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Old April 15, 2012, 06:11 PM   #1
BBS Reg. Date: Apr 15, 12
Location: London England
Posts: 4
Smile Where to start?

We are regular visitors to the USA from the UK and have just returned from Phoenix where we got interested in the timeshare option whilst staying at the Westin Kierland resort. We went on the 90 minute sales talk and came home eager to find out more about how to buy a timeshare property. I have spent the weekend reading many posts on TUG and found this really useful, coming up with the view that buying resale rather than from the developers a much better option and am amazed at the prices compared to what was being asked from the developers!
We have grown up children who are having families themselves and are looking to own something big enough for them all to join us at least once a year for a vacation and in future years be able to get away on their own with only the cost of the flight to worry about. My main questions are
1. Where do we buy? We love Orlando and look forward to taking the grandchildren there but lots of posts say not to buy there!
2. Who do we buy with? initially it was Starwood because my sister owns with them and because of the points options, but that limits the resorts to buying resale with points to 5. I don't know anything about the other companies, i would like the option to go elsewhere and don't know how easy it is to exchange with them (I have been told RCI is not easy)
3. Basically where do I start?
I would love some advice please
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Old April 15, 2012, 07:03 PM   #2
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BBS Reg. Date: Oct 26, 10
Location: Flower Mound, TX
Posts: 83

Resorts: Kona Coast Resort - II, Palace View 3 BR, Cliffs at Peace Canyon (pts)
OK, I'll take a stab...I am sure there will be many, many to follow.

In order to help you here, you will need to provide more information as to what you are looking to achieve in buying a timeshare. Good thing you didn't buy retail and you found this BBS to do your research. You have found the right place.

There are many people here that love the Starwood properties and are better suited to comment on that.

Orlando is over-built and will limit you with getting trades into the Disney properties, using RCI. Unless you really love a certain property in Orlando, there really is no great reason to buy there, as the value is often clouded by the sheer volume that is available there.

Knowing little about what you are trying to achieve, and noting the fact that it appears you live in London, UK, I will provide you with an option that I would take if I lived in London.

I know that the Brits love vacationing in Spain. One of the better systems (globally) is probably the Marriott timeshare system. However, this statement can be argued rigorously. Anyway, if your goal is to provide a nice global presence (as the case with Starwood properties), you might want to look into a major chain like Marriott that has nice properties around the globe that will be easy for you to trade your unit into. That is, if you plan to trade like-for-like accommodations and expect the same level of quality. Anyway, I would look into something like the Marriott in Marbella, Spain. Have a look at this ebay listing (used only as an example):

The maintenance fees are reasonable, and it is a desirable resort that others will also want to trade into. Since Marriott trades with Interval International (the RCI competitor) you will have preferred trades with other Marriott units before the units are offered to the general public within Interval International (II). This means that you can essentially trade your unit in Spain for a week in Hawaii, or Aruba, or many other locations around the world. At any rate, have a good look at the Marriott system as it is very similar to the Starwood system. However, the portfolio of locations and quantity in Marriott vastly outweigh the Starwood portfolio.

I am sure that there are many posts that will follow this one, and many other ideas. Remember that the only right answer is the one that makes best sense to you and what your goals are in getting into the whole timeshare game. And do not get in any hurry to buy anything. Read, read, read on this site and you will learn loads. Then when you think you are ready to buy, post your theory of what you have deduced and are planning on doing and let all of these other Yentas on this site shoot holes in your theory.

Thanks for allowing me to dream that I live in London and could own a timeshare in Marbella, Spain...and all of the possibilities that I could have with trading it!

