Posts filed under 'Resale Market'

Points vs. Weeks

Timeshares are an investment in your vacation future.  The longer you own one, the more money you will save on your yearly vacation costs.  They can be a bit confusing to new owners, so here are a few tips to get the most out of your timeshare.

Many timeshare companies run on points now.  They can be used at different resorts, for different weeks.  They also may be able to be used to purchase airline frequent flier miles or cruise vacations.  You can often bank your points year to year or book 2 shorter vacations.  Be mindful of deadlines and expiration dates.  Be sure to contact your timeshare company’s customer service department to get help using your points effectively.  Many of these customer service representatives are timeshare owners themselves and know all of the ins and outs of booking.

So, what’s better, points or weeks?

Timeshare owner Jeff writes:

“I am a points type owner with Fairfield and yet I am an RCI weeks member. Points are always going to be much more flexible. For instance, although I like extended vacations, sometimes I just want to go for the weekend. I can do this with points.

A misconception people have about points is that you don’t have a deeded property. This is not true. With Fairfield I have what is called an undivided interest which means I share the overall property with everyone else who owns at my resort, not just a particular unit in that resort.  If you own a particular unit, you share ownership with everyone who has every other week in that year for that unit only. So, an undivided interest is the same except on a broader scale.”

So, it depends on what you are looking for.  If you always want to go for a week to the same location, a week-based timeshare might be for you.  If you want more flexibility, points are the way to go.

If timeshare ownership becomes too cumbersome for you, you can check out timeshare resale sites like Bay Tree Solutions in order to sell your timeshare fast and for the maximum value.

Add comment June 6th, 2014

The Truth About Timeshare Resales

the-truth-about-timeshare-is-out-thereThere is an a lot of misinformation on the internet. The more one uses the internet, the more glaringly obvious this fact becomes. While some of this misinformation may be deliberate, most of it is innocent; a manifestation of the democratic nature of the internet, where everyone has a voice.

The topic of timeshare (and timeshare resales) has literally millions of webpages dedicated to it, with nearly every possible viewpoint represented. In recent years, some of the more popular pages about timeshare have been those that purport to offer “the truth” about selling timeshare. I can understand how this could be an appealing concept to many timeshare owners – learning “the truth” in one sitting. Invariably, “the truth” seems to be a rather bitter pill to swallow: Your timeshare is worth 90% less than you paid, timeshare resale companies are a scam, and selling timeshare is difficult if not impossible. It is an abrasive and cynical message to be sure, and perhaps that’s why it’s believable to those looking for easy answers. But what if “the truth” is a bit more complicated?

There are over 5,000 different timeshare resorts worldwide; some are still under construction, some are new, some have long since sold out, and some still make sales daily. It is an absurdity to think that any one version of “the truth” applies to all of these properties, or even to a majority of them. And while it would be nice to distill the multitude of truths about timeshare into a catchy webpage or blog post, it would not be intellectually honest. What I will offer here are some proven ideas about the timeshare market that can help guide you toward your truth, as is relates to the timeshare you own or want to sell.

Realtors are Great (When They Sell Timeshare)

Since timeshares are real estate, only a licensed Real Estate Broker can sell them for you on a commission basis. Many supposed “experts” will tell you to only sell your timeshare through a commissioned broker, but very few commission brokers will list timeshares. (By telling you to only sell your timeshare via nonexistent means, these experts are actually telling you not to sell your timeshare.)

The real estate brokerage business model is not compatible with most timeshares, and thus there is no economic incentive for a broker to enter the timeshare arena. That said, if you can find a Real Estate Broker that will list your timeshare, consider yourself lucky and give it a shot. Otherwise, you will have to sell the timeshare yourself – which will mean paying to advertise it for sale.

Developer Sales Drive Resale Demand

Timeshare is not a product that “sells itself.” Resort Developers spend a fortune to bring families to their resorts, where skilled salespeople show them the property and explain its features and benefits. It is this process that creates the desire on the part of consumers to buy a timeshare, and many will buy right then and there. Many others will leave without buying, but still have a serious interest in doing so – these people make up the bulk of resale buyers. As long as developer sales continue at your resort, there will continue to be people shopping for resale deals. (You could say the demand trickles-down to the resale market.)

Generally, once a resort is “sold-out” of inventory, developer sales will end permanently. In the absence of both salespeople and consumers, the only people visiting the resort will be existing owners and exchangers who own timeshare elsewhere. Demand for resales becomes practically nonexistent. Many of the people who complain about how difficult it is to sell a timeshare are telling the truth, but they fail to recognize why it is true – They waited until after the resort had “sold-out” and now there are no buyers. Had these same people acted quicker, their “truth” would have been much different.

The Real Resale Value vs. The Right-Now Resale Value

What is your timeshare really worth? Timeshares cannot be accurately appraised, so their value is inherently subjective. According to some quite popular websites, “the truth” is that your timeshare is pretty much worthless. What is rarely mentioned is the element of time – how fast you need the timeshare sold. If you need your timeshare sold right now, the self-help websites are correct and it is practically worthless.

The home my wife and I own is in the Tudor Revival style, which we both like. As is common in this style, the second floor hangs out asymmetrically over the first, the roof is steeply pitched, and the windows have diamond pattern grills. Over the years we’ve owned the home, we’d made sure any modifications are in keeping with the architecture. Should we decided to sell, I’m sure we would find a buyer – but it would not be fast, as the architectural style of our home appeals to a small minority of potential buyers. In fact, when we bought our home it had been on the market for over a year – despite having numerous advantages compared to other listings. Should we have to sell it right now, our home might be worth almost nothing. Of course, no one sells their home that way, and no one should sell their timeshare that way either.

