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Buying Kierland resale -- need advice

aytug

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Dear TUGgers, I would appreciate any advice you could provide on making this one tough decision in my life -- buying a 2 BO at Westin Kierland for $22K (148,100 options) on a resale market.

I read lots of posts and did my homework, but a word of advice from people would be really helpful and very much appreciated. I never owned a timeshare before, but visited a couple of Starwood vacation ownership resorts by renting on EBay and was intrigued by the idea. I am a loyal Starwood customer and believe this is a great chain (I have been a platinum member for years), but a few things make me think twice:

(1) will I always be able to exchange within SVN into places I want to go to, such as Hawaii, WSJ, Lagunamar? I don't really intend to go to Kierland at all, but only want to buy it for the exchange power within SVN. This exchange promise is really my only reason for buying and I want to be really comfortable with the ability to exchange. Please tell me how it really is.

(2) II seems to be so complex and many people wrote about their frustration with the system. Will I be able to easily change into another high quality resort through II or will it just be a nightmare to deal with?

(3) Should I want to sell the timeshare in the future if it does not work out for me, how easy is it? Say if I just want to sell for $15K and take a loss, will it be relatively easy?

(4) I see all these great rental deals on EBay (such as $520 for a week at Kierland) and it puzzles me -- why should I buy a potential headache, when I can just rent when I need it?

Please give me your real life experiences, would be much apppreciated. Thanks!
 

Ken555

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First, search this forum and read the existing threads. You'll find lots of answers to your questions already here, and more in the FAQ above. Short answers below...

(1) will I always be able to exchange within SVN into places I want to go to, such as Hawaii, WSJ, Lagunamar?
What time of year do you travel? Do you need to travel during school holidays? If not, then you'll find lots of availability on the off-season. I own a Platinum Kierland week and I've been to all the hard to get locations except St. Johns (and only really tried for it once). Just remember to reserve at 8 months from your arrival date and you'll do fine.

This year I'm using my Kierland ownership to go to Princeville for a week in a Studio (I'm here this week!) and Lagunamar for 13 nights in a 1 bed. This is what I call flexibility and it works well for my schedule.

(2) II seems to be so complex and many people wrote about their frustration with the system. Will I be able to easily change into another high quality resort through II or will it just be a nightmare to deal with?
If you're buying Kierland then my suggestion will be to use it for the Options value and stay within SVN. If you use it to trade via II, then you'll do well, but I don't think you'll get your value. If you want to trade II, buy a cheap trader (WMH, SDO, Orlando, etc).

II is very simple and easy to use. I don't understand why and how others are so frustrated with it - but I suspect it's all about talking with II and hearing differing results (same with SVN)...and that creates confusion. Unlike Starwood, II even has a real time web site with availability... (get your act together, Starwood!)

(3) Should I want to sell the timeshare in the future if it does not work out for me, how easy is it? Say if I just want to sell for $15K and take a loss, will it be relatively easy?
This is what I call a loaded question. Too many variables determine the value of a timeshare week. However, Kierland is a great value and I personally think it's the best bang for your buck around right now - and I don't see any reason for that to change. Keep in mind all timeshare prices are soft right now, so if you needed to sell in this economy it may take a while... then again, you can always put it on eBay.

(4) I see all these great rental deals on EBay (such as $520 for a week at Kierland) and it puzzles me -- why should I buy a potential headache, when I can just rent when I need it?
If you can get a week at Kierland for $520 anytime but the summer, then you should grab it. For that matter, try to get a week in Hawaii for that price...

Many people just rent their weeks and don't own anywhere. That may suit you better than owning.

FWIW, I think you might be able to get a Platinum Kierland for less than $22k. When you're ready to buy, offer less...the worst that can happen is the seller refuses. In fact, Transaction Realty (a broker) has one listed for $21.5k right now (I bought from them a few years ago, but have no other connection), so you might do even better than that. Check around.
 

vacationtime1

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Ken555 is giving you sound advice.

1. SVN exchanges to Hawaii are currently easy, especially at the 8 month mark. I did one last summer on even less notice. I cannot speak to exchanges to St. John.

2. SVN is not complicated. You will have 148,100 StarOptions with a Kierland platinum purchase. That will get you any 2 bedroom in the system, and multiple weeks in many cases. See http://www.tug2.net/advice/svn_valuechart.pdf Exchanging through II is another world, but as Ken555 suggests, it is not the best use of a premium property. I just bought a couple of traders that collectively cost one-eighth of what I paid for my Kierland platinum and should trade nearly as well. There are funny (read: inconsistently applied) rules about SVN/II trades. Keep it simple at the beginning; your stated plan of a Kierland platinum and StarOptions exchanges is well designed to do just that.

