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Old 12-15-2013, 11:04 AM   #21
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Loaded question: What would happen if a timeshare owner just reneged on the maintenance payments? In practice, does the timeshare go after them through the legal process?
For years I have read horror stories about timeshares. I would imagine there are a huge number of owners who have defaulted.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #22
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I think they would be very remiss to other owners if they didn't sue deadbeats! No doubt other owners' maintenance costs go up if they're split amongst fewer payers.

People shouldn't just walk away from their obligations, as if there were nobody else in the world but them.

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Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Loaded question: What would happen if a timeshare owner just reneged on the maintenance payments? In practice, does the timeshare go after them through the legal process?
For years I have read horror stories about timeshares. I would imagine there are a huge number of owners who have defaulted.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:04 PM   #23
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Count us among people who are original buyers of timeshare from management and pay way too much for it. Yes, we got suckered into it.

On the plus side, the seaside Mexican timeshare that we own is rated sufficiently high on the RCI timeshare exchange that we can often get 2 for 1 when we stayed elsewhere (RCI rates each timeshare with a point system and not all timeshares are worth the same). For example, we once get two suites in Las Vegas, each with a living room, kitchen, and bathroom with Jacuzzi. Lots of room for my children to spread around.

So, we try to make use of the timeshare exchange as much as possible, even when traveling with the motorhome. We would travel to a destination, then park our motorhome while living in a timeshare for a week. Last year, we stayed one week in Banff, and then another week in a coastal town in Northern California.

I have been thinking about getting an exchange for a Spanish Mediterranean seaside timeshare. It's time to revisit Spain.

PS. Forgot that last year, we also got a one-week stay in a timeshare in the big island of Hawaii. That makes it 3 weeks total.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:28 PM   #24
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I inherited a Wyndham Timeshare (points based) about 8 years ago. The annual maint fee is about $1200 for us and we do use it almost every year for our main family vacation. Because it is points based we can pick and choose a variety of locations to visit. One year it might be Daytona Beach or Orlando and the next it might be San Diego ( Oceanside is our current favorite). While we make good use of it now, I often wonder how to unload it 10-15 years from now when we might not want it anymore. I will say this, I am glad I did not pay the $20k or so my parents did to get this originally as it is IMO just worth the yearly fee and no more upfront. The other trick is to avoid the impending "annual checkup" with the sales staff each time you visit a property. I have became quite forceful at telling them heck no when they try to convince me to buy more points.

Timeshare owners constantly get bombarded with offers to buy your timeshare and the vast majority are scams. I have heard that one thing to consider is to just work something out with the timeshare org and turn your week or points back over to them free of charge in exchange for taking you off the title.

What we like about ours is that it's about $1200. / year and I get a week in a spacious condo with a full kitchen, 2 baths and 2 bedrooms usually with a walkout balcony that say in San Diego or Florida often overlooks the ocean. So I get all that for about $170 per night. Could I swing that same deal from other timeshare owners willing to rent me their week for about the same amount? Probably and in fact, prior to inheriting this one I actually often did. A big part of me accepting the title transfer form my parents was that in their age (70's then and now over 80) they grew tired of it and paying the yearly fee, so I agreed to take it off their hands.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:06 AM   #25
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Never been interested in having a timeshare, but we are heading down to Orlando today to stay in one ... SIL bought one & has not been able to use it this year and has a lot of points that will expire at end of year .... so "Merry Christmas to us!"

We usually find a place through VRBO when we travel.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #26
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My friends tried really hard to get me to buy into the timeshare they were using 20+ years ago. Even at that time the price just didn't seem very good to me, especially the maintenance costs which I noticed were rising way too fast. One of my better decisions was not to buy a timeshare. But then again....they own a lot on a local golf course they bought a long time ago....they got a little greedy and didn't sell when the prices were way up around 2008......now it's getting back down almost to the price where they bought it. I keep pointing out to them they should probably just really lower the price and dump it since they don't want it anyway. Nope....they still see it as making a profit. They bought it for $29,000 probably 30 years ago.....can't sell it for $40,000 now. I pointed to the fact that they won't make any money.....insurance, property taxes, golf course charges etc....they are way behind anyway. They won't see it.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:18 PM   #27
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I've known a few folks that bought (paid to much), but they say their happy with them. I never liked the idea, I know you can swap for different locations, just seemed easier to go where we want(and work to get best price). I'll guarantee the folks that I know, never looked at the real costs including fees.

My MIL/FIL used to love to go to the free sales sessions, they never bought anything. It was entertaining to them(free stuff).
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:34 PM   #28
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I've known a few folks that bought (paid to much), but they say their happy with them. I never liked the idea, I know you can swap for different locations, just seemed easier to go where we want(and work to get best price). I'll guarantee the folks that I know, never looked at the real costs including fees.

My MIL/FIL used to love to go to the free sales sessions, they never bought anything. It was entertaining to them(free stuff).
MRG
There is a funny South park episode on just that topic. The parents go for the free ski weekend and are held hostage for hours and hours until they finally get broken down and agree to buy a timeshare just to win their release from time share presentation hell.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:04 PM   #29
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I've known a few folks that bought (paid to much), but they say their happy with them. I never liked the idea, I know you can swap for different locations, just seemed easier to go where we want(and work to get best price). I'll guarantee the folks that I know, never looked at the real costs including fees.

