grow up, fall in love, marry, raise our children, experience great joy and sorrow, grow old and finally die. It is the very setting for our life’s experience, all the while filling one of our basic needs – shelter. How can it not be a constant vibrant component of our lives?

And especially during the past dozen years, our life’s major investment has engaged us like never before. If you are old enough like me to have purchased a home, let’s say, 30 or even 40 years ago, you experienced some normal ups and downs in the market and the value of your home.

But what you saw in the giddy years of the Great Bubble (2002-2007) and the Great Recession (2007-2009), and the ensuing steady climb, gave you a roller coaster ride that your parents and grandparents hadn’t experienced since the Great Depression. Most of us weathered it through together, and I had the opportunity to report on those years, both exultant and desperate, always writing from personal perspective.

Today, the market is a bit slow, owing to the fact that homeowners seem reluctant to list their homes. I discussed at dinner last week with another realtor that I can’t figure out why. My friend shared that his experience reveals that the homeowners who decide to list do so not to upgrade, thereby creating a second sale, but rather to move south, resulting in just one local sale.

During these working years, I witnessed great joy, sadness, challenge, opportunity, and yes, even prejudice and discrimination, despite all the federal, state and local laws in place.

On the joyful side, I have most enjoyed working in the field with young couples buying their first homes. Sadly, I’ve gone through the deaths of spouses, helping widows and widowers downsize their homes and possessions, trying not to shed tears with them in the process, and sometimes failing.

Time and again, I’ve shared with my readers that I’m no expert as a handyman in providing maintenance tips around the house, but only a communicator of other artisans’ skills. I’ve met scores of them, some of the greatest and most resourceful men and women on the planet, and they’ve become my good friends.

Finally, I love it when I’m in town, in a drugstore or in a restaurant and someone I don’t know approaches me and tells me that they love my columns. I respond that the pleasure is all mine.

My wife always reminds me to share that my primary job is as a realtor and to ask if I can I be of service to them when it comes time to sell their home. So here we go: If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, let me be of service!

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate. His site is: and his blog is: To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.




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