3. If you want/need to sell quickly and are willing to accept a below-to-low market price, eBay creates a marketplace in which a premium property listed without a reserve will always sell.

4. A better way to find cheap summer rentals at Kierland is II Getaways which will cost $400-$500 for a week. You won't find winter rentals there at anything close to that price. Check www.redweek.com or www.myresortnetwork.com for a better estimate of the rental market.

BTW--I bought my Kierland through Shelly Preece at Transaction Realty also. I probably paid a thousand too much, but the real money is saved by simply buying resale.
 

aytug

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Re:

Thank you, Ken555 and Robert for your answers. Now I see I underestimated the rental cost -- 1 week in HI and 2 weeks in Lagunamar will cost $$$ to rent.
 

stevens397

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And please contact me the moment you're ready to sell your Kierland for $15,000!;)
 

ddesal

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We also purchased for the purpose of trading and have actually never used our home resort. I have been very happy with the exchange program through II. When I submit an exchange request I usually request one to three properties and a span of one to three weeks. I do request as far in advance as possible. I am always contacted with an offer of a property that is not on my list very shortly after I submit my request. I politely decline the offer and tell them that I will wait for the properties that I have requested. I usually end up with my confirmation of the property and time that I requested within a month or two. For 2009 I requested one of the most popular weeks of the year for cancun. I originally requested one property and after about a month I added two more. I ended up waiting about four months but was very fortunate that they contacted me with an offer for the Westin Lagunamar. It was not on our list because it was brand new to II but I jumped at the chance to try out the new resort. If you do your homework to find the best resort options and request well in advance you should have excellent luck negotiating exchanges.
 

aytug

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I have been very happy with the exchange program through II. When I submit an exchange request I usually request one to three properties and a span of one to three weeks. I ended up waiting about four months but was very fortunate that they contacted me with an offer for the Westin Lagunamar. It was not on our list because it was brand new to II but I jumped at the chance to try out the new resort.
Thanks for the info. Do you own at Kierland? Why do you have to request Lagunamar through II and not through SVN?
 

tomandrobin

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We own two Kierland Platinum, 2 bedroom l/o units and Have been extremely happy with the use of our units. Kierland definitely is still the best bang for your buck. Its a great resort on its own and would have no problem staying at the resort. You get 148,100 staroptions which gives you great flexibility on internal exchanges. When we deposit in II, the Kierland units trade very well.
 

LisaRex

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aytug, I think Westin Kierland is the best value, by far, within SVN. You can buy it on the resale market, saving thousands and because it's a mandatory resort you get all the benefits of SVN. Plus the MFs are much lower than the places you'd like to trade into.

My biggest beef with SVN is the dearth of new top tier developments. Currently we're stuck with a few resorts that everyone wants to trade into (Maui, St. John, Harborside) and not a lot more on the horizon that will alleviate the inevitable bottleneck of people trading into them.

Trading into the other resorts isn't a guarantee. Certainly St. John and Harborside during the summer are "forgetaboutit" trades and "don't count on them" trades during high season. And as more second and third tier resorts are upgraded and grandfathered into SVN, trading will only get more difficult. So if you DO want to trade, then I'd give a few words of advice:

a) ALWAYS book a prime week at your home resort as a back-up. In your case, you own a platinum week, so you should book during that season at 12 months out.

b) At exactly 8 months out, at 9am EST/EDT, be prepared to call Starwood to request a StarOption trade. If it works, drop your initial reservation. If it doesn't, repeat the next week until you secure a reservation.

c) Don't forget Fri/Fri or Sun/Sun check-ins. I was able to nab a Platinum Plus week in St. John by picking a Fri/Fri week.

d) Don't discount II. People have reported getting great trades in II. They might not be as valuable as WSJ, but for the $$ you pay in MFs, I think you'll be happy with the results.

Good luck to you! If I wasn't such a view snob, I'd have done exactly as you are proposing.
 

DeniseM

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Thanks for the info. Do you own at Kierland? Why do you have to request Lagunamar through II and not through SVN?
Lagunamar just opened and may not have been available when he first put in his II request.
 

ddesal

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I own with Consolidated Resorts. II is the only exchange program they are affiliated with.
 

James1975NY

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Dear TUGgers, I would appreciate any advice you could provide on making this one tough decision in my life -- buying a 2 BO at Westin Kierland for $22K (148,100 options) on a resale market.

