Here is a retrospective of musings that come from my past columns in The Examiner News. For a full index of articles, visit: and click on The Home Guru icon.

Will We All Return to Dust?

Did you know that household dust is composed mostly of our own flaking skin? If we are uncomfortable when our house is dusty, is that being uncomfortable in our own skin?

This Toilet Is for the Guys

The design of the elongated bowl surely was designed to accommodate the male anatomy. Trading up from a circular bowl to an elongated one is like a guy going from jockeys to boxers.

Did Someone Die in This House?

Some people are suspicious about buying a home next to a cemetery or one in which someone has been murdered or just quietly died. But not all. One homebuyer, told that the house he wanted might be haunted, said, “I don’t care if I have to live with the ghost of Morley, as long as I get a good price.”

St. Joseph Reigns Again in Hard Times

Dedication to St. Joseph, the patron saint of selling homes, is back in the news and some entrepreneurs are doing well selling his statue for burial on properties to be sold, but it must be buried correctly. There is a report that one was buried facing the wrong direction and the home across the street sold, and it wasn’t even on the market!

Where Is the Front Porch?

Hasn’t everyone noticed that the front porch has all but disappeared from house plans? Seems that the advent of television, air conditioning, then social media eliminated the need for this social venue. Those who build a front porch today just want to show where they would be and what they would be doing, if they had the time to do it.

Are Parents the Kiss of Death When Buying a Home?

Realtors always groan when a young couple says that they must bring their parents to check out the house they’ve selected. Traditionally parents are known as the kiss of death in the real estate transaction. “We just want to protect our kids,” parents say. “They just want to wield one last-ditch effort of control,” say kids.

Who Does What in the Home?

Are there “guy” jobs and “gal” jobs and never the twain shall meet? It’s always great to witness a woman driving a large lawn mower or a guy washing dishes because these are not the traditional jobs society has assigned to the sexes. And interestingly there is a carpentry service with the name Pink Ladies that has got to be a draw for the guys!

That Magic Spigot

In Disney’s movie, Enchanted, the animated fairy princess finds herself in real-life New York City and one of her first discoveries of modern life is the magic of turning a spigot to create a waterfall. Where does the water come from, she asks? From the pipes, she is told. But, where do the pipes get it, she asks? Actually, much like it came to the Romans.

Flood Insurance

The whole scenario of flooding has changed in our region and communities that have never flooded before now face the possibility. Why? Because of overdevelopment, water no longer has a place to go other than where it doesn’t belong. Does it pay to get flood insurance? If it makes you feel better, but coverage is very restricted and you need a lawyer to understand a policy, but better to vet than to be wet.

Noise You Can’t Control in the ‘Hood

The noise outside that annoys me most, other than lawn mowers early in the morning or late at night, is the barking of dogs that goes on and on. My town has a code that invites us to complain to the code enforcement officer if barking lasts more than 15 minutes. But lately, I notice that my neighborhood has been very quiet. Maybe every dog neighbor has been trained by Bark Busters?

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Did you ever wonder where the expression “everything but the kitchen sink” originated? The answer has a shorter history than you might think. The idiomatic expression developed at the onset of WWII when everything made of metal was collected, melted down and re-used for the war arsenal. The only objects left out were porcelain kitchen sinks.

Got Mold?

It can be a dark, dank business, but once identified, mold remediation is important to your health, and certainly to the sale of your home. It all but killed Ed McMahon and even Erin Brockovich, made famous by her eponymous movie and no one to be trifled with, fought against insurers for the mold contamination in her house. If you see it or feel it, do something about it.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When the wicked queen wanted verification of who was the fairest of all, she turned to her trusty mirror and, when it betrayed her, Snow White got the business. But in today’s downsize-minded economy, mirrors may be more important than ever as an illusion of greater space that otherwise we can’t afford.

Slowing Down on House Cleaning

Maid Brigade reports a lessening in house cleaning since the recession hit us. So, like many aspects of our lives in these times, while cleaning up, we’re slowing down.

Bill Primavera is a licensed Realtor® (, affiliated with Coldwell Banker, and a marketing practitioner ( For questions or comments about the housing market, or selling or buying a home, he can be reached directly at 914-522-2076.