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Question about buying Sunterra on e-bay

lisan

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Here's my situation...

We recently bought at San Luis Bay Inn in CA while on vacation for 3,500 points. We're paying for the Club Sunterra membership with options to trade with Interval International, etc. We bought from Sunterra and paid retail price with $507 in total annual fees (maintenance, club membership, taxes).

Now...there have been several intruiging auctions on e-bay for very cheap Sunterra points. One example was 4,000 points that went for $620 plus closing, etc,; maintenance fees of $530/yr.

I called CS to see if the points could be combined with what we now own, as was told "yes". I even made it clear that the points were part of the Epic trust, converted to Club Sunterra points. I was also told that my total maintenance costs plus taxes and club dues would be $1027. But, no mention of the $2995 fee that I see mentioned here and elsewhere.

So...has anyone here actually done this? I was told by one of the e-bay sellers that I would have to pay the $2995 and the the Club Sunterra rep. just failed to tell me this. I was also told that virtually all Club Sunterra sales on the Internet are former Epic owners, and that is why they are so cheap.

I guess my biggest question is if anyone here has added onto a developer bought membership through an online auction or other resaler? And what were all of the charges? Also, how do you calculate maintenance (combined) fees? How long did the process take and how difficult was it? What advice would you give someone in my situation (wanting to add points)?

Thanks!
Lisa
 

fnewman

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While I really can't comment on the specific eBay offers and your ability to combine with what you own, I can answer a couple of your questions in the last paragraph.

Yes, I have added resale property to an orignal Sunterra SunOption pruchase without additional cost, but it was several years ago, a deeded week, and was negotiated a the time I made my original purchase. So, it can (or could be) done.

Maintenance fees calculations? Each purchase or piece of property generally carries its own maintenance fee billing, so you just add them up - no 'volume discount' unfortunately.

Advice?? Concentrate your effort on buying additional property that gives you the most SunOptions per dollar of annual cost rather than just looking at purchase price. With respect to deeded weeks, often this means buying holiday or year-end time as all the weeks (of the same size) at a given resort will incur the same annual fees (maintenance fees + taxes + any assessments).

Others should be able to address some of your other questions.
 

lisan

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fnewman said:
Advice?? Concentrate your effort on buying additional property that gives you the most SunOptions per dollar of annual cost rather than just looking at purchase price. With respect to deeded weeks, often this means buying holiday or year-end time as all the weeks (of the same size) at a given resort will incur the same annual fees (maintenance fees + taxes + any assessments).
Thanks - I already have this rather complicated spreadsheet that allocates purchase price over the number of years we expect to use SunOptions plus the maintenance fees - and, you're right, of course...the maintenance fees end up having the largest impact. I'm still not sure I understand the different terminology (deeded, trust, ??). I'm not even 100% certain what exactly we bought, except that we have 3,500 SunOptions to use at any of the Sunterra resorts, or pay $135 to exchange with II...and that our points can be passed down to our child(ren), etc.

Thanks for your help. If anyone out there has done this recently, please let me know how it went and what, if any, were the additional costs.

Thanks!
Lisa
 

Spence

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Lisa,
As Frank said, I have also been able to add to my holdings at no additional charge BUT that was negotiated in my first conversion that I paid for. I have known of NOONE that has recently bought a resale Sunterra property that has avoided paying for conversion, either $7000 for 2000 additional points and conversion, or a flat fee of $2995, or a fee of $1295 if you take their $7K offer and rescind the next day, 'the dance.'

If you own at SLB, It will depend on when you bought whether you own a deeded fixed week or floating week or UDI -or- part of the Trust that Sunterra is now hawking.

3500 SunOptions isn't enough, you need to get more. If you can get whoever is telling you that you won't have additional fees to put it in writing, I have found that Sunterra has always honored their word but obviously you do need it in writing. With multiple ownerships you do save money in that there is only one Club Fee of $149/yr no matter how many ownerships and how many Club Sunterra reservations you make a year.

So you've got a spreadsheet, good. What is a good MF/pt? Well, I think you can guage that by how much Club Sunterra gives you if you were to use FeeOptions to pay off MFs and Club fees. This program of exchanging SunOptions for credit pays only 5.85cents ($0.0585) per SunOption. So, the closer you can get to that benchmark the better. As Frank has mentioned, some of the older traditional deeded weeks at resorts like Powhatan and Greensprings get you below that benchmark if you buy the holiday/peak time, even the high time works out well. If you join TUG and then use the search function you can see lots of example of this. Or you can just keep going back in this forum looking for the posts. Based on the MFs, I don't think that the flood of former EPIC properties on eBay and at holidaygroup.com (they'll usually take an offer of 30% less) are very good buys, even at the dirt cheap purchase price additionally I do think you'll have a conversion fee.

