A Consumers Guide to Vacation Ownership
By Island Consulting Realty 1-800-809-6020
TIMESHARE 101THE BASICS
Started some 30 years ago in the French Alps, vacation ownership started
out with the idea of being able to exchange ones vacation accommodations
with someone elses. While not everyone could afford that second home
at the beach, by owning just a segment of that home, or condo, it now came
within most peoples reach. Add an exchange organization to implement
trading your beach for someones mountain and bingo, youve got
By locking in the purchase price of accommodations, vacation ownership
(time sharing) helps to ensure future vacations at todays prices at
luxurious resorts with amenities, service and ambiance that rival any of
the worlds top-rated vacation destinations. The reasons for purchasing
most frequently cited by current
timeshare owners are the high standards of quality accommodations and service
at the resorts at which they own and exchange, followed by the flexibility
offered through the vacation exchange opportunities and the cost effectiveness
of vacation ownership. Nearly one-third of vacation owners purchase additional
intervals after experiencing ownership. This trend is even stronger among
long-time owners; 41.2 percent of those who have owned eight years or longer
have purchased additional intervals within that time.
Vacation ownership offers consumers the opportunity to purchase fully-furnished
vacation accommodations for only a percentage of the cost of full ownership.
For a one-time purchase price and payment of a yearly maintenance fee, purchasers
own their vacation either in perpetuity or for a predetermined number of
years. Owners share both the use and costs of upkeep of their unit and the
common grounds of the resort property.
Each condominium, or unit, of a vacation ownership resort is divided
into weeks which are sold separately. The weeks are priced according to
a variety of factors, including size of the unit, resort amenities, location
Unlike a hotel room or rental cottage, which require payment for each
use with rates that usually increase each year, ownership at a timeshare
property enables vacationers to enjoy a resort, year after year, for the
lifetime of their ownership. Timeshare ownership offers vacationers an opportunity
to save on the escalating cost of vacation accommodations over the long
term while enjoying all the comforts of home in a resort setting.
Truly a home away from home, vacation ownership provides the space and
flexibility to suit the needs of any size family or group. While most vacation
ownership condominiums have two bedrooms and two baths, unit sizes range
from studios to three or more bedrooms. Unlike hotel rooms, there are no
charges for additional guests. Also, unlike hotels, most units include a
fully equipped kitchen with dining area, washer and dryer, linens, stereo,
televisions, VCR and more.
Timeshare resort amenities rival those of other top-rated resort properties
and may include swimming pools, tennis, Jacuzzi, golf, bicycles and exercise
facilities. Others feature boating, ski lifts, restaurants and equestrian
facilities. Most timeshare resorts offer a full schedule of on-site or nearby
sporting, recreational and social activities for adults and children. The
resorts are staffed with well-trained hospitality professionals, with many
resorts offering concierge services for assistance with visiting area attractions.
So who benefits from owning a timeshare? Well, lets start with
you. Do you like to vacation? Do you wish you could someday go on that dream
vacation, just once in your life? Have you ever had to tell your family
that this year it just was not in the budget? Ever find yourself so immersed
in your work that the years tend to slip by, always saying, Next year
well take a nice vacation? And how about that second honeymoon,
just the two of you, every year? Or how bout those kids, how
quick theyve grown! How often do you all get to take off and make
those special memories that will last a lifetime? Hey! How about just getting
the heck out of Dodge by yourself! A little personal R&R!
And finally, would you like to be able to take any vacation you want, go
anywhere you want, stay in super luxurious accommodations, and not have
to worry about the money? Guess what! This is what timesharing is all about!!
And if you answered yes to any of the above, you need to read on.
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE
So heres how it works. (Finer points coming up). You purchase your
week of timeshare. You may use your own resort each year, or you may use
a different resort in a different location each year. Your choice, each
year. Go to Disney World this summer, take off skiing in Colorado next winter,
see Paris the following spring, and watch the leaves turn in New England
in the fall. Whoaaaa
..wait a minute! You thought you had to use the
same week each and every year? Thats one of the biggest misconceptions
about timeshares. Unless you are one of the roughly 2% of timeshare owners
who wish to return to the same location each year, at the exact same time
each year, youll find yourself making
your own plans each year according to your own schedule.
