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#72354 - 08/20/03 09:39 PM Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
Pedro1 Offline
Timeshare in Belize

There are many timeshare companies in Belize with more appearing every year, and I would like to point out the pitfalls and also the joys of owning a "piece of paradise" on Isla Bonita, and Belize in general.


Timeshare has a very poor name in tourism which is a little unfair as the majority of users enjoy what they purchased (over 80% express satisfaction).However one has to look at the resale value which is virtually non-existent on the majority of resorts, and this is shown as a yearly average of 8% of timeshare owners just do not pay their maintenance fees and the week goes back to the developer which he promptly tries to resell.

Let us look at the stages of the Sales and Marketing Program.

1. You are approached on the street and offered a gift with no strings attached to come and tour our beautiful resort-with offers of free lunch and some drinks you wander off to look at the resort.

2. You make a pact with your partner that you are just going for the gift and nothing else.

3. You meet a very pleasant knowledgeable salesperson (who may have been in Belize for a very short period of time/possibly without the legal paperwork to actually work). The first thing that will be discussed over a welcoming drink is that while being shown around the wonderful resort that you do not have any pre-conceived notions about vacation/holiday/timeshare ownership, and all the salesman wants you to do is give a "yes" or a "no" at the end of the tour(this is called breaking the pact). He/she then ensures you shake hands on this (most important in sales is to get a commitment early from your client) and he/she shows you around the resort and tells you all great things about it.

4. After the tour you all sit down (normally with the sales person sitting between you), and he starts to explain about the exchange companies, and you get to see a lot of pretty pictures of where you can go and stay (over 80 countries). It is then further explained that various destinations have a higher exchange value than others (Belize is naturally included in this list), and therefore it is almost inconceivable that you will not get the exchange that you want, and as you have to apply for three resorts it is almost 100% that you will get one of those resorts to stay in(all you have is the word of the salesperson-in reality it is almost impossible to get your preferred exchange).The salesperson will then go on to elucidate on the wonders of the island and all the great things that you get as becoming a member of this particular vacation club.Timeshare used to be sold high/medium/low seasons and also on a fixed week system i.e. week 1 would be the first week in January after the two week Xmas break(there are only 51 weeks on a timeshare calendar)-it is now sold under a floating time this means that you purchase high season you may go on holiday anytime of the year, as long as there is availability (how can everyone go on holiday at the same time?). However due to the exchange companies needing a week to register you-you are actually given a week by the resort (you just do not know which one,and this is in fact the only week that you are actually guaranteed to have a holiday)). Here the salesperson mentions the exchange/membership fees and also there is obviously a maintenance charge per week of timeshare owned (normally 400usd per week, and can go up by as much as 10% per year,but it casually said and it is implied that it is no big deal-developers survive on maintenance fees alone,and there is no guarantee that the monies are used for general upkeep)

5. You have now been at the resort for over an hour and you are having a really good time (no-one has asked for any money -yet), and you are overlooking the ocean everything is wonderful, and you really would like to know how much joining this club would cost. The salesperson does not answer this question directly and says How much do you think owning two weeks every year of paradise would cost ?.The customer has no idea but thinks it is far more than they can afford as this really is only for the rich and people who want exclusivity, and are willing to pay for it. The salesman the writes a figure down on his notepad turns it toward the customers and shuts up.

6. This is where things can change depending on the operation a) the salesperson hands over to his manager, and he then will not say another word (he is not allowed to under point of death, and even worse no commission on the sale). Everything has now changed to business, and the manager asks if the price is affordable (normally not); everything has been angled at a two week sale. Therefore the price is very high, and the customers are asked what they can afford if they answer a goodly amount they may not realize it then but they have just bought a timeshare. The same will happen if the salesperson takes you through the whole sale with the obvious changes.

7. The manager then says you can always buy one week and did the salesman not tell you that. The answer of course is no and then he writes a different price down and says if you buy today you get 25% off (have you left your brains at the airport) but this is only good for today but the normal price you can come and pay that anytime (bull).the customer then pulls out the cc and makes a deposit and is given 45 days to pay the balance through raising a loan in the U.S. but to get the 25% discount just sign this credit application form at 16% p.a. interest which can be cancelled by the resort if all monies are received within set period of time.

8. The customer then says I would like my lawyer to review the contract. The manager will give the client a letter stating that if there is anything illegal in the contract all monies will be refunded (the contact was written by a U.S. lawyer so of course there is nothing wrong with the contract).

