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Advantage of owning many timeshares

optimist

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We don't own a TS yet because my husband is very nervous about timeshares in general, especially in this crazy market. I am working on him and the useful info I have gathered on this site has been a great help so thank you all.
This is my question:

I see that there are many people who own multiple timeshares. Three, four or more. Is that for trading power or are people actually using them all? Doesn't the fees on all of them outweigh the benefits?
 

bnoble

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For some of us, it's an illness. :)

It's a bad idea to own more timeshare than you have weeks of annual vacation. It's probably best to have even a bit less than that, because some vacations are necessarily "not timeshare"---for example, in 2009, we're splitting a house in OBX with family for a mini-reunion.

I own three, but we have a reasonably flexible work schedule. I own different things, taking a "portfolio" approach---Wyndham points for internal bookings in those systems, and two August Wisconsin weeks that trade well and are dual-enrolled in both RCI and II. I use one of the fixed weeks in II every year for our annual February Orlando trip (either DVC or Marriott). I use the Wyndham points most years for a June or early July week somewhere in their system. The other fixed week is pretty flexible---it can be sent to II, RCI, an independent, rented out, or I might use it myself. Just depends on what I want that year.

While I admire your enthusiasm, please take your time. It's very easy to buy a timeshare. It's very hard to sell one. When I considered each of my prior purchases, I had three tests that they had to pass before I would consider them.

  1. Location: it had to be in a resort that was within a day's drive, and that I could imagine visiting most years. So even if everything goes wrong---trade power collapses, airfare becomes prohibitively expensive, etc. etc. I can always just use it myself. If a mini-system, the system has to have some resorts in that radius to qualify. For me, that means Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, etc. Many other desirable places (Atlantic coast, Florida, etc.) are too far away.
  2. Season/Demand: it had to be during "common" school vacations, to maximize the attractiveness of the week's value to others. That mostly means summer or Christmas/New Years. As an example: even though my school district normally has Week 8 off, we are unusual; most others do not. So, while a fixed Week 8 would be great for me, it fails the Season/Demand test. If you are buying a float or points, you need to have rights to book such a unit, and it must be easy to do.
  3. Economic Value: finally, owning the unit has to be substantially cheaper than an equivalent rental in the area. That's because ownership carries extra risk---damage to the resort, changes in my financial circumstances, or declining health can all reduce the value of ownership. If I can rent a unit for close to the same price (or less), there is no reason to take on that risk and obligation. I compute annual cost as: annual fees plus 8% of the purchase price to account for lost opportunity.
Once you apply these criteria, you'd be surprised how many timeshares are eliminated from consideration.
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Lots Of Timeshares -- Is This A Great Country Or What ?

I see that there are many people who own multiple timeshares. Three, four or more. Is that for trading power or are people actually using them all? Doesn't the fees on all of them outweigh the benefits?
We bought 1 (resale) for our own direct personal & family use, another (in a way-off foreign land) for straight week-for-week exchanges through RCI, & 1 more (eBay) as a minimal toe-hold into the timeshare points system (RCI).

We bought our 4th timeshare (resale) only because it virtually fell into our laps at such a low price we couldn't pass it up.

The annual fees do add up, but we've worked out a way of dealing with that. Lately, for example, we've been renting out our 1st & 4th timeshares -- covering annual fees that way with little something left over to pay for RCI Last Call & Instant Exchange reservations for our own timeshare vacations.

That leaves our 2 trade-only timeshares -- 1 that gets still us good straight-weels trades for modest fees & the other that gets us 15,000 points annually. That's not many points, but it's enough for two -- 2 -- week-long Instant Exchange reservations in Florida during the off-season times when we like going to Florida. Plus, we can use our straight-weeks timeshare to get more RCI points any year we want ( -- any year that we don't use it for a straight trade, that is -- ) via Points For Deposit. Points For Deposit means we get that week's points-value added to our timeshare points account instead of banking the week in the regular week-for-week exchange system, our option.