So youve got your week of timeshare in say, the islands. You own
a week in March and decide you want to go someplace closer to home this
year, lets say a week down at the beach in the summer.
All you do is call your exchange company (more on that in a minute) and
tell them what youd like to do! But what are your chances of getting
that vacation youre asking for? Probably everyone else gets it but
you, right? Well, not actually. For the past eight or nine years, the exchange
companies have been able to fulfill properly processed requests 97 to 98
percent of the time!
PATRIOTISM AND TRAFFIC LIGHTS
Aha! Whats that properly processed stuff? Well, its
really nothing special, just some common sense. (Youre going to get
the feeling in just a second that all this stuff is really pretty simple,
no rocket science here). There are two major exchange companies, Resort
Condominiums International (RCI); and Interval International (II). Both
companies link timeshare resorts together world-wide. When you want to make
an exchange, you do not have to find someone who owns that beach
resort and ask them if they want to use your ski resort. You simply call
your exchange company, RCI or II, and make a request. Think of them as a
bank, youre going to make a deposit (give them your timeshare for
someone elses use this year) and make a withdrawal (take out a different
timeshare for your own use this year). If someone takes out your timeshare
later, so be it. If not, you are under no obligation. You still go on your
vacation and yours just goes unused that year. This process occurs millions
of times each year, so you can see how the rates of confirmation stay so
So that means I can take my off-season week at my beach resort and move
it to Christmas in Maui? No. Heres where that common sense comes in.
There are certain parameters involved to ensure that the system is fair.
If you own an off-season week somewhere, expect to exchange it for other
off-season weeks, not the most prime time of year at any location you choose.
To help you make smart decisions, the exchange systems publish full-color
catalogs showing the various timeshare resorts world-wide. They then color
code the various weeks of the year for each resort. RCI uses red, white
and blue (very patriotic). II uses red, yellow and green. Same designations,
just different colors of the rainbow. A red week with either RCI or II designates
a week that is highly demanded. This might be winter at a ski resort or
summer at a beach resort. A blue, or green, time is the off-season. This
would be the opposite of the above example: summer at the ski resort and
winter at the beach resort. White or yellow weeks are in between; not really
prime season and not really the dead season. Obviously off-season weeks
cost less to purchase. Prime season more.
Now heres that common sense. The exchange system works on whats
known as a value for value system. Want the best weeks at the nicest resorts
in the most sought after locations? Own something similar to exchange. Think
this way: off-season gets off-season, prime season (red weeks) get you the
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Youve heard the phrase that us real estate people use. There are
only three things that matter in real estate
Location, location, and
location. The same is true in timeshares. Now pay attention cause
this ones important. If theres one mistake we see people make
its this one: Many first-time purchasers purchase a red week thinking
that they can now exchange for any red week in the system. WRONG.
In addition to the color of the week you own (lets cut to the chase,
buy red time and forget the rest), theres another factor that makes
the system fair. You not only will exchange red for red, but also the location
you own will determine the location you get. Own a nice red week, but its
in the middle of nowhere? Dont expect to be getting London or the
Caribbean. The best locations get the best locations. Otherwise, why would
anyone in their right mind spend the bigger bucks for the really nice places
when they could buy something of lesser quality and exchange into the better
ones?! See, told you this wasnt rocket science.
