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Interested in getting a timeshare but not sure if it's right for us

younme4ever

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I live in Southern California and I routinely drive to locations such as: Phoenix, Sedona, Tucson, Tahoe, Monterey, Palm Desert, Newport Coast and a few others. There are a lot of "drive-to" locations that we can reach in under 7 or 8 hours. We're staying in 4 and 5 star places (largely Marriott). BUT, I plan a year in advance. BUT, this last year I made a bunch of re-bookings to avoid losing weeks. My nightly cost is a fair amount less than renting at these same places. I own 4 Marriott resale weeks. For all four I paid under $8K in total.

But, I am a planner and typically plan a year in advance.

So, if you cannot plan and are not detail oriented, then perhaps timeshares aren't for you. My personal opinion is that the people who invest the time to learn a timeshare system and who are willing to plan in advance get a lot of value out of their timeshare(s). Those that don't invest the time, effort and planning aren't going to be happy.
I am not inherently a planner but I can plan simple things. That’s why I was thinking a week timeshare would be good because if I have time to plan then I can go somewhere different to try things out and if I am busy then at a minimum I just need to call a year in advance to book my week at my home resort. Just out of curiosity, the up front money doesn’t seem bad when buying resale but what about the MF’s and taxes? If you have 4 weeks, wouldn’t that mean paying about $5k a year? I am concerned about paying every year. Are the weeks easy to rent out?
 

CPNY

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Harborside Resort at Atlantis
SVV - Key West
SVV - Bella
Regal Vista at Massanutten
1) Is there a vacation destination you wish to visit most of the time or on a regular basis? if so where? Driving distance for us (Southern CA, AZ, UT, NV)

2) Do you want to visit your home resort at least half the time, or do you want to trade more than half the time? A little bit of both, want to be able to visit home resort but also be able to go to other destinations

3) What are your 5 top trade destinations? Hawaii, Florida, Mexico, California, Arizona

4) How many people do you usually travel with - total, including yourself? 4 to 5

5) Can you travel any time, or are you locked into the school schedule? locked into school schedule for next 5 years, then flexible after that

6) Can you make firm plans 12 or more mos. in advance? no

7) Can you vacation for a full week at a time? yes

8) What level of accommodations do you prefer on a scale of 1 to 5 stars? 4 to 5

9) How much can you afford to spend upfront, without financing? $10k or less

10) How much can you afford to spend every year for a maintenance fee that will come due right after Christmas, and increase each year? $1500 to $2500

11) Are you a detail oriented planner? No

12) Do you understand that once you buy a timeshare, it may be very difficult to sell or give away, and you are responsible for all fees, until you do? Yes
A Vistana property that comes with star options. You’ll get all of the destinations you want. Get a Westin kierland villa 148,100 2 bedroom platinum . You can make your arrangements at 8 months in advance.
 

rickandcindy23

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Wyndham Plat,RCI pts,Shell,WorldMark,OKW,SSR pts; Marriott's Willow Ridge;Val Chatelle; Hono Koa; SBP; SDO; Blue Ridge Village
There are so many great options. Mandatory Staroptions are something I wish I had purchased years ago and have considered it in recent years, but we have so many timeshares, it makes zero sense to do it now. I love the idea CPNY has about Westin Kierland 148,100 SO's (mandatory is the only thing to buy). Low MF's and versatility are two pluses. I would do that in a heartbeat.

I advised many of our friends who have asked me about timeshare to buy (get for free) a week at Sheraton Desert Oasis or Sheraton Broadway Plantation, 2 bedroom lockoff only. Those deposit as two units, buy two of them, four exchanges for two maintenance fees of about $1,250 each ($2,500 annually). We trade into Newport Coast, Kauai, Maui, and lots of Orlando Marriott resorts for $154 trade fees. And we pay for platinum with Interval International and get upgrades for $59, one bed to two bedroom. Both sides of the lockoff trade as a full one bedroom at SDO and SBP.

We also own and love our Marriott's Willow Ridge 2 bedroom platinum weeks, which we pay Marriott to lock off and use them in II for trading purposes only. The trading preference into the Marriott resorts on II cannot be beat. I am so happy with those, too. Even our Gold Willow Ridge EOY week has been a great trader. Those are practically free on ebay.
 

