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Timeshares - good or bad idea?
Old 09-05-2016, 11:43 PM   #1
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Timeshares - good or bad idea?

DH and I love to travel and now that we'll be ER'd soon, we are wondering about a timeshare. We've heard a lot of negative publicity about them, but have friends who've owned a timeshare in Hawaii for years and love it. One consideration is we tend to prefer small resorts, not Marriott or Hilton style properties. Any thoughts?


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Old 09-05-2016, 11:49 PM   #2
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There are so many people desperate to dump theirs, can't you just rent a week or so from someone who is stuck with one? In many cases they can't even be >given< back to the resort, and they get passed on to heirs who have to keep paying the high annual fees, may have no interest in even going to the place, and can't sell them.

Nope, I can't see buying a timeshare at retail.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
There are so many people desperate to dump theirs, can't you just rent a week or so from someone who is stuck with one? In many cases they can't even be >given< back to the resort, and they get passed on to heirs who have to keep paying the high annual fees, may have no interest in even going to the place, and can't sell them.

Nope, I can't see buying a timeshare at retail.
Well, if a relative owned one and passed... there is not way I would keep it and pay the fees...


I also cannot see buying one... first, the cost of almost all of them are much higher than renting someplace where you want to go... I have only heard from one person who said they owned one and the all in cost is less than it would cost to rent... someplace in NY where it seems everybody wants to go on some week... do not know any more than that....

Everybody else who is honest has said it was one of their worst decisions... the others just mumble something about transferring to some other place etc. etc...

As mentioned, if you really really want to own one, buy on the open mkt and get it cheap...
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:11 AM   #4
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Both of our parents have had timeshares and I would never do it. With the money they sunk in them upfront combined with the annual maintenance fees, they could have paid for a nice vacation wherever they wanted whenever they wanted. And in the end when they couldn't use them anymore they had to give them away for nothing or even had to pay to get rid of them. None of the family wanted them.

DW's parents had one in NH that we used for several years when they were unable to travel anymore. We would pay the maintenance fees of about $700 and then the trading fee of $250 or so to RCI to book a week at another resort somewhere. When all was said and done it cost us about $1,000 a week. They ended up having to pay $400 to the resort to deed it back because we didn't want to deal with it anymore and it wasn't worth anything to sell it. The resort had pages of listings for units for sale for $1,000 - $2,000 that had been deeded back.

If you do it buy on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar! Don't go to a high pressure sales pitch and spend $10,000 or $20,000 on a unit.

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Old 09-06-2016, 12:17 AM   #5
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As the saying goes...."easy to buy, hard to sell".
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:14 AM   #6
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Filed in the same round file as whole-of-life insurance policies as being a really bad idea.

Even if it made sense financially, I'd still pass so I was never locked into going to the same place for my holidays each year.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scuba View Post
DH and I love to travel and now that we'll be ER'd soon, we are wondering about a timeshare. We've heard a lot of negative publicity about them, but have friends who've owned a timeshare in Hawaii for years and love it. One consideration is we tend to prefer small resorts, not Marriott or Hilton style properties. Any thoughts?
Scuba, you might want to read this thread:
Disposal Of Vacation TimeShare

Personally I think that timeshares are seen by the maintenance company as a source of [almost] guaranteed revenue. . . . and the owners have almost no control over what the maintenance company does, unless you want to be on the condo board and actively participate.

It would not surprise me to find that in many cases the developer owns the maintenance company or has some other financial arrangement with the maintenance company.

However, I can see that if you purchase time in a specific unit in a specific property and can get full use of it, that might work. However there will come a time when you or your heirs will have to dispose of the timeshare, and that might be costly.

But (and there's always a but) you probably could get a comparable rental for a very competitive price. What you have to look at in this case is total cost of ownership (TCO).

