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Old February 23, 2008, 09:51 AM   #1
knb53
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eBay timeshares for $1??

Does anyone know what the deal is when timeshares on eBay are sold for $1? Obviously, there are some closing costs, which is probably the way the seller makes a few bucks, and that's fine. But it still seems fishy.

The other thing that I've noted is that sometimes the maintenance fee listed on eBay is higher than the fee listed on a reputable TS resale site... Ex.: I am looking on one at the Nautical Mile in Southern Maine where the eBay listing states that the MF is $490/yr, yet a similar unit listed on sellmytimesharenow.com is $270/yr.

Any thoughts out there?

Thanks!
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Old February 23, 2008, 10:02 AM   #2
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Generally people will list on Ebay for $1 when they want/need to get out quickly. This can be for any number of reasons from change in family financial circumstances, to bereavement, to m/fs exceeding the value of the property to the individual, and many others.
There is nothing fishy about the deal, but it does suggest that the unit has been impossible to sell by other means. If you purchase you need to be certain that it is the right deal for you in terms of purchase cost AND ongoing charges. Just because the unit wasn't right for the vendor doesn't automatically mean it won't be right for you. Genuine bargains can be picked up - just do your homework.
As for the disparity in m/f's, although units may be 'similar' they may not be identical. For example some resorts may charge more for units in prime locations on site. It's possible that the reseller has had the property on their books for a long time and not updated the m/f info. If in doubt check, but as a rule of thumb I would factor in the higher figure and then be happy if the lower one is the correct one.
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Old February 23, 2008, 10:14 AM   #3
rickandcindy23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knb53 View Post
Does anyone know what the deal is when timeshares on eBay are sold for $1? Obviously, there are some closing costs, which is probably the way the seller makes a few bucks, and that's fine. But it still seems fishy.

The other thing that I've noted is that sometimes the maintenance fee listed on eBay is higher than the fee listed on a reputable TS resale site... Ex.: I am looking on one at the Nautical Mile in Southern Maine where the eBay listing states that the MF is $490/yr, yet a similar unit listed on sellmytimesharenow.com is $270/yr.

Any thoughts out there?

Thanks!
What makes you think sellmytimeshareNOW is reputable and has the correct maintenance fees listed in their ads? I would bet that the maintenance fees on that site are VERY inaccurate, in general, and the eBay ads are correct, because the website to which you are referring is an upfront-fee company that charges exorbitant fees to list timeshares. Ads sit on that site for years without any activity. So the information becomes old, and no one cares to correct it because upfront-fee companies basically take their money and run. They have no incentive to keep ads current or actively sell anything listed on their site.

According to a few posters here that work with for (or own?) sellmytimeshareNOW, they have lots of offers every day for timeshares they have listed, but obviously many timeshares just never sell, and it is no skin off their noses. They made their money. I have little respect for upfront-fee companies. They can claim whatever they want for sales or offers, but they don't sell a very large percentage, or there would be a big turnaround and the listings would not have old information.

The site comes up on Google searches as number one, which they supposedly pay a lot of money to come up on top. That doesn't make them reputable.

Just my 2 cents.

I am not saying people don't buy through them, because I have purchased timeshares from another site, Timeshares Only, and it is the same thing. I know that many TUGgers have found timeshare on the upfront-fee sites, but they still collect listings and don't sell them for a long time.
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Old February 23, 2008, 10:21 AM   #4
knb53
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Many thanks!

Thank you, Keith and Cindy, for your thoughtful responses. You have both given me important things to think about.

I have owned a timeshare in New Orleans for almost 20 years... bought it from the resort itself, so of course paid top dollar. Now I would like to buy something on the secondary market in southern Maine...

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my post!

Keith (yes, another Keith!)
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Old February 23, 2008, 01:58 PM   #5
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Keith (yes, another Keith!)
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Old February 23, 2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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I don't find that TSs for $1, or $300, or free, are unusual, stange, or suspicious. Our current portifolio includes ones for which we paid $1500, $700, $350, $301, and $2.25.