NiteMaire

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Living Aloha on Oahu
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Marriott G. Château
DRI Sedona Summit
Sheraton Vistana Res
Colonies@Willi'sburg
Has anyone used II to trade their week for a cruise? And if yes, to where? Is it difficult?
Yes, to the Caribbean in 2015. I don't recall it being difficult at all. I called II # for cruises and they took care of it.
Most people feel that exchanging a week for a cruise doesn't make a lot of sense financially. If you pay $1500 maintenance fee, maybe you'll get $1000 (or less) of value.
While this may be true for most (as you stated), it's not a bad deal for all since it depends on the MF and the discount given. In your scenario, it's a bad deal. It was a good deal for us in 2015, but our MF was less than $400. We elected to exchange our unit since the discount was more than our MF and any associated fees for exchanging.
Don't waste timeshare points or weeks for a cruise because that cruise is charging you at the top end and not valuing your timeshare.
Maybe, maybe not...II was the least expensive option we found for our 2015 cruise (even before the discount mentioned above).

I realize I'm using a dated example, but it's possible that trading a week for a cruise may end up being a good deal (for some).
 

BJRSanDiego

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I am not inherently a planner but I can plan simple things. That’s why I was thinking a week timeshare would be good because if I have time to plan then I can go somewhere different to try things out and if I am busy then at a minimum I just need to call a year in advance to book my week at my home resort. Just out of curiosity, the up front money doesn’t seem bad when buying resale but what about the MF’s and taxes? If you have 4 weeks, wouldn’t that mean paying about $5k a year? I am concerned about paying every year. Are the weeks easy to rent out?
Yes, resale timeshares can often be acquired at a low cost. Certainly a whole lot less than retail. Two factors to consider beyond MF's and taxes is resort quality/exchange preference and ultimately the disposal of the timeshare.

1. I chose to go with Marriott because I get a three week preference period on exchanges if they are a Marriott, and more recently I believe also a preference (albeit shorter) on Sheraton and Hyatt. For really high demand locations and periods, inventory rarely lasts longer than a few days. That means that I can get an exchange while people out-of-network cannot. Two of mine are red/platinum season and two are white/gold season, which means that I can reserve at the 13 month point. I reserve the highest demand (TDI) period that I can because that gives me the best tradability.
2. Disposal - There are some timeshares whose MF may be as low as $600-700. But my intuition is they don't trade especially well and when it comes time to downsize and get rid of them, a person may have to pay to get rid of them or may need to default. Take a look at the Bargain and Free TS section. Some of those are likely to be difficult to dispose of (of course, there are occasionally some gems in there). I think that the Marriott's should be pretty easy to dispose of - - either as a giveaway or a low-priced sale. 7

Taxes? It is really a pretty small item - - around $ 75 annually on each.

Yes, the MF on my 3-1/2 Marriotts are around $1600 a year or around $5K annually. But I split them and get seven weeks of vacation out of them.

But I'm retired and enjoying my vacations. I'm staying in top notch places at a cost less than the "rack" rate. I suppose that I could rent from other timeshare owners and save some $.
 

younme4ever

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Yes, resale timeshares can often be acquired at a low cost. Certainly a whole lot less than retail. Two factors to consider beyond MF's and taxes is resort quality/exchange preference and ultimately the disposal of the timeshare.

1. I chose to go with Marriott because I get a three week preference period on exchanges if they are a Marriott, and more recently I believe also a preference (albeit shorter) on Sheraton and Hyatt. For really high demand locations and periods, inventory rarely lasts longer than a few days. That means that I can get an exchange while people out-of-network cannot. Two of mine are red/platinum season and two are white/gold season, which means that I can reserve at the 13 month point. I reserve the highest demand (TDI) period that I can because that gives me the best tradability.
2. Disposal - There are some timeshares whose MF may be as low as $600-700. But my intuition is they don't trade especially well and when it comes time to downsize and get rid of them, a person may have to pay to get rid of them or may need to default. Take a look at the Bargain and Free TS section. Some of those are likely to be difficult to dispose of (of course, there are occasionally some gems in there). I think that the Marriott's should be pretty easy to dispose of - - either as a giveaway or a low-priced sale. 7

Taxes? It is really a pretty small item - - around $ 75 annually on each.

Yes, the MF on my 3-1/2 Marriotts are around $1600 a year or around $5K annually. But I split them and get seven weeks of vacation out of them.

But I'm retired and enjoying my vacations. I'm staying in top notch places at a cost less than the "rack" rate. I suppose that I could rent from other timeshare owners and save some $.
What do you mean by splitting them and getting 7 weeks of vacation?
 