Referring the the thread mentioned above, the timeshare eventually sold and we don't know how much they got for it. Probably not anything close to the maintenance fees paid from the time it was listed for sale until the time it was sold.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:10 AM   #8
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Couple of thoughts:
1. Re-sale time shares can help you avoid expensive up-front costs. google timeshare resales, and check out Century 21. C21 is a big franchise, and might be a good bet to talk to some straight shooters.
2. Years ago, I looked into resales. An article I read suggested buying a TS in Orlando. Those are some of the easiest to trade, since Disney is popular world wide destination, year round.
3. Have a friend who is in the military and loves his Orlando TS (about 15 years). He has traded many times, both in the states (once on Daytona Beach during Spring Break!) and in Asia.
4. The trade feature is very, very important, IMHO. I friends who purchased in Palm Springs, and never returned. Claimed they could not give it away, since it was a poor company for trades.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:20 AM   #9
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We have one that the DW bought prior to our marriage. The unit is on the corner of Canal and Decatur in New Orleans, which is a great location. It's affiliated with RCI, which is a decent outfit. With the good unit and good week, we've been able to trade into a number of nice places and have a lot of good memories. That's the GOOD. Lesson here is be sure the TS is affiliated with one of the big names, if you want to go other places. Look carefully at the unit and the week you 'buy'. Will others want to stay there. For example - New Orleans in August would not be desirable .

The BAD - the maintenance and transfer fees have REALLY gone up. We're out maybe $700 by the time we pay these each year. We can stay a few nights in a decent hotel for that. We have a week, which are 'older' plans, the newer are 'points'. With the week, you get a week. With the points, you can pick and choose - a night here, a night there until you use your points. We've found that 7 days (for us) is too long in one spot, so we often come home after 5 days.

We are going to let our membership lapse after this year. The resale market is a joke, I don't think it's even worth pursuing for us.

I would NOT do it again.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:46 AM   #10
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We are going to let our membership lapse after this year. The resale market is a joke, I don't think it's even worth pursuing for us.

I would NOT do it again.
By letting the membership lapse, do you mean you'll just quit paying the annual fees? Won't they come after you for the $$$ if you stop paying?

Years ago a friend from college told me he and his wife had a couple of timeshares they bought in foreclosure sales in Myrtle Beach. They were happy with them at the time but they're still young enough to be mobile (mid-60s). Not sure about 20 years from now.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:50 AM   #11
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We don't have any, but mt DB and SIL have a ton that they seem to get good use out of.
In fact their RCI membership enabled our family to book to condos in London at a great price this fall at a nicely discounted price. However the condo in London will add a utility fee cost at the end of our stay. My SIS said these add on fees are becoming more common in high demand areas. Even an owner has to pay these fees as they no longer pay utilities out of maintenance fees.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:59 AM   #12
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My LF owned 2 timeshares before I met her and they turned out to be terrible ideas even though they might have seemed like decent ideas at the time.


One timeshare she still owns (Wyndham/RCI) and gets some marginal use from because the points are flexible enough for her to get some value from. And the annual fees have been low. But the other one became tougher to use, impossible to rent out or sell, and its maintenance fees rose from a few hundred dollars every 2 years to more than $2,000 every 2 years. She eventually sold it back to the sponsor for pennies on the dollar just to get out from under the fees.


She spent a lot of money on both timeshares and ended up with little value for them. She'd probably be debt-free if she hadn't bought that second one.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:12 AM   #13
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Generally I agree with most of the above. Better to rent for most people. It's one more obligation if you buy.

However, timeshares can be great if you learn to play the system. People that really get into it (read tug.net) definitely get good value. General rule #1 is to buy re-sale not from resort. Again though, study tug.net and learn all about the resort, the system, etc....

I bought a big brand in Hawaii. It was $75k if bought directly from the resort. I bought on redweek for sub $20k. My dues are $2,000 a year. Two years ago I rented it out for $3,500 and last year I rented it out for over $4k. So not a bad investment if I can do that every year. We shall see....

Again though I am not a proponent of buying. It's worked out fine but I hate recurring fees.

Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:19 AM   #14
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By letting the membership lapse, do you mean you'll just quit paying the annual fees? Won't they come after you for the $$$ if you stop paying?
No, we're past the end of the agreement (25 years?).
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:01 AM   #15
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We owned a Marriott TS in Orlando and bought as they were building so got a decent price. We used in many years and were very happy with it but we just sold it because fees were getting close to a $1000 a year.

