Yorktown Home Guru Releases Book of 'Practical Advice'

Bill Primavera. Contributed photo.
Bill Primavera. Contributed photo.

Yorktown realtor a longtime publicist Bill Primavera has released a book titled "Musings of the Home Guru: Armchair Observations and Advice about Buying, Selling, and Fixing Homes, both Practical and Absurd."

He promises his readers – whether a first-time home buyer, a senior looking to downsize, or a realtor looking for a fun closing gift for a client – a funny and interesting read. 

"I only know that I don’t want to write anything that I wouldn’t want to read, and in the real estate field, I’ve read a lot of stuff that makes me want to curl up and fall asleep," Primavera said.

Primavera described his book as a guide for anyone dealing with the day-to-day challenges and opportunities that come with home ownership. 

Chapters include a wide range of musings on topics both practical and mundane, and sometimes absurd, according to Primavera, such as the demise of the home telephone; how St. Joseph becomes the patron saint of home sales; how men and women differ in selecting a home; what household dust is really made of; 10 good reasons to hate your neighbor; the secrets and dangers of hoarding; decorating for romance (and more) in the bedroom; how size really matters today; what to do when a house smells; the curse of living with a neatnik; and the history of the toilet. 

Patch caught up with Primavera for more on his book:

Patch: Why did you decide to write a book? 

Bill Primavera: 
It wasn't a decision, actually. I was a journalist/PR guy before I got into real estate, so I used that skill set to write weekly articles about the home to promote my real estate practice, first in the former North County News for five years, and for the past five years, in The Examiner News, as well as on Patch. Actually it was a realtor/friend who suggested that my style was different, more conversational in approach, and that I should do a compilation of my stories in a book.

Patch: How long did it take to write your book? 

Since I already had all the raw material from my articles, it took only about six months, but the credit for editing and designing the book goes to my daughter and right-hand woman Emma Primavera who sped the plow, so to speak. It gave me great joy to work side by side with her, as I do in my public relations firm which is my second -- or is it my third? -- career.

Patch: What are you most proud of? 

I have never missed a deadline in 10 years, no matter whether I was traveling on business and no matter how busy I may have been in either of my two career pursuits, the other being running the public relations firm, the first to be established in Westchester that is still successfully humming along. As you may know, while I specialized for many years in national restaurant chains, food and wine companies, I've lately started handling business accounts locally in Westchester. My next book might be about the crazy and wonderful world of public relations.

Patch: What were some of the challenges along the way? 

Every single week while writing the original stories, it was a challenge to be relevant, informative and entertaining at the same time. Articles about home buying, selling and maintaining can be deadly dull, but I feel that I always managed to come up with a new angle. Another challenge is finding a new subject every week. It gets tricky after doing almost 500 columns to not repeat myself.

Patch: What kind of audience is the book geared toward? 

Anybody who owns a home -- any kind of home, even if it is a rental apartment, can relate to this book. It's about the way we live our lives and where we live them, and that relates to everybody. The book has been selling briskly to other real estate agents who find that it's a perfect gift either at closing or as a house warming present.

Patch: What is your favorite chapter of the book? 

While most of my stories have some humorous slant, the one that is my favorite actually makes me cry each time I read it, and my daughter suggested that I have it as the last chapter in the book. It is a story about the disappearing plaster wall and I constructed it around the first house project for which my father let me help when I was only eight years old. My job was to place the wet plaster on the board and hand it to him on the ladder so that he could apply it to the ceiling. My father was an excellent plasterer, a professional, and when the job was finished and dry, he took my hand and guided it across a side wall to show me that it was smooth as silk.  

Fifty years later, I visited that house and introduced myself to the owners who, incredibly enough, were the same couple who had bought the house from my parents. More incredibly, they remembered me! I asked to see that room and I found that the plastic job looked as though it had just been done, without a fissure to be seen. I ran my hand across that same section of wall where my father had guided my hand a half century earlier, and it was still smooth as silk. I welled up with tears when I wrote that piece, and it happens to me every time I read it.

Patch: Can you explain one of the many "observations" that you're writing about?

Don't think I'm weird, but I believe that the elongated toilet bowl was designed specifically to accommodate the male anatomy. I note in an article about the history of the toilet that switching from a round to an oval bowl for a guy is like going from jocky shorts to boxers.

Patch: Is there anything your readers might be surprised about?

Yes. I'm really not handy at all around the house.  While my "handle" is a guru, a guru only teaches. And you know what they say about teachers:  those who can do, those who can't teach.

Patch: Anything else you'd like to add that we haven't asked you about?

I'd like to give special credit to my wife Margaret who has shared in all the joys and challenges of home ownership with me. As I wrote those articles that are now chapters in the book, I usually personalized them with our own experiences and sometimes Margaret felt that I shared too much information about us. She once said, "Next you'll be telling them my age and weight!"

To buy the book and to know more about The Home Guru and his musings, visit:


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