Welcome to the 300th article written by The Home Guru for The Examiner over a six-year period. Actually the Guru gestated more than a dozen years ago, first for the former North County News, as a way to promote the start-up business of a fledgling real estate agent. You may find it of interest to reminisce with me 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 with you.
It was the tragedy of 9/11 that prompted me to take on a second job as a realtor as an adjunct to my public relations business. As a specialist in restaurant promotion, my business had taken a hit as had fine 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 keep up the coast-to-coast travel schedule that I had maintained for some years.
That decision signaled panic time for me, a stranger in my own town where I spent maybe only 20 percent of my time. As I look back now, after a period of some adjustment, it was the best decision I ever made. For the first time in my married life, I became June Cleaver’s husband, Ward (I had to look up his name. I was never square enough, even as a child, to actually watch the show).
In switching gears to make a living locally I relied on two basic skills I utilized 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 time around what odd PR jobs I could pick up regionally. 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 articles about what I was learning from my real estate courses, which I found no one else was doing.
But, to be candid, most of the stuff I was learning was not exactly Peyton Place in terms of interest, so when it came time to report to my readers, I decided to personalize it more as journaling, to humanize it with personal experience, and the feedback I received was encouraging. Over the years, The Home Guru developed a life of its own.
Last year 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 column about homes and real estate vibrant week after week, and I expect to be able to continue to do so for another 300 columns and beyond when one considers that my subject matter involves where we are born, where we grow up, discover our sexuality, 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, that of shelter. How can it not be a vibrant component of our lives each and every day?
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 to 2007) and the Great Recession (2007 to 2009) gave you a roller-coaster ride that your parents and grandparents had never 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, for you, always writing from my personal perspective.
During these years, I witnessed great joy, great sadness, challenge, opportunity, and yes, even prejudice and discrimination, despite all the federal, state and local laws we have in place to protect us against it.
On the joyful side, I have most enjoyed working in the field with young couples buying their first homes, like Jennifer and Tim Nelson, who found their dream home with me and, when they had their first baby, brought her by my home to introduce her to me. On the sad side, 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 not succeeding very well.
And I have touched the lives of people in great trouble as well, such as the woman, reading a column I had written about the dangers of hoarding, who called me anonymously and in desperation, telling me that she was afraid that, eventually, she would not be able to get out of her own house in case of an emergency. I made some calls, and from what I understand, she is now getting the help she needs.
Time and again, I’ve shared with my readers that I’m no expert as a handyman in providing maintenance tips around that house, but only a communicator of other artisans’ skills, and through my work, I’ve met scores of them who are some of the greatest men and women on the planet, and they’ve become my good friends.
And from an ego satisfying kind of thing, I just 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.
Nicely, both my PR and real estate businesses are keeping me busy nowadays, but my absolutely favorite job is writing this column for you every week. So, thank you, dear readers, for liking me, those who do, and anybody who would like to have my book, which people tell me is funny, can buy it at: www.TheHomeGuru.com. And, here’s to the next 300 columns!
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com), specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.