Developers for second-home communities are trying out a new sales tactic that involves “test driving” homes, says Bloomberg’s Heidi Mitchell. Empty-nester couples or travel buffs looking for a luxury timeshare have been offered, at select communities, to participate in a four night “discovery tour,” which includes extravagant activities and romantic dinners. Read more on Mitchell’s story below.

“Try before you buy” was once a persuasion tactic employed almost universally by down-market timeshare agents. Now, in a second-home market awash in inventory, developers are using it to induce buyers. Tina Necrason, vice president for residential at the hotel management company Montage International, has worked in timeshares, fractional ownership, “and every sort of second-home venture imaginable,” she says.

Necrason says that before the housing bubble burst, affluent families would buy mountaintop homes site-unseen because there wasn’t a lot out there. “But now wealthy people are starting to think of these resort properties as long-term investments for their families. Even the kids have a say,” she says. “They have lots of choices available around the world, and they can take their time in making a final decision.”

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