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About to buy 1st timeshare - how do you verify what you're buying?

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by Happy Days, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    hello all. Timeshare rookie here. about to buy a timeshare and wondering if you can help me understand what i'm buying at Aruba Surf Club.

    How do you verify details on the unit? There are 2 bedrooms and 2 bedroom lockoffs at Marriott Surf Club. How do i know i'm buying a lock-off? I've tried calling the resort directly. No luck. Realtor isn't responding. I am in the dark and hoping experienced timeshare buyers can offer a suggestion. Thank you.
     
  2. Fasttr

    Fasttr TUG Member

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    As for Lock off-ability of a floating season unit, it really doesn't matter at resorts that have both, as even if your specific owned unit is a non lock off, you can still reserve a lock off. They are first come first serve at the time of booking. It goes the other way as well, if you are late to the game reserving, even if your specific owned unit is a lock off and all lock offs have been reserved, you will not get a lock off.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    Happy Days likes this.
  3. jhac007

    jhac007 TUG Member

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    If the realtor/seller is not responding I would move on and keep shopping!
     
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  4. jme

    jme TUG Member

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    Marriotts:
    Grande Ocean x 6
    Barony x 2
    OceanWatch x 1
    Manor Club x 1
    .
    Waterside by Spin x 2
    Sheraton Bdwy Plnt x 2
    ChurchStInnCharleston2
    Any contract should have the unit number and the week number being sold.
    All timeshare weeks are real estate, and each has a unique set of numbers so that it's only YOURS.

    When you find out the unit number and week number, immediately call Owner Services and VERIFY everything-----
    that is, the accuracy of the numbers as to what you're told you're buying, and the location of the unit number within the resort----it could be a different view category than what you're expecting, so clarify that also with the RESORT.
    For example, if you're buying an advertised "Oceanfront" unit, verify from the resort that the unit number is Oceanfront, etc.

    Also ask about whether the unit is "free and clear", meaning no fees due, no liens, etc., etc. Same as purchasing a house.
    Check rules----annual use or alternating years, lock-off or not....anything and everything.

    Get confirmation of your "first year of usage" and verify that the right person, seller or buyer, has paid the maintenance fee for each owned-----last year of owner's usage paid by seller, and first year of buyer's usage paid by you when it comes due.

    Get your first year of usage BOOKED as soon as possible, even if seller has to do it for you,
    since until closing you cannot book it yourself (and then have resort place your name on it).

    Get everything you're buying in writing, and obviously signed by seller ....agent should be VERY helpful with all details and the process in general, otherwise walk away. If it smells fishy, it probably is.

    I think I've remembered everything, but continue reading TUG,
    especially the "Buying and Selling" category...........

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
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  5. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Thank you all for this advice. I'll update you all once I can try putting your advice in action
     
  6. NJMOM2

    NJMOM2 TUG Member

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    Welcome to TUGS. It's a good first step!!
     
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  7. jdg0928

    jdg0928 Guest

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    We bought at Marriott Aruba Surf Club in January 2018, so this is pretty fresh in my memory.

    What stands out in your post is that you mention buying a lockoff. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that, but you will get a lockoff unit with the purchase of a 2BR/2BA. They only have 2BR/2BA (426 units) and 3BR/3BA (20 units) at the resort.

    * If you weren't aware, you can split your week into one week of the lockoff and another of the 1BR. We did that this year, with a friend using the lockoff in Oct. while we used the 1BR in November.

    As for the unit, it will be identified something like Deed ID: AC*1111*11*B (with the unit and a week placeholder where there are 1s)

    If you aren't sure of how the weeks or room categories work, let me know. I'm very familiar ... and was just there last week.

    Follow JME's advice and that of others in the buying and selling category. We did, and our experience was excellent. If you have any questions, I'll try to keep an eye on this thread.
     
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  8. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    well, so far, no luck. I called owner services and they said i wasn't the owner and wouldn't verify anything without the owner on the phone. The realtor is still missing in action. I don't think i'll proceed with the purchase if i can't verify the information suggested above. Updates to follow....
     
  9. jdg0928

    jdg0928 Guest

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    We used The Timeshare Group, owned by John Ochoa, and they were amazing. They are highly recommended among TUG members. (My BBB review -- Jason G. -- can be found here.)

    TTG was selling the unit on eBay. After answering all of my initial questions, John closed the auction early so our bid would be guaranteed to get the week. As mentioned in many of the reviews, they are highly responsive, professional, and kept us updated all through the process. John was even kind enough to have a long conversation with me about the purchase process and some tips about using and trading our unit since he is also a Surf Club owner.

