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"What to Buy" for a Newbie

lpacheco

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A little background before my set of questions.

My parents went in to one of the infamous 90 minute sales pitches with no intend to buy and of course, no surprise to anyone, I get a call from them saying they bought.

I've lurked around here for a while since a TS purchase has been on their minds for a while, same as mine. I asked them a few questions about what they bought and when all I got in return was "I think..." I immediately told them to rescind on the contract.

So moving on, we would still like to invest in our vacations (just not at the cost of "new").

I am unsure of what to buy and where. A lot of the terms and different options leave me feeling confused so I want to make sure I understand it all.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1) Where do you want your home resort to be? SC/NC/VA preferably, we live within an hour of the Orlando area so we don't require stays for the parks.

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? Not sure about these, if possible we would trade since my parents often go to Puerto Rico to visit family.

3) What are your 5 top trade destinations? VA/NY/FL/NC/PR

4) How many people do you usually travel with? 2 - 8

5) Can you travel any time, or are you locked into the school schedule? A bit of both, if it's me and my SO then anytime. My parents/siblings are a little more locked on school schedules.

6) Can you make firm plans 12 or more mos. in advance?Yes

7) Can you vacation for a full week at a time? Depends (See Question 5)

8) What level of accommodations do you prefer on a scale of 1 to 5 stars? 3-4

9) How much can you afford to spend upfront, without financing? Variable, it all depends. If I had to put a number I'd feel comfortable with $2k-$3k.

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? Starting around $500

11) Are you a detail oriented planner? Yes

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

If there is any more information I could provide please let me know and I'll be happy to provide it.

Thanks!
 

LannyPC

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So moving on, we would still like to invest in our vacations (just not at the cost of "new").

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The conventional advice here on TUG is to spend about six months researching all the ins and outs, ups and downs (and even lefts and rights ;)) of owning a TS. Check out points vs. weeks; owning vs. renting; floating vs. fixed; hotel/motel vs. timeshare, etc.

Also, when you say "invest in [your] vacations", I would be more specific and say "invest in vacation accommodations." Despite what the TS sales people might have told you or your parents, owning a TS does nothing to save you costs on airfare, transportation at the targeted destination, theme parks or other attractions, etc. It might save you few bucks on food by preparing it at the resort but that's about it.
 
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lpacheco

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Appreciate that bit of information.
I'll take a look into some of the points you have mentioned like the points vs weeks, etc.

I am not sure what the TS sales people sold my parents on, but they didn't mention anything to me about the airfare, transportation, or any of those so I'm assuming those weren't used to entice.

I know my parents understand the basic concept of "owning" the TS, since we have close family that own a few. I just believe the sales people got to them and used too much word play and numbers to confuse them.
 

taterhed

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Quick thoughts for you:

Your purchase price is ok.....
Your MF's ($500) is very low. That'll be tough
FL, VA, SC, NC are all easy to own, easy to trade/book No Problem
NY and PR:

NY: What do you mean by NY? NYC? Hard to book. Expensive (maybe 6 in NYC on RCI? 2 on II?) There are some other resorts in NY state (15 on RCI? 3 on II?) but many of those are going to be tough as well. NYC is not a state for timeshares (for the most part).

PR: Again, not a great TS location. Maybe 6 or so total (RCI/II) Some of those ok (ESJ etc...) others are expensive casinos or ???


I would recommend Worldmark to you (price and MF's and trades) but there just aren't many east coast WM locations, so you'd be trading (RCI or II) 100%. That would get you good vacations (in shoulder season) but the exchange costs and variable booking (could be as late as 30 days) would make them less desirable.

I would recommend Marriott (Manor Club Lock-off) to you; great place, good resale price, fantastic accommodations (Marriott), lots of locations in the areas you mentioned (not PR) Marriott trade preference etc... but the MF's are probably $1200 ??? The high(er) MF's and the exchange fees would make your costs go up a bit.

