Originally Posted by pattongb
I understand the fact that Timeshares are not an investment. I figured that out when I went to several Owners sites for Winter Park and Steamboat timeshare units, and found people practically giving them away (found one at Indian Peaks in WP for $500).
What I wonder about is the points (RCA?). My Mom bought a unit in WI 15 years ago, and they never stay there. Instead they have a certain amount of points through RCA that they can use to buy weeks anywhere in the world. You pay a reservation fee, and thats it. They generally get any spot they want, and only requirement is they have to book up to a year in advance depending on location.
It seems to work great for them because they are continually giving away weeks. My wife and I got to stay in a great condo in Florida for our honeymoon on their points. They have given away weeks to other family members for anniversaries, honeymoons, vacations...etc.
Are all the Timeshares eligible to join the RCA point system? Or is that a totally seperate thing?
I belong to RCI and use weeks exchanges. I have not hooked up with thier Points scheme, but their web site explains the basics. You chose which you prefer.www.rci.com
I think points would be more flexible than week exchanges. Week exchanges have worked really well for my ski holidays because there is usually one place I want to go for 7 nights. But when I have used to non-ski holidays there is not always one place you want to stay for 7 nights. Points allow you to exchange your week for a number of points that you can then spend on shorter stays in hotels, car rental etc - a lot more flexibility. The points get allocated on the rating if your resort, size of unit, and the type of week(fixed in high season or floating). You also have to pay RCI membership fees on top of that. I have never asked what Points I would get for my week so dont know if it is good value or not. Must be okay or people would not do it.
One of the main benefits of timeshare for me is that I don't have to worry about currency fluctations - I am hedging the cost of my holidays. Our NZ dollar does not go far in the US, so exchanging for a week in a US ski resort saves me a LOT of money. With my annual maint fee and exhange fee, a week in a one bedroomed apartment, sleeps 4, in Park City cost me approx $400 USD - at that time a hotel room for 2 costs $200 US a night. I have exchanged my weeks for places like Jackson Hole, Brekenridge and Park City - admittedly I did have to book ahead. I bought a second hand week for a nominal outlay of $2,700 NZD that I can recover on resale. If I had paid the original price of $15,000 NZD it would definitely not be worthwhile. Original purchase prices are usually inflated to cover all the marketing hype and give aways.
Things to watch :
You have to pay your annual maintenace fee every year wether you use it or not, it is yours forever or until resale. Sometimes the best place to buy resale weeks is from the resorts management company cause some owners just hand their weeks back cause their financial circumstances have changed and they cannot afford thier fees anymore. The management company try and recover the outstanding fees with a resale. So you must also view your ownership as a liability - you are liable for a share of repairs etc. A good management company will have a fund that accumulates for major capital repairs, so if managed well there are no surprises.
If you buy in an older resort you may find that your annual fees rise to pay for repairs. Mine just went up $50 a year to pay for the refurbishment of the swimming pool.
Don't buy a unit bigger than you need. Your annual fees are higher for a two bedroomed than a one. One bedroom units normally always sleep 4, 2 in bedroom and 2 in lounge. If your unit sleeps 4 you can only exchange for a unit that sleeps 4. I recently exchanged my one bedroomed for a 2 bedroom which was allowed cause its max occupancy was 4. Sometimes they will give you a bigger unit if there are plenty available, but this is only likely in a not so popular resort. Two of the one bedroom units I have exchanged for had 2 doubles, so not so suitable for two children.
I'd suggest buying a unit in a resort that you may want to go to yourselves, and not always want to deposit and exchange. Some years you don't want to go anywhere special. Note, you can deposit your week with RCI and let it accumulate. You have 3 years to use them, so could save up 3 weeks and go somewhere. Might take a bit of juggling though to exchange for the weeks you want. If on the points scheme they can probably accumulate over multiple years as well.
Note, that a week is usually Friday to Friday, or Saturday to Saturday. So if you take a weeks holiday you have some days at the end that you need to find something else or lose the last weekend of your week off. A 'week' is not Friday - Sunday.
There are benefits - you are prepaying for a portion of your holiday, so when the time comes you are only paying for the 'other' costs. My fees are due just before Xmas, as our year goes Jan - Dec. If you are on a tight budget, this might hurt.