Welcome to TUG.
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Old April 16, 2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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BBS Reg. Date: Aug 26, 08
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 671

Resorts: Marriott Frenchman's Cove, Marriott Aruba Ocean Club
I agree with Chewie. I dont think you can go wrong with either Starwood or Marriott. We chose Marriott because we preferred their choice of locations. I think if you pose your question on the Marriott board you'll get a lot more feedback. It's always busy over there and the people that frequent that forum are really knowledgable and helpful. Just include in your question your also curious about Marriott.
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Old April 16, 2012, 11:12 AM   #4
Rob&Carol Q
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BBS Reg. Date: Dec 10, 09
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Posts: 535

Resorts: Wyndham Kingsgate (Williamsburg, VA)
Well, congratz on finding this place!

Wish I had found it many, many years ago but that is a sad tale for a different day. In your case, there is no rush to buy...prices for resale are quite depressed and very much in your favor...or favour if you want to spell it funny!

Seriously, you are doing all the correct things by reading and asking questions. Personally, I think you have lots of time before you need to make any sort of decision...consider renting a week at a location or in a system that you find interesting?
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:13 PM   #5
BBS Reg. Date: Apr 15, 12
Location: London England
Posts: 4
Thumbs up Thanks

Thanks for your replies, it's good to get some more advice and yes you are right we don't need to rush into anything. I am so glad we didnt buy from developer, i can see how easy it is to do so though, we went back to the pool and was actually considering! We really love coming to the USA and dream of living there, owning a timeshare there too, wanna swap lives!!
I will take a look at the Marriott link and post some questions in the forum too.
I do get what you mean about buying in Marbella but we actually don't want to holiday in Spain that often, it's great for a quick getaway and we can get some good deals there, so the timeshare would really be for USA and beyond like Hawaii. Would you still recommend buying in Marbella if we would be looking to exchange most years? Thanks again for the advice
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Old April 17, 2012, 10:15 AM   #6
Rob&Carol Q
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BBS Reg. Date: Dec 10, 09
Location: Miamisburg, Ohio
Posts: 535

Resorts: Wyndham Kingsgate (Williamsburg, VA)
Exchanging is it's own full topic...

but fortunately for you, the market isn't going anywhere in the forseable future. The depressed prices you see for various timeshare locations shouldn't increase by much across the next year or so...if at all.

Read up on the RCI and II exchanges...there is definitely lots to learn. I've exchanged my Wyndham week a few times via RCI...some better, some slightly worse, but none what I would call bad. I personally prefer staying within the Wyndham system but I have heard several tell me that Marriott is "better" as far as the quality of accommodations are concerned...I've never tested that for myself but I have no reason not to believe them.

something to contemplate...once you purchase this TS, wherever it may be, it will be yours to "Have and to Hold, in Sickness and in Health..." as you have discovered, there just is no secondary market for TS unless your price is about a dollar. And those Maintenance Fees never, ever go away. The MF is probably what drives most TS into the resale markets...folks just don't realize that the MF will still be there years after the purchase...

so basically, you're doing the right thing...research!
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Old April 17, 2012, 10:39 AM   #7
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BBS Reg. Date: Feb 10, 11
Posts: 9,769
Conventional advice here is to buy where you want to vacation...In your case thats the whole US, so ...lots of possibilities. And lots of homework before you decide

My ownership is in the Wyndham system...I didnt do the study that you plan to do ...I kind of fell into it, but Im glad I did...Knowing what I know noe, I would do it again.

I cant say for sure but I think its the largest system available in terms of number of resorts and in terms of the number of states where they have a presence. Wyndham is in all the places you might expect to find a timeshare like Orlando and Las Vegas, and Branson...There are also, as you might expect, beach resorts and mountain resorts (skiing)....What you may not expect and what drew me to Wyndham are the urban properties; Washington DC, New Orleans, San Antonio, San Francisco and San Diego

Wyndham grew their system to a large degree by buying other systems and resorts, They have also bought older buildings and renovated them and re purposed them into timeshares...so the look and feel of Wyndham resorts is not consistent, but they all seem to be equally well maintained. And the staffs equally well trained, helpfull and friendly.

I think you could do a lot worse than Wyndham...
Ron Parise

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