Click here for our (more or less) complete timeshare story.

Full Disclosure: I consider 4 timeshares to be more like a few timeshares than many timeshares. (I don't think there's any hard & fast definition of many timeshares, but who knows?) Also our 4 timeshares are more like 3 & 1/2 timeshares. That's because Timeshare No. 4 in our (pardon the expression) "portfolio" is even-years only, unlike the other 3. So it goes.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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rhonda

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Variety is the spice of life ...

I see that there are many people who own multiple timeshares. Three, four or more. Is that for trading power or are people actually using them all? Doesn't the fees on all of them outweigh the benefits?
We own five ... because they do different things.
  • Two are for trading. One is fairly inexpensive even after dues and exchange fees are factored in. Because of the low costs we tend to accept greater risks in exchanging and have certainly enjoyed some very pleasant surprises. Our other trader is more costly (summer SoCal coastal week) - but our ownership is limited to "every other year" and our dues are 1/2 the current rate for the same sized unit. We use this property for our more difficult exchanges - yet less frequently.
  • Two are great for short getaways. Both offer drive-to locations and can be booked for weekend use.
  • Two offer "day use." One is near work offering a fitness center, pools, and onsite restaurant ... the other is where you'll find us on the weekends enjoying the hot springs, horseback riding, golf, tennis and meeting up with friends.
  • Two are points-based, mini-systems. Plenty of locations and flexibility! Some years we'll consume points in huge blocks (longer stays, larger units) and other years we'll conserve (fewer trips, smaller units) -- but love the versatility!
  • Different exchange companies. Two trade through RCI, three through II -- most also have their own internal exchange options or "affiliate" offerings. I'm also experimenting with SFX for the first time thanks to their "3 for 1" offer.
  • Annual Events. One is for an annual conference we've attended since 1996. Same place, same time of year ... every year. Which would you rather: pay dues on a timeshare with large unit and jetted tub ... or more for a dinky hotel room on the same property? Hmmm ... no brainer for us. ;)
  • Save on Exchange Fees. We book between 6-20 different timeshare reservations each year. Having direct ownership in several different properties/clubs saves on a variety of fees charged to inbound exchange guests.
  • Enjoy all the perks! Some properties distinguish between owners and other guests. In these cases being an owner may secure free movie rentals, internet, newspaper delivery, parking, dining or retail discounts, etc.
In short, it appears my husband and I are addicted to "options." Indeed! It helped to start out "small" with each choice: entry-level points packages, "every other year" ownerships, etc. In most cases, the size of ownership didn't impact the perks: GPP's day use is valid anytime -- even though we own "every other year"; DVC offers same movie rentals and dining discounts to the owners with 25 points and those with 1000 points; etc. If our use of a given property exceeded our ownership we either rented or purchased upgrades as needed.

One interesting thing we learned is that timeshare completely changed our view on vacations. Initially "an escape for the two of us" -- timeshare vacations are now used to gather plenty of family and friends as often as possible. So one last purpose for ours ...
  • Book multiple units. Both point systems make this easy -- as does our ranch property. Sometimes I can also pull this off using RCI/II rental weeks ... whatever it takes.
 
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vacationhopeful

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Multiple ownerships and systems create opportunities. But it will take you months, if not a year or more, to understand enough before you should buy into any system.

Read, Rent, Review, and Rent some more:
1)Read here and ask questions. TUG is a truly cheap on cost but very high on info and experience.
2)Rent and experence various systems, places, and vacationing styles.
3)Review what you and your family have truly enjoyed. Read the resort reviews before and after you take a vacation. Tour other resorts as a cheap entertainment while you are vacationing.
4)Rent some more. Renting can be cheaper than MF sometimes and certainly is cheaper than buying something that is NOT you.