You may find yourself a better candidate for renting or VRBO
 

elaine

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your best bet is going to be a points system or with a hotel system like Marriott, Hilton, etc. or a 2 BR lock off that you can split and get an extra week. For both of these, annual fees are going to be closer to $1K and buy in might be possible for $3K. I would not buy an off-season week with the idea of "trading up." There is a huge difference in shoulder season and school holiday season for booking in certain areas like NC/SC oceanfront.
 
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lpacheco

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Quick thoughts for you:

Your purchase price is ok.....
Your MF's ($500) is very low. That'll be tough
FL, VA, SC, NC are all easy to own, easy to trade/book No Problem
NY and PR:

NY: What do you mean by NY? NYC? Hard to book. Expensive (maybe 6 in NYC on RCI? 2 on II?) There are some other resorts in NY state (15 on RCI? 3 on II?) but many of those are going to be tough as well. NYC is not a state for timeshares (for the most part).

PR: Again, not a great TS location. Maybe 6 or so total (RCI/II) Some of those ok (ESJ etc...) others are expensive casinos or ???


I would recommend Worldmark to you (price and MF's and trades) but there just aren't many east coast WM locations, so you'd be trading (RCI or II) 100%. That would get you good vacations (in shoulder season) but the exchange costs and variable booking (could be as late as 30 days) would make them less desirable.

I would recommend Marriott (Manor Club Lock-off) to you; great place, good resale price, fantastic accommodations (Marriott), lots of locations in the areas you mentioned (not PR) Marriott trade preference etc... but the MF's are probably $1200 ??? The high(er) MF's and the exchange fees would make your costs go up a bit.

You may find yourself a better candidate for renting or VRBO

NY or PR aren't big deciding factors, just wasn't sure what to put on there. We have family in PR so where to stay isn't an issue. We also have places to stay in NYC so if I were to look into a stay it would be outside of NYC.

I'll check into those companies you mentioned, what about buying a resale over buying straight from a company? I've seen a few posts on the classifieds and the bargain section that seem to match overall price. Is there a downside to buying that way?
 

lpacheco

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your best bet is going to be a points system or with a hotel system like Marriott, Hilton, etc. or a 2 BR lock off that you can split and get an extra week. For both of these, annual fees are going to be closer to $1K and buy in might be possible for $3K. I would not buy an off-season week with the idea of "trading up." There is a huge difference in shoulder season and school holiday season for booking in certain areas like NC/SC oceanfront.

I'm not against getting a TS in shoulder season over holidays as I'm fairly flexible with when I can take vacations. My family is a bit more restricted as far as when they can buy would I be able to book during a different time by trading my week in for exchange or using points? I've seen some that offer a week at home or you can take points instead. Is this a better choice that just week or just points?
 

tschwa2

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Your purchase price is ok.....
Your MF's ($500) is very low. That'll be tough
FL, VA, SC, NC are all easy to own, easy to trade/book No Problem


$500 is going to be tough if you expect to travel with 4-8 and need two bedrooms. If you are traveling with 2-4 and are ok with 1 bedroom and 2 on the sofa fed then you should be ok.

There are parts of FL, VA, SC and NC and times of the year when they are easy to trade and book and others not so much. If you are looking for S. Florida beaches in the winter, VA beach, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach and OBX in the summer are quite difficult.

Where, when and in what size did you vacation in 2015 and what are your plans for 2016?

You might want to look into buying a fixed week at the beach in the summer if that is what you would like 3 out of 4 years and then you could rent out your unit and use the money to rent from someone else.
 

lpacheco

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$500 is going to be tough if you expect to travel with 4-8 and need two bedrooms. If you are traveling with 2-4 and are ok with 1 bedroom and 2 on the sofa fed then you should be ok.

There are parts of FL, VA, SC and NC and times of the year when they are easy to trade and book and others not so much. If you are looking for S. Florida beaches in the winter, VA beach, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach and OBX in the summer are quite difficult.

