Timeshare Resales are my all-time favorite travel hack! People often ask how Brian and I afford as much travel as we do. One of the ways we accomplish as much travel as we do is to own a timeshare. And we purchased a timeshare resale. That’s right! A timeshare resale, as you all roll your eyes in shock and horror at that dirty concept.  Most importantly,  let me entice you with the cliff notes:

  • We paid $207 for our timeshare resale.
  • The total cost, including closing costs, was $1,097.50
  • It is owned outright, paid cash, and has no payments.
  • I never had to sit through a presentation or visit a resort.
  • Our maintenance fees are only $425 a year.
  • Ironically, this year after fourteen years of owning, we had a special assessment for $200
  • At least twice a year, we use our timeshare and often much more.
  • You do not have to trade weeks or deposit weeks.

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Are you interested in understanding? Let me explain why buying a Timeshare Points Resale is a good idea!

Several years ago, a friend purchased a timeshare following a tour, as many do. As a result, she was promised luxury accommodation, flexible dates, and so on. She was met with the frustrating experience of not booking and could not figure out the different booking options. My friend asked me to read the paperwork and figure it out. Little did I know that we were talking about ~500 pages worth of terms and conditions. I was able to narrow it down to some key points. This is how I came to understand the process and how to maximize it. After this, and once I understood the process, our experience with timeshare began!

Back then, timeshares were sold as a week and technically still are because it’s deeded property. The old system had you locked in the same week, same unit, exact location unless you could trade that specific week with someone else. A thing of the past for most new sales and in the case of most re-sales.

Today, most people have upgraded their old fixed week to what’s known as points. For example, while you always have “that week” at the beginning of each year, choose if you want “that week,” or you can have points.  Above all, points are still the way to go unless you want “that week.” We own July 4th at Oyster Pointe, but our account is set up to take the 45K points automatically. Once you own points, knowing how to use them is critical, but I will discuss this later.

Here is an example of the one we used in Bali: Karma Royal Jimbaran

Timeshare Uses

If you own a timeshare, you can use it in various ways!

Fixed Week Owners

  • You can use it yourself – this is traditionally why people buy one – to use it.
  • Deed it to family members (list as owners), so they can make their reservations and use it without having you check them in or buy a guest certificate.
  • Leave it to family members in your will.

Note: Most timeshares will allow you to have up to 5 people listed as owners on the deed

  • You can book a week and rent the week out. Many people are not in the points system and have a fixed week to rent their week.
  • You can gift the usage. In other words, you can book a week and let friends or family members use the week.
  • You can donate your week to any charity like you would with friends or family.

Note: When renting or gifting a week to someone, not on the deed, you typically have to buy a “guest certificate” if they will be checking in without you.

  • Exchange your week for another week within your timeshare network.
  • Deposit and exchange your week through RCI or other exchange networks.
  • If you do not use it, then you can sell it. However, if you sell it and pay retail, you will lose significant money.

Points Converted Owners

The beautiful thing about points converted timeshares is that you can enjoy all the benefits of a fixed week, or you can pick points. For those who own points converted timeshares, you want all the benefits listed above and:

  • You can rent weeks with your points and then sub-lease. In other words, use your points to book a week, then “rent” this to someone else. This is a popular tactic people use when popular weeks become available. For example, Bike Week in Daytona or Spring Breaks in Mexico.
  • Use your points in exchange for cruises, airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, travel packages, and even amusement park tickets.
  • You can roll points over and borrow from upcoming years. This gives you the flexibility of having more points on hand.
  • You can renew expired points.
  • You can rent or buy additional points if you need more to cover a trip.

If you are looking to get rid of your timeshare, then you can:

  • Sell it, give it away or donate it to a charity. The key here is that you must be up to date on all fees before the sale, and the receiver must pay the maintenance fees.

It is still a real estate transaction if you are selling or giving it away! You must use a licensed broker, and you must be prepared to lose most if not all of your investment.

Timeshare Resale Buying Process

If you are looking to buy timeshare points resale, you should be looking for the maximum amount of RCI points with the least maintenance fees. You can buy them on eBay or any timeshare resale site. We purchased our timeshare on eBay. It would be best if you did not care where the timeshare is deeded (located). It could be in Tim Buck Two. What you care about is the cost per point to maintain. To compare apples to apples, you will divide the annual maintenance fee by the total number of points to calculate the yearly cost per point. How many points should you be looking for? It depends.

We have 45k per year and never needed more as there are four ways to use your timeshare, and two modes don’t require points. Before we go further, let’s look at some terminology you will need to understand. To maximize your use, you are looking for annual usage. Anything less means you will pay a yearly maintenance fee but only get your points every other year. I should stress that the approach I used focused on RCI-converted properties. There are many independent point systems like Bluegreen, Hilton, and Marriot. All allow you to trade via RCI, but the points are not apples-to-apple trades, making the comparison challenge. I have friends that own Bluegreen and Hilton. They pay way more in fees and have fewer options.

Common Terminology used in Timeshare Resale Listings

Term What you Want Comments
Use Type Points Do not buy anything that has not already been converted into points. If you do, you are essentially buying “that week,” and converting to points will cost you a pretty penny.
Usage Annual Do not buy anything other than annual.

  • Some timeshares are Triennial or Biennial.
  • Avoid anything with floating weeks or years
  • Avoid Usage = Even Years.
Week # Any It varies and does not matter. It’s the points’ value.
Season Any It varies and does not matter. It’s the points’ value.
Sleeps Any Any. Most will say how big the “deeded” unit is, but you don’t care. Again, you are after the best point deal.
Location Any It does not matter, as you spend the points wherever you choose.
Conversion Conversion/Converted Look for this: * The original owner paid about $3,000 (or another amount) to convert this ownership into RCI Points. The savings are passed onto you.
Maintenance Fees Vary Take maintenance fee / total number of points to understand the annual cost per point. Extremely important to compare apples to apples.

The RCI Timeshare Buying Process

  1. Look at timeshare resales.
  2. Calculate the annual cost per point (maintenance/points).
  3. Add up the closing costs.
  4. Asses the asking price or bid.
  5. Ask all the questions you need to before bidding or buying.
  6. Demand a title search be included (even at your cost) before you bid or buy. The last thing you want is to take on someone else’s debt.
  7. Buy!

Typical Timeshare Resale Closing Costs

Item Frequency Comments
Winning Bid or Fixed Price Once Do not buy anything that has not already been converted into points. If you do, you are essentially buying “that week”
Resort Transfer Fee Once Often includes closing costs. Some resorts charge both closing costs and a “closing cost fee.” Expect to pay ~ $200.
Title Search & Warranty Deed Once This is unusual for timeshare resales. I requested, so I was not buying someone else’s debt. It costs ~$250 and is worth it for peace of mind. I used Title Outlet, Inc. in Florida.
Any Due Maintenance Fees It might be due at purchase and will be annual after that Sometimes you will be closing right around the time maintenance fees are due. If so, you will have to pay them upfront for the upcoming year. It’s best to avoid this if you can, but it’s unlikely. Often people are trying to sell before their fees are due
RCI Transfer Fee Once ~ $98
RCI Membership Fee Annually but you must pay year one when you transfer over ~$124 (Lower if you buy three years at a time vs. one)

For current and accurate RCI costs, visit here.

Comparing Timeshare Resales Apples to Apples When Buying

Here are some examples so you can see how to compare. For these examples, let’s assume the closing costs are the same. RCI costs will be the same.  We will examine the cost per point:

  1. a) 79K annual points deeded to a resort in Branson, MO; the yearly maintenance fee is $800. Cost per point: $0.0101

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