VegasBella

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Avenue Plaza
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Your answers where you said you can't plan a year in advance, are stuck to school schedules, and are not a detailed planner are suggest that timesharing isn't going to be the best value for you. You can still do it of course, plenty do. But it may be very challenging to get the highest demand vacations for good prices. If you're still interested in timesharing and just like the idea of owning instead of renting then you just have to accept that you will need to overpay. Or that you can't get the highest demand options. But it could still easily have great value for you.

What I think you need to do is identify WHY you want a timeshare. What is it about owning a timeshare that is appealing over renting or staying at hotels etc?
 

BJRSanDiego

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What do you mean by splitting them and getting 7 weeks of vacation?
If you own a 2, 3 or 4 BR "Lock-off" timeshare, you can "split" it when you make your home resort reservation and get two reservations: one for the main unit and one for the smaller side. Both can be used separately (concurrently or sequentially) or deposited/exchanged.
 

younme4ever

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There are so many great options. Mandatory Staroptions are something I wish I had purchased years ago and have considered it in recent years, but we have so many timeshares, it makes zero sense to do it now. I love the idea CPNY has about Westin Kierland 148,100 SO's (mandatory is the only thing to buy). Low MF's and versatility are two pluses. I would do that in a heartbeat.

I advised many of our friends who have asked me about timeshare to buy (get for free) a week at Sheraton Desert Oasis or Sheraton Broadway Plantation, 2 bedroom lockoff only. Those deposit as two units, buy two of them, four exchanges for two maintenance fees of about $1,250 each ($2,500 annually). We trade into Newport Coast, Kauai, Maui, and lots of Orlando Marriott resorts for $154 trade fees. And we pay for platinum with Interval International and get upgrades for $59, one bed to two bedroom. Both sides of the lockoff trade as a full one bedroom at SDO and SBP.

We also own and love our Marriott's Willow Ridge 2 bedroom platinum weeks, which we pay Marriott to lock off and use them in II for trading purposes only. The trading preference into the Marriott resorts on II cannot be beat. I am so happy with those, too. Even our Gold Willow Ridge EOY week has been a great trader. Those are practically free on ebay.
Are you saying that when you lock off, you get to trade in two weeks instead of one on II?
 

younme4ever

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Your answers where you said you can't plan a year in advance, are stuck to school schedules, and are not a detailed planner are suggest that timesharing isn't going to be the best value for you. You can still do it of course, plenty do. But it may be very challenging to get the highest demand vacations for good prices. If you're still interested in timesharing and just like the idea of owning instead of renting then you just have to accept that you will need to overpay. Or that you can't get the highest demand options. But it could still easily have great value for you.

What I think you need to do is identify WHY you want a timeshare. What is it about owning a timeshare that is appealing over renting or staying at hotels etc?
I think the WHY part has to do with us not going on enough vacations every year and having the option to rent makes it too easy to not go. I have tried renting at several timeshares and have enjoyed the resort feel of the timeshares. And I think that having that “pressure” to book will motivate me to make sure I vacation at least once a year for a week.
 

BJRSanDiego

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Are you saying that when you lock off, you get to trade in two weeks instead of one on II?
I sense that you are struggling with the concept of locking off a timeshare and neither understood RickandCindy's response nor mine.
I suggest that you Google "what is a lock off timeshare". There are a whole lot of comprehensive posts on the subject.
 

VegasBella

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I think the WHY part has to do with us not going on enough vacations every year and having the option to rent makes it too easy to not go. I have tried renting at several timeshares and have enjoyed the resort feel of the timeshares. And I think that having that “pressure” to book will motivate me to make sure I vacation at least once a year for a week.
In this case then the thing that makes the most financial sense may not be the best choice. I think a timeshare could work really well for you assuming you can afford it.
We had a similar thing in our family where it became "too easy to cancel" a lot of vacations and we just weren't traveling like I wanted. Owning timeshares definitely changed that for us, at least for some trips. For us, fixed week/ fixed unit works best for that. When we exchange our timeshare ownerships we are still fairly likely to cancel because we can recoup a lot of the cost. But also because the fixed ownerships have incredible draw for us - that's why we bought them. Like, my husband literally day dreams about our Carlsbad Inn weeks.
So my advice is to find something truly valuable to YOU, something you will really use. Maybe it's points or maybe it's a fixed or float week, whatever, just something you actually value that you can envision using over and over, and try not to worry too much about getting the absolute best price.

(That said, it's not a bad idea to lowball, take your time to shop, etc. to find a good deal)
 
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