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Time Shares

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Next week, I'm meeting with represantatives from Interval International b/c I "won" 3 nights stay to any of their resorts in New England. As far as I can tell, they are a time share company with tons of affliated resorts throughout the world (lots of ski destinations!). Has anyone heard of them before or knows anyone that is a member of this group? Or have you had any experience with time shares at ski resorts? I would like to know a little bit more about this before I meet with them to see if I think it's worth the investment. Thanks for your help!
post #2 of 12
I don't own a timeshare at a ski resort, but I do have one in the Caribbean.

Things to ask:

* Is it deeded property (ie, you own a percentage of the building/property once it's paid off) or are you buying a week a year for 25/30 years and then own nothing?

* Are you subject to assessments? I've heard of people having to cough up a few grand to cover damage caused by snow and ice, even if not to their actual unit.

* Do they carry 100% rebuild insurance in the event of a disaster?

* Who's responsible for maintaining appliances/furniture/decor, and what's the expected life of these items? You don't want to own a dated timeshare if you ever plan on renting.

* If you want to rent your week, can you do it yourself, or do they have a management company that can do it for you? What are the fees associated with renting it out? How much are units renting for? (Check ebay for your resort...many people rent weeks here).

* What's the current resale value of the unit you're looking at? You can find this easily enough on the internet.

* What are the maintainence fees, and how much are they going up each year?

* Is it a premium resort? If you intend to rent your week now and again, how easy will it be to rent and/or swap for a week at a different resort? Log on to www.intervalworld.com to see how your resort fares.

That's all I can think of at the moment. I hope it was of some help!

post #3 of 12
I own 2 timeshare weeks and think that Dave gives some very good advise. The one thing to add is HANG ON TO YOUR WALLET.

My guess is this is going to be a very high presure sales pitch. The reason I say this is it appears they have already misrepresented who they are. Interval International is an exchange company and does not own any resorts. So, the people you are meeting are most likely not reprentatives of II. The resort that is giving the sales pitch probably exchanges through II.(the other big exhange company is RCI)

They will most likely show you the big book that list all of the resort that exange through II and tell you that you can exchange for any resort whenever you want. This is total B.S. Exchanging timeshares is based on supply and demand and requires planning. You can't expext to exchange on off season week in some low demand area for a prime ski week. If you want a ski week most years, the best thing you can do is by a buy a ski week. In other words, buy where you would not mind vacationing every year.

We love our timeshares and it has worked out for us. However, it is not for everyone. There are thousands of people who have bought at these high presure sales and wish they could sell it for half of what they paid. So, do your research before signing anything. The best sight is Timeshare Users Group (TUG) Check them out here:


Feel fee to send me a private email if you have any questions.


[ January 04, 2004, 05:49 PM: Message edited by: grupp ]
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advise guys. I guess I mis-understood what an exchange company is. I went to their web site and read up on them before I posted and noticed that there are lots of rules to remember and follow. Because we can't really choose when and where, it's probably not worth it. However, they are still supposed to give us the free trip in New England for listening to their sales pitch. Has anybody been through this? They will give us the trip right? They said there were no stipulations. :
post #5 of 12
Yes, you will still get the trip, but they will try their best to break you. You must be strong!

Vacation ownership is not right for everyone. Here are some thoughts;

You need to own a red week.

You need to use it every single year.

You must require more than basic accommodations.

You must have disposable income for the DP.

It doesn't really matter where you buy in.

You need to be semi flexible in making plans.

You need to do some research.

I hate when people tell me what I "need" to do. :

My sis has a timeshare in Vegas. I use her interval exchange benefits to score some super deals. But I put some effort into it.

Also, you can get good deals on timeshares as foreclosures. Like 5k instead of 15k.

Enjoy the freebie, but don't get rooked.

I stayed slopeside at Park City this year for $249 for the week through interval. Got $200 toward 2 nice dinners for listening to timeshare BS. Make it work for YOU. But don't let them work you.
post #6 of 12
My advise is that if you have doubts, don't take that free vaction. I have heard too many bad stories that they end up buying that week, not using it and needs to pay the yearly fee every year. If you want buy time share, buy it at forclosures or on Ebay. There is no free lunch in this world, you will feel very bad to sit in that high pressure sales session.

[ January 04, 2004, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: JackW ]
post #7 of 12
I bought a timeshare 15 months ago but I did not go through any hard sell to buy it. I phoned the company here in NZ that manage the timeshares, and they had some 'cheap' weeks to sell. These are ones that have been repossessed because owners could not pay their annual fee, or owners who wanted to sell. I got a floating week, one bedroom unit, at a resort for $2750 NZD, which is about $1650USD. A workmate bought the same size unit in the same resort though one of those hard sell companies and paid $11,000 NZD! It pays to shop around, second hand weeks are the cheapest. Look on the web, real estates even sell them.

