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What are you gaining by owning?

chriskre

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Wyndham Las Cascadas
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Bluegreen CMV UDI
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Enchanted Isle resort.
I'm new to time sharing and my wife and I sat through our first presentation about a month ago. I've been looking around this board off and on since then. Ok, If you buy there will always be the annual MF. Are the MFs that much lower than what you can rent a week for to make a purchase worth it? Am I missing something?

The developer made it sound like a no brainier: Buy! He actually called it a 401V(btw, there is no such section in the code:ponder:) and a way to lock in our future vacation costs.

Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated. Thanks!

If you are not totally convinced that TSing is for you then you might want to consider purchasing a biennial unit. Since you are wanting to go to Hawaii in off season you should be able to find something biennial.

IMO owning a biennial is a low committment way to get into the game at a low cost. Buying something that is versatile is even better. For you possibly something like a Hilton affiliate where you would have access to HGVC points in the club, RCI points and RCI weeks without having to pay for an additional RCI account and possibly access to II's inventory if you decided you wanted to pay for an account. There are also free exchange companies that you can join that would be happy to take your week for exchange or you could just rent from them without ever giving them an exchange week. Some of those would be SFX, DAE, TPI and Platinum Interchange.

You might also consider Wyndham points, Bluegreen points or Worldmark points with a bienial ownership that would get you the same type of set up.

I own my two fixed weeks at the beach in the summer in a resort that is smack dab on the sand in Florida at a time when I want to go. I like the idea of my little place in the sun that I can return to year after year. So far 11 years of ownership and I'm still not tired of the place. I bought it when the MF's were only $400 for a 2 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath unit. It was actually higher than renting at the time but knowing I had it reserved was worth it to me.

Today the MF's are a little over $450 and we've never had an assessment. If I try to rent a comparable unit today it will cost me at least $150-$170 a night. I paid very little for these units on the resale market. I had considered buying a second home but realistically I would only use it a few weeks a year anyway so this was a perfect solution. The resort came with owners day use if I want to come and spend the day on the beach. I'd get free parking, use of the BBQ's, free beach chairs, free wi-fi and a pool to cool off with at the end of the day. Sure can't beat that.

Since this first purchase on the beach, I discovered TUG and the rest is history. I became hooked and love the thrill of the deal. If you don't have the time to commit to this TS hobby then it's probably best that you buy into one system that meets most of your needs and just learn to maximize it and stick to that.

Just let me warn you that hanging around here could infect you with the TS bug. ;)
 

bdmauk

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If you are not totally convinced that TSing is for you then you might want to consider purchasing a biennial unit. Since you are wanting to go to Hawaii in off season you should be able to find something biennial.

IMO owning a biennial is a low committment way to get into the game at a low cost.

I agree. We bought a biennial to get our feet wet. As a result, we've already spent a week in Orlando for $199 (2BR RCI Extra Vacation); received a bonus week from our resort (can book a week to use within 45 days; similar to RCI Last Call); and we still have our biennial week deposited. And now we're looking at some summer weeks that will only cost a third of our TPUs. Not bad for our first annual payment of $175. Oh, and the total out of pocket cost for our timeshare, closing, and transfer fees was $265.

So I looked at what we can do in the next 5 years (2011-2015). We'll get 3 odd year weeks, so we only pay 3 maintenance fees. We get a free bonus week every year. And we can easily squeeze our left over TPUs/points into 2 more vacations. Time allowing, we will probably snatch up a week or two of last calls or extra vacations (we've already used one). I then added all of our fees for this 5 year period (Maint. Fees; RCI membership; exchange fees; and purchase price). What I came up with is that we'll be able to take probably 12 weeks of vacation for less than $310/week. Definitely cheaper than renting. I know some here can do better per week cost wise, but my out of pocket costs are very low ($750/yr).

But most importantly, as others have said, without owning this timeshare we'd be lucky to even take a vacation, much less twelve even though we have the time and resources to do so.
 
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sdgaskill1

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I see that you have received some excellent information and I agree. I will add the most important reason to own at least 1, is that you get "in the information mill" such as TUG and Timeshare Today. Without these wonderful resources, you wouldn't find out about the owners who rent out their units, the cheap resales you can purchase,etc. These resources help you get the great deals. When you buy developers inventory, you loose 50% tje day of the sale just like a new vs. used car. You must use your timeshare at the location you buy to get something out of it before you should ever sell it. We love to rent if we need additional units as a hotel room seems so small and limiting since we have experienced the large, lovely timeshare units. Just make sure you buy at places you want to visit frequently. Never buy just to trade unless you get a real steal of a deal. Happy travels, Sandra
 

Gophesjo

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How/why is it that you get a bonus week every year

. We get a free bonus week every year.