Where, when and in what size did you vacation in 2015 and what are your plans for 2016?

You might want to look into buying a fixed week at the beach in the summer if that is what you would like 3 out of 4 years and then you could rent out your unit and use the money to rent from someone else.

I personally tend to travel with my SO mainly so for us it's just 2. When my parents travel they tend to want the kids and SOs to come along so that usually becomes 6-8.

The past few times I've traveled was to Atlanta,GA and St.Augustine, FL and that was just 2 people.

The last time traveled as a larger was for 6 people and that was Ft.Myers,FL and Atlanta,GA.

My family separately have traveled to NY and PR.

I honestly love to travel during non-peak times since I enjoy less crowds and have more flexibility as to when I can take my vacations. My mom is a teacher so her vacations tend to fall during peak seasons but she can always request vacation outside of that.

At the moment I don't have much planned for 2016 but my family is always wanting to travel during fall so that would be a thing to look for.
 

taterhed

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NY or PR aren't big deciding factors, just wasn't sure what to put on there. We have family in PR so where to stay isn't an issue. We also have places to stay in NYC so if I were to look into a stay it would be outside of NYC.

I'll check into those companies you mentioned, what about buying a resale over buying straight from a company? I've seen a few posts on the classifieds and the bargain section that seem to match overall price. Is there a downside to buying that way?
I'll reply when I get home. Both timeshares I mentioned, worldmark and Marriott, are much cheaper from resale then the developer

sent from my cell phone...
 

onenotesamba

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I'll check into those companies you mentioned, what about buying a resale over buying straight from a company? I've seen a few posts on the classifieds and the bargain section that seem to match overall price. Is there a downside to buying that way?

Definitely buy resale. No question. I don't think you'd even be able to find a developer that would sell to you at the buy-in price you're budgeting. You'll get the same thing for tens of thousands of dollars less if you buy resale.

Ditto that you should look at a points based program with good trading options.
 

vacationhopeful

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Since you have a variety of hard to get ... or where few resorts are located ... my suggestion would be Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort ... a VERY PRIME week and a lockoff unit. FLBR trades in both II and RCI ... you could get/have memberships in BOTH exchange companies and book Last Minute cash holidays or USE the studio for instant any unit size trades before 2 months or so before checkin (or in RCI combine 2 years worth of studios plus any TPU change in RCI exchange bookings for another trade or a BIG trade. FLBR is part of VRIety exchanges ... which gets you even more exchange options.

MFs for the 2/2 lockoff is $860-870 yearly.

Yes, you can see the ocean or the intercoastal waterway from most units ... 3 minute walk to the ocean.
 

lpacheco

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I see some listings that seem like great deals, but then the pessimist in me thinks there is something I'm missing or something horribly wrong that I'm not seeing.

For example:

Williamsburg Plantation Resort
2Bed/2Bath
MF: $353
Season - Red
Seems like fixed week 21 but listing mentions check-in is anytime during the year.
Annual TS

There isn't a mention of whether is has been paid but I'm wondering why it seems like too good of a deal.

That is just one example I found, am I missing something or can you really get good deals like that buying resale?
 

Passepartout

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Yes, deals such as you posted are common. Like all sales though, sometimes key details are either wrong, or hidden or just plain left out so as to deceive. In that way they aren't a whole lot different than retail sales from developers. What is spoken doesn't matter, only the words in the contract count. Caveat Emptor. Buyer beware.

Jim
 

elaine

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a quick google search revealed:
Annual Maintenance fees are $739 for the resort you referenced for a 2BR. And, if fees were under $500, I would really wonder how they could do that, as most TS are $700+ for a week. Most top-rated places area closer to $900+ for a 2BR.
 

taterhed

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I see some listings that seem like great deals, but then the pessimist in me thinks there is something I'm missing or something horribly wrong that I'm not seeing.

For example:

Williamsburg Plantation Resort
2Bed/2Bath
MF: $353
Season - Red
Seems like fixed week 21 but listing mentions check-in is anytime during the year.
Annual TS

There isn't a mention of whether is has been paid but I'm wondering why it seems like too good of a deal.

