2006-08-17 / News

A date idea: dinner and an open house

By Donna K. Drago

It's not the historical society or garden club that's sponsoring tonight's candlelight house tours, but rather local Realtors who are using this innovative method to help move some of the large inventory of houses on the island.

The house tour will include seven houses around the island, offered by three different Realtors who have banded together for this evening of open houses. The homes will be open from 5 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Aug. 17.

The idea came to Jamestown from Kathleen McCarvill, an agent for Residential Properties in East Greenwich, who had tremendous success from her first candlelight tour in the historic district of East Greenwich.

"The market's a little soft," McCarvill said, adding, "We're all trying to do something" to bring a spark back to potential buyers.

McCarvill said her first tour drew "lots of traffic," mostly from people coming directly from work who told her it was a great idea to offer the evening open houses.

McCarvill will open her listing at 165 Capstan St. to the public tonight. "It's a great house and priced right," McCarvill said.

Tina McIntyre of Lila Delman Real Estate said it's the first time she has tried this sort of marketing, but she thinks it will draw people who are typically busy on summer weekends. Open houses are usually held on Sunday afternoons, McIntyre noted.

"Weekends can be kind of crazy" for some people, McIntyre said, adding that she was curious to see who turns up for the evening event.

Lila Delman will open three houses for tonight's event, including 75 Longfellow Rd., a shinglestyle cottage in Shoreby Hill; 486 East Shore Rd., a waterfront cottage called Osprey House; and a condominium at 35 Knowles Court in the new Jamestown Place.

Allie Sabalis of Remax/Bayview said she'd heard recently about the successes in East Greenwich of the evening tours and wanted to try it for herself.

"The point is to get people through the door," and being open at odd hours might do the trick, Sabalis said.

She agreed with other agents that people's summer weekends are pretty full most of the time. "They don't want to give up swimming or picnics," Sabalis said.

"Things are a little slow right now," she noted, adding, "We want to create some interest."

"People can make a night of it," Sabalis suggested, "go to the open house and then out to dinner."

The final two houses, offered by Robert Sweet of Remax/Flagship of Narragansett, are an in-town contemporary at 80 Cole St., and a remodeled ranch at 5 Starboard St.

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