TO DEED OR NOT TO DEED
THAT IS THE QUESTION
O.K., youve got the color stuff down pat. You know you want to
purchase a good location. Now-- what am I buying? Well, in a lot of cases
your timeshare will be deeded to you, similar to your home. You may also
purchase a timeshare that is a long term lease that you will have for a
fixed number of years. Each has its good points and neither one has
an outright advantage over the other. In many instances, the local custom
or laws will dictate which way you purchase. With both, you will have lots
of options. Lets say for instance that a year comes along and you
just cant use your timeshare. Now what? Well, not to worry. You can:
A) Let a friend use it B) Get greedy and rent it to your friend,
or whomever. C) Call up the exchange system and do half of an exchange
(give them the week for someone else to use, but do not request something
in return. Youll have two years to call back and get that vacation
at a more convenient time. This means you can save up, or stack vacations).
Other types of plans involve floating time vs fixed time, and fractional
membership and points. Were going to skip these last ones for now.
Theyre more minor points and were going to keep it simple here.
Call us with any questions.
So what happens when my life style changes and I dont want to vacation
anymore? HUH?? Are you nuts? No more vacations? O.K., it can happen. Now
heres one of the beautiful things about timeshares. Youve had
it for years. That one time purchase you made so long ago has paid you back
over and over again (were talking money here, not memories and fun
times. Moolah, dinero, the green stuff). Now you have something you can
leave to your kids. They now can continue enjoying the timeshare you bought
years ago. And they can leave it to their kids, and on and on. You
wanna go back and figure how much money you saved over the years? Its
mind boggling. But, you say, Let the kids fend for themselves.
I want the money". IF, IF, you bought it right in the beginning (more on
that in a minute), you now have an asset that you have owned for years that
you now can resell. So youve had all these vacations through the years,
stayed in accommodations fit for a king, and now you get your money back??
What was that IF, IF up there? And didnt I hear somewhere
that these things were hard to resell.
MOMMA DIDNT RAISE NO DUMMYS
Just as with everything else in life, there are all sorts of ways to
do things. Buying timeshares is no exception. There are two different ways
to purchase a timeshare. Direct from a resort, and a resale or close-out.
And were going to tell you the pros and cons of each.
First, the majority of people who purchase their first timeshare buy
it at a resort. Why? Because they got this letter in the mail that said,
Come look at our timeshare resort and get a free ___________ (fill
in the blank). Greed drives them to get the free whatever. They promise
each other on the way to the resort that they wont buy a thing. And
then they meet
.THE SALESMAN. And this is not just any salesman or
saleswoman, this is THE salesman. He knows hes got just 90 minutes
with you and hes gonna make it count. He does this three or four times
a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. You dont.
Now, lets be fair. There are very many good and professional sales
people working at resorts. They can be very hard working folks who are decent
and trying to earn a good living. We dont fault them for that and
we salute them as a necessary part of the timeshare industry. We know many
of them ourselves personally.
But heres the down and dirty of it. The average timeshare resort
has a marketing overhead of 50 to 60%. In laymans terms that means
this: All those free gifts are going to be paid for by someone. You. All
that staff you see, all those salespeople, all the office personnel have
to be paid by someone. Thats right, you again. So you purchase a timeshare
lets say $15,000. (You know you got a deal cause the
price was much higher. But when you couldnt afford it, they were nice
enough to find you a foreclosure. ahem). 50% marketing overhead
means that $7,500 of that $15,000 went to pay nothing but the cost of getting
all those people together to sell you that timeshare. So whats the
true value of the property? (math quiz here). Thats right! $7,500!
So! What happens when you go to resell that property later on? Can you sell
the cost of the marketing you paid for? NO! So what can you expect to get
for your timeshare? Assuming no appreciation (dont assume it, its
unless you truly bought a steal), $7,500.
YOUR NEW TOY
So you get home with your brand new shiny timeshare. Youre proud
as a peacock with a wax job and you go over to your neighbor to show it
off. What a coincidence!! Your neighbor just bought a timeshare as well!!
You show him yours and she shows you hers. (??) Anyway, you compare notes.
PeggySue now owns a timeshare at a really luxury resort with all the trimmings.
You must have spent some really big bucks for that!, you exclaim.
