|Your Location: Timeshare Users Group Advice: Buying on the Resale Market |updated: 2/22/08|
Twenty-four months ago we ventured into timesharing with successful bid on a week donated by RCI at an auction sponsored by a local arts organization. The week was usable in Wisconsin, the Smokies, Poconos or Williamsburg subject to availability. We used the week at the Treetops at Fernwood in the Pocono's. We enjoyed the week, the planned activities and the facilities. We were surprised by the high degree of satisfaction when talking to the other timesharers. In the past we had endured at least a half dozen timeshare presentations and developed a pretty negative attitude toward the concept. However, with three kids our preferred vacation accommodation had become renting a condominium or a suite hotel room.
At the end our week at the Treetops we were developing a criteria to be used in the acquisition of a timeshare week. We resolved to purchase a week on the resale market to avoid the perceived high front end marketing cost on an initial sale. I scoured the local ad paper (Indianapolis Trader) which averages about 12-15 offerings at any one time. I also discovered the Resale Brokers' ads in USA Today.
Our purchase objectives became more focused. We decided to buy a Red week, in a quality project within a reasonable drive time from our home. We wanted to buy a unit and a week we would use and avoid the temptation to buy just to trade.
We were fortunate to have a friend who worked for RCI. I ran several of the "bargains" from the Trader past our RCI insider to learn that the bargains may have been just that, bottom dwellers.
Somewhere in the process we became attracted to Fairfield Glade. I had called on three different white weeks advertised in the Trader. Our RCI friend had given Fairfield Glade a strong recommendation. Of course the more we talked timesharing, we learned that many of our friends, acquaintances or someone in their family owned a timeshare. Fairfield continued to share a favorable rating from all those who had experienced it.
From USA Today, I called the resale broker, ERA Stroman. We made and offer on a Red Week 27 in Kensington Woods, at Fairfield Glade. Our offer of $3500 plus closing costs was ultimately accepted by the owners, an elderly couple selling their two timeshare weeks at Fairfield Glade. While our offer was pending we received a mailing from Fairfield Glade inviting us to a 2 night 3 day stay in a hotel facility on the grounds of Fairfield Glade. Of course a timeshare presentation and tour was a condition of the offer. Not wanting to stay in hotel accommodations we agreed to pay for a second hotel room. Upon our arrival we were pleasantly surprised that our accommodation was converted to a Villa accommodation similar to a condominium unit rather than the anticipated 2 hotel rooms. Of course we had full kitchen facilities and much more room than expected. We were extremely pleased with the Fairfield development which blends single family homes, true condominiums, and timeshares. Golf is the central recreational activity. There are excellent swimming pools and tennis facilities. The activity center has a multi-purpose room which is also a gym. Bicycle rentals and horseback riding are available. Several lakes provide a variety of fishing and boating activities. Our family enjoyed a pontoon ride, the beach and a fishfry at the waterfront area.
The sales department's first priority was to sell new timeshare units. When queried about resale units, we were offered two different resale units which were offered at $9600 making our pending offer of $3500 look pretty good. We left Fairfield Glade with resolve to purchase the week offered through ERA Stroman.
The purchase process was slow from the initial offer (August, 1994), though the closing(December, 1994) and the ultimate task, the acknowledgement of purchase by Fairfield(July, 1995). We made our verbal offer through ERA Stroman in August. Receiving the deed did not provide automatic acceptance of our purchase by Fairfield.
As mentioned above, our sellers owned two weeks at Fairfield Glade. Following the closing, Fairfield transferred both weeks to our account even though we only had a deed for week 27. With the new year we only paid one maintenance fee although we were billed for both weeks. Our predicament was we were planning to use our Week 27, but we were receiving dun notices on the other week. The most potent threat was that we could not use week 27 unless the arrearage on the non-owned week was removed.
The closing agent was an attorney in Texas. His office provided only limited assistance in resolving this post closing dilemma. Fairfield required an additional $110 to separate the two weeks on their books. Of course we ended up absorbing the $110 splitting charge. In the meantime with the threat of being denied use of week 27, we paid the additional week of maintenance plus late fee. Once the weeks had been separated, Fairfield did credit our account the second week's maintenance as prepaid against future maintenance charges. A month after the contract splitting fee was paid, Fairfield sent us notice that the contracts had been severed. Unfortunately both weeks were still in our name. Ownership did finally get straightened out. You can imagine the number of telephone calls and letters it took to follow this through. Buying on the resale market took additional effort and hassle that might not have been experienced with a purchase from a developer. However the savings were considerable.
After a frustrating experience in acquiring the week on the resale market, we had a very enjoyable week at Fairfield Glade. July 4th floats in & out of week 27. The week is considered by RCI and the Fairfield in-house trading system as a high red week with very high trading power. Of course, Fairfield Glade is a RCI Gold Crown Resort. We are extremely pleased with this purchase. We are have just closed the purchase of a even year, week 30, at Marriott's Longboat Key Bay Club in Florida. We are purchased this unit through CondoLink, another resale broker tha were attracted to Longboat Key because of familiarity with the location and the timeshare development. We had toured this development ten years earlier when the project was under different management. The current management by Marriott was a double plus in our purchase decision. It turns out that this unit while listed with the broker was in foreclosure. We believe that the foreclosure proceeding has protracted the closing timeline on this unit. We purchased this unit for $2950 plus closing costs ($450) and the 1996 maintenance fee. This past spring break we vacationed in a time share at Tierre Verde, Florida. We had the opprotunity to visit Longboat Bay Club; and we were not disappointed with the development. We intend to use our week this July.
CondoLink's approach toward closing costs was to provide a single dollar figure, in our case $450, which included title insurance, transfer fees, recording fees, closing costs, document preparation fees, express mail fees, and etc. Stroman ERA's closing agent utilized and itemized assessment of the various charges. Closing costs for the respective units have been nearly equal despite the difference in the approach. The resale market offers risks and reward for effort expended.
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