My MIL/FIL used to love to go to the free sales sessions, they never bought anything. It was entertaining to them(free stuff).
MRG
Quite a few years ago I attended a Marriott timeshare sales pitch (I got 30,000 points for attending). Have to admit, the presentation was slick. I was certain this was a good deal, but being the cautious guy that I am I insisted on thinking about it. That's when the high pressure really began, including the pitch that I should sign now because by law I have 3 days to bail out anyway. I declined.
When I got home, I crunched the numbers and the supposed payback wasn't even close (IIRC, the break-even was about 40 years...). But at least I got those 30,000 points.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:27 AM   #30
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I'll bite and take a positive timeshare stance. Timeshares do have a much deserved bad reputation but the keys to timeshares (IMHO) are never buy from a developer, never ever believe what a timeshare salesman tells you, educate yourself and do plenty of research beforehand (TUG), and have flexibility when traveling. I am very happy with what I own, I purchase a Westin Kierland Scottsdale timeshare on the resale market for a fraction of what it would cost to buy from the developer. I didn't do it as an investment but also know I won't have any problem selling it for what I paid for it. This year I spent a week in 1 bedroom (full kitchen) units at Westin Riverfront Avon CO, Aviara Four Seasons Carlsbad, Westin Kierland Scottsdale (multiple weeks), and I'm now at the Westin Desert Willow in Palm Desert as I write this. These are all 4-5 star resorts that would cost +$250/night if booked thru the hotel, my average cost is under $450/week including all fees. Being retired I have the flexibility of traveling during non-peak weeks/seasons which is a key. If your working, have kids, and can only travel during specific weeks of the year you lose the flexibility of taking advantage of good deals when they come up.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:53 AM   #31
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I'll admit I've been tempted by a timeshare at a place we stay in Aruba. This past time, we were in a 1 bedroom, 2bath unit that was about 950 square feet, very close to the beach. We had booked it through Travelocity or Yahoo travel or something like that. I forget how much the unit was, as the total price was something like $3234 which included three round trip plane tickets. So, I imagine the lodging portion was around $1300-1400?

Well, we went on the sales tour. Turns out, the unit we were in would go for around $19,400. Plus a yearly maintenance fee of something like $792. I think the terms of the timeshare were something like 40 years, but for $1 extra you could get another 40 years for you and your heirs.

Well, $19,400/40 years is $485 per year. Plus the maintenance fee, comes out to $1277. Which is about what it cost to rent the place for a week. Now granted, this was a REALLY nice unit! They had cheaper ones for around $11-12,000, with the same $792/yr maintenance fee. Or studios for around $9-10K, plus around $550-600 for the maint fee.

Gotta admit, it's tempting, and I've been to Aruba three years in a row now. But, I have the feeling that as soon as I committed to a timeshare, I'd grow tired of it, and start feeling trapped by it. So I think I'll just keep on booking through the travel sites. And if I can't get a room at this particular resort, there are plenty of others on that island! And, if I get tired of Aruba, I'll have the freedom to easily pick someplace else.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:56 AM   #32
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TUG is the place to read FOR MONTHS before buying a timeshare. We bought a Hilton RESALE timeshare in South Beach three years ago. We paid $7,000.00. The guy we bought it from paid $65,000.00. We pay $1400 in maintenance fees annually for a 2 bedroom 2 bath in an Art Deco building on Ocean Avenue across from the Ocean. A suite like that in another hotel would be $900+ per night and we get about 7-10 nights of our choosing (subject to availability) for $1,400.00 per year. We don't trade and go there about 3-4 times per year using all our points annually.

The problem is the high pressure sales tactics and people not doing research before they buy.

Now that you have one, you have few choices but to sell it and take a non-tax deductible loss or use it. Most people find a way to use them. Good Luck.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:30 AM   #33
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I looked at time shares years ago. Part of what turned me off was the financial issue: They total sale price for all 50 weeks (2 weeks a year were reserved for maintenance) was 2-3 times the price of a similar condo bought 'normally'. That seemed like one heck of a premium. The other financial issue was no control over the monthly fees which looked to much like room rental to me.

My biggest problem, was that I never found an area that I would want to return to year after year for weeks at a time. The only guy I know who made out well on a time share was a fellow who, many years ago, bought a pre-Grand-Opening deal. One week on the beach in Maui and he could pick any week he wanted. So he picked end of December/start of January. He could trade that for just about any other time share any place he wanted to go. Or rent it and cover most of his yearly fees.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:40 AM   #34
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30 years ago my then Engineering manager bought a timeshare and got money off if he would host a dinner for at least 20 people to hear the pitch. So DW and I went. The TS folks flew in a team from SC where the TS was and off they went. Multiple tables of five couples and a salesperson. Working the table we were at they asked the couples all the lead in questions: do you play golf, what sort of vacations do you take. Four couple were spot on, played golf, went to resorts, etc. The DW and I reported going camping, hiking, etc. Finally the salesguy asked what people did, all the couples were sales and marketing people until he got to us, the DW is a programmer and I am an engineer. The sales guy said that there were two kinds of men no salesman wants to meet: an engineer or a man who smokes a pipe. Whereupon I pulled my pipe out of my pocket.