(You enjoy exclaiming, as opposed to just talking) PeggySue
then tells you how she found a resale for only $6,000. The original price
from the resort had been $14,000. She also shows you her one-year guarantee
that she will love her timeshare or not keep it. She asks you why youre
Yes, my friends, there are bargains and then there are bargains. Our
strong advice: buy a resale or a developer close-out. Same stuff, lower
Now we did say there were pros and cons to each. Here they are. First,
buying at a resort will give you a few niceties. You will be able to view
the resort first hand. Youll make new friends with THE SALESMAN. You
will learn what the term high pressure means. (Remember when
your mom used to cook with that pot called a pressure cooker? Well, youre
the meat.) You will receive a gift of some nature for your troubles. On
the down side, if you succumbed, you will have bought a timeshare via the
most expensive way known to mankind, and possibly the entire universe.
By buying a timeshare as a resale or a developer close-out, there are
also pros and cons. Lets be negative first. A professional resale
company will have a large variety of timeshares for you to choose from.
Thats good. They can take the time with you and discuss your vacationing
habits and what your needs are and all the different ways timeshares can
benefit you. They can make suggestions as to which timeshare resort
would be best suited to you. Did you catch something subtle here? THE SALESMAN
has only one product to sell you, his. Its going to fit you whether
you like it or not. Hell MAKE it fit! The resale company has no such
pressure. So wheres that negativity? Here it is: The only downside
is that you are probably not going to have the benefit of walking the resort
before purchasing it. Youre here, the resale company is there, the
resort is way, way over there. Yep, I know what youre thinking (We
work on the side for the Friends Physic Network). Youll just take
a ride down to that little ole resort and check it out for yourself.
Doesnt work. By the time you get back, if it was any kind of a good
bargain at all, its long gone. What was that? Then youll just
wait for the next one? Ever watch a dog chase its tail?
Now lets discuss for a moment why the above doesnt matter
anyway. Remember early on we talked about how only 2% of timeshare owners
go back to their home resort each year? That means 98% of timeshare owners
are using the exchange system each year. Meaning: the only time they may
have seen the resort they bought was when they were holding hands with THE
SALESMAN. The resort itself is nothing more than a vehicle to use the exchange
system and let them go where they want each year! In fact, ask your friend
or co-worker who owns that timeshare how often they actually go back to
their own resort! Go ahead. Well wait
. See! Told ya!
A COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
O.K., weve been good. But now for the first time were going
to just slightly mention our own particular company, Island Consulting Realty.
In over 14 years in this business, we have very, very many of our customers
who use their timeshare worldwide and have a blast with it each year. Yet
they have never ever seen the actual resort they bought! Blind faith? Nope,
we help them do their homework, give them tons on info on the resort they
are interested in, and then give them a one year guarantee. Its a
no-brainer. They take no risk.
NOW BACK TO THE SHOW ALREADY IN PROGRESS
So we told you the negative of buying a resale. Not all that bad really.
Now the positive: YOU SAVE MONEY!! Lots of it! Youll need a wheel
barrow just to get it home! But wait, theres more! Remember when we
touched on the subject of reselling the timeshare you bought? Thought we
forgot didnt you? Heres where buying a resale from a professional
resale broker comes back to help you even more later. You may have heard
that reselling a timeshare is a tough thing to do. Yes and no. If you own
junk (off-season weeks, a resort in a poor location, etc.) there is not
much of a market for it. It is a tough thing to sell. Quality sells.
A professional resale broker with your best interest in mind will keep you
away from the junk. A good red week, in a prime location thats high
in demand and properly priced will sell, and sell, and sell. (If not, our
company would have been out of business long ago). Buy quality. Buy quality.
Buy quality. Youll get the exchanges you want, youll have pride
of owning a wonderful resort, and youll have an easily salable timeshare
if you ever decide to sell it.
WHATS IT COST FOR ALL THIS ?
