Timeshare presentation we attended at home and Interval questions
We got an offer for a timeshare presentation around the corner from our house with some nice "you might win" gift offerings. The gift we were offered ended up being a 7-day cruise which we really weren't interested in so we just passed. Anyway, we didn't attend the presentation for the gift really. I have had a lot of questions and haven't attended a presentation since I have actually been in a position to actually buy one and take it seriously. So after a long day of work, and dealing with a minor car repair, all in the same day, we ended up at our scheduled presentation time.
The place was an independent timeshare called Kings Creek Plantation in Williamsburg, VA. Living in Northern Virginia my whole life, I can't imagine Williamsburg being quite the destination they were making it out to be, but I kept an open mind. For those out of state, is Williamsburg, VA really a destination people are interested in? We were hoping it might be a nice place to take our boat for a close to home getaway. It turns out, we didn't really like the layout of the units, or the amenities on the actual resort. So I turned my focus to the points and trade opportunities. This resort offers deeded ownership, no fixed weeks, and a point system too. It was slightly confusing and I didn't feel like my questions were clearly answered. I didn't want to push the issue because I know it was a place we wouldn't be interested in buying after we saw the video.
They focused a lot on Interval, but there is something I didn't quite understand. If you deposit your week in interval and no one wants it, are you stuck using your own week? I tried to ask the 2nd salesman about it, but he just kept saying it was never a problem and not to worry about that. My thought is that we should never buy at a resort that we don't intend on going to.
I don't know if we will ever buy, as we have had great success renting from owners without the commitment. But I'm thinking in the long run, it could be worth it as long as we have no major life changes. I calculated that it would take us 7-10 years to break even on buying vs. renting. At that time what if we aren't in a position to travel...you never know, a lot can happen in 10 years. So on one hand, I like taking it year to year and renting. But there is something to be said for having a week dedicated to vacation and knowing that all we have to pay is our maintenance fee and airfare.
Tracey, I think the answers to all of your Interval questions can be found here: http://www.intervalworld.com/web/my/home We have used Interval and banked units at the Surf. One year we banked a studio lock-off, when we redeemed it a few years later they gave us a two bedroom villa. So special deals can be found using them. We have met several folks in Aruba that own somewhere in the US and trade through Interval for Aruba every year. Williamsburg is a very special place to me (I was born there a long time ago), but it is at the other end of the spectrum compared to Aruba. Isn't Jon a Bud Light guy? He would love Busch Gardens...
Thank you both for the links. I have alot of research to do. I think my gut instinct is that if we do purchase, make sure it is somewhere we want to go, and then the trading and banking will be an added bonus some years. Now I just have to build my case to convince "Mr. We'll See".
We both grew up going to Busch Gardens, Water Country, and Va Beach. The problem I had was that we are probably more in the market for a 1 bedroom and these are more family destinations where the demand would be for larger units.
Boca Catalina, Arashi Beach Manchebo Beach, Eagle Beach
Since you are a fellow Virginian, you probably know as much about Williamsburg as I do. I'm only an hour away from Williamsburg, so we usually just pop down for the day to go to Busch Gardens or the outlets. Sometimes my hubby and I will go down for a weekend and stay at a b&b. I have several friends who have timeshares at Powhatan Plantation in Williamsburg and use them every year. However, I think that those are also geared more towards families. You know how hot and humid Va. is in the summer. If I only had one week of vacation, I don't think that I would want to spend my week there. Since I don't own a timeshare, I can't speak as to how easy it would be to trade your week. We've done the math, and for us it just makes more sense to rent. If we were your age, we would probably buy a few weeks in Aruba.
Tracey, my feeling and rule is, when in doubt, don't. I've thought about timeshare in Aruba but at our age and Tom's medical issue that's where my doubt comes in. I think many enjoy their timeshares and get lots of uses out of it but my feeling is find one you would use.
Eagle Beach to relax / Malmok, Boca Catalina & Arashi for snorkeling / Carte Blanche, Senior Frog's, Zeerovers, Sopranos Piano Bar, Kuku Kanuku & The Pata Pata Bar / The weekend flee market.