That is just one example I found, am I missing something or can you really get good deals like that buying resale?

So, the devil is in the details:

The better the quality of resort, the better trades you can get with an On-going-search (OGS). This resort (plantation) is a descent resort. I haven't stayed there, but the reviews are 'good.' This is an example of a mid-grade resort that is (probably) available free or at a slight cost (maybe MF's). It will trade ok and is in Interval (II) I think...so it could be a good choice. It would be a lot better if you rented there first (or at least toured the place) and saw if it was a good fit for you. I strongly caution you on buying a TS you have never-ever seen or been to unless it's one of the really top-notch hotel companies like HGVC, Marriott, Wyndham etc... that have a network of good resorts.

The examples I cited to you above (lower end Marriott or Worldmark) are both very good traders in II (and II/RCI for WM). I'm not sure how Plantation trades, but I'm guessing it's middle of the pack. If you're not aware, some hotel-systems have a built-in preference for owners when trading. For example, Marriotts are only available for owner exchange for the first 23 days on Interval (approx-more details etc..). This means if you want to stay in Marriotts, you should probably buy one to own/trade. Same for SVN. Also, II places a 'quality' filter on your trades. If they think your unit is a '6' then you're likely to see everthing from (just an example) "4.....8". Not so much on the 9's and 10's. On the other hand, If you own a ritzy resort (Marriott/Westin etc..) you'll likey see the 6-10 end of the scale. There are certainly some flaws in this example, but; you get the idea.
Also, in Interval, you can trade for anything you see on exchange between 59 days and check-in. This leaves some amazing bargains for virtually anyone to snatch up--short notice. Great if you're driving to Hilton Head tomorrow and just happen to see a great trade open. Bad if you're trying to buy airfare and plan 12 mos out.

There are lots of descent Marriotts under $5k with MF's under $1500. That will go up each year (on any timeshare).
There are unlimited resale Worldmark points contracts; about $4k will get you nice 10,000 point contract with a $800 MF. That will trade thru RCI and II if you pay for it. WM gets great trades and has the <59 cheap trades (<45 on RCI) that can get you great stuff for little $$.

So, my advice: consider renting or at least prowl all the rental sites and reviews (including the ones on TUG; best $15 ever!) and decide if you like some TS or some TS system. Maybe go rent the place once and then sneak a view at some others. Ask lots of questions--this place is full of answers! :p

Good luck! IF you have an questions, just post.
 
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tschwa2

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Williamsburg Plantation
A 4 br lockout at the resort has a MF of about $780. Like Massanutten another Vacation Village affiliate they sold some units enrolled in what they call an internal exchange so you get a 2br unit every year. The 2016 MF for and EOY would have been about $390. One year you get the full kitchen side, the next year you get the partial kitchen side. They also sold some units EOY with the full 4br lock out EOY. The do also have 2 br lockouts with similar MF to the 4 br units that lock out to two 1 bedroom units.

Some phases were sold as fixed weeks, others as float. I own two fixed weeks there. I would imagine that reserving float weeks during peak times could be difficult and require reservations at least 12 months in advance. This resort exchanges through II. I haven't tested it yet but I imagine that a summer week would exchange fairly well. Williamsburg and this resort specifically has a lot of inventory so while pretty good I wouldn't say that it should be great.
 

taterhed

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I see some listings that seem like great deals, but then the pessimist in me thinks there is something I'm missing or something horribly wrong that I'm not seeing.

For example:

Williamsburg Plantation Resort
2Bed/2Bath
MF: $353
Season - Red
Seems like fixed week 21 but listing mentions check-in is anytime during the year.
Annual TS

There isn't a mention of whether is has been paid but I'm wondering why it seems like too good of a deal.

That is just one example I found, am I missing something or can you really get good deals like that buying resale?