I have banked mine with RCI and swapped it for a week at The Jackson Hole racquet Club. With RCI you can bank and not use for 3 years, which means you can save up a couple of weeks for a longer holiday. I bought at a resort rated 'Gold Crown' by RCI so has a good exchange value.

Only disadvantages I have seen so far :
- you have to stay in one place for 7 days. Okay for ski holidays but if you want to travel and see lots of places, 7 days can be too long.

- you have to book ahead. I banked my week as soon as possible and had no problems getting a week in peak season at JH, although I did book back in June.

- you also pay a fee to exchange, and RCI also make you pay a membership fee. It all adds up. Worthwhile still if you are going somewhere expensive. I wuld never exchange mine for a week in the Gold Coast, Australia because you can get an apartment for the week for $250USD. My week in JH is going to owe me $383USD (annual fee plus exchange fee), which is pretty good for 7 nights, when the unit can sleep 6 at a squeeze.
post #8 of 12
I have "won" quite a number of free vacations, and enjoyed them all. Why people bow to sales pressure, I don't know... just say no. We did say yes to Club Intrawest, which has their flagship resort in Whistler, but a number of others around NA and RCI and other affiliates. Our reasons for buying were:

-It was within a morning's drive of home (Whistler)
-It had just opened up, was a good deal, and just before real estate in Whistler began to skyrocket.
-It worked on a point system, ie: you can go anytime, in any sized suite depending on how many points you want to spend
-It is actual ownership, no term. This is extremely important. Some timeshares have, for example, a 25yr term, after which your lease expires and you are left with nothing but your vacation memories. Thus you membership depreciates from the time you buy it. The one we have we can sell or pass on to our kids. As a result, our investment has doubled in value since we got it 7 years ago.
-It was, and still is, the premier property in Whistler.

I would not have bought in unless all these things were factored in. The biggest disadvantage is that as the club expands, you have to book many months in advance to get in to Whistler, the most popular destination in the network. Disappointing, because it's the only location we have interest in. With exchanges, the week usually starts Sat or Sun, which eliminates discount airfare.

Unless you have a specific destination you want to return to again and again, time share is not a very flexible option, and your better off to book travel in traditional ways.
post #9 of 12
wouldn't touch a timeshare (including ski area related ones) with a ten foot pole . been thru a couple "free" timeshare vacations in younger days, but more than paid for them by enduring torturous sales pitch. bottom line: you pay thousands to get stuck with the same vacation place & week for many years to come (switching is invariably a hassle and/or ripoff), then they add on annual maintenance and service fees, which come close to the cost of a week of regular hotel lodging anyway! finally, most timeshares have terrible resale value and in the end some folks have trouble even GIVING them away to avoid taxes. if you're sadistic, endure the sales pitch freebie vacation just to see firsthand what i'm talking about, but don't weaken and buy anything.
post #10 of 12
Like most things in life they aren't all created equal. I think DiamondDave hit most of the pertinent questions you want to ask concerning your potential purchase.

My advice is simple. Only buy from a reputable company and only buy if you intend to use it on a regular basis. Too many people get caught up in the sales hype only to be disappointed later. We've owned 2 Marriott timeshares for about 10 years, have used them all over at different times of the year, and they've more than paid for themselves. They have a yearly fee of about $350/ year so if you're a Days Inn vacationer and you're happy with a hotel room don't buy one. We like the 2 or 3 bedroom condo concept so we look at it like the $350/yr is well worth the price. Contrary to the contention of some folks here, exchanging through Interval is no hassle at all and can easily be done on-line in a matter of minutes.

One more note. Don't buy one new at full price through the developers. They're are too many other alternatives available at greatly reduced prices.
post #11 of 12
Here's my $.02. We did a similar 3 day trip for a sales pitch at a ski area in VT about 5-years ago. Had a great time and managed to resist the very high pressure pitch. They did make it sound attractive. Did a little research after we got home and found that you can pick up a time share on the used market for half, or less, of what they will try to get you to sign for in the, "This offer is only available today!" pitch.

Have fun. Ski and stay at their expense. A lot of people have and use and like time shares, just don't buy it on the spot because you'll save a lot if you wait. Here's an idea. Research it now, before you go and see if there are any resale units available and wht the going rate is. That way you can cut the pitch short and get back out on the slopes.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your help. You all pretty much summed up what my initial thoughts were and that is to enjoy the free trip and grunt my teeth through the sales pitch, even though my husband and I prob won't be interested (nor can we ever make a decision that quickly - we like research, hence, that's why we use message boards!) And trust me we won't get taken advantage of as we are a salesperson worst nightmare. Nonetheless, you guys gave us great questions to ask and things to watch out for. So thanks again [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
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