    I'm guessing you've been to the Surf Club. Is that accurate?
     
  10. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    The easiest way to verify all of this is to request an estoppel certificate from Marriott. Marriott will then give you a report showing the unit size, view, maintenance fee history, etc. iirc, it costs $75. I would never buy a unit without one. Marriott may require the seller to make this request, but if the seller or his agent won't do that, you should walk away from the deal anyway.
     
  11. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    hi Jason. Thanks for this info. I'll consider them if this purchase falls through. I've been to the Marriott next to the surf club and now want to own a timeshare so we can go back each year. I've never stayed at the surf club though.
     
  12. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Thank you Robert. I requested this and escrow just sent it to me. It looks good other than still not knowing for sure if this is a lockoff. Also there is no financial data and apparently there is a separate 'financial estoppel letter' that is not included. Based on what everybody here has stated, it sounds like all 2 bedrooms are lockoff. I wasn't sure about that since I've seen some rental listings showing max occupancy 6 which I heard means it's not a lockoff, but perhaps that was a mistake with the listing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  13. jme

    jme TUG Member

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    Manor Club x 1
    .
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    Sheraton Bdwy Plnt x 2
    ChurchStInnCharleston2
    Correct, and thanks for bringing attention to it. Every agent and closing company I've used for 5 resales has always made sure the estoppel certificate was part of the process. It's crucial, imho, and I wrongly assumed it would be done automatically.

    What I mainly was referring to in my "quick list" was that I always check things out myself in the very early stages, within a day or so of my initial interest, to get a feel for the seller and broker, way before the estoppel is even requested, but the estoppel is a MUST.
    Merry Christmas.
     
  14. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Well here's the update. I got the estoppel letters and they look fine. I spoke to Owner Services and confirmed the basic information is all correct. They also verified that all 2 bedrooms are lock-off. So, it sounds like i'll be a first time owner of a timeshare soon. I am already dreaming about the relaxing trips to Aruba. Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it!
     
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  15. TXTortoise

    TXTortoise TUG Member

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    Happy Days, sounds like things are working out for you, but be sure and read the Weeks FAQ at the top of the Forum. You need to be aware of the limitations of one-week ownership when it comes time to reserve a prime week, e.g., folks with more than one unit booking consecutive weeks can start booking 13 months out vs 12 months for you. I'm not sure what prime time is for Aruba, winter I assume, but just want to help manage expectations before you sign.
     
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  16. jme

    jme TUG Member

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    .
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    Sheraton Bdwy Plnt x 2
    ChurchStInnCharleston2
    Sincere Congratulations!!!!!!!!

    You are about to embark on a most enjoyable and fulfilling adventure.
    It's definitely life-changing because it will cause you to think and plan ahead, have consistent wonderful family vacations together,
    and years into the future it will allow you and your spouse to still travel together as empty-nesters.

    Can't even begin to tell you how much it has meant to our family, because the memories, the love, and the enhanced understanding and closeness between all of us has been increased exponentially at every turn because of our consistent and ongoing times spent together.

    Good Luck on everything!
     
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  17. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Thanks TX. i read the weeks faq and maybe i'm ok. I visited Aruba in October and plan on making that an annual tradition. I was told that's the slow season, so booking 10-12 months in advance is unlikely to be an issue, but if i'm not understanding what you're concerned about, can you please clarify?


     
  18. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Thank you JME.

    i know it sounds corny, but i do agree that i'm buying memories. My kids are about to become teens and i've got enough friends with older kids to know that my clock is ticking where they enjoy vacations with dad. I'll make some good memories in Aruba for sure.

    having a lock-off makes the possibility of bringing friends a reality too.

    I'm really looking forward to going back to aruba in my own timeshare!

     
  19. californiagirl

    californiagirl TUG Member

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    It does not sound corny at all. It is reality! We bought our first timeshares when our oldest was finishing his junior year in high school and our other two were in middle school. One of the best things we could have done. Our kids ALWAYS wanted to go on vacation with us...even as teens and early adults. Now they are in their 30s with kids of their own. We take a big, entire family trip every 3 years. Our kids have used the timeshares and getaways through II for their college break weeks, honeymoons and their individual family trips. Our memories together have been priceless. The accommodations lend themselves to gathering together to play games, eat or watch movies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  20. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    i really can't wait. the food in aruba was definitely a bit pricey, so the idea of saving some money on hotel and dining out is very appealing to me. i think the 2 bedroom layout will definitely provide a lot more comfort than the regular hotel room we got on our last visit.


