Buying & Selling a timeshare on eBay, 2011 Guide

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Buying & Selling a timeshare on eBay, 2011 Guide

A few years ago, I posted the original guide for buying & selling timeshares on eBay. Since then, over 14,000 eBay users have viewed the guide and hopefully gained a little more knowledge about the types of timeshare available and the type of product best suited to them.

Much of the basics in this guide are the same as before, however, the timeshare market place, like every other industry, has evolved somewhat to suit the ever changing demands of holidaymakers. The more popular types of timeshare options are covered in this guide:

I must once again point out that I do work for a timeshare re-sale company, but the views expressed in this guide are simply to point you in the right direction, as we actually offer all of these options, and gain nothing from “persuading” consumers to buy a particular type.

Fixed Week Option

If you need School Holiday weeks, a fixed week is generally the best product to purchase, not only does it provide you with particular set dates each year, it also gives you the exchange power required to use a similar period of time at another resort via an exchange organisation (see further down the guide for exchanges).

For England the usual Summer School Holiday period is from week 29 to 34, for Scotland it can be earlier, starting in week 27, so it is best to make sure of the dates before taking a fixed week option.

Another benefit of a fixed week is that you usually have a specific unit number, although many resorts these days will allocate a unit on arrival, or on request.

Floating Week Option

If those that love a specific resort but simply have no ties when it comes to dates, a floating week is an ideal option. Maybe one year you fancy an early holiday, maybe next year you want to take the grand children away, the option is yours.

Season Specific Floating Week Options

Many resorts these days offer a season specific floating week option. By this I mean certain weeks/months of the year will be available to some, and not to others depending on the season purchased.

I have selected a very popular developer as an example:

Resort: Marriott’s Vacation Club: St.Kitts Beach Club
Seasons available: Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus-Holiday, Platinum Plus New Year’s Day & Platinum Plus-President’s Day

For 2012 the weeks available are:

Silver: Weeks 36-44 (any one week within these week numbers)
Gold: Weeks 18-35 and Weeks 45-50

Platinum: Weeks 1-6 & Weeks 8-17
Platinum Plus-Holiday: Week 51
Platinum Plus-New Year’s Day: Week 52
Platinum Plus-President’s Day: Week 7

To sum up, if the dates you wish to travel each year, fall between weeks 36-44, then you should purchase a Silver week. If you purchase a Silver week you will not have use of the Gold season weeks. (Exception detailed in exchange companies).

Other developers can offer all year round flexibility, but restrict only very high demand weeks. An example would be Club Monte Anfi in Gran Canaria, who restrict only weeks 51/52 but all other weeks are open.

TIP: When buying a floating week; request a calendar to accompany any documentation/details, to ensure the week you are buying is correct.

Points Option

There are many different points options available in timeshare, each of them offering different destinations and products that are exclusive to owners. Popular types include:

Club La Costa Points
Diamond Resorts International
RCI Points
Infinity Points

The important thing to remember with any points based system is that the quantity you own, directly impacts the resorts and weeks/seasons available to you. It also has a direct impact on the size of accommodation available.

The higher the demand, the more points will be required to book. The bigger the accommodation, the more points will be required to book. The better the resort, the more points will be required to book....I think you get the picture!

Those who take many holidays each year and those who prefer total flexibility when it comes to destinations would do well to own a point based product.

With RCI Points, it may be possible to “cede” your fixed timeshare ownership into points, if you wish to do this then further advice is available (just ask).

Annual Management or “Maintenance fee”

Each timeshare option, whether Fixed, Floating or Points, has its own annual fee to pay, this varies greatly. There are numerous factors to consider such as country, size of unit, developer, cost of living/employment, overall size of the complex and more. For anyone looking to purchase a timeshare option, it is important that you are aware of the most recent fee paid, as it will be slightly higher next year in most cases.
Some floating weeks may charge a small fee when securing your week, some points systems may also use a similar method on top of a set annual fee.
Most points based timesharing product will charge an annual fee “per point” so those who own a higher level will invariably pay more.

It is usually the case that the management or maintenance fee is LESS than the cost of renting a week within the same period as your specific resort. Although some resorts are seen to offer bargain weeks at a lower rate, it may just be a promotion to attract new purchasers.

Re-sale Restrictions

Some developers may impose restrictions on re-sale purchases. A fine example of such is that Marriott Rewards Points are not available for re-sale purchases. It is important to know what restrictions are in place before purchasing. On our listings, you can see clearly any restrictions that are known, however, if none are listed, we will ensure we confirm this with the resort before transferring ownership.

Exchanges

Timeshare owners are able to “exchange” their weeks with other timeshare owners. This is usually completed via an exchange company. An exchange is almost like a “swap” for one year.

There are three main exchange companies to take note of;

RCI, Interval International and Dial an Exchange

A fee is usually payable when exchanging your weeks.

Most exchange companies also offer “bonus weeks” or “getaway weeks” where an exchange is not required and you can simply pay a small fee for use of a timeshare week.

TIPS FOR BUYERS:

When purchasing a timeshare on eBay, it is important to check-out the company or person offering you the week. There are governing bodies in place for re-sale companies and re-sale companies can (by mutual agreement) help transfer timeshare weeks for private transactions to ensure the correct method is used in accordance with applicable laws.

TIPS FOR SELLERS:

If you are privately selling your timeshare week on eBay, it may be worth contacting a resale company before hand to arrange help should your item sell. This way, you can advertise the fact you are using a professional service and buyers can contact the company for piece of mind.

As always, should any consumer have any questions or concerns please feel free to “ask seller a question” via any of our listings.

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