Luxury Resorts Give Buyers a Test Drive

Vacation home buyers can sample
the wares of America’s finest resort communities with travel packages of
lodging, golf or dining that are inventoried on a new website niche. The new program allows vacation home buyers to “test drive” a resort
community before buying, providing a guest visit that is like a
mini-vacation in heaven.

No one would buy a Rolls Royce, Bentley—or even an Edsel without a test
drive. And no one wants to spend $500,000 or more on a vacation home that
is not really the right match for their tastes and preferences.

This is why the Discovery Package was innovated by PrivateCommunities.com,
a firm that uses the Internet to market high-quality real estate to
second-home and vacation home buyers.

“People often fall in love with a resort area while they are on vacation.
And before they go back home, they start shopping for a resort residence
so they can come back again and again,” said Elisabeth Miller-Fox,
president of PrivateCommunities.com. “This new program allows people to
test drive many resorts as they search for a vacation home. The
availability of Discovery Package info online streamlines the entire
home-search process.”

The amenities and specifications of the resort communities offering these
“test drive” visits can be located at http://www.privatecommunities.com/,
under Discovery Packages. Or those who prefer to simply do an online
Google search on “Discovery Package” will be directed to the right website.

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The Discovery Packages offered by developers generally provide several
nights at a resort hotel or golf course villa. The Discovery Package
visits, typically one to three nights, are reasonably priced and they
often include two rounds of golf at the resort. The Discovery Package
visits give the buyer a chance to really experience the ambiance of the
community, whether it is a seashore, mountaintop or golf course residence.

Since the Discovery Package options were recently added to the website of
PrivateCommunities.com, consumers have fully embraced the idea and the
Internet “visit” count has been impressive.

“Putting the Discovery Package information on the website has been proven
to be a wise move. The Internet has become a vital part of shopping for a
home and we’ve apparently tapped into something the buyers really want,”
said Marie Roberts, co-founder of PrivateCommunities.com.

Seventy-four percent of all homebuyers use the Internet in shopping for a
home, up from 71 percent in 2003, according to the National Association of
Realtors. That represents a tremendous shift in homebuyer’s attitudes over
the last decade. In 1995, only 2 percent of homebuyers used the Internet
for a home search.

Today’s typical homebuyer visits nine houses before selecting a house to
buy, according to the 2004 National Association of Realtors Profile of
Home Buyers and Sellers. Those who are looking for a vacation home may not
view as many dwellings as the typical homebuyer in a suburban or urban
setting. But the Discovery Packages certainly enable a would-be buyer to
find the right resort home a lot quicker, said Miller-Fox.

In 1996, PrivateCommunities.com pioneered the first website to showcase
master-planned communities for retirement and second-home buyers. It is a
division of Private Communities Registry Inc., headquartered in Vero
Beach, Fla.
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