It been a long time of promises but here is part one of promised guide on buying a resale timeshare. In this post, I will give you some good spots to begin your search for a timeshare purchase on the resale market.
Finding the Timeshare
The key to maximizing timeshare ownership is to purchase the right timeshare for the right price. If the initial upfront price makes sense, the maintenance fees are reasonable and you fully understand the internally trading aspects of a timeshare as well as as the trading aspects of the affiliated exchange company (RCI or Interval International), timeshare ownership can actually be fantastic.
As I continually try to show my readers, I get tremendous value out of my timeshares and have been able to take luxurious trips to expensive destinations for a fraction of the cost of nightly hotel rentals.
Once you fully review the various programs and know what particular program that you want to purchase, you can start the search process for the particular timeshare. A good spot for the overview of some of the major program are here. As I state over and over, the timeshare programs are extremely complicated so you need to know what you want to buy before actually buying it and how you are going to use it.
If you generally take 3 night trips, many programs will be a very bad fit for you as a lot of timeshares / exchanges only allow 7 day usage so you would have to let 4 days go to waste. Some programs allow for as little as one night usage so you need to do your homework and find the right fit for your vacation style.
For example, if you want a Marriott property, you need to know whether you want Marriott Destination Club Points (point program) or a week at a specific resort in the legacy program. You need to understand the differences between them and the restrictions. Points are more flexible and allow for 1 night usage whereas the legacy program generally only allows you 7 night exchanges. However, points are much more expensive and can be difficult to find on the resale market.
If you know what program you want to purchase and have a good timeshare strategy going into the purchase. (read about various timeshare strategies here), you can start looking for the desired timeshare.
One thing to note as you begin your searches. The timeshare resale prices vary considerably. It is very hard to determine the actual fair market cost for a timeshare since there are so many resales and each one can be different even if associated with the same major company. Just because someone is offering a timeshare at a particular price does not mean that it is the correct price to purchase it at.
Believe it or not, a fantastic source for finding timeshares is eBay. eBay is the ultimate marketplace for almost everything and they have a constant mix of all types of timeshares being offered. As with everything on eBay, inventory fluctuates so I would constantly look at eBay and see what people are offering and the prices.
However, just remember that anyone can offer anything at any price so just because someone is offering a timeshare at a particular price does not mean that it will sell or that is actually worth that amount. Take a look at this post for details on how to see the actual selling prices which is key to understanding the real value.
When you start your search on eBay, you will come across various various types of sellers. Some will be individuals but a lot of them will be companies specializing in timeshare resales. Generally, you can locate the timeshare companies website based on the user name they use on eBay or in the details of the post.
If you find a timeshare that interests you from a timeshare company on eBay, I would recommend finding the company online and seeing if they are offering the same or similar timeshare on their own website. Sometimes prices can differ from eBay prices to direct prices in a significant way.
Additionally, it is generally better to work directly with a timeshare company for resale purchases since the timeshare purchase generally takes 3-6 months and eBay is not the ideal platform for these types of purchases that take time to close and finalize as disputes and resolutions need to occur within a set amount of time following the purchase and if there are any difficulties, it usually will occur outside of this window set by eBay.
Timeshare Users Group (TUG)
If you want to buy a timeshare, you need to find TUG. TUG is one of the first timeshare focused forums. The amount of information on the site is staggering and the participants on the forum are very helpful and friendly.
In addition to being a great resource, they also have a Timeshare Marketplace. The Timeshare Marketplace is a great spot to see asking prices, see various inventory and get a good feel for the market for timeshare resales. Many timeshares listed through the Timeshare Marketplace are from individual owners. Therefore, there can be more direct communication and more negotiation.
However, when you purchase directly through an individual owner, you need to make sure to use a good closing company to assist in getting the paperwork done right. Timeshares are real property purchases and there will be deeds and recordings in the public records so it has to be done right in order for it to be valid and to make sure that there are no unwelcome surprises down the road.
TUG is free to join but they do have a paid membership option which gives you access to posting timeshare sales in their marketplace as well as reviewing their timeshare reviews. It is $15 per year.
Sum Day Vacations
Sum Day Vacations is a timeshare reseller based in Branson, Missouri. They are active on eBay and they have all of their inventory listed directly on their site. They also have the prices listed on the site so you can see the various asking prices.
Sum Day Vacations does have a good reputation on TUG and I personally used them for my recent Hyatt Residence Club purchase. While there were some snags along the way, I thought that they handled the transaction well and in the end, got me the timeshare that I wanted at the price point that I wanted. Here is an overview of that purchase.
One thing to consider is that Sum Day Vacations does have the prices listed on the website but do note that you are free to make an offer for any timeshare at any price. When I found the timeshare that I wanted, I made them a lower offer than what was listed on the website and it was approved.
Redweek is another popular website that offers timeshare resales, rentals and information. Redweek does have a fairly active site with multiple timeshare resales BUT they are a subscription based website. In order to review the details of the resale postings, you need to be a member. Registering as a member will only cost you $18.99 for 12 months.
I personally am not a big fan of having to pay to get access to information or purchase something that I may or may not want. There are so many other sources for timeshare resales that it is difficult for me to recommend signing up as a member. I would say that the vast majority of the time, anyone advertising their timeshare on Redweek will also advertise it on multiple other forums and sites. Unlike Redweek, TUG is free to review the ads and contact the sellers so it could be a better option at first. If there is something listed on Redweek and you cannot find it other sources, it could be worth the $18.99 to evaluate that option.
I was going to put together an entire guide to resale purchases in one post but once I got started, I realized that it was going to be way to lengthy for anyone to read it in one sitting. As a result, this is part one of series of posts that I will do concerning timeshare resale purchases. In the next post, I will explain the contract process once you have found the timeshare that you want to purchase.
The sources listed above are just some of many. I have personally found the timeshares that I purchased through eBay and then found the actual company website and dealt directly. I have had good luck with my purchases but as you probably know or have heard, the timeshare industry is rampant with fraud and scams. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before purchasing or entering into a transaction. Stay tuned for Part II on timeshare resales!
What other websites or sources have you used to find timeshare resales? Make sure to comment below to help others!