Yorktown Heights, NY Real Estate News

By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
When I sat down with my lawyer Dan Tota of Durante, Bock & Tota PLLC in Yorktown Heights, it was to discuss his project of installing crown molding in his home but, after we talked for a while, I was as interested in the “why” of his project as the “how.”“After working all day in a high pressure job, dealing with intangibles, it’s a welcome change to come home and make something that’s tangible with my hands,” he said. “There’s a lot of enjoyment in doing the job and, if you do it well, it gives you continued satisfaction again and again whenever you look at it,” he continued. “Of course, if you botch the job, nobody wants to be reminded of it afterwards!” “Would you consider yourself a handy person?” I asked him. “While I’m an attorney now, I actually grew up working as a mechanic, so ...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
When I received the email from Vicki Jimpson-Fludd, a real estate agent with Better Homes  & Gardens Rand in Briarcliff, to have my historic house listing in Ossining join a group of other historic houses in Westchester and Putnam Counties for a joint Open House tour on a Sunday in July, I thought it was an inspired idea. “Hey, wait a minute, I wrote back, “I’m the realtor with the PR background!  Why didn’t I think of that?”I immediately offered to volunteer my PR company to help promote the event and, working together, Vicki and I scored a huge public turnout for 18 different brokerage houses showing 40 historic houses on one day.At my open house at 81 Glendale Road in Ossining, a 15-acre estate contiguous to Teatown with a home started in the late 1700s and totally rebuilt over the p...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
As told to me, it was a LMAO (to use the texting lingo of the day) kind of story that may get lost in translation when cleaned up, but I am assured first hand, it’s true.  A woman who owned a condo locally was in bed for the very first time with a new boyfriend when suddenly the ceiling fan light disengaged from its mooring and plunged down, hitting the poor fellow squarely in the butt at the most critical moment you can imagine.  He screamed out, and the woman, who must have been in her own world at that point, was uncertain whether the scream was in ecstasy or in pain. But it seemed not to matter. She was impressed enough with his ability to soldier through the experience to continue the relationship to marriage.  But that’s not the end of the story.  After the ceiling fan light had b...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
When we moved to Westchester in the early 1970s, our home had a curious architectural twist: the front and the back were switched, as is frequently the case with 18th century farmhouses. At some point, the previous owners opted for privacy over curb appeal and hid the grand front porch and expansive lawn behind a tall hedge and took to parking their cars in an unpaved half-circle in the rear of the house, entering through the back door beneath a towering maple tree.We chose to continue to embrace the back of the house as our entrance, and we spiffed it up accordingly. I dressed the driveway with fresh 3/8” crushed bluestone and built up low flower beds on either side from stone. The sloping walkway leading to the front door was replaced by broad, bluestone steps. The largest project of ...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
When I was in college, I appeared in a play called The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux with the actress Linda Lavin, who would later go on to achieve fame as “Alice” on television. The most stunning thing about that production as I recall was the amazing effects achieved by its lighting director, on staff in the theater department, who was an incredible talent.I remember that when the curtain rose for the second act, the stage was completely dark and slowly a small pin spotlight illuminated only the face of the madwoman in the center of the stage. Just that lighting effect alone brought applause from the audience. Every scene of the play was an arresting study in shadow and light where brightness drew the viewer’s attention where it needed to be while other areas of the stage rec...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
When my family moved to the south when I was at the impressionable age of eight, I was amazed with some of the colloquialisms I heard that were so foreign to my ear transplanted from South Philadelphia, like one from my our next door neighbor Ethel who liked to say how much she loved her husband even though he was as “ugly as a mud fence.”I thought of that phrase recently when I pondered an ugly fence confronting me upon removing a row of sickly hemlocks, stricken years ago by a thrip infestation, pulled out by their roots, revealing a weather beaten stockade fence that separates the back of my property from another. It had fallen into disrepair with slats cracked and pieces missing here and there. Rather than replacing it at considerable expense, I thought of a more creative approach: ...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
After a year of great upheaval in my personal and professional domains, having moved to a new residence and expanded my space in my office building, I was feeling off kilter everywhere, a little uncomfortable in my own skin, not sleeping well at home and working in a tangle of misplaced folders, temporary filing boxes and a jumble of crossed wires.Six months ago, I moved from my large historic property that for over 40 years had housed my public relations business and domicile to make way for an ever expanding enterprise after my wife had declared, “Enough! I’ve lived ‘above the store’ my entire married life and now I’m living ‘INSIDE’ the store!” That’s when we purchased a new residence at Trump Park in Shrub Oak which we’ve been decorating madly while at our historic property, we conv...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
