Buy From the Developer:
Putting aside price (developer’s price Vs the secondary market) for the time being, despite what many might say there are several good reasons for both the novice and savvy timeshare ‘shopper’ to deal directly with and purchase from the timeshare developer.
First of all, when anyone, be they an existing, experienced and knowledgeable timeshare owner, a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor with an opinion (including any resale company representative) who unequivocally states: “never buy from the developer”, be forewarned: that person (or company) knows not of what they speak!
All timeshare plans are NOT and never have been equal and new resorts, projects and timeshare plans are in development and come to market all the time. Progressive timeshare developers have and will likely continue this process and trend for the foreseeable future.
Many of these newer resort (timeshare) projects have specialized inventory including suite sizes, modern day amenities, exceptional services, lifestyle themes and so on. And they can be (as has always been) extremely difficult to exchange into, be it the demand for the resort itself or its location in an extremely popular or underserved vacationing destination.
Plus in this era and going forward most of the new projects have or will have resale options, policies and procedures, etc. that may also be exclusive to the new timeshare owners and other such options, policies and procedures that may not apply to existing owners unless they upgrade to the newer provisions.
Also, dealing directly with the developer is, without question, the most convenient and safest way a consumer can acquire a timeshare interest, understand fully what they are purchasing (if the buyer reads all the documents), know their deposit and investment is protected and have full recourse including peace of mind that they made a correct decision. Those features alone are nearly priceless when investing more than a few hundred dollars!
Conversely, excluding most resale and rental companies with a physical location whereby a ‘shopper’ can walk in, sit down with a licensed and often bonded and/or insured real estate agent, most all other transactions take place online, through the mail, faxing and/or over the phone.
The latter process (online, phone, etc.) in fact can be, and often is, a primary cause of ‘buyer’ dissatisfaction if not an all out disaster. The buyer could very well lose every penny they spend purchasing that ‘discounted’ timeshare via a private or third party service or company.
That is not to say shoppers should avoid the secondary market, but even when dealing with a legitimate company that is fully insured and licensed, etc. the process can take several weeks or longer and although most of these companies have a 100% guarantee to a free and clear title, etc., the new owner is potentially subject to new or undisclosed policies, terms and conditions, etc. imposed by the developer and/or HOA (Home Owners Association) of the timeshare plan.
Another reason to deal directly with the developer is that too many companies (and private parties) on the secondary market treat all timeshare ‘plans’ pretty much the same.
Rarely do they provide a full explanation differentiating between fixed time, floating time, EOY (every other year) time, Points, Club ‘memberships’, Bonus time, RTU (Right to use) projects, fractional, Red, White and Blue ‘seasons’, all inclusive (including mandatory costs) and so forth.
And for those shoppers who are ‘tire-kickers’ there is likely not an actively-selling timeshare resort in the world whereby a consumer cannot pick up the phone, make a quick call and ask the resort for a discounted rental unit for a couple of days or a week so the renter can experience the lifestyle, etc. before they decide to become an owner.
Timeshare developers offer great rental rates all the time. They do so not because they are all nice, cozy and fuzzy folks but because they know each time they have an empty suite filled with a renter they have gained an opportunity and cost effective means to invite the renter to a sales presentation (while staying at the resort) so their representatives can outline and detail the benefits and features of becoming owners.
Dealing directly with the developer is still the best way a consumer can get what they want and need because it is only at the developer level where prospective owners can actually see the accommodations they are considering purchasing, as well as the grounds, the amenities, the upkeep, services, etc. and have all their questions answered to their (100%) satisfaction before they make a buying decision.
In the real world of owning a timeshare millions do so because they simply love the resort, the suites, the amenities and where the property is located. So instead of purchasing a similiar full ownership second home/condo in the area they’ll acquire and use sufficient ‘time’ (weeks, points, etc.) each year as a vacation home and avoid the costs, obligations and maintenance, etc. associated with full ownership.
Still other owners (buyers) are only interested in using the worldwide exchange system. Again, it is mostly at the developer level where the shopper is going to get all that information in advance by being able to actually read the ‘exchange’ company policies, prices, process and procedures (aka: a binding contract) etc. including finding out if the developer has any special internal exchange programs, a ‘Sister-Resorts’ system, etc.
New timeshare buyers (owners) won’t go wrong dealing directly with the developer. Sometimes it is also wiser to acquire the initial plan at the developer level even at a higher price than the resale market and use the system for a year or two. Then, being a savvy timeshare owner, it is quite simple to later ‘average down’ that initial investment by purchasing additional time at a reduced price on the secondary market.