We did not buy a TS.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:53 PM   #35
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Hmmmm ... I would simply stop making the annual maintenance payments and let them attempt "foreclosure" . If it is truly valueless, nobody will incur the costs of ownership (foreclosure or otherwise).

FWIW a good friends parents did exactly this on 2 TS in northern NH. Stopped going, stopped payments ... Simply walked away.

Rode the chair at a major ski resort with a TS owner ... a slope side ski out hotel. His 1/4 share bought 13 weeks/year (basically 1 wk/month). But the hotel allowed members to use rooms as long as the hotel was less than 50% full. So it was not his week but he was doing some early bird skiing (Dec) for nothing more than his maintenance fees and season pass.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #36
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As explained in an earlier post, we were suckered into buying a timeshare. I consider the money a sunk cost, and try to make use of the annual fee via RCI timeshare exchange.

We have been frugal travelers, and if left to our own devices would stay in cheap motels. However, as we already have to pay for the timeshare, it forces us to exchange for other timeshares when we travel, and we have been staying in nicer places.

As our timeshare is at a highly-rated resort, we get quite decent exchanges. For example, in Palm Springs we got an entire townhome of 1,500 sq.ft. Or we could get 2 or 3 1-week stays in exchange for 1 week. In my experience, even the least fancy timeshare is still a lot better than a motel room. It may not be as nice as a fancy hotel, but has room to spread out, and a kitchen to cook some simple meals when we do not feel like eating out.

In short, a timeshare isn't bad if one makes use of it. People often buy and do not use it, just like many RV's and motorhomes that just sit parked until they fall apart.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:37 PM   #37
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We really enjoy our timeshares. All were purchased resale from people that no longer wanted them or couldn't afford MFs did not use etc.

We own Disney Vacation Club, Starwood (Westin, sheraton) and Marriott. We go to Maui stay at the Westin Timeshare on the beach one of the best resorts on the island for the maintenance fee of $1200, paid $2000 originally. Also have used it at the Atlantis Harborside 3 times. If I get $0 back I am ok with that. The Marriott is used for Florida and other warm spots(Marco Island, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, Palm Springs, St Thomas)

The Disney we have rented to other folks for 2x's the mainenance fee, about a 5% return (but I did not buy it as an investment) the current resale market for Disney has gone up significantly since I purchased it.

With all that said I plan to use it in retirement as we can not decide on one place to retire so guess we be doing what these folks do Ron and Joan's Journey or maybe like these folks:
About Us | http://fulltimetimeshare.com/blog

Hmm maybe timesharing isn't all bad after all
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:19 PM   #38
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I've also enjoyed my timeshares over the years. Originally, we had 3 timeshares (weeks-based), now we're down to 2 weeks-based but added a timeshare points-based unit recently. I was fortunate to sell one of my weeks-based timeshare several years ago at a break-even price. We've had great vacations with our kids and friends over the years and I'm looking forward to leveraging our timeshares, frequent flyer miles and reward points for fabulous trips in the future during retirement.

Just this year, we've leveraged our timeshares and reward points for a week stay at a 2br unit at a Marriott Resort in West Palm Beach, 2 days at an upscale hotel in Asheville, NC, a week at a 2br unit at a Marriott Resort near Palm Springs CA, 7 days at Marriott Hotels in NYC, and we just came back from Carlsbad CA staying at the Four Seasons Aviara in a 2Br unit and also used frequent flyer miles to fly First Class coast to coast. I believe I have saved money over the years by effectively using my timeshares, frequent flyer miles and reward points. And the memories have been priceless.

Next year, we'll be using our timeshare holdings and reward points to augment a River Cruise in the French Provence.

As others mentioned, TUG is a great place to learn about timeshares. However, there's a definite bias in the TUG crowd against ever buying from developers -- the mantra there is to always buy resale, which is a very good strategy in general as there is a decent resale market with great prices if you have patience to wait for the right unit to come on the market.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:37 AM   #39
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This has been a very informative thread, thanks everyone. My takeaway is that I'll never be a timeshare person. Even the good experiences sound like a bad deal to me. The equivalent of being offered an annual discount coupon for a resort, but to get the coupon you have to commit to 40 years of payments, even if you don't go.

Travel websites offer 20-40% discounts all the time. No payment-shackles required.

SIS
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:56 AM   #40
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Hmmmm ... I would simply stop making the annual maintenance payments and let them attempt "foreclosure" . If it is truly valueless, nobody will incur the costs of ownership (foreclosure or otherwise).
Not sure it's as simple as walking away, especially if they still have a loan out on the purchase. At a minimum it will have an impact on their credit history/report. When someone walks away and stops paying the maintenance fees someone has to foot the bill, it's the other owners that get stuck paying through increased maintenance fees.
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