Soon after I moved into my new residence at Trump Park in Yorktown, a neighbor named Dan Potter introduced himself to me as a retired fireman from New York City and said that he had read my column about Fireman Joe who instructed school children about fire safety in the home. Dan told me not to forget about seniors who have a much higher risk of dying from fire in their own homes than the general population and that he had done educational programs for them on the subject. I told him that I wanted to know more.This week we got together and I learned number of new things, some surprising, including his personal history.Dan had been at the World Trade Center on 9/11 as one of the first responders, arriving between the times the first and second planes hit the towers. His wife Jean was wor...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
Whenever I see a model home, I marvel at how a professional designer can throw together a beautiful living space with so many creative ideas so quickly. Some peoples’ minds are just wired that way, but obviously mine is not. In fact, the one course in college I ever dropped mid-term was Interior Design. While I’ve frequently heard other people boast about how quickly they’ve “settled in” when they’ve purchased a new home or moved from one place to another, either working with a decorator or doing it themselves, as for me, I need to add the element of time to be fully happy with any design project I tackle.I remember years ago when I invited one of the editors of Good Housekeeping to my home and she surveyed my garden, she asked how long I had lived at my property and when I responded “2...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
Most every spring I write a piece about simplifying garden chores to achieve maximum effect in design and color with minimum effort in terms of planting, weeding and especially bending and kneeling for us folk who are “getting better” each year as they say now about active, mature adults.But, a lot happens to a property in decades of living with it, much of it not good, and that sometimes throws a monkey wrench into landscaping simplification.How naïve I was as a young homeowner thinking that every tree, shrub and bulb I discovered on my property, as well as all that I plopped there over the years, would continue to grow and prosper during their lifetimes and mine.Oh, my, how the landscape that embraces my historic property has changed over the years thanks to pestilence, severe winters...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
My wife and I frequently comment about how barren those new multimillion-dollar condos in Manhattan look when we see those ads with only sofa, a coffee table, and maybe a sideboard in the living room and nothing else. God forbid that you would walk around in your underwear in that room, put your feet up, and munch on a bagel with lox and cream cheese. How do you live in a room like that? And what do you enjoy visually, other than the view of the skyline? Maybe that’s the point? Just look beyond the void of the room into the wild blue yonder, because there’s certainly nothing to ponder inside!While most of us seem possessed with decluttering, especially when it comes time to sell our homes, fashion designer Iris Apfel, aged 93, is known for keeping her house filled with all sorts of trea...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
Lately I’ve been made aware that I’m probably a noisy person. Not to myself so much, but maybe to others. More and more, if I’m watching TV in one room and my wife in another, for instance, she’ll say mine is too loud. And just the other day, when I had driven into my property which houses my PR business and jumped out of the car without turning off the motor to unlock the place for my painters who are redecorating my offices, the realization really struck home. One of the painters who’s worked for me for a long time looked at me askance and said, “Knowing the kind of man you are, I never would have thought you’d play loud music in your car!” I guess I was busted. Yes, I like loud music, whether in my car or at home. Not rock or country, but Broadway show tunes that get my heart pumping...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
A few years ago, I wrote a piece about litter and how it relates to the real estate industry. I was inspired to write on that particular subject because I had just been asked to cancel a showing appointment when a couple had done an advance drive-by of the house and found that it was in a neighborhood where they felt there was an excessive amount of litter left on the streets.  “We wouldn’t want to live in a place where our neighbors could just leave litter in front of their own homes without picking it up,” they told me. They even added for emphasis, “We just wouldn’t want to live among people who could stand to live like that.” I must confess, I have similar feelings when I’m driving down any road or byway. I don’t know if I’m obsessive, okay, maybe I am, but any foreign object of lit...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
Either the piano is about to become as extinct as the dodo bird from American homes or, much like Mark Twain, its untimely death has been greatly exaggerated. It depends on what you read and who you believe.Within the past few weeks, there’s been good news and bad news about the piano industry and, oddly enough, a report of its connection to the real estate industry.First I heard an interview on SiriusXM Radio that referenced a New York Times article about a “graveyard” for unwanted pianos in Southhampton, Pa., and that particular graveyard was only one of many.As a realtor, I frequently am asked by clients selling their homes for advice about how to dispose of their pianos, especially if they are downsizing.It wasn’t all that long ago that a piano was as integral to a home’s living roo...