Marriott bought it back from us for 50% of what we paid for it so we were happy. I think because it was in Orlando which trades very well and is one of the top destinations for travelers helped us in selling it back to them

It worked out well when we owned it bought we're glad we sold.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:03 AM   #16
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We've been timesharing since the 90's. I just deeded back one to Wyndham (they have an Ovations program just for this) that we just weren't using enough. The online timeshare site referred to above is: Timeshare Users Group - The first and largest online community of timeshare owners providing timeshare resort reviews, timeshare ratings, FREE timeshare advice and FREE Timeshare Classified ads! People are giving them away there.

The key to making it work is being able to plan WAY in advance. When the kids were little, we knew we had to travel in the summer, so I had trips planned 18-24 months in advance and we did some fantastic trips. Now, we're more spontaneous and found that timesharing isn't great for last minute stuff, unless you're not real picky.

There's a lot to learn about it, but the first thing to learn is to NOT pay full price. Buy where you want to go, or look for a flexible points system. But it's a real art. For me, making a hotel reservation is far easier. It may cost a little more, but we can go when we want to go, and not stay for a full week.

If you have questions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:03 PM   #17
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In 2010 we were in South Beach looking to buy a condominium on the Ocean near Ocean Drive. The market was in a downturn and we thought it was a good time. We stumbled across this historic Art Deco building with a Hilton sign outside immediately across the street from the Atlantic Ocean on Ocean Drive. We walked in and were told it was a timeshare. Knee jerk reaction was to immediately leave, but I was asked whether we wanted to look at a unit. We said yes and loved the location and property. She then wanted us to sit down and talk and we quickly left.

I went home and did some research and found TUG.net which is an online timeshare forum. I spent a number of hours reading the Hilton subforum about resale timeshares. Ultimately I found a broker in southern Florida who specializes in resale timeshares. A resale is one where the original owner no longer wants to pay the maintenance fees and decides to sell. I work in the real estate finance field so I did have some background. After making a number of offers we ended up buying a resale at the South Beach Hilton for pennies on the dollar. To give you an idea, my Seller paid $45,000.00 and we paid less than $8,000.00. I confirmed this from the title search we did incident to closing.

We go about 3-4 times per year and feel it provides good value. We pay $1,400 in annual maintenance fees for which we get a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo on Ocean Avenue for about 8-10 nights per year. There are also other benefits such as ability to book other locations which are outside the scope of your question. That works out to roughly $150.00/night which is very substantially less than a suite at any South Beach Hotel.

My conclusions are:

1. Never buy retail from the developer and always buy resale;
2. If you need to finance your purchase do not buy it;
3. Make absolutely certain you will use what you buy or you will be throwing good money after bad;
4. Do your research on TUG before you buy;
5. Remember that the maintenance fees go on forever and you are buying something that is difficult to sell; and
6. The salespeople are working on straight commission. Do not believe what they tell you in any respect unless it is confirmed in writing.

Keep in mind a timeshare is NOT AN INVESTMENT. It is simply the advance purchase of a vacation and nothing more.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:46 PM   #18
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You can buy them on ebay for a couple hundred bucks and people even give them away due to the high maintenance cost. Also having to often book 1-2 years in advance. My DH bought 4 at a tax sale for a total of 6k and I ended up either selling on ebay cheaply or giving them away. Two of these were in Tahoe. Ugh!
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:18 PM   #19
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I stayed in a timeshare in North Myrtle beach that allowed you to pay for the vacation like it was a motel room. I didn't even like that. Every day, I was pestered to sit in on a sales pitch, which I declined. Felt like I was vacationing in a crappy carnival.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:29 PM   #20
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It depends.....Never buy from the developer buy from people and/or brokers or ebay from people that did not use it or did not learn how to use it or don't travel and will give it away. Of course some like Disney have gone up in price even on the resale market but others you can buy cheaply.

I own Disney Vacation Club, Westin, Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton.

The answer is it depends. You can definitely rent timeshares at redweek.com. I rent some of mine which pays my maintenance fee plus gives me reasonable vacations in 5 star resorts. In addition by using getaways, for example there was just a sale in Orlando for a week in a 2 bedroom nice resort (Mystic Dunes) for $227 for the entire week or $127 for the entire week in a 1 bedroom full kitchen/living room.

There are some that spend their retirement staying in timeshares:

Ron and Joan's Journey and these people use them to reduce expenses to <3,000 month while traveling all over

http://fulltimetimeshare.com/blog – Mike and Edie's adventures travelling from time share to time share for 2 to 5 years
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