It is hard to explain to my extended family what this timeshare stuff is. They all know "Mardi Grais 2009 anyone?" means check for airfare. To explain how I got it - would make their eyes glaze over. When I ask "Where should we go for Thanksgiving 2009" during Labor Day Weekend 2008, means I have the books laid out for you all to look or don't complain on Turkey Day 2009.

Some of my personal GOALs:
A).Own enough fixed weeks (matched up) to vacation in warm winter locales for 8-10 weeks when I retire (or work less).
B).Own enough points to travel around on short trips - college reunions, family reunions, festivals, interesting sites and to vary the size units I need or want.
C). Exchange to distance lands - foreign or domestic for 2-3 weeks at a time.

Yes, I have achieve most of these goals. Now, I am learning to economize my ownerships. This is also call "fine tuning". Getting where I want to be using more knowledge than dollars (or points or week-to-week exchanges, Last Call, exchange fees) ... and the reason, so many Tuggers are very experenced timeshare owners who make absolutely no sense to Newbees, yet.
 

DeniseM

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We rent the weeks we aren't using every year for enough to cover all of our maintenance fees. Since our TS's are all paid for we have no ongoing cost at all.
 

Timeshare Von

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I/we started collecting timeshares somewhat by accident - and yes it can be a form of illness :)

Right now we own slightly more than we need but we find ways to use them either personally for vacation or for work/business trips.

We enjoy the resorts where we own weeks (Waikiki, Flagstaff and Williamsburg) and seem to go to each at least one in every three years . . . using RCI to trade or privately renting them in years we don't go to those resorts. We really love our 3BR lockoff unit because it affords us flexible accommodations and two weeks of use when divided into the 1BR/2BR options.

We acquired a points contract from my sister a little over a year ago, just cuz she wanted out of it so we accepted her gift. This year (our first year of ownership) we rented the 77k points and for 2009 we went out and found 23,500 points to rent to make a six night stay next summer for a work trip I have (conference) in New Orleans.
 

DaveNV

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I own four, but am in the process of selling two. All are in Hawaii. Three are on three separate islands, the fourth is a second, less-desirable unit at the same resort as one of the others.

Selling the less-desirable unit and the one we would use the least leaves us with two we know we'll use. One of those is an every-year unit, and the other is an every-even-year unit. Our plans are to spend two weeks in Hawaii every two years, with one week on each of two islands. It helps justify the airfare, and extends the time we can spend in Hawaii.

In alternate years, the every-year unit will be rented out to cover maintenance fees, or exchanged for something elsewhere that we enjoy visiting. The total cost of maintenance fees on the two we're keeping adds up to less than comparable hotel rooms rent for in the Islands. By dividing the annual or biennial maintenance fees down to a monthly savings plan, it's affordable, and not a financial burden.

As others have said, it takes a bit of planning and research to learn how best to use a timeshare so it doesn't become an albatross, but if you keep your wits about you, and move ahead slowly, it can easily be done. By finding TUG, you've already saved yourself a fortune. Keep reading!

Good luck,
Dave
 

lprstn

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I don't know why I have so many --- hee hee....

But we are keeping them all as they all have made us happy

- Presidential Wilderness resort - we have because it has day use and is only 1 hour from our home, as well as we can stay there for 8 months out of the year in the trailer that we wish to have someday

- Sheraton Vistana - we use it for access to SVN, Interval International, and we actually go there every other year. Also, now I trade it into my Wyndham for more Wyndham points.

- Wyndham (Bonnet Creek - I purchased for APR) and (Nashville - cause I got the points cheap and wanted to add more points). This one is my personal favorite, great price resale, although I upgraded "new" through the developer I have no real regrets because I used my Wyndham the most. It extremely flexible, the resorts are nice, and in lots of differnt locations and it allows me to travel somewhere for a long weekend every month, as well as bank a small points deposit for long week stays. I have also been happy with its trading power with RCI and love owning with them.