9. You then sign a contract and you are liable for on average 10,000/20k usd which you can not get out of.

Customer problems

1. If it is not in the contract it will not happen, and does not exist (Boat rides/tours/maid service/drinks etc.).
2. Most resorts do not have their own sales teams they employ a sales and marketing team which obviously the resort is not responsible for any of their promises etc. etc.
3. The average cost of maintaining your timeshare appt.:
4. 400usd per week owned (maintenance) per year
5. 70usd Exchange membership per year
6. 125usd per week exchanged to exchange company.
7.Your new best friend (the salesperson/marketing company is very unlikely to be around next year) may have told a few untruths esp. regarding exchanges

What a Customer should ask, and understand (realizing there is no timeshare law in Belize)

1. Who owns the lands and the building (prove it)
2. How much debt is owed on the building and land.(in the U.S. it is a maximum 20% debt and 80% equity holding)
3 .How long the Sales and Marketing company been in operation
4. How many people have joined this resort
5. References from bona fide members.
6.What guarantees are there of the resort not going bankrupt (if the resort goes bankrupt you will not be allowed to remain a member of the exchange companies,and in fact no longer have a t/s)
7. The exchange companies (R.C.I. and I.I. have no financial or legal responsibilities in the running or the operation of any resort in the world).
8. It is almost impossible to resell your timeshare week.(so it is like buying a new car when you drive out of the dealership over half its value has gone,and when you crash without insurance it is valueless).
9. Guarantees from the legal owners that they will buy back your week for a guaranteed price.

Benefits of owning timeshare in Belize

You can come back every year.
It guarantees a holiday every year
You can holiday worldwide
You can leave it to your kids
A min. of four people can use the appt.
The units are generally prestigious and pristine
Locations are generally always good
You may save money in the long run
There are many other advantages of belonging to the exchange companies

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#72355 - 08/20/03 11:56 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
For a different view, see my editorial on timeshares and timeshares scum at http://www.belizefirst.com/bfjan/timeshareshome.html

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#72356 - 08/21/03 08:23 AM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
seashell Offline
Different view? confused
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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#72357 - 08/21/03 01:41 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
Anonymous
As the owner of a timeshare at Disney, I can tell you that while it's great having a beautiful place in Orlando when I travel there, there is no real benefit as far as I can see. The assessments are outrageous. And don't think for one second that exchanging is a reason to buy. I've tried for 5 years now to get a particular exchange, and I still haven't been successful. Ours is a member of RCI, which I think is the largest in the world.
Yes, there are some other perks, like a Car rental discount (which I get with about 50 other affiliations, including Books a Million!!).
Seriously, heed the warnings you are reading. At least in the States and with a name like Disney, we felt like we did have some basic rights-- not so sure you would have those in BZ.
Cheerz!

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#72358 - 08/21/03 02:08 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
beach bob Offline
Seems to me one has to be happy with that property they buy, because anyone I've ever talked to that had a timeshare, could never get the exchange they wanted. & those maintenance fees & assesments are damn expensive IMO. I've done the timeshare sales pitch a few times; some were ridiculously overpriced, & some were what I considered a pretty good deal. Hyatt did one in Key West that was IMO a fair deal, but in the end we got a nice meal out of them, not a piece of a condo smile

I have relatives that live in NJ, & have a timeshare in Kissimmee (outside Orlando, near RatLand err Disney). We went to visit them there, the property is nearly 20 years old now, but is actually run well; lots of people at the resort, their unit was well maintained, nice overall. But they've been there only a few times... Seems not a good value, but at least when they go, it's a nice experience.

ibanole, do you have a timeshare with the Disney corporation? Friends of ours got their pitch & ran it down for us, the thing that bugged me was after 50 years, Disney takes back the unit! 50 years worth of investment / mtce fees / asessments down the drain. I'm wondering if they still do it that way...

It's odd (well not really) that Orlando has all these timeshares; I can think of no other place that has so many options for hotels. Disney has over 30 hotels there now & that's barely the tip of the iceberg. A family trip to Disney is simple, get on the www & you have literally huindreds of hotel options... why complicate it w/ mtce fees / deeds / BS ? ... if something is seriously wrong w/ a hotel, you grab your bags & head down the road to the next property. OTOH at a timeshare, significant mtce issues could languish for years...

Pedro & Lan, thanks for the info smile reinforces what I feared about that biz ...

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#72359 - 08/21/03 02:32 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
Belikin Joe Offline
As the owner of a timeshare, and one who knows a few other owners, I found the key is to buