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Time Share, Still Viable?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My wife and I have thought often over the last couple of years about investing in some kind of time-share or property swapping realstate deal.

I have heard conflicting things about Time Shares and wether or not its a good idea. I was hoping someone had some recent experience with buying some type of vacation property.

Any pointers or ideas on best way to go? Heres what my wife and I will be looking to do with our vacation spot:

1 -We are from WI.
2- We will travel one week to somewhere warm, either tropical out of country, or Florida/North Carolina.
3- Every other year, possibly even every year, a trip to a major ski resort in CO or UT (usually CO).
4- Our income lvl is about $100k a year.
5 We have a 6 year old and a 15 year old.

What would be a good fit for us?
post #2 of 22
I'd be interested in seeing some Bear's experiences on this as well. I've worked with people who thought timesharing was great; I've also known people who've said it absolutely sucks.

The "rule of thumb" seems to be that you should never buy new, as timeshares usually loose value in the first several years, with owners unloading on the secondary market for a fraction of what they payed.
post #3 of 22
Timesharing is great... if you want to pay more than retail for lodging and be locked into the same place (and week) every year.

Before moving to Denver, my wife and I looked long and hard at a timeshare trying to make it work. In the end, we found vrbo.com. VRBO has some amazing deals all over the world. You can stay at most locations cheaper than a timeshare, and can go where and when you feel like it.

I am sure there are many timeshare deals out there if one looks hard enough. However, I never found any.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
......investing in some kind of time-share.......
A timeshare may or may not fit your vacation plans and may or may not be cheaper than just renting but it is never an investment.
post #5 of 22
There have been a number of threads here on them. Here's one with pros and cons and links to other threads: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=31065
With all due respect to a number of Bears who seem to be satisfied with their timeshares, conventional wisdom is that they are not a good deal for consumers unless perhaps a savvy purchase at a high end property for a great bargain price. The latest spin is something called quartershares, similar concept, but fewer buyers owning a larger block of time in each unit of housing.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt7180 View Post
Timesharing is great... if you want to pay more than retail for lodging and be locked into the same place (and week) every year.
Maybe that's true for some, but that hasn't been my experience. I've owned a timeshare in Florida for 10 years. We have a floating week. Sometimes we rent it out, and we make a profit. Anytime we go there, our travel expenses are tax deductable because it's basically one of our rental properties. Overall it's been a good thing.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hmmm...

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?
post #8 of 22

Timeshare are a great way to get rich!!

Just be sure you are selling them, not buying them.
post #9 of 22
I used to think timeshares were a scam for suckers ... then a guy who was very well versed in timeshares taught me a few tricks and now I realize they're a scam all right, but mostly for people who know how to use them.

I ski with my family, six people, and really need 2 bedrooms. Over the past two years, using a timeshare I purchased resale on eBay for under $3,000, I've been able to secure lodging at 4 star ski-in/ski-out properties where the weeks would sell for $30,000 or more from the developer and $15,000 and up on eBay.

Some examples?

http://www.grandtimber.com/

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...-mountainside/

http://www.westgateresorts.com/index...GATE_PARK_CITY

My nightly cost for this is always under $200 a night.

If anyone wants to hear more, I'll be happy to continue either on this thread or in a PM.

Jim
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
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.
post #11 of 22
Forgot to say, to join up with RCI your esort has to be affiliated with them. If you can find it on their resort directory, then it shoul dbe fine. There are other exchange timeshares too. Just make sure the resort you buy at is affiliated with a company that has access to a lot of resorts. RCI is one of the bigger ones, all resorts in NZ are affiliated with them, so it was a natural choice for me.

Interval International is the other big one I think.
http://www.intervalworld.com

Both of the two biggies also offer Travel Agent services. I got my rental car for an Aussie holiday quite cheap through RCI.
post #12 of 22
Buy used from an owner and you can do well. We bought two weeks at the Apollo Park in Vail, mid to late February, for under $4,000. Annual fees are a bit over a grand. Thus for about $75/night we have a nice place to ski every year. We could easily rent one week out for the annual cost of both.

We haven't joined Interval International or RCI for trading purposes, but I did that for a few years before with my parent's Florida week. We never got great weeks, but did always find a week in Colorado or Utah to ski. Usually early January. Trading is OK, not great.

So if you find a place you like and want to go every year, and buy used from an owner (in our case we found it via the newsletter put out by the timeshare itself) it can be a good deal. I'm not concerned that it will be hard to sell, as it is Vail. Most likely will make a profit when selling too.
post #13 of 22

Vail Run Resort timeshare for sale

I'm selling my unit at Vail Run Resort. Second week in January for $1300. Private message me for more info.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
With all due respect to a number of Bears who seem to be satisfied with their timeshares, conventional wisdom is that they are not a good deal for consumers unless perhaps a savvy purchase at a high end property for a great bargain price. The latest spin is something called quartershares, similar concept, but fewer buyers owning a larger block of time in each unit of housing.
Are you sure you aren't confusing quartershares with fractional ownership? With timeshares, you don't own anything. You're essentially pre-buying annual usage of the property, but you don't have ownership of the property. With fractional ownership (4 to 6 owners per unit is most common), you actually have ownership in the property and a title that you can sell, so as the property appreciates in value over time (as all properties do) you're investment enjoys a capital gain should you decide to sell.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post
so as the property appreciates in value over time (as all properties do)
O RLY?
post #16 of 22
I've had a lot of good luck with my timeshare. Here is what I found to be the key: Never buy a new one. I was able to make a purchase in Orlando at an RCI Gold Crown resort that swaps anywhere, for a very small amount of money compared to what the hucksters are trying to sell at the resort itself. (You see people leaving the sales office with a balloon and a bottle of crappy bubbly, and they just bought a unit at 18% interest and about a 35K asking price.) I am a 1/50th owner of a particular condominium unit, and an Orange County, FL taxpayer. I'm not part of any "points" or "vacation club" organization...I don't like the idea of not owning a hard asset, or getting a different condo each time I go to the resort. Swap desirability is an important aspect. The better the unit you deposit, the better the unit you get out. Choose a school vacation week if you can. Again, it gives you trading/rental power.

It's not for everyone, but it has worked out well for us, and I am glad we did it. I have swapped it through RCI for other Florida resorts, but never for a ski property, although I intend to do so in the foreseeable future.

A quick internet search would reveal pre-owned timeshares all over the world. In FL, they trade just like houses, through escrow companies. I did the whole thing via FedEx, after taking a quick air hop to check the place out. No hassles at all. A little homework was all it required. We've had some great times there, and can't wait to go back in April 08.

I wish you the best in whatever you choose to do.
post #17 of 22
I'm a time share owner, and the only thing I'd do different would be to buy via the aftermarket. There are tons of re-sells out there which ones can purchase for ~20% of the retail price. So again, if I had it to do all over again, I'd still buy one ... just save a lot of cash on the initial purchase price.

That stated, my setup allows us to bank our property in varied increments thru RCI and we've used the process for trips to:
  • Wolf Creek - Colorado ... several trips and headed there in December
  • Big Mtn - Montana ... twice and going there again in March
  • Whistler
  • Park City - Utah ... twice
  • Powder Mtn/Snowbasin - Utah ... twice
  • Jackson Hole
  • Mt. Bachelor - Oregon
  • Squaw - Northstar, etc - North Lake Tahoe
There are 5 people in my family ... the wife and 3 daughters. All are hardcore skier/snowboarders, except the wife. To accomodate the wife's needs we've booked TS properties at the beach numerous time as well. So overall, for my family,the timeshare route has worked out very well.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
My wife and I have thought often over the last couple of years about investing in some kind of time-share or property swapping realstate deal.

I have heard conflicting things about Time Shares and wether or not its a good idea. I was hoping someone had some recent experience with buying some type of vacation property.