All of this have gotten me great vacations, at decent prices and access to both II and RCI as well as a large internal system of resorts. Lastly, with my Presidential Resort membership we sleep over there in the summers when we have season's passes to Kings Domionion amusement parks.

Now if my DH wouldn't divorce me ... I would definately splurg on some DVC points just to give me everything I wanted...but hey if I don't get it, than I will just keep on renting those DVC points when I need a Disney experience.
 

sfwilshire

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I own six, but as suggested above, one needs to consider their available vacation time. My six weeks easily generate ten or more available weeks every year (one lockout, multiple A/Cs, points weeks that I can get at a bargain, etc). I need to sell a couple, but the time is not right. I've rented out my owned weeks a few times, but find it more trouble than I really have time for.

As for the benefits, the more weeks you own, the less those RCI and II membership fees hurt. Divide them by the number of times you use them every year and they get pretty cheap. Since I have RCI Weeks, RCI Points, and II, I have a pretty good shot at finding what I want most years.

Most of my maintenance fees are pretty reasonable. Cost per night is cheaper than a hotel and I get the extra bathroom, full kitchen, laundry, etc.

I suggest you rent a week a few times and let DH see how nice it is to have room to spread out. Now's probably a great time to buy with the economy being so poor.

I think it's going to be a great year to buy almost anything. I'm looking for just the right deal on a Honda Odyssey and a new bass amp for DH.

Sheila
 

Conan

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Maintenance per week runs around $500 to $700, so there is a cost to owning more than you can use (or rent out).

I have about two too many, but retirement is within sight so for now I'm content to let my young-adult children use them for their own getaways.

[And I can't buy more because there's no room left to list them in my Profile!!]
<-------
 
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rhonda

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Rhonda - what is GPP? I could not find it in the resort database.
Grand Pacific Palisades -- an RCI resort. Sorry to confuse! 'GPP' isn't an official designation and certainly not an II code.
 

tombo

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Owning many weeks really is a sickness. I try to not even look at e-bay auctions anymore since I already own way too many weeks. Up until this year renting my excess weeks was easy and allowed me to vacation for 4 or 5 weeks a year for free. This year the amount I received for rentals was less than in previous years, and I had several weeks that went unrented at any price. I need to sell several of my weeks, but now is a buyer's market and not a good time to sell.

Buy no more weeks than you can use in a year, and never buy a week that isn't within driving distance. Make sure that it is cheaper to pay annual MF's than to rent a week or it isn't worth it to own there at all, just rent. Read a lot on TUG and watch e-bay auctions to get ideas of what things are selling for. Buy after you feel confident that you are purchasing something you will be glad to own for years to come. Just remember to be careful or else you will be trying to explain to a newbie why you own so many weeks in the not too distant future.
 

jehb2

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We own 4 Hilton timeshares. It's a bit more than we can use just by ourselves but we always take friends and family to Hawaii. We went to Hawaii twice this year: trip 1 was 2 weeks, trip 2 was for a month.
 

x3 skier

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I own five and use them all since I am semi retired and can make my own schedule.

Three are in Steamboat Springs and I use two of them them as a residence for six weeks each back to back in the ski season. The other one there is a fractional ownership (one week every month) that I have primarily for the use of the facilities. I rent it out and cover all the expenses and then some.

The other two are in Mexico and London and we use them every year.

Having over 2 million FF miles left makes it pretty cheap to travel to UK and Mexico. When I run out of miles (or years), it will be time to reconsider.:D

Cheers
 

pointsjunkie

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we bought them primarily to use them as our retirement home when we retire in 10 years or so.

now we use some, trade some and rent out the rest. life is good.
 