In each case the seller was satisfied, even pleased.

As for eBay, specifically, let's say someone paid a reseller a fee to take their TS off their hands, to save them from having to pay any more annual fees. The reseller already made some money. Then the reseller sold it on eBay for $1, and the buyer paid a co-op closing service $400.

Where is the victim? Everyone's getting what they want.

We have given away TSs, and were pleased ourselves to do it.
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Old February 23, 2008, 03:25 PM   #7
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Good points!

Dear JLB,

Thanks for this... Actually I was hoping that what you have said would be the case, but as one who is just starting the process of researching the best way of going about this, it seemed like a good question to ask.

I really appreciate your help!

Keith
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Old February 23, 2008, 10:24 PM   #8
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There are a lot of TS's you can buy for $1.00 on Ebay but most of them are worth nothing, so I'd be careful. The most important thing is how much the annual maintenance / tax cost is versus what you're getting, and whether there are any special assessments going on or anticipated. If you buy a TS for $1.00 but there's a special assessment of $2,000 about to happen, it's no bargain. Also, I'd look at what you can rent a unit for. In a lot of cases with these really cheap TS's, you can rent them for less than the MF so there's no reason to buy it.
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Old February 23, 2008, 10:37 PM   #9
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I believe Frenchie cautioned about generalizations.

You should do due diligence on any purchase. There is no evidence to suggest that the fact that you can purchase it for $1 on eBay makes it any more or less suspicious than any other purchase, from anywhere else, at any price.

The same purchase I just made for $2.25 was $9000 at one reseller and $14,900 at another. Same resort, same type of deeded week. Same annual fee. No special assessments. Everything in order.

Quote:
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There are a lot of TS's you can buy for $1.00 on Ebay but most of them are worth nothing, so I'd be careful. The most important thing is how much the annual maintenance / tax cost is versus what you're getting, and whether there are any special assessments going on or anticipated. If you buy a TS for $1.00 but there's a special assessment of $2,000 about to happen, it's no bargain. Also, I'd look at what you can rent a unit for. In a lot of cases with these really cheap TS's, you can rent them for less than the MF so there's no reason to buy it.
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Old February 23, 2008, 11:22 PM   #10
rhonda
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I'm reading this thread tonight from the lodge of one of our $1 eBay timeshares. Next weekend we'll be on Oahu using an exchange from this same $1 eBay timeshare.

We waited 8 months for that deal to pop up ... had already researched the resort ... and knew what we wanted. When we finally found the right auction we were ready to "bid with confidence."

Last edited by rhonda; February 23, 2008 at 11:32 PM.
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Old February 24, 2008, 12:08 AM   #11
knb53
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That seems to be the ticket...

Rhonda,

I laughed out loud when I read your post, and immediately read it to my wife! You have put the final nail in the coffin of my skepticism!

I think you have it exactly right: Do your research, be patient, and wait for the right opportunity...

Thanks so much for this...

Keith
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:29 AM   #12
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I've cleared up discrepancies in the maintenance fees by checking with the resort. They know what the maintenance fees are.

BTW, you might find a higher maintenance fee for, say, a ski week versus a lower demand week at a resort. The resort may say it's for extra expenses, such as heat, snow removal etc. I'm not saying it is fair to ask the high season owner to pay for the additional costs incurred for the season that they are using the resort - but that may explain differences in maintenance fees that you might see.

Sue
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Old February 24, 2008, 09:28 AM   #13
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In the event that in post 9, and subsequent ones by others, do not contradict what I consider to be dangerous information in post 8, the price of a timeshare has nothing to do with doing due diligent.

Whether the seller is asking $1 or $14,900, as in the case of one of ours, caveat emptor.

