The Open House Goes Over the Top

February 26, 2015 11:11 PM

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The Open House Goes Over the Top

More than 250 guests gathered at a home in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood last fall. Models swam in the pool, guests attired in all-white drank mojitos and a singer strummed an acoustic guitar. The guest of honor: the 11,000-square-foot New England whitewashed-brick house, which would hit the market days later for $16.95 million.

As luxury home prices edge into record territory in some areas, traditional wine-and-cheese open houses are being replaced with five-course meals, poolside fashion shows and living-room concerts. Agents and developers, looking to stand out from the competition, are in some cases spending tens of tho...

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