Blondie

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Like Denise we own all ours, and they were bought very, very cheaply at under a grand each. Mexico is for our use. Our points are for some use and some rentals, and SA is just for trading for a low cost travel opportunity. The Aruba week is being sold because (we had two weeks here) our retirement plans now include Mexico and not Aruba. We just love Puerto Vallarta and we can split the one bedroom into two units/two weeks. With the other one bedroom we have that gives us three weeks. Our SA week provides another PV week should we want it, for a total of a month. We hope to retire in about 3 years and spend some quality time in PV. :banana:
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
You Are Correct, Sir.

Owning many weeks really is a sickness.
You got that right.

I had to stifle myself bigtime to resist a powerful urge to go for two -- 2 -- 3BR lock-off weeks being offered free at a favorite Orlando timeshare. The owner just got tired of being an owner is all I can figure.

Likewise, I had to fight an urge more recently to go for 1 more of the same being offered for One Dollar -- $1 -- at the same outstanding timeshare.

(The 2 free weeks & the single $1 week both involved paying closing costs. I don't know the status of current year fee payments, use years, etc. -- mox nix since I was able to resist the temptation.)
I try to not even look at e-bay auctions anymore since I already own way too many weeks.
You may be on to something.

Not only that, in my case I could benefit from quitting looking at those eBay horns that cause me so much trouble when I eSnipe in a ridiculously low bid that somehow wins the auction & I end up "accidentally" buying another horn that I need like a Moose needs a Hat Rack.

Whether too many horns is worse than too many timeshares is above my pay grade.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​





 

UWSurfer

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We own five (4-1/2 really) and use them all.

Two are two HGVC weeks from which we utilize points within the HGVC system. One is an every other year (ie: 1/2 week) week in Maui where HGVC doesn't have a resort and we were able to pickup for very, very little. One is about a 80 mile drive from home which we picked up for much less than Maui and like for a number of reason, not the least of which is it's adjacent one of the best surfing locations in SoCal. It's also very well run and has low maintenance fees.

Our last week isn't really ours yet. We bought it also for next to nothing and is an unusual situation where the resort has sold in exchange for a swap to a new location/resort. The closing company recorded the deed to the old location which now doesn't exist and we're in limbo (I find out today) as the resort returns the deed to the closing company to re-record with correct info on the "new" property. This last one once it's straighten out will serve as housing for a convention I attend every year in Las Vegas and my plans are to get the company to pickup the maintenance fee's here, which represents a savings of about 50% from what they pay for my hotel when attending this convention. They save money, I get better digs...win-win.

I will admit it's a bit of an illness. I want to pickup a couple more weeks for places or units I'd like, but stop because I already have enough maintenance fee's and am out of vacation time to use more than I have. I'm not looking to get into the rental biz so I'm done.
 

BillandSusan

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Three of mine are every other year, which means I pay 1/2 in mf. I let my boss rent the Polo Towers from me because he's an avid poker player in Las Vegas. Plus, my overcharging him for the rental makes me feel better when he turns me down for a raise.

The Summit is a 4 bedroom lockoff within a 2 hour driving distance. We use that for family re-unions, etc., because it's big enough for the entire family (and a terrific place). If we don't use it, we rent it or bank it as two 2 bedroom units and even receive a bonus week from RCI for depositing it.

The Vistana we use for our own Christmas week in Florida. This is the only week out of the year we are guaranteed that all children are free from school, etc. When we first started looking at TS, we were advised not to buy in Florida because Florida was an easy trade with high MF fees. However, what we ran into was not being able to get into where we wanted because of 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 rules, and/or no availability during our wanted week. So we purchased this one cheap on Ebay and we always have it for Christmas. If we can't go for some reason, we rent it. Since we pay 1/2 in mf, we can charge less for the rental (Unless it's for my boss).

The Wyndhams are points and our only annuals. We use the Williamsburg points for long weekends, etc., especially during Hallowscream at Bush Gardens. That's only about a 3 hour drive for us. The Branson we bought dirt cheap to add points, which we use or rent.