Look here for more info.
 

lisan

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Spence said:
Lisa,
As Frank said, I have also been able to add to my holdings at no additional charge BUT that was negotiated in my first conversion that I paid for. I have known of NOONE that has recently bought a resale Sunterra property that has avoided paying for conversion, either $7000 for 2000 additional points and conversion, or a flat fee of $2995, or a fee of $1295 if you take their $7K offer and rescind the next day, 'the dance.'
Interesting...and thanks! This is REALLY helpful information!

Spence said:
If you own at SLB, It will depend on when you bought whether you own a deeded fixed week or floating week or UDI -or- part of the Trust that Sunterra is now hawking.
It's a deeded floating week. So how does that effect my ability to combine points, etc.?

Spence said:
3500 SunOptions isn't enough, you need to get more. If you can get whoever is telling you that you won't have additional fees to put it in writing, I have found that Sunterra has always honored their word but obviously you do need it in writing. With multiple ownerships you do save money in that there is only one Club Fee of $149/yr no matter how many ownerships and how many Club Sunterra reservations you make a year.
We were basically given an addt'l 3500 for this year, only; but that buys us some time in adding point. But, everything I've read says exactly what you've said - that 3500 pts isn't much.

We do a lot of last minute travel. I work for an airline, so it's usually a matter of going somewhere during low season and at the last minutes. We figured if flights are empty (i.e., easy to fly non-rev/standby), then we have a better chance at getting a great deal as far as using fewer points. Have you ever booked last minute? When we were in our presentation, the salesman showed us where you can use 1/2 the points if you book closer in. Have you had success in this? How do I see what the 1/2 points are when I go through WebRes? Is it obvious?

Also, thanks again for all of the helpful information.

I finally gained access to WebRes yesterday and am less than impressed...but that's another posting!

THANKS!!!!

Lisa
 

Spence

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lisan said:
It's a deeded floating week. So how does that effect my ability to combine points, etc.?
It doesn't affect your ability to combine. It's just a good thing to know. The 3500 points assigned for a floating week is usually some sort of average of the points required for all the weeks of your float. Now, if it's a float 1-52 then there's probably Med/High/Peak weeks associated with this. I don't have any float weeks so I'm not sure but I've been told that if you wanted to reserve say a Peak (holiday) week at SLB that costs more than your 3500 points you would be able to do it for only 3500 since your deeded float originally entitled you to that.
lisan said:
We do a lot of last minute travel. I work for an airline, so it's usually a matter of going somewhere during low season and at the last minutes. We figured if flights are empty (i.e., easy to fly non-rev/standby), then we have a better chance at getting a great deal as far as using fewer points. Have you ever booked last minute? When we were in our presentation, the salesman showed us where you can use 1/2 the points if you book closer in. Have you had success in this? How do I see what the 1/2 points are when I go through WebRes? Is it obvious?
1/2 price points can work, full weeks at 59days out and nightly stays at 29days out. These are usually only available in off season and shoulder season (LOW and MED) but also at the really last minute during other seasons. I have used them many, many times, you just have to have realistic expectations, not what the salesman usually represents to the buyer. On WebRes you have to know what the regular price is to tell that it's coming up at half price. Sometimes units with both prices are shown, sometimes it doesn't show up and you have to call and ask specifically for the discounted rate.
lisan said:
I finally gained access to WebRes yesterday and am less than impressed...but that's another posting! Lisa
WebRes has come a long way and they are slowly improving it and making it more functional. New functionality is that you can now cancel a ressie online. It still has bugs, one is if you pick a resort and don't pick the room size it should show you all room sizes available for your date, it doesn't always do that, it may show no availability for a specific size but if you go back in with a request for a specific resort AND specific room size it will show up as available.
 

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We bought a resale at Greensprings in Williamsburg last summer and converted it to the club at an additional cost of $2995, after being given a lot of run around by Sunterra. This was a UDI deeded purchase. We knew about the additional cost to put it in club, and figured it was worth it for the amount of SunOptions we bought (18,000).