Boy, theres a loaded question. Timeshares
will cost anywhere from $500 to $40,000 for one week. The industry average
for all timeshares sold direct from the resorts (keep in mind: all
timeshares sold means blue weeks as well as red weeks, studio units
as well as two bedroom units) is $10,080. O.K., heres the scoop. The
junk usually hangs out in the real low end of the price range, just hoping
for someone to come along and not know any better. The $40,000 stuff is
usually something really special like the Christmas/New Years time frame
in Vail, Colorado. And, of course, you bought it right at the resort. A
professional resale broker will be able to find the bargains for you. But
as a rule of thumb, $4000 to $8,000 for a red week will generally buy you
a really nice place thats easy to exchange around for other places.
Prices go up and down, but thats the general range. Certain very prime
locations and certain resorts may command a little higher price, of course.
Youll have a maintenance fee each year. Maintenance fees cover
you for: maintenance of the grounds and common areas, interior housekeeping
such as maid service, insurance for storm damage or liability, utilities,
management, replacing furnishings and appliances every few years, replacing
broken items, and a reserve fund set up to cover the time when its
time for a new roof, etc. All of these things are necessary to ensure your
investment stays up to par. Then, if and when you go to resell it, you have
a good looking, well maintained property. One note on maintenance fees:
Some people say that this is one disadvantage of owning a timeshare. Not
so. Lets say you rent your vacation by staying at a hotel or renting
a vacation home. Are you paying for the cost of maintaining that hotel or
vacation home? Youd better believe it. Its all built into the
rent. Think of maintenance fees the same way as money you spend to maintain
your own home. Its money well spent that will come back to you. Maintenance
fees will generally run from $400 to $600 once a year, depending on the
resort you own, the amenities there and the size of the unit you are purchasing.
Also, keep in mind that with timesharing, there are no hidden hotel
taxes or occupancy taxes. These taxes alone can add $150
to $250 to the cost of your hotel bill.
If you want to belong to one of the major exchange companies, RCI or
II, theres an annual membership fee (about $100) and a fee if you
want them to make an exchange for you (about $125).
And thats it.
HOW BIG IS THIS TIMESHARE BUSINESS, ANYWAY?
Big, really big. The timeshare industry is the fastest growing segment
of the travel industry world-wide. More than three million households own
vacation intervals at nearly 4,500 resorts located in 81 countries. Vacationers
around the world are turning to vacation ownership resorts as their preferred
travel destination, with timeshare owners hailing from 174 countries. North
America remains the global leader with nearly half of all the resorts and
approximately two million owners. Europe is the second most dominant region
for vacation ownership, with approximately 22 percent of owners worldwide
and more than 1,000 resorts.
The growth rate has been explosive. For the past nine years, the number
of timeshare owners has increased an average of 16% per year. And look whos
involved: Disney, Marriott, Hyatt, Ramada Suites, Fairfield Properties,
Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (yes, you may now trade
your timeshare for a cruise!). And the list goes on and on.
Timeshare resorts are everywhere. From all over the Caribbean, the U.S.,
Mexico, Europe, The Far East, China
everywhere you can imagine.
AND WHO SHOULD I DO BUSINESS WITH?
Well now you know weve got to recommend ourselves, right? But before
we pat ourselves on the back, were going to give you the general info
you need to know to pick the right people to do business with.
First, I think you now know that you can do business with the resort
directly or you can purchase a resale. Unless you enjoy burning money, buying
a resale or resort closeout is definitely the smart way to buy.
You might find an individual selling his or her timeshare. In fact, for
people wanting to sell their timeshares, we not only offer full service
brokerage services for them but also offer them a plan where we simply help
them sell it; providing the necessary advertisement and promotion. If buying
from an individual, enlist the help of a title agency or attorney for safety.
Pick a resale broker. Now heres where you also want to be careful.
Make sure that the agent you are doing business with is licensed. In almost
all states, to sell timeshares you must have a real estate license. You
would think that any resale company would only use licensed agents, but
they dont. Working with a licensed agent is for your
protection. Call the appropriate Better Business Bureau in that state and
ask if there have been complaints.