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By Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes
(Performance Development Strategies)
The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce covers the northern part of Westchester County. The Chamber has had a successful year with strong membership growth.  New members were introduced at the networking meeting at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights.   The Chamber holds monthly networking events hosted at a different member's location.  However, next month it will hold a breakfast event to mix things up.  You get additional information here at the Chamber's website.   Information and photos provided by Grant Schneider, Performance Development Strategies.    Would you like to know how to make your local business thrive?   Contact us!
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
More than a dozen years ago, Ed McMahon, the famous pitch man and announcer for Johnny Carson, brought to the public’s attention the health problems that can result from living with toxic mold in the home. After a long legal battle, McMahon was awarded $7.2 million from several companies who were negligent in allowing toxic mold into his home resulting from a broken pipe, sickening him and his wife and killing their dog. As it happens, I had been aware for some years that I had a mold problem in my home, but not being sensitive to it, I thought it was a minor situation and let it go without remediating it. Last week, however, I learned that this was a mistake and my health has probably been affected to some degree by my procrastination. It started on Christmas Eve three years ago, befor...
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When I was younger and forced by the lack of money to be a do-it-yourselfer around the house and in the garden, I dreamed of the day when I could employ others to do all that sweat labor to maintain and upgrade everything that needed to be done. That day came a long time ago, and I considered myself lucky that I had more time available to pursue other dreams like a satisfying second career, and even a third career. At an age when many people are retired, I have the opportunity to work long, happy hours every day. But just last weekend, surprisingly, I found myself with a free Saturday for the first time in several years where I was caught up on all my assignments and just itching for something to do around the house. More than just itching. Starving. As it happens, my wife and I were in...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
With my recent move, I learned that hanging on to keys and identifying which key is for which lock is important because it was necessary for me to call my local Locksmith-on-Wheels in Yorktown Heights, owned by Eugene and Carl Camia, to open two locked file cabinets with long lost keys. And there was also an unexpected mystery that unfolded before me. Buried deep in the eaves of my attic was a footlocker that I had placed there over 43 years ago when I moved into the house and totally forgot about. It was an item my parents had purchased for me when I was 13 years old and being shipped off to military school. It was to hold all my clothes and other possessions for that experience. Afterwards, as an adult, I used it for moving from one place to another and storage. As I lugged it from it...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
The bathroom. When you think about it, while it may not be the room you spend the most time in, it’s probably the room you visit most times during the course of the day and, if you’re in my age group, you probably visit it a little more frequently than when you were younger. I’ve been thinking a lot about the bathroom lately, forced by an unexpected experience I had the first day I was in my new digs at the gorgeous Trump Park Residences in the Shrub Oak hamlet of Yorktown. This joint is outrageous outfitted with the finest materials and fixtures you might imagine: granite, marble and brushed steel everywhere you look. So when it was time for me to visit the bathroom for the more serious function for which one visits the bathroom, and I started that slow descend, I realized that I wasn’...
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By Bill Primavera
(William Raveis Real Estate)
In my many years as both a homeowner and homestyles journalist, I have observed that home repair and improvement projects tend to fall into three categories: the ones you need to do, the ones you want to do, and the ones you do solely to increase the value of your home. The urgent projects you find in the first category, such as leaky pipes, cold furnaces or an invasion of termites, are the ones most likely to grab the dollars in the average home owner’s repairs budget. Postponing these repairs can not only make a home uncomfortable, but can also lead to a small problem getting worse and costing even more to repair. Projects meant to boost a home’s value take on their own urgency when we first begin to anticipate moving. The scruffy front door that we learned to ignore or the outdated b...
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