I am not sure I understand? Is Grandview giving you a week, or offering you an off season week at a low price. Also, being part of RCI Weeks and not RCI Points, how are you preserving your unused TPU's? These may be dumb questions, but I do want to understand what you are saying. Thanks,

Joe
 

Brerrabbit

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What if you change your mind down the road? Or something happens?

Say you have some major lifestyle change and you cannot (due to some physical condition, illness, etc.) use this timeshare like you thought you were going to when you bought it. Or maybe you just get tired of the place after going to it for x number of years - like you have "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".
Or maybe some economic situation comes along, like losing your job, and you can't afford to travel to wherever it is. You are still stuck with it and they are still hitting you with the maintenance fees, that seem to keep going up every year, and you will find that it is very difficult to get out of it or just get rid of it.

Please forgive me for not being able to comment on all these points deals with these various exchange companies, etc., I have no personal knowledge of that, to me it just complicates the whole thing much more.

And for the people who are able to use their timeshares every year, well, good for you, I am glad you are able to do that, but there are just too, too many people who have gotten burned on these things.

I would like to see a survey done sometime, of everyone who has ever bought a timeshare, to find out what percentage of them felt like they got their money's worth out of it, and what percentage wished they had never heard of them.

As much as I believe in free market economics and the right of people to make their own decisions about what they spend their money on, and be personally responsible for it, sometimes I think I would not mind one bit seeing the whole timeshare industry outlawed.
 

slip

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Brerrabbit said:
As much as I believe in free market economics and the right of people to make their own decisions about what they spend their money on, and be personally responsible for it, sometimes I think I would not mind one bit seeing the whole timeshare industry outlawed.



Sooooo why do come on TUG?
 
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AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Timeshare "Industry" Could Disappear Overnight & Hardly Anyone Would Notice.

Sooooo why do come on TUG?
If the timeshare companies all vanished instantly -- as in POOF! & they're gone -- the impact on timeshare vacationing would be somewhere between minimal & nothing.

There are way more than enough timeshare resorts & timeshare units already in existence to satisfy foreseeable demand.

Plus, there is no natural demand for newly deeded timeshares (i.e., deeded for the 1st time, as distinct from newly re-deeded), which can only be sold via high-pressure razzle-dazzle & ballyhoo to uninformed customers who succumb to the truth-stretching & guilt-tripping & psychological manipulation that are typical of full-freight timeshare sales pitches.

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

gnorth16

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And for the people who are able to use their timeshares every year, well, good for you, I am glad you are able to do that, but there are just too, too many people who have gotten burned on these things.

I would like to see a survey done sometime, of everyone who has ever bought a timeshare, to find out what percentage of them felt like they got their money's worth out of it, and what percentage wished they had never heard of them.

Most of those who are happy with their TS, have put the time into researching what they bought, and hopefully did it resale.

If someone is too lazy or busy to learn about their timeshare, then it should go to waste. It's no different than the person who buys $500 in groceries and decides they want to eat out all month and let the food rot and then complain about wasting $$$. :wall: Too many people make split decisions with major purchases, important life choices and financial matters without fully taking into consideration all pertainant information to make a fully informed decision.

I have very little sympathy for the person who spent their hard earned money on a TS yet refuses to "learn the ropes".

Harsh :eek: ? Maybe, but life is about learning from your mistakes. I prefer to not make them by learning from others mistakes.
 

timeos2

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Say you have some major lifestyle change and you cannot (due to some physical condition, illness, etc.) use this timeshare like you thought you were going to when you bought it. Or maybe you just get tired of the place after going to it for x number of years - like you have "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".
Or maybe some economic situation comes along, like losing your job, and you can't afford to travel to wherever it is. You are still stuck with it and they are still hitting you with the maintenance fees, that seem to keep going up every year, and you will find that it is very difficult to get out of it or just get rid of it.

Unfortunately these are extremely valid points. The low cost entry to resale timeshares, which doesn't begin to represent the true cost, may be tempting people who really shouldn't be buying to jump in. Then an unexpected life change occurs and they join tens of thousands of others looking to dump ownership at even a lower price.