We used to go to Westgate Villas years ago through a friend and kept saying no to buying timeshare. After going there for a third time, we decided since we keep coming back and loved the place so much, why don't we listen. (The boys were little then so going to Disney and the other parks down there was the place to be.) I'll try to keep this short. After sitting down and listening to the sales person we said, sorry no can do. He of course said let me get my manager. Well this went on for at least three or four hours and four or five other managers. After the dust settled, we bought prebuild at Westgate Lakes, upper floor, water view, two bedroom, red week, every other year at our price. We figured it would still be alot to pay the maintenance, Interval fee, plane tickets and spending money for every year. What we got out of it was; The unit is deeded for life, not a number of years as some were sold back then / a red week two bedroom in Orlando gave us very good trading power as the Orlando area had exploded with the likes of Universal, City Walk, etc. / We only pay maintenance every other year and can drop the Interval fee on our off year. We are happy with our week and have traded it for Aruba and ended up at The Surf and Lacabana. On our off years we just rent from someone and go one bedroom or studio. I am not familiar with how it works now with points. But the bottom line is that after many years of thinking that timeshare was a gaff, we are happy and don't feel like we got a bad deal. Maybe there are others who have had a bad experience with it but as Pegmeister said when in doubt, don't.
Chrisvec - I think that is my biggest concern, I don't think we want to spend the money it would take to give us good the good trading power, as you called it. Plus I just don't feel like I know enough about how it all works. I do like the every other year option, they tried to sell us on that.
Peg, I have thought a lot about the health issue. I mean really you just never know and as our parents age, I know there will be years we will be needed here at home.
But Hatteras as you point out, we are at an age where we hope to be able to continue to work and take a nice trip for the next 20 or more years, in which case a timeshare or two would pay off in the long term. That being said, we both agree if a timeshare ever opens somewhere in Virginia where we like to boat, we will jump on that because we currently take time off during the summer for that anyway and stay with my parents or rent a lake house.
I think with all of the unknowns we will stick to renting for now. And we definitely will only consider buying somewhere I plan to use and not have to worry about trading/banking/requesting exchanges unless we want to.
I really appreciate you all responding here, it has given us more to think about and great resources to follow up with.
My suggestions is not to buy if your instincts tell you no. I also own 2 weeks at West Gate for over 25 years. I purchased with my 2 brothers and we got the most out of it going on family trips to Disney with our wives, girlfriends etc. We purchased 2 weeks each a 2 bedroom unit which accomodates 6 to 8 people. As the years went bye, the novelty wore off and we stopped using and going to Orlando. I did get the most out of my time share exchanging thru Interval going to Cancun several times, Aruba like 8 or 10 times, Puerto Rico, Dominican Repubic, Margarita Island Venezuela even Las Vegas. I've never had a problem exchanging with Interval but I've read a lot of complaints about them which I'm not sure are true. Some Interval members claim that your chances of getting an exchange depends on the popularity and demand of your home resort. In other words, if you bank your week at Williamsburgh to exchange to go to Aruba and someone from West Gate banks their week to go to Aruba, chances are the West Gate owner might have a better chance of getting the exchange to aruba before you because its a more popular resort that is in demand so they won't have a problem with renting it or exchanging it to another member. I'm not saying this is a fact but this is what some Interval Memebers where saying and these members had timeshare in places like the poconos, williamsburgh virginia.
Now, when I first purchased my first week in West Gate, the salesperson who was a really nice man who was retired and selling timeshare part time asked us 3 basic questions to determine if we wanted to buy. 1. Do you like the unit? 2. If you own it would you use it? 3. Can you afford it? We answered yes to all 3 so we purchased.
Another advise. Are you paying cash or are you financing? I would strongly reccomend if you are buying a timeshare to pay cash for it. A lot of time share company lure people in with special deals odd and even weeks etc for such and such money but then when the papers are drawn, the finance is rediculous. Even though interest rates are rock bottom these days, find out up front what is the interest rate on financing should you decide to finance. When me and my brother's purchased our first week, we were charged a rediculous 18% interest which was never discussed. We found out when we went to sign all the paperwork. This was financed for an 8 year purchase. Then the second go around, the salesman says to us, wow you guys got really hammered the first time around i see they got you for 18%. He said he was going to see what he could do for us. He came back and said good news boys, I got that interest down for your second purchase at 14%. When we went to sign the paperwork, we found out that it was financed for 10 years. So the first week at 18% for 8 years and the second week for 14% but for 10 years of financing. They got their money either way.
So you see they play a lot of game and frankly I don't trust them but use your best judgement. They are worst then car salesman.
Also ask about maintenance fees. Some resorts have low maintaince fees but have big increases over the years.