I read lots of posts and did my homework, but a word of advice from people would be really helpful and very much appreciated. I never owned a timeshare before, but visited a couple of Starwood vacation ownership resorts by renting on EBay and was intrigued by the idea. I am a loyal Starwood customer and believe this is a great chain (I have been a platinum member for years), but a few things make me think twice:

(1) will I always be able to exchange within SVN into places I want to go to, such as Hawaii, WSJ, Lagunamar? I don't really intend to go to Kierland at all, but only want to buy it for the exchange power within SVN. This exchange promise is really my only reason for buying and I want to be really comfortable with the ability to exchange. Please tell me how it really is.

(2) II seems to be so complex and many people wrote about their frustration with the system. Will I be able to easily change into another high quality resort through II or will it just be a nightmare to deal with?

(3) Should I want to sell the timeshare in the future if it does not work out for me, how easy is it? Say if I just want to sell for $15K and take a loss, will it be relatively easy?

(4) I see all these great rental deals on EBay (such as $520 for a week at Kierland) and it puzzles me -- why should I buy a potential headache, when I can just rent when I need it?

Please give me your real life experiences, would be much apppreciated. Thanks!
$22k is a great price. Sure, there may be better deals, but the bottom line is....do you want to start vacationing or do you want to play games (sometimes for weeks, months) just to wiggle another couple of thousand out of the deal? Purchasing on the resale market is a victory in itself.
 

DeniseM

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$do you want to start vacationing or do you want to play games (sometimes for weeks, months) just to wiggle another couple of thousand out of the deal?
Heck yeah I want to play games to wiggle another couple thousand out of the deal! Especially in this market! :D
 
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aomontreal

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II rating for Kierland

1. Is Kierland 5-star rated on II.

2. Am I protected for my platinum status and my 148,100 SVN options?

3. Can Starwood change the "status" of the resort and is that likely?

Thank You.
 

tomandrobin

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1. Is Kierland 5-star rated on II.

2. Am I protected for my platinum status and my 148,100 SVN options?

3. Can Starwood change the "status" of the resort and is that likely?

Thank You.
1. yes, it has the highest rating

2. yes and no. Starwood can change the staroptions, but its unlikely they will change them down.

3. If you mean change from Mandatory to voluntary..no. But, just like all the other resorts, it could divorce itself from Starwood. So in a way, it could be yes.
 

DeniseM

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I ccan understand thousands but what about 100's?
Yep! See what I paid for my last 3 purchases on ebay:

Tahoe - The Lodge at Kingsbury Crossing - $255
Kauai - Pahio Kauai Beach Villas, ocean FRONT - $1,300
Kauai - Pahio Kauai Beach Villas, ocean FRONT - $1,500

I'm CHEAP! And proud of it! :D
 

capjak

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Denise agree!

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned....
 

James1975NY

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Touche

There is an ad on MyResortNetwork for a SVV Bella 81,000 StarOptions annually for $5500.00 is that a good price?
 

DavidnRobin

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I ccan understand thousands but what about 100's?
With respect to WKV... there is a cost-savings point of course, and it all depends on one's situation. If I were looking for a WKV 2Bd LO (Plat) - I would want to pay no more than $20K because I know others' have paid this (and less). Is it worth $500 to wait? - probably not - is it worth $2K? probably so, but of course one has to find it and that takes more effort.

A savings of $2K is worth it (to me). I did overpay for our WKVs by a little (in hindsite), but okay with it. We offered $1500 less than asking for our first (and they accepted - after a while). We offered $10K less for our 2nd, but the sellers were basing their cost on what they spent via SVO (unfortunately). I would suggest setting a price you are willing to pay - and offer that to those selling.
 

James1975NY

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With respect to WKV... there is a cost-savings point of course, and it all depends on one's situation. If I were looking for a WKV 2Bd LO (Plat) - I would want to pay no more than $20K because I know others' have paid this (and less). Is it worth $500 to wait? - probably not - is it worth $2K? probably so, but of course one has to find it and that takes more effort.

A savings of $2K is worth it (to me). I did overpay for our WKVs by a little (in hindsite), but okay with it. We offered $1500 less than asking for our first (and they accepted - after a while). We offered $10K less for our 2nd, but the sellers were basing their cost on what they spent via SVO (unfortunately). I would suggest setting a price you are willing to pay - and offer that to those selling.
Agreed!!! Timing would also be a factor buying late in the year may mean that your occupancy for 2009 may be tough to get if the seller hasnt taken care of the booking in advance.
 
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