Buying carefully and strictly to use helps minimize the risk but doesn't eliminate it by any means. Running out and buying for trade or rental or buying too many without fully considering potential long term consequences is usually a big mistake.
 
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bnoble

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Say you have some major ... change
Then you have to dump it, for next to nothing. There are three scenarios here. Scenario one: you bought from the developer (or over-paid in some other way) have to sell relatively quickly, and have lost a lot of money. Scenario two: you've had this change after many years of use, and recovered your costs with fair value in many lovely vacations, so you are sad to see it go, but are not devastated. Scenario three: you paid pennies on the dollar for it, so it just doesn't matter that you sell it for a few less pennies.

In other words, its like most other major purchases. You have to be an informed consumer, and you have to carefully consider the pros and cons of any purchase.

I would like to see a survey done sometime, of everyone who has ever bought a timeshare, to find out what percentage of them felt like they got their money's worth out of it, and what percentage wished they had never heard of them.
There have been---some by developers, others here at TUG or TS4M. Perhaps surprisingly, people tend to be happy with their purchases on the whole. And, if you just talk to people around the pool, you'll find that most of them are happy too. Granted, those are the people who are *using* their timeshares. But, given the overall occupancy rates---which tend to be high---it seems that many people *do* use them.

There are also people who don't, for whatever reason. See the three scenarios above: hopefully those folks now find themselves in either Scenario 2 or Scenario 3.
 

JudyS

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...I will add the most important reason to own at least 1, is that you get "in the information mill" such as TUG and Timeshare Today. Without these wonderful resources, you wouldn't find out about the owners who rent out their units, the cheap resales you can purchase,etc....
Many people do join TUG after buying, and for some people the knowledge they learn is worth the money they paid for their timeshare, even at developer prices.

Of course, one doesn't have to own in order to join TUG or subscribe to Timesharing Today.
 

jehb2

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Or maybe some economic situation comes along, like losing your job, and you can't afford to travel to wherever it is. You are still stuck with it and they are still hitting you with the maintenance fees, that seem to keep going up every year, and you will find that it is very difficult to get out of it or just get rid of it .

This is true. But with this type of thinking why purchase or acquire anything in life when it can all be lost to unforeseen circumstances. You might argue that at least with a home I have an investment which I can sell if I get into trouble. We have seen how that has worked for a lot of Americans. Even if you do own your own home you are still stuck with MF fees or HOA fees. Same difference.

Owning timeshares made us get our financial act together. We got completely out of debt and save for all our vacations. True, there is nothing wrong with renting. But for the past 12 years we've been taking friends and family members to Hawaii for 3-6 week vacations and we only own 4 weeks. Renting units necessary to take as many people as I do for as long as I do and when I do would actually cost me more.
 
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heathpack

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For me, owning my Hyatt TS is an interesting game to play in my spare time. I am always looking for interesting angles with which to trade my Hyatt week, trying to get great places in good seasons in a unit size that works for me. My goal is as many weeks as possible for around $400/week. It looks like I will be able to leverage my one 2BR Hyatt gold week into 7 weeks this year, three 2BRs, three 1BRs and one studio, for a total cost of $390/week. Nice places- Royal Islander, Grand Mayan Los Cabos in April, Planet Hollywood in Dec for a business conference I need to attend. We are going to try for a narrowboat exchange in England with a DAE deposit. We are still holding a Hyatt reservation to trade and have enough II points to book a 1BR plus an XYZ (if that program still exists when the time comes). So for my Hyatt unit, what I get by owning is a fun, somewhat time-consuming hobby that results in inexpensive travel opportunities.

From my DVC, what do I get? The ability to book units at a cost of to me (incl. MF & initial purchase) of $11/point, one dollar more per point than the going rental rate! You could argue that there's nothing gained by owning and I wouldn't say you're wrong. However, I own DVC for three reasons: 1. I have complete control over my own reservations, 2. Eventually as MF increase, rental rates logically should too- at that point, owning DVC will become a
decent value, and 3. Once I get into year 16 of ownership, my initial purchase $ will be fully amortized (in my personal mathematical model) and I will be staying ay DVC for just the cost of MF, which will then be a really good deal. And no, I did not buy DVC from the developer before I knew better. I knew a lot about TSs when I bought the DVC, fully understood the math, and still bought, betting it will eventually pay off. Hopefully I will be right.