Any pointers or ideas on best way to go? Heres what my wife and I will be looking to do with our vacation spot:

1 -We are from WI.
2- We will travel one week to somewhere warm, either tropical out of country, or Florida/North Carolina.
3- Every other year, possibly even every year, a trip to a major ski resort in CO or UT (usually CO).
4- Our income lvl is about $100k a year.
5 We have a 6 year old and a 15 year old.

What would be a good fit for us?
Go to www.timesharesonly.com. My wife and I have owned a time share for about six years and it's been worth the money. We had gone through several sales pitches without buying and knew how the game was played. Because of this we got a good deal but I will never buy a time share from a resort again. You can buy any resort on the open market and save thousands possibly tens of thousands of dollars. Beware because I'm not exagerating. There's alot of sharks out there and your jumping into bloody water when you go to a resort and set through one of their sales pitches.

We have been going to resorts just to check them out befor we buy another week. My favorite so far is Ron Jon Cape Caribe Resort naer Coa Coa beach Fla. Check it out when you go to the timeshares only site.
post #19 of 22
My wife and I own a couple of timeshares. We also have two kids, younger than yours. It's been a great deal so far with the kids. Amazing how much more enjoyable a trip is when you have your own kitchen and living room. Lot of misconceptions out there, like Matt7180 who thinks that you're locked into the same place every year, or that you pay more than "retail." In fact, you can go anywhere in the world, any time, because what you're buying is points within a system, not a physical place. Points can be applied to other timeshares, to hotels, even to airline tickets. We've used ours for the actual timeshares we bought at, for other skiing timeshares in the U.S. and Canada, and for hotels in Europe and the U.S. By our calculations, we were ahead of what "retail" would have cost after just 5 years. And your friends will LOVE you because you can rent a big place, say three bedrooms, at a major destination resort, invite them along, ask them to split the yearly fees, and they end up paying a few hundred for a luxury week in say Hawaii or the Bahamas...:

But some advice:

1) Check the state in which you buy, make sure they have strict laws about sellers, backouts etc. Places like Florida, Hawaii, California, and New York are especially reliable.

2) Look for timeshares that offer real deeds that are owned, can be sold or inherited, rather than 50-99 year leases. Only go with outfits that are high profile, like Hilton or Hyatt.

3) Buy in a place you'd like to visit once in a while, so if you can't find specific weeks somewhere else you want (which can happen) you always have a cool place to go.

4) It's fine to buy on a credit card, but make sure you can switch over to a mortgage or pay it off enitirely asap; you don't want to be paying 18%+ on 20 or 30K.

5) Be patient. Sit through a few presentations, say no, get the freebies. Learn that they'll keep dropping the price long after you've first said no. It works like buying a car, where they have a closer, the whole deal. You should actually pay no more than 70% of the initial asking price.
post #20 of 22
Great thread!

From what I can tell, I think my wife gets her March Break vacation on Week 10 some years and week 11 other years. If we purchased a floating timeshare, what is the demand like in those weeks? Will we have a hard time getting these weeks? Would we be better off renting?

Likely we'd be alternating years of ski trips and sun trips (ie Florida / Arizona).
post #21 of 22
Quick answer: Yep, obviously some weeks are tougher than others. Like February in Snowbird versus July. Also, you buy different setups; costs more upfront to buy a property that includes early choice 52 weeks a year, compared to cheaper "window" deals when you still get a shot all 52 weeks, but after aforementioned owners for some slots. And different times cost more or fewer points once you have timeshare. You can save a lot this way by using your week off-season, and you can stretch points all kinds of arcane ways, bank them, switch them into other accounting systems like RCI, buy a two bedroom but then only use a one bedroom, etc. So if you want a high demand slot, be prepared to spend a few more points, and plan ahead. As in, a year ahead.


So far more bang for your buck if you're prepared to study up, work the system.
post #22 of 22
Okay... But relative to other winter weeks, how weeks 10 and 11 stack up? These are typical of Ontario March (Spring) Break. When are most US and other Canadian Spring Breaks?
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