Ask how the resale company operates. Is timesharing their only business,
or just something on the side? Do they actively participate in the industry
or watch from the sidelines? If you request information, what will they
send you? How about just general info, such as a pamphlet like the one you
are reading now? And finally, what assurances do you have that you are making
the right choice in your timeshare purchase? Is there a guarantee? If not,
THE END IS NEAR
We hope you have benefited from our work. An informed consumer
you know. If you permit us just one last little bit of your time, wed
like to tell you a little about ourselves and why we think were the
only logical choice for your timeshare purchase. PLUS! Remember those developer
close-outs we mentioned a few times? Were going to tell you
about them as well.
Island Consulting Realty is a full service real estate brokerage dealing
only in the timeshare industry. We handle resales of timeshares for
individuals as well as handle developer close-outs. So whats a developer
close-out? From time to time we are in the unique position to handle blocks
of timeshares directly from a resorts inventory. This may be a resort
that is almost sold out, and the salespeople have moved on. Or it may be
a brand new resort that wants to get the word out fast. It may be a resort
in the middle of its sales phase that wants more exposure. Whatever
the reason, we may be able to negotiate wholesale prices for blocks of weeks.
The resort has no overhead, marketing expenses or commissions on these weeks.
We can then pass on very significant savings to you, the public.
For these developer close-outs, we are very picky as to which resorts
we choose to work with. We only handle high quality resorts. We only handle
red weeks. We only market them if we can sell them at absolute steal
prices. We have had ten resorts we have helped in this manner through the
years, and are currently marketing three, one in Mexico and two in the Caribbean.
All of these can be viewed on our web site at www.TimesharesToGo.com.
For individuals, we offer a full service brokerage that is one of the
largest legitimate time share resale companies in the U.S.
Our marketing is extensive. We advertise in major newspapers, billboards,
telemarketing, direct mail, travel shows and through our own monthly newsletter,
The Timeshare Times, which is available either by mail or email.
We have been interviewed on radio and TV talk shows for our expertise
in the field of timeshares. We have given speeches to resort developer think
tanks in Washington as to the complexities of off-site marketing. We are
well known in our industry as a leader and one whos word is gold.
We want all of our customers to
be completely comfortable doing business with us. To this end, with
few exceptions, we offer the industrys only
ONE YEAR satisfaction guarantee.
You must be completely satisfied with your purchase of you dont
THATS ALL, FOLKS!!
Please feel free to call us at 1-800-809-6020 with any
questions you may have. Were going to leave you with some of the best
advertising we have
Island Consulting Inc.
10351 Saddlebow Lane, Sarasota, FL 34241
1405 Wesley Drive, Salisbury, MD 21804
Other websites: Timeshares
Florida Better Business Bureau
Copyright © 1999 by Island
All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written
permission of the publisher. And we mean it!
..extremely professional, responsive
to questions and very honest in representing the property and value for
the price. I have always gotten the exchanges I have wanted when I wanted
Annette Dayton, Annandale, VA --- has purchased 8 weeks
Good prices, good service, like
dealing with friends
Michael Barker and Annette Hatley, Colonial Beach, VA ---
has purchased 4 weeks
Every time weve had a question,
Tom has personally called back and answered to our satisfaction
Dennis and Anna Klein,
Without timeshare, we would not
make time in our busy schedules for vacations - Thanks for making us stop
and enjoy life!
Rick and Pam Fisher, Chesapeake, VA
Island Consulting people have
proven themselves to be honest and reliable. I would not recommend friends
or relatives to anyone who might not treat them right. The trust and confidence
that has grown from my dealing with Island Consulting makes them a natural
Bob Buck, Endicott, NY
--- has purchased 5 weeks
I have had several friends ask
how we got such a good deal in our purchase and have offered Island Consultings
address to any and all interested. I would recommend Island Consulting to
anyone interested Melanie Jones, Pittsburgh, PA
"Island Consulting uses a "soft" sales approach
and a remarkable one-year money-back guarantee that has helped inspire greater
Developments Magazine, March 1999