If you are wondering about resales of the current trust ownership, this is what is stated in the contract regarding resale and transfer:

"Purchaser's right to sell or otherwise transfer his or her Membership and the resulting update to the Register of Members are subject to prior approval b the Association and certain other applicable requirements set forth in the Vacation Club Instruments."

I don't have any idea idea what those "other applicable requirements" are, but I would guess that they would include a fee. Hopefully someone who has purchased one of the recent trusts on ebay will respond as to what they are.

Good luck!
 

lisan

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girard said:
We bought a resale at Greensprings in Williamsburg last summer and converted it to the club at an additional cost of $2995, after being given a lot of run around by Sunterra. This was a UDI deeded purchase. We knew about the additional cost to put it in club, and figured it was worth it for the amount of SunOptions we bought (18,000).

If you are wondering about resales of the current trust ownership, this is what is stated in the contract regarding resale and transfer:

"Purchaser's right to sell or otherwise transfer his or her Membership and the resulting update to the Register of Members are subject to prior approval b the Association and certain other applicable requirements set forth in the Vacation Club Instruments."

I don't have any idea idea what those "other applicable requirements" are, but I would guess that they would include a fee. Hopefully someone who has purchased one of the recent trusts on ebay will respond as to what they are.

Good luck!
Thanks! I'm surprised, though, at how little some of the folks selling on e-bay know about what they are doing. I think I've answered most of my own questions by asking here and calling Sunterra myself...but some of the folks on e-bay (individual sellers, not professional re-salers!), are pretty clueless.

Thanks again,
Lisa
 

fnewman

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Therein lies one of the real strengths of TUG. There is so much to learn and know, yet somewhat understandably, you almost never get a complete story from someone who is trying to sell you something. I was lucky - the guy I bought my original package from did answer a lot of questions for me and helped me in the direction I needed to go. He even responded with some pretty 'inside' information to my later email requests. Sadly, he left timeshare sales to sell convention real estate in the Orlando area.

To answer another of your questions, one of my week is floating (Diamond which = any week of the year) and I got "High Season" SunOptions value for it. I was told at the time that it was based on what the original owner had paid for it (I was bringing it in as resale I had bought elsewhere).

In all cases, remember that at the resort, there can be a lot of room for negotiation.
 

Spence

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girard said:
We bought a resale at Greensprings in Williamsburg last summer and converted it to the club at an additional cost of $2995, after being given a lot of run around by Sunterra. This was a UDI deeded purchase. We knew about the additional cost to put it in club, and figured it was worth it for the amount of SunOptions we bought (18,000).
I'm being told by sources at Powhatan/Greensprings that if you buy one of the Greensprings UDIs you cannot use it without putting it back into the Club. Won't that be a rude awakening for some unsuspecting eBay buyer!
 

girard

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Spence said:
I'm being told by sources at Powhatan/Greensprings that if you buy one of the Greensprings UDIs you cannot use it without putting it back into the Club. Won't that be a rude awakening for some unsuspecting eBay buyer!
When I bought and was waiting to find out about putting it into the club, I was told that I could use it at Greensprings without it being in club. Also, by the time they finished with all of the delays they wouldn't take my points for 2005, saying that it was too late in the year, but that I could use the points at Greensprings. We ended up not using the 2005 points.
 

Spence

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girard said:
When I bought and was waiting to find out about putting it into the club, I was told that I could use it at Greensprings without it being in club. Also, by the time they finished with all of the delays they wouldn't take my points for 2005, saying that it was too late in the year, but that I could use the points at Greensprings. We ended up not using the 2005 points.
Well, it would have been nice to have a real life example, because they're telling me that you can't. Reservations didn't even have a clue about what I was talking about (UDIs/points) and referred me to the MF Dept who said emphatically no way.
 

girard

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Spence, did you snag that 30,000 sun option sale on ebay? I noticed it last night, and saw today that it was taken off the auction. If so, congratulations!! I'm hopeful that I'll find some more points in a few months or so, but didn't want to tie up any money now as hubby has to have surgery and we're not sure what our expenses will be. I'm drooling, though.

Lois
 

Spence

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That 30,000 was mis-listed. It had a reserve price of $10,000. It said it was a UDI but then said it had the TRUST access to 21 resorts. It's gotta be one or the other, not both. It had a very attractive MF/point ratio of only 4.5cents, it was a UDI. The seller cancelled the auction.
 
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