H
 

ampaholic

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Say you have some major lifestyle change and you cannot (due to some physical condition, illness, etc.) use this timeshare like you thought you were going to when you bought it. Or maybe you just get tired of the place after going to it for x number of years - like you have "been there, done that, got the T-shirt".
Or maybe some economic situation comes along, like losing your job, and you can't afford to travel to wherever it is. You are still stuck with it and they are still hitting you with the maintenance fees, that seem to keep going up every year, and you will find that it is very difficult to get out of it or just get rid of it.

Please forgive me for not being able to comment on all these points deals with these various exchange companies, etc., I have no personal knowledge of that, to me it just complicates the whole thing much more.

And for the people who are able to use their timeshares every year, well, good for you, I am glad you are able to do that, but there are just too, too many people who have gotten burned on these things.

I would like to see a survey done sometime, of everyone who has ever bought a timeshare, to find out what percentage of them felt like they got their money's worth out of it, and what percentage wished they had never heard of them.

As much as I believe in free market economics and the right of people to make their own decisions about what they spend their money on, and be personally responsible for it, sometimes I think I would not mind one bit seeing the whole timeshare industry outlawed.

A rather sad perspective all in all. :confused:

I'll be first to admit that not everyone who "earns" a lifestyle upgrade gets one - some hold off because of trepidation about "what might happen" others have "what might happen" actually happen to them before they can upgrade.

My wife and I - after years of raising kids and working hard to maintain a middle class lifestyle - came to a point where we honestly felt we had earned an "upgrade" to some sweet vacations.

We had lots of choices - some of our friends had purchased a lake house, too rich for us. Some of our friends had purchased a full condo in Cabo, too adventurous for us. Some of our friends had purchased around the world or safari adventures, too "out there" for us.

Well, we went out and bought a brand new and fairly expensive RV to support our upgrade into sweet vacations - but after a couple of years the "draggin it around" and "settin it up" started to wear on us and our "upgraded" vacations started to be a bit of a drag. :(

Luckily I found TUG right as I was selling the now 4 year old and considerably "less" expensive RV. I was able to envision owning a timeshare sort of like having a nice RV already driven to my spot and set up. :p

Learning to buy them cheap ... er, I mean "resale" was just an added bonus that allows me to maximize the upgrade effect on our lifestyle.

Yea - all those bad things Brerrabbit mentioned might happen - but we will have enjoyed some really cool vacations before we have to stick our heads between our legs and kiss our behinds goodbye. :cheer:
 
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Picker57

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For me, owning my Hyatt TS is an interesting game to play in my spare time. I am always looking for interesting angles with which to trade my Hyatt week, trying to get great places in good seasons in a unit size that works for me. My goal is as many weeks as possible for around $400/week. It looks like I will be able to leverage my one 2BR Hyatt gold week into 7 weeks this year, three 2BRs, three 1BRs and one studio, for a total cost of $390/week. Nice places- Royal Islander, Grand Mayan Los Cabos in April, Planet Hollywood in Dec for a business conference I need to attend. We are going to try for a narrowboat exchange in England with a DAE deposit. We are still holding a Hyatt reservation to trade and have enough II points to book a 1BR plus an XYZ (if that program still exists when the time comes). So for my Hyatt unit, what I get by owning is a fun, somewhat time-consuming hobby that results in inexpensive travel opportunities.

From my DVC, what do I get? The ability to book units at a cost of to me (incl. MF & initial purchase) of $11/point, one dollar more per point than the going rental rate! You could argue that there's nothing gained by owning and I wouldn't say you're wrong. However, I own DVC for three reasons: 1. I have complete control over my own reservations, 2. Eventually as MF increase, rental rates logically should too- at that point, owning DVC will become a
decent value, and 3. Once I get into year 16 of ownership, my initial purchase $ will be fully amortized (in my personal mathematical model) and I will be staying ay DVC for just the cost of MF, which will then be a really good deal. And no, I did not buy DVC from the developer before I knew better. I knew a lot about TSs when I bought the DVC, fully understood the math, and still bought, betting it will eventually pay off. Hopefully I will be right.

H

Your description of this 'fun, somewhat time-consuming hobby' is spot-on. And tastes and tolerances vary infinitely. How badly do you want to 'get out of Dodge'? Do you road trip well? How much do you like to fly? Example: we've reached the age where 'getting there' is NOT 'Half The Fun', so I, also, love to work on leveraging into more time when we go somewhere. The growth of the 'net and great websites provides endless opportunities. You've obviously been quite diligent and are to be congratulated.

