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Questions from an Irish owner

dabler

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Hi all. Stumbled across this forum while I was researching how I was going to use my timeshare this year.

Briefly, I own a week, 1 bdrm in the Sheraton Vistana Villages – Amelia and I am reasonably happy with what I have. I bought it in 2006 and have used it 3 times and on one occasion switched my week for a stay in a San Diego Sheraton (not as good value as I thought). The reason I bought was twofold, first, there are direct flights from Ireland to Orlando which is great, second I am an avid fisherman and my wife is an avid shopper, we usually do a week in Orlando where my wife can shop then drive to the keys for a bit of fishing.

The main reason I’ve signed up to TUG is to try and educate myself on how to get the best from my ownership which has been partly motivated by a phone call I had recently from an organisation in Orland and my lack of understanding of the wording used to by the Sheraton timeshare overlords.

The phone call was from a company claiming to make me a fortune from them selling my week and additional dollars for something called “lay off weeks” that I was entitled to. To be honest he got my interest and I listened patiently for around half an hour or so until I asked him why he was making an international call and spending his valuable time trying to make me money, you can guess the rest.

My questions are, how did he have all the information on what I owned, the fact that I didn’t use it last year and my home telephone number and maybe more importantly do I have lay off weeks or is this something they lie about just to get your attention.

I’m not sure if I am getting the full value out of this timeshare and was wondering is there a dummies guide to getting the best from a Sheraton time share. Sorry to ask such a lot on a first post but there just seems to be an information overload in all the bumf I have.

Thanks in Advance

Dabler
 

DeniseM

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Hi and welcome to TUG! :hi:

We all get those kinds of phone calls and it's a big mystery about how that info. gets out - unless it's an inside job.

The companies that make cold calls are scammers. They will try to get you to pay a large upfront fee to rent or sell your timeshare for unrealistic amounts, and then they disappear with your money. They have no intention of actually providing any services.

And no, there is no such thing as "layoff weeks."

The way to get the most out of your timeshare is to use it yourself, or rent it yourself.

We have a lot of info. posted at the top of the forums that will help get you up to speed. The FAQ that thomasro3 posted for you is a good place to start.
 
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dabler

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Cheers guys

Cheers guys, appreciate you taking the time to help me out. I had a bit more time today to look around the forum and have had my eyes opened to the world of timeshares, the good and also the bad, or should that be the unfortunate, unlucky or maybe ill informed.

I’m quite happy with my ownership and to be honest after scanning through the site it’s got me putting on my thinking cap. I usually visit the states 3 or 4 and sometimes 5 times a year and have done over the last 6 years, when I think of the money I have spent on hotels, motels and private rentals I’m wondering if I can re-think my strategy and use timeshares for my accommodation. I was quite stunned at how cheaply people are letting them go for and maybe with a little direction on here I could make some good moves for me and my family.

Anyway, thanks again and I’m sure you will be hearing more from me.

Dabler
 

alexadeparis

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Welcome to Tug! Yes, there are tons of cheap timeshares but don't rush into anything. I have bought and sold 10 different timeshares since I got into it in 2008 - some of those were errors I made by rushing headlong into this, some I got rid of because I wanted an upgrade in quality from where I started in 2008.

I have quickly gotten spoiled and developed a "champagne taste on a beer budget" by reading TUG. I am getting closer to what I want, but then I find it keeps changing! And YES, I DO blame TUG and its users for this !:D

My best advice is figure out where you usually go in the states, and what options are available in that area or areas and work backward from there. I think a mini points system (similar to the Starwood you already have) that would complement the starwood would be good for you - but in order to tell you which ones you should look into, it would be best to know where you usually visit.
 

dabler

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Nice one alexadeparis, "champagne taste on a beer budget" yes, I’ll have some of that too…

Almost all of the places I visit have to be fishing orientated with a place to dock a rental boat, and as stated earlier I have spent thousands and thousands of $’s on accommodation, car and boat rental all over the US, particularly in Florida.

I usually plan my holidays around where the fishing is best and can see where careful consideration will be needed in making my choices, particularly if I develop a taste for champagne…

I will be in Florida for 3 weeks this coming March, 1 of those in Orlando where I would normally be found loitering outside Shopping Malls while my wife shops, But I think I will be taking a bit of time finding out the type of timeshare that I want, in fact I might even go to a few sales seminars and pick up a few freebee’s and an education.

Thanks for opening my eyes guys.

Dabler
 

DeniseM

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But I think I will be taking a bit of time finding out the type of timeshare that I want, in fact I might even go to a few sales seminars and pick up a few freebee’s and an education.

For the most part, that's a waste of time, because frankly, you can't believe what the sales people tell you. Plus, the presentations can be very high pressure and difficult to leave - a miserable way to spend precious vacation time.

Honestly, TUG is your best resource for factual info.
 

dabler

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Ok Denise, point taken, maybe I’ll just spend more time in Bass Pro drooling over all the gear!
 

alexadeparis

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you may want to look at bluegreen points - specifically the Bluegreen Wilderness Club at Big Cedar in Ridgedale, MO - which was created by the owner of Bass Pro Shops - they also have a lot of Florida locations which would be compatible with fishing vacations - you can buy them very cheap on ebay - but you need to consider which resort you want to be your home for advacne reservation priority. Check out bluegreenonline.com for their list of resorts, pictures, etc - let me know what you think.
 

Henry M.