Here you go: another example of an 'ok' timeshare. Free Wyndham contract.
http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238919
Free, $1200 a year.
It's not CWA points (I don't think) but it has VA, NC, SC, Ny and.....Puerto Rico.

Not a bad one to try out. Look up ronparise (tug member) and ask him what he thinks. He'll give you an answer. He was helpful to me.
 

vacationhopeful

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Here you go: another example of an 'ok' timeshare. Free Wyndham contract.
http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238919
Free, $1200 a year.
It's not CWA points (I don't think) but it has VA, NC, SC, Ny and.....Puerto Rico.

Not a bad one to try out. Look up ronparise (tug member) and ask him what he thinks. He'll give you an answer. He was helpful to me.

Actually, those MFs are HIGH at $7.64 per 1K of points. A great ratio is under $6 per 1k of points and a good floats in the LOW $6 per 1k.

Plus, 2 contracts require 2 $299 transfer fees on the IN buy and again on the OUT sale. Plus you standard closing company and filing fees. And being a very low point owner, Wyndham has some fees to book .. call Reservation transactions (RTs) and Housekeeping Credits (HKs).

And 154K annual points gets you some resorts in PRIME season for a 1bdr (the older ones) or a STUDIO if lucky in the newer resort ... else your 1 bdr will be in the lesser seasons. As for a 2/2 ... the very OLD resort in the lesser seasons. .... did NOT page thru the resort directory ... but that is the jist. Wyndham has a disease called "Point Inflation" - all the new resorts cost MORE in points than the older resorts; the city resorts are just plain EXPENSIVE to outragously silly ... like NYC or Chicago or SanFran, etc.
 

taterhed

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Actually, those MFs are HIGH at $7.64 per 1K of points. A great ratio is under $6 per 1k of points and a good floats in the LOW $6 per 1k.

Plus, 2 contracts require 2 $299 transfer fees on the IN buy and again on the OUT sale. Plus you standard closing company and filing fees. And being a very low point owner, Wyndham has some fees to book .. call Reservation transactions (RTs) and Housekeeping Credits (HKs).

And 154K annual points gets you some resorts in PRIME season for a 1bdr (the older ones) or a STUDIO if lucky in the newer resort ... else your 1 bdr will be in the lesser seasons. As for a 2/2 ... the very OLD resort in the lesser seasons. .... did NOT page thru the resort directory ... but that is the jist. Wyndham has a disease called "Point Inflation" - all the new resorts cost MORE in points than the older resorts; the city resorts are just plain EXPENSIVE to outragously silly ... like NYC or Chicago or SanFran, etc.

Thanks Vacationhopeful: you illustrated my earlier point (Devil in the details) perfectly! I don't know Wyndham; sounds like you do. That's why I said... check with Ron (or another Wyndham person).

To the OP: this is why you don't want to grab something free/cheap without researching it....TUG is very good for that. But, perhaps a different Wyndham might work for you. The main point is this: Timeshares are (Usually) easy to acquire...but can be very difficult to get rid of (even giving away!). And, you continue to pay the MF's the entire time you own it--whether you use it or not.

cheers!
 

vacationhopeful

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With Wyndham points, there are 2 schools of thought on WHERE to buy.

1) Buy where you must use the Advanced Reservation Priority booking window at 13 months to get your vacation time... the ARP window.
or
2) Buy for the lowest MF per 1K of points and book starting at the 10 month out window ... unlikely to get GREAT summer weeks at the beach or ski weeks/weekends.

With a large account ... you can try to balance the numbers ... and might research HOW/COST to get at least GOLD VIP status.

And what is a "large" account? More than 4 weeks worth of points or a lot of short stays (under a week) or you constantly have to cancel and rebook vacations due to "LIFE".

If you vacation once a year ... looking for a bargain .... can't plan more than 6 weeks in advance ... timesharing might not be something you should own. Renting at the last minute ... bidding on auctions on eBay, following discount travel brokers website ... might work far better for your family.
 
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