Does timesharing work out on paper? Obviously, it has for you. When we take into account our travel tastes, it does for us also, but that's largely because timesharing raised the bar for us.

But people need to be realistic. We hear wild stories about trading an EOY August studio in Amarillo for a month at a Maui Hilton. Yeah, right ! Vacationing can appeal to the five 'traditional' senses, but you need to add "Common" and "Horse" to the list.

------Zach
 
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MOXJO7282

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Unfortunately these are extremely valid points. The low cost entry to resale timeshares, which doesn't begin to represent the true cost, may be tempting people who really shouldn't be buying to jump in. Then an unexpected life change occurs and they join tens of thousands of others looking to dump ownership at even a lower price.

Buying carefully and strictly to use helps minimize the risk but doesn't eliminate it by any means. Running out and buying for trade or rental or buying too many without fully considering potential long term consequences is usually a big mistake.

This is why even though many said we were over paying for Marriotts, we paid that premium because we knew even if we had to sell in an emergency for a $1 we could and be rid of the on-going costs as opposed to be stuck with a nice no-name which cost alot less in upfront and MFs but would become a albatross in a crisis.
 

bjones9942

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Here are my .02 cents :)

I remembered the nightmare news stories about timeshares on our local television stations in the 1970's and so never considered them something I would want to get into. After taking a cruise to Cabo, Mazatlan and PV I thought that perhaps I'd look into timeshares in Mexico :)

The vast majority of Mexican timeshares are RTU (right to use). You do not 'own' a piece of property for a piece of time every year like the deeded timeshares, but you 'own' the right to use the resort. The big (really big for me) selling point was that most of these contracts expire. As my first (and only atm) purchase, I did not want to be stuck with something in perpetuity that after using, found not to be what I had expected. So far though, I'm a very happy camper.

As to the 'why' of my purchase. I have a tendency not to vacation. My timeshare is a fixed week/fixed unit, so I know it's there waiting, and paid for, to be used every year. It forces me to put a vacation into my plans every single year (through 2022). And I like Mazatlan.

Oh - one caution to the EOY (every other year) option other posters mentioned. If you're looking on eBay for resale properties, often the posters will show an ANNUAL maintenance fee, not an eoy mf. Be careful that you aren't winding up paying twice the amount you thought because you have to pay on your off year.
 

heathpack

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RTU appeals to me too for the very same reason.

H

Here are my .02 cents :)

I remembered the nightmare news stories about timeshares on our local television stations in the 1970's and so never considered them something I would want to get into. After taking a cruise to Cabo, Mazatlan and PV I thought that perhaps I'd look into timeshares in Mexico :)

The vast majority of Mexican timeshares are RTU (right to use). You do not 'own' a piece of property for a piece of time every year like the deeded timeshares, but you 'own' the right to use the resort. The big (really big for me) selling point was that most of these contracts expire. As my first (and only atm) purchase, I did not want to be stuck with something in perpetuity that after using, found not to be what I had expected. So far though, I'm a very happy camper.

As to the 'why' of my purchase. I have a tendency not to vacation. My timeshare is a fixed week/fixed unit, so I know it's there waiting, and paid for, to be used every year. It forces me to put a vacation into my plans every single year (through 2022). And I like Mazatlan.

Oh - one caution to the EOY (every other year) option other posters mentioned. If you're looking on eBay for resale properties, often the posters will show an ANNUAL maintenance fee, not an eoy mf. Be careful that you aren't winding up paying twice the amount you thought because you have to pay on your off year.
 

heathpack

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Of course you can do so. Just ask any timeshare salesperson who is trying to sell you an EOY studio in Amarillo.:rofl:

Good one!;)
 

UWSurfer

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I'm late joining this thread, and most of the dialog has been good at answering your questions.

For me, I go to a conference in Las Vegas every year professionally for the past 25 years. Several years ago I booked into the HGVC adjacent the LV Hilton and really enjoyed what amounted to a 1 bedroom suite. Jump ahead some months later for an invitation to spend three nights for a low price and get a tour of their LV Strip property. With it came a fairly strong sales pitch and fortunately, in the midst of a home remodeling project we were firm that we didn't have the money to spend with a developer for TS.

