A Sunday Open Like No Other

By Stacey Moncrieff, Editor in Chief, REALTOR® Magazine

DePinto, left, and DelBoccio breathed new life into this luxury listing with a Sunday “Lifestyle Marketing Event.”

Don’t call it an open house. That was the message from the hardworking “M&M Team,” Maria DelBoccio and Michelle DePinto of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, who staged a “lifestyle marketing event” at their $1.7 million new-construction listing in Arlington Heights, Ill., yesterday.

OK, so the listing was 20 miles from my house, and exponentially more than I could afford. Still, I had to check this out.

The first thing I noticed was, although there were other open houses in the neighborhood, none of them had valet parking. Nor did they have a Maserati parked in the driveway, a singer crooning “Fly Me to the Moon” when you walked in the door, bruschetta and caponata (delicious!) served in a backyard tent, and cakes and other confections (also delicious) served in the three-car garage.

A local designer staged the downstairs with Swedish antiques, while other local retailers took over the bedrooms and upstairs bathrooms. (Confession: I bought a purse.) There was even a charity angle: A portion of the proceeds for any antique or art sales went to the Ronald McDonald House.

Oh, yeah, then there was the house, a colonial-style manse with all the trimmings you’d expect for $1.7 million: side-by-side Subzero refrigerators with wood-paneled doors; a bar area with a refrigerated wine cabinet; first- and second-floor laundry rooms; and gorgeous bathrooms galore. The coolest thing was the central vacuum system. There was a spot under the massive kitchen island where you could sweep, flip a switch, and have a crumb-free floor.

DePinto, DelBoccio, and the participating retailer pooled their top customers and sent about 3,000 invitations. By the time I left–alas, before the wine tasting–the place was already hopping with prospective buyers. “I’m still getting RSVPs today,” Maria told me while rushing to grab the door.

The builder had tried to sell the house for 15 months before listing with the M&M Team. Although it remains to be seen whether yesterday’s event produced a buyer, it certainly generated plenty of excitement. And, of course, all those prospective buyers left with a tasty reminder to call the M&M Team for their real estate needs.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is vice president of business-to-business communications for the National Association of REALTORS®, overseeing the association's key communications with NAR members and REALTOR® association executives.

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  1. This is a good idea. I’ve had some pretty good success with neighborhood open houses with current homes for sale in an area. It worked really well in an older historic neighborhood. Now I have a high end listing on a golf course and this could be a good way to “sell” the community. Our local home builders association also puts on the “Parade of Homes” every year showcasing new home subdivisions. During the “Parade” there are a number of vendors and contractors involved and they bring a lot of people. Nice idea. Thanks!!!