     
  21. TXTortoise

    TXTortoise TUG Member

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    You should be fine. Basically high demand weeks can be hard to get for single week owners as up to 50% of the available inventory for a given week is released at 13 months for multiple week owners booking consecutive weeks.

    You should be fine, but be on the computer when reservations open. :)
     
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  22. jdg0928

    jdg0928 Guest

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    First and foremost, congrats on being close to ownership! Rooting for the sale to go well for you!

    If you’ve been to the Ocean Club, then you should love the Surf Club. I think it has the best pool complex on the island. The beach can feel crowded, but we always use one of the palapas furthest from the water and haven't had any issues. Something almost nobody mentions is that the split-building design of the SC allows the wind to blow through the pool area so it doesn’t get so stinking hot. Another thing we found reassuring is that over the nine years we've been visiting the SC, we have seen improvements in activities, hard goods, HVAC, and grounds. The money we pay into the operational and reserve funds is being reinvested in the facilities and experience. Also, the walk to the restaurants takes all of about four minutes.

    Not sure about occupancy being six. The lockoff has a queen and a sleeper sofa, and the 1BR has a king and a sleeper sofa in the living room.

    If you’re buying a Gold week, my understanding — based on what I’ve heard from others and what I see on the MVC calendar — is that July and early August are the busiest. Also, “Jersey Week,” in early November. Schools are closed for four days, so everyone visits Aruba. We were there once that week, and it was very busy. Even the chairs in the shade were tagged every morning by 7 a.m.

    I can tell you from our experience this year that October was pretty easy to book. We split our week and let friends use the lockoff. They didn’t pick a week until about five months out, and there were still options. Here’s what the calendar looked like on April 1, and here’s what it looked like on April 30. (Gold dates are available for check-in.)

    The lockoff is how we were introduced to Aruba. Our friends who own invited us down to stay with them. We were hooked from Day One. We rented a Garden View lockoff three times and stayed with them one more time before buying. This year, to rent a GV lockoff was at least $600 more than the MF for an OV 2BR. That’s when I decided to buy, and I’m so glad I did.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much better it was to have a full kitchen instead of just a mini-fridge, microwave, and bar sink. I prefer to have breakfast and lunch in the room, so the kitchen made it a million times easier. (The SC also has a bunch of gas grills around the property, so that’s an option as well. We grilled a few years ago, and there were some master grillers working their magic last week when we were there.) There is just so much more room with the 1BR, not to mention that we could pack a little less since we had the in-room washer and dryer. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to be on vacation with added amenities and so much room to spread out and relax.

    Anyway, I hope your purchase goes smoothly and you can join the SC family!
     
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  23. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    Thanks JDG. i appreciate this information. Just to update you and the rest of the good people who've helped me understand all of this, based on your suggestions, I was able to verify that the unit is owned by the person. That it's paid up and available for 2019. I also asked the current owner to book my week in October. He did so, and it is now part of the closing documents that he booked that week.

    I sent payment to the escrow company, so now it appears to be waiting until the paperwork finalizes. I have no idea what to expect after that.

    I'll provide another update when the paperwork's finalized, but so far, so good. I am really looking forward to October 2019! :)


     
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  24. jdg0928

    jdg0928 Guest

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    Cool ... sounds like you're in the final stretch. I barely remember the order of events because the company we used was so thorough about guiding us through the process. However, I think once it clears ROFR, you'll be looking at getting the official signatures. It took us a couple days to coordinate schedules and find a notary who was available when we were, but it wasn't a big deal. Also, in our case, at least one of the forms had to be signed in blue ink.

    Anyway, it wasn't complicated, I remember that much. And when we stepped foot into a 1BR instead of a studio, I was so happy we had decided to purchase. I can't remember if I already mentioned it here, but I couldn't believe the difference between a week in a 1BR vs the lockoff. Everything was easier ... breakfast, lunch, laundry, watching TV, etc. I can't imagine going back to only having the studio.
     
  25. Happy Days

    Happy Days Guest

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    TUG is who's guiding me through this process :clap:. I'm wondering if the actual hotel / Marriott will send me anything as a new owner. If not, i guess i'll be calling owner services a lot. Since my first week is booked and maintenance fees for 2019 are paid through escrow, hopefully most of the tricky stuff is taken care of for a while.

    My inlaws already said they're coming with us in October. Perhaps I should have gotten a 1bedroom :D


     

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