Assuming there are still developer sales going on at your resort, your timeshare is probably worth a few thousand less than the developer’s current best price – on a long enough time-line. Only 6% of Americans own timeshare, so it’s still a niche market. The truth is that it may take a few months or more for the right buyer to come along. Given the average cost of a timeshare is now over $20,000, the difference in the real resale value and the right now resale value could be substantial!

Discovering Your Truth

It would be nice if understanding timeshare resales or selling your timeshare was simple, but it’s not. “The Truth” cannot be summed up in a few paragraphs, or by a few immutable key points that apply to all owners equally – but that does not mean there is no objective truth at all. I’ve done my best in the post to share some truths about the actual timeshare resale market; things I’ve learned over nearly 20 years working in the timeshare industry. Relating these truths to your specific circumstances is something only you can do – but you can do it. Demographically, I know that since you own a timeshare you are: successful, mature, probably married, and that you value vacations. You don’t need to buy into an over-simplified, one size fits all, negative, and unempowering “truth” wherein you lose your shirt when you sell the timeshare. Think smart and walk away a winner!


2 comments November 15th, 2013

Preparation is Key When Selling a Timeshare

Deciding to sell the family timeshare is a big decision that often involves careful debate and consideration – not to mention the emotions involved. It’s important to realize, however, that making the decision to sell is just the first step in the process of preparing for a successful sale of your timeshare property. Regardless of where you decide to list your timeshare for sale, proper preparation is essential for a smooth outcome. Below are 3 key steps to take before placing your timeshare on the resale market:

*For the purposes of this article I’m assuming that, like most timeshare owners, your resort does not offer an “on-site” resale program. If you are lucky enough to have that option, then little to no preparation is required. Just contact the on-site agent and inform her you’re ready to sell.*

1. Know Your Timeshare

It is absolutely essential to have a thorough understanding of the timeshare you are selling, and how it functions. The potential buyers will likely have been to your resort on a sales tour, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have unanswered questions. Most timeshare resale companies operate in a ‘for sale by owner’ fashion, meaning that you need to be prepared to speak with the buyers, and answer any questions they may have about your property. For instance: If you have a “fixed” week, can it be used at a different time of year at your home resort? If so, is there a fee? If you are a points owner, how many points do you receive and what date do they become available each year? If you own “floating” time, which weeks of the year are included in your season?

Having accurate answers to your buyers’ questions can make or break a potential sale, and providing inaccurate information can lead to problems at closing. The most challenging situations I encounter are sellers who have never used the timeshare, and have no idea of how it functions. If this is your situation, like it or not you are going to have to get educated about the timeshare if you want it sold. Here are a couple tips to help you get ready: If you are selling timeshare points, make sure to have a points chart handy to share with the potential buyers. If you are selling a “floating” week and your resort is one of those that never seems to have availability, go ahead and reserve a desirable week for next year and include it with the sale.

2. Be Aware of Any and All Fees Your Resort Requires

If there’s one guarantee about dealing with timeshares, it’s that there are a lot of upfront fees involved. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the beast – since the concept is, ultimately, about paying upfront for a “lifetime” of vacations. Most resorts will charge a “transfer fee” in order to transfer ownership from you to the buyers; this is not the same as the closing costs, which pay for legally transferring the deed to the new buyer. Call your resort and find out the exact amount of the transfer fee, and make sure to ask if there are any other costs either you or the buyers will incur at time of sale. Usually the buyers are responsible for closing costs, but adding a transfer fee on top can be a real negative. I recommend sellers plan on paying any resort transfer fees out of the proceeds from the sale. Also, make sure you know the exact amount of your maintenance fee – including the breakdown of charges. (i.e. maintenance fee, property tax, insurance, etc.)

Lock-out floor-plans are very popular today; allowing you to split your timeshare into 2 or even 3 weeks of vacation. Something that rarely comes up (until the least opportune moment) is that many resorts charge an additional fee when the “lock-out” feature is used. If you are selling one of these units, make sure you know whether additional fees are required to use or exchange each side as separate weeks. Disclosing this information to the buyers is a very good idea.

3. Find out What Transfers with Sale and What Doesn’t

Not all the benefits you received when you bought the timeshare are transferable to the new owners. This is to be expected when buying on the resale market, so don’t worry, but make sure you find out what’s transferable before placing your timeshare on the market. There are some resorts, for instance, where “points” ownerships become “weeks” ownerships at time of sale – obviously important information to know, and something that would factor in heavily to the asking price. What if you have accumulated “banked” points/weeks at time of sale? If these are deposited with an exchange company, like RCI or Interval International, then they’re not transferable. But banked points/weeks deposited with your resort developer may be transferable, and could be included as an incentive with sale – Contact your resort and ask about transfer fees and expiration date for any banked time.

Some timeshare ownerships include packages that allow for purchasing extra vacation time at a special highly discounted rate. If you own one of these, it was probably included by the developer as an incentive when you purchased. Review your paperwork carefully – some of these packages are actually able to be transfered to the new owner, albeit with certain caveats. I know of one such package that specifies it’s only transferable to family members, but that includes extended family that may only be distant relatives. (wink, wink)

Ready, Set, Sell

Taking the time to prepare for selling your timeshare can yield serious dividends; peace of mind being at the top of the list! Plus, the process of getting ready to sell is a great way to refresh your timeshare knowledge – something that will come in handy as you’re deciding on which timeshare resale company to use.


Add comment October 10th, 2013

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