My DH has 6 weeks of vacation a year, I have 3. We use every hour of it. Also, he works for a large company. Word got around his office and someone is always asking if we have anything available to rent. A lot of the time, we're sending people away because we ran out of weeks or points to rent out. For that reason, we're thinking of buying more points.
 

thetimeshareguy

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Everyone's situation is unique. For some people it makes sense to own more than one timeshare interval; for others not. For those who need (and can afford) several timeshares, what some folks call the "portfolio" approach is recommended, which is just a fancy way of saying, "think carefully about what you're adding to your collection" and recognize that your needs may change over time. Many people who own several intervals ended up with them because their needs changed (e.g., they bought something close to Disney World when the kids were small, then bought something close to home when they decided to ski or celebrate Thanksgiving locally each year, then bought in Hawaii when they could travel without the kids, and so on). A common pattern is to own something on the "weeks" side and something on the "points" side, to cover all bases. (Not a bad idea, and one that I do myself.)

That being said, I recommend against buying multiple timeshares most of the time (for most people). Why? With savvy strategies you can leaverage one form of ownership into multiple opportunities. You simply don't have to own many intervals to obtain many holidays.

Example: You could own one inexpensive week and exchange it, then rent other holidays at timeshare resorts when you want to. This works best if you can make your final plans within 45 days of your presumed check-in date. Why? Because (with RCI at least) unclaimed inventory is released into the system without restrictions at that point (since the units might otherwise sit empty).

One person whom I advised a long time ago does it this way: She owns an inexpensive South African week (that trades well) and exchanges it for her overseas and more glamorous trips (i.e., where airfare is involved, hence the need to plan in advance). When she wants to travel in the USA to "driveable" destinations, she rents units from RCI's last-minute rental inventory, using the under-45-day rule. There's usually lots to choose from. Such rentals are often only a couple of hundred bucks -- less than the annual maintenance fee on a typical timeshare. Ownership of just one week and membership in RCI allows her to meet all her travel needs.

Footnote: Some people nowadays buy the cheapest interval they possibly can just to get into the timeshare system. They don't even bank their weeks or pay an exchange fee! They simply want to be part of the system so they can rent timeshares. Other people go even further and rent intervals on an as-needed basis from reputable service providers who specialize in that kind of thing. In fact (and the developers will never say this) you don't really need to own a timeshare at all to "be in the game."

Conclusion: Buy a resale one-week interval (or equivalent resale or leased points) and play with that for a year or two. Only buy another interval after you're a veteran owner/exchanger, and only do so if you really need to.
 
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Resorts Owned
Grandview At Las Vegas

[triennial - points]
Need, Shmeed -- Timeshares Are Strictly For Fun.

For those who need (and can afford) several timeshares, what some folks call the "portfolio" approach is recommended
Timeshare Portfolio = Hyatt, Marriott, & other fancypants high-end resort intervals.

Timeshare "Portfolio" = miscellaneous no-prestige mid- & low-end dog & cat resorts (like mine).

( Not that there's anything wrong with any of mine. )
Only buy another interval after you're a veteran owner/exchanger, and only do so if you really need to.
Shux, if I only bought timeshares that I need, I wouldn't have any timeshares at all.

Then again, give me the luxuries & I will gladly do without the necessities.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​

 

bnoble

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You could own one inexpensive week and exchange it, then rent other holidays at timeshare resorts when you want to.
One addendum to this: If you are beholden to the school calendar, these last minute rentals can be much harder to come by in places people want to visit. But, if you are not, then there are truly some bargains to be had.
 
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brucecz

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For some it is a fun hobby, or a avocation or a addiction or a way to travel cheaply and have nice accomadations and make a few $$$$$$ or a way to gamble.

All of the above in a little way describe us a bit.

A lot of the previous posters gave very good advice.

Renting is a good way to try timesharing in the begining without making a possable long term committment.

Warning: For most people owning timeshares are like eating potatoe chips, it is very hard to stop at just one.

Bruce :D
 
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