The danger of post 8, in my mind, is the implication that higher-priced resale timeshares are safer than lower priced ones, and there is simply nothing to support that.
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:41 AM   #14
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Talking happy ebay purchaser

We have purchased several timeshares off of ebay for $1.00 and are extremely happy with them. We did our research and waited until the right resorts came up with a time that we would want to use. I think you need to do research and sit and wait for the right deal to come your way and then you will be as happy as I. Happy hunting for that right deal!
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Old February 24, 2008, 10:51 AM   #15
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Whether the seller is asking $1 or $14,900, as in the case of one of ours, caveat emptor.

The danger of post 8, in my mind, is the implication that higher-priced resale timeshares are safer than lower priced ones, and there is simply nothing to support that.
CAVEAT EMPTOR (buyer beware) should always be offered in BOLD PRINT in the world of timeshares.

There's more fleecing going on here than at a sheep farm.

The only real safety in making any purchase is obtaining accurate knowledge of the market place and by the due diligence of knowing exactly what you'll be getting for your money.

The truth about the difference of a $1 purchase versus $14,900 is that you place at risk within the timeshare market place $14,889 more dollars, with one purchase than the other.

As they say in poker.....you cant lose what you don't put into the pot.
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Old February 24, 2008, 12:35 PM   #16
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Okey dokey. If I remember, which is unlikely, in the future I will use bold instead of italics.

Caveat Emptor.

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Old February 24, 2008, 02:39 PM   #17
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Just to clarify my remarks, by no means did I mean to say that all TS's that you can buy for $1.00 are worthless but the point is don't assume it's a bargain just because you can buy it for $1.00. As many have stated, do you homework, check it out closely to be sure it's a bargain before buying and if it all checks out, go for it!
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Old February 24, 2008, 05:17 PM   #18
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Kinda thought you'd be back.

Kinda thought you didn't mean exactly what you said. That's OK. It's sometimes hard to say things right, and with plenty of folks watching every word that gets posted.

So, I saved this question: Have you had a personal experience, or do you know of anyone who got a bunch of problems just because they bought a $1 timeshare on eBay?

That was the jist of the OP, sorta is this for real?

I also understand that feeling. When I told my nephew I just got one for $2.25, because he is familiar with the high quality of the resort, a beneficiary of our timesharing, and understands that the seller likely paid $15-$20K for the week, he asked, "Why would they sell it for $1, or $2.25?"

Quote:
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Just to clarify my remarks, by no means did I mean to say that all TS's that you can buy for $1.00 are worthless but the point is don't assume it's a bargain just because you can buy it for $1.00. As many have stated, do you homework, check it out closely to be sure it's a bargain before buying and if it all checks out, go for it!
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Old February 24, 2008, 06:49 PM   #19
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Gratitude...

As the guy who started this thread, I just wanted to say how appreciative I am for all these comments... This is exactly the conversation I needed to hear. I've read every word, and will gladly read any more that come.

It sounds like there is just very little reason for anyone to buy a timeshare at retail... as I did almost 20 years ago. And it sounds as though the price one pays (i.e. $1.00, $2.25, etc.) has much less correlation with it being a good deal than the other elements of which week, the TS facility itself, MF's, etc.

It also seems reasonable to be sure that there aren't any special assessments coming up that are causing folks to bail at bargain basement prices...

Thanks again to all!

Keith
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:36 PM   #20
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My DH's hobby is buying guns. Mine is buying timeshares. Whenever we get into a discussion about this he is always quick to point out" Yeah but I don't have to pay maintenance fees on my guns, do I". Sometimes, as others have pointed out, you need to look beyond the purchase price and make sure the condition of the resort and the maintenance fees are reasonable. If they are too low it is possible that there are not any reserves and it is inevietable in that sort of case that at some point a special assessment will be required.

Also, if there are a LOT of units available at any point in time, there is a resonable chance that something is up and people are bailing. It is good to ask for opinions on the board of current owners of any resort you are considering.
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Old February 24, 2008, 08:58 PM   #21
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Some timeshares are listed after they have been "donated" by various individuals sick of paying the MF as a tax write off. The person getting rid of the timeshare is happy because he gets the tax credit and avoids paying MF for the rest of his life. The seller just sells it and makes a little money (very little) in the process. Redweek is a seller that does this a lot.