Then on a lark, I checked Ebay and found the resale market and with a little more hunting we discovered TUG. Bought a week at HGVC & got the bug. Found some fairly inexpensive weeks over the next few years with different reasoning and uses behind the purchases. Some of it for vacationing to parts of the country we hadn't been too, some of it for those vegas conference stays & some of it because it was too good a deal in areas we liked & had "the bug".

I can honestly say owning together with TUG as an invaluable resource, has made it so we actually DO travel and explore different places we'd otherwise never would have gone, and done it in a way that we can stay more comfortably and in budget by cooking some ourselves. We've rented out a few weeks over the years to friends of friends, and we've exchanged to places we'd otherwise never thought possible thanks to tips and info we've received here on TUG.

Owning has made certain that I actually USE my vacation time I've accumulated at work over the years and made us a much happier couple as we plan our trips and work the various systems we are part of. I do grumble now and again that we probably have a few weeks too many with the resulting maintenance fee's, but someday we will off load a week or two as time marches on and the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime it's an investment in our well being.

Oh, I remember very well watching the TS adjacent the LV Hilton being built over the course of two conference years and thinking to myself what moron would actually pay to own a week there? Some years later, the moron is me...but purchased through resale at a fraction of the cost. :)
 
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georgianab2

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Benefits of timeshare ownership

We have traveled all over the world doing exchanges from our unit. We always know we are headed to a safe, clean place with great local tourism tips. We have found ownership to be very satisfying and enjoy bonus nights at our resorts.
 

MuranoJo

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First and foremost, TUG has been the absolutely best reason we've maximized the benefits of t/s ownership. I consider myself very lucky to have found this site shortly before buying my first ownership (resale).

Benefits to us:
*As others have said, it forces me to block out time from work and use vacation on exciting new ventures. (Versus resorting to always camping or working around the house because nothing else had been planned.)
*Wonderful, roomy accommodations instead of cramped hotels.
*We've been able to share the experience with many friends over the years...and have introduced them to travel to locations they probably wouldn't have done or been able to afford on their own.
*I've learned through TUG how to successfully exchange for primo spots.
Plus I've learned how to rent which in turn pays my m/f for all my 'holdings.'
*It's turned into an interesting hobby and has expanded our world considerably.
 

Picker57

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First and foremost, TUG has been the absolutely best reason we've maximized the benefits of t/s ownership.

Beautifully stated...thank you. Regarding your point about maximizing benefits, I started a thread in the "Exchanges" section asking for suggestions on how to maximize benefits. As I am now a paragon of the 'other' TUG (Timeshare Utilization Greed), any and all suggestions/observations are hugely appreciated.

Cheers to all,

Zach
 

4Reliefnow

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You can look at Ebay completed listings for timeshare rentals under the lodging section. I own Marriott, so, I have a defined search for Marriott Rentals. Check the box on the left side near the top for completed listings. Sort lowest first, You can see that 80% or more of rental listings expire with NO BIDS. You can also see that many weeks rent for $400 - $800, even if some dreamer lists their week for $2,500. You can ignore the rental prices asked on TUG, I don't think people are getting them.

My advice:
1. Never even consider buying anything but a resale week.
2. If your vacation plans are shoulder season - look for rentals and last minute bargains
3. If your vacations are flexible or planned less than 90 days in advance, look for last minute bargains
4. If you are certain that you want a platinum season at the same resort FOREVER; Rent there two years first, and see if you still think forever is the right answer.
5. When evaluating rent vs buy, The real question is whether you can meet your vacation needs and flexibility (or not flexible - like school age kids) for the MF amount, or less. Some units rent for much more, NOT RELEVANT. Key is that many units rent for much less or don't rent at all; how much is your rent if you shop around?
6. I think it is well said above: Buy if you want a hard to get location and view and want to plan your vacation one year ahead at the same place for many years.
7. Don't buy to exchange. Rental gives way more flexibility to change season and location. Rent if you want flexibility even for $200-$400 ore than maintenance fees.
8. If a timeshare is a low value location or season, I am betting you can rent for way less than maintenance fees. I would only by platinum and premium location. Then ask if the $2,500 MF's in Hawaii or the Four Seasons are really less than you can rent. If a timeshare is FREE, it will cost you $30,000 in future fees. Free is way too much money for half of all timeshares in the current economy.

I rented for six different trips, saw presentations from four programs, have the flexibility of no children at home, bought resale for 25% of developer cost..... and then my wife bought a dog. Maybe I should have rented a little longer.
 
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