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Not that the person that called you deserves a second thought because that call was probably a scam. However, I think he was probably talking about a lock-off week rather than a lay-off week.

In any case, you would not have that either since you can only lock off 2 bedroom units. Locking off means that you use one half of your unit one week and the second half another week. The weeks don't have to be consecutive or even at the same resort.
 

dabler

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Had a look at the Bluegreen web site and was pretty impressed at what I saw, a lot of those coastal locations in Florida would be right up my street.

As a newbie I’m curious to know you’re thinking regarding a choice of home resort? I’m still in the very early stages of my development in how to use multi ownership to my best advantage and would appreciate any pointers you have.

Dabler
 

dabler

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Not that the person that called you deserves a second thought because that call was probably a scam. However, I think he was probably talking about a lock-off week rather than a lay-off week.

In any case, you would not have that either since you can only lock off 2 bedroom units. Locking off means that you use one half of your unit one week and the second half another week. The weeks don't have to be consecutive or even at the same resort.

I probably don’t get as much of these scam calls as you guys do due to the cost of an international call. I’ll know what to do if I get another one. I think your right it was lock off. THNX
 

alexadeparis

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Dabler,

I only suggested the Big Cedar lodge because you mentioned fishing and Bass Pro Shops. The guy that created Big Cedar owns Bass Pro Shops. My husband really liked the resort - he is a big time fisherman/afficionado too.

As far as figuring out a home resort - the best thing to do when you look at a mini system is to review all the resorts and think about which one or which few (no more than 5) you would be interested in going to over and over. Then I would consider: 1)maintenance fees - 2) distance from home. In your case, distance isn't really going to matter they are all far - so, you may want to consider proximity to family that you can visit here in the states, in case they want to drive down to visit you. You also want to consider 3) the climate during the most likely time you would visit- 4) the seasonality of the resort and whether you would need high season, or if off season would be ok and 5) cost of airfare to that location and 6) cost of everything in that location - meals, activities, etc.

Then you will have a better idea of which resort you should make your home.
 

dabler

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Dabler,

I only suggested the Big Cedar lodge because you mentioned fishing and Bass Pro Shops. The guy that created Big Cedar owns Bass Pro Shops. My husband really liked the resort - he is a big time fisherman/afficionado too.

As far as figuring out a home resort - the best thing to do when you look at a mini system is to review all the resorts and think about which one or which few (no more than 5) you would be interested in going to over and over. Then I would consider: 1)maintenance fees - 2) distance from home. In your case, distance isn't really going to matter they are all far - so, you may want to consider proximity to family that you can visit here in the states, in case they want to drive down to visit you. You also want to consider 3) the climate during the most likely time you would visit- 4) the seasonality of the resort and whether you would need high season, or if off season would be ok and 5) cost of airfare to that location and 6) cost of everything in that location - meals, activities, etc.

Then you will have a better idea of which resort you should make your home.

Ok, slight misunderstanding on my part. I’m getting confused by my limited knowledge of the Sheraton points system and thought maybe buying a resale at Big Cedar gave you lots of extra points to use elsewhere within the BG network.

As I’m totally unfamiliar with the BG usage policy and my vacationing habits are somewhat compulsive, ie, I don’t tend to plan much further than around 6 – 8 weeks in advance, this may or may not be the best TS to buy into or I possibly need to be looking at buying points.

Sorry to sound so naive regarding my timeshare knowledge but it’s a minefield and the more I search through this web site the more confused I get.

Anyway getting back to your considerations and my thoughts.

1. Maintenance fees – On average I would visit Florida around 4 times a year and sometimes Los Angeles or San Diego on my way down to Cabo in Mexico and would reckon my accommodation bill per year would be anything from $7000 to $8000. So regarding MF I’d be very happy to reduce this cost if I can.

2. Distance – Yes it’s all far but there is a good service out of Belfast and Dublin with AA, USA, Continental and Delta Airlines, so connecting anywhere in the US is remarkably easy. As regards family they are all over here, but I do on occasions do a boys fishing trip with anything from 3 to 6 of us.

3. Climate – Not really a consideration as we usually go at a particular time of the year depending on what species we are after, unless we decide to go skiing.

4. Season – this is why I’m wondering which would be better points, a timeshare or can floating TS’s be purchased.

5. Airfare - It’s always expensive.

6. Costs at Location – We are a pretty independent bunch and I am a good cook. I don’t like paying for meals in a restaurant when I know I can prepare better myself, especially fish….

I hate to burden you guys and hope you can put up with my ignorance. I have found in my visits to the US that you guys are very switched on to the real estate industry, where over here we are totally not.

Thanks again Dabler
 

DeniseM

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alexadeparis

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Florida, California and Cabo is a tall order in one system. Most systems are concentrated on one coast or the other, not both, in my experience.

Wyndham has some locations in both South Florida and Southern California - you can buy them cheap on the resale market - you might want to look at their info also.
 

ocdb8r

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Worldmark might be a good option. Lots of SoCal resorts as well as one in Baja and one in Cabo. Not quite as luxury as Starwood, but very nice basic accommodations and VERY reasonable maintenance fees. They also have 2 Florida resorts (but you already have your Starwood for Orlando).

*Note - Worldmark is owned by Wyndham but is a distinct "system" from the general Wyndham system. They do have some limited overlap.
 

clsmit

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You might also just want to rent timeshares for wherever you are going given your relatively short turnaround. More space to hold the wife's purchases and your rods and reels, less long term hassle.
 
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