I always think the MF are more important than the actual cost of the TS unless you are paying >$10,000. The MF are what you pay year after year decades! That is the true financial committment that has to agree with your budget and lifestyle.

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Old February 24, 2008, 09:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by knb53 View Post
Does anyone know what the deal is when timeshares on eBay are sold for $1? Obviously, there are some closing costs, which is probably the way the seller makes a few bucks, and that's fine. But it still seems fishy.

The other thing that I've noted is that sometimes the maintenance fee listed on eBay is higher than the fee listed on a reputable TS resale site... Ex.: I am looking on one at the Nautical Mile in Southern Maine where the eBay listing states that the MF is $490/yr, yet a similar unit listed on sellmytimesharenow.com is $270/yr.

Any thoughts out there?

Thanks!
The $1 units usually are weeks in the blue travel period where demand is low. However, I have recently picked up 4 Red Wisconsin weeks for a sum total of $1000 with 3 being 2 bedroom and the 4th a 3 bedroom. MF on the 4 average around $500/week.

I think the postcard companies are dumping much of the $1 units as they are attempting to rid themselves of the units they were paid $2-3k to take.

I always watch the MF and try to be diligent before and after buying
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:26 PM   #23
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When it comes to eBay ads, I don't consider the listed auction price a serious factor, as long as the price fits into my purchasing budget. The maintenance fees and status of the resort are much more important than the relatively low buy-in price. After escrow closes, the reality will be those ongoing maintenance fees you'll be paying on the resort.

Someone posted that $1 weeks are usually not worth owning. I disagree. I own a Waikiki studio that was listed on eBay for $1. (It frequently comes up for auction at that price.) It's in Hawaii, which means it's a Red week all year long. There is no real off-season there. The resort is not high-class, but it's clean, located in a perfect spot, and it trades like CRAZY!

I won the auction for just over $400. The MFs for the unit are less than $500 a year for a 1-52 floating week. It has been a great asset these last few years.

Now, since I don't need it anymore, I'm selling it directly to my brother and sister-in-law for $1. They'll pay closing costs, I can focus on my other timeshares, and they'll receive the benefit from owning this very affordable bargain.

So Keith? Do your research, buy smart, and enjoy the resorts you want. But make sure you know the ongoing costs, not just the $1 loss-leader door buster purchase price.

Dave

Last edited by BMWguynw; February 24, 2008 at 11:32 PM.
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Old February 24, 2008, 11:42 PM   #24
Robert D
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I've never bought a $1.00 TS but almost did when I first starting looking at them on Ebay. But, I've bought a prime Colorado ski week for $100, which has worked out great. I don't know of anyone who has had problems with a $1.00 TS but I've seen quite a few on Ebay that could have been bought for $1.00 that I thought were worthless. This was mainly because they had very high M&T or tended to be offseason weeks, and in some instances there were special assessments going on so that your real cost would be a lot more than $1.00. I've only paid more than $650 for one of the 5 TS's I own (the Marriott), and I gravitate to cheap TS's. However, my approach is to only buy TS's that can be reserved in the highest season of the year. In most areas, TS's can be rented in the offseason for less than the M&T. I always look at the cost to rent a TS week (usually base it on what they rent for on Ebay which tends to be on the low side) and be sure that the rent is a lot more than the M&T before I make an offer. I've never done a trade so the ones I buy are either to use or rent. I've heard others on here say they've gotten very great trades with cheap offseason weeks which is great. My thought is that if you can rent a TS for a good return on investment (based on what you paid for it) in years where you don't use it, then it should never be a drag to own. I agree fully that the cost of the timeshare (as long as it's not too expensive) is a lot less important than the M&T and whether you'll use it. You pay the purchase price once but you pay the M&T once a year.
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Old February 25, 2008, 03:51 AM   #25
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We bought a TS for $1.00 on Ebay last year, We did call the resort to make sure everything was paid off on the contracts. The closing company goofed and recorded 2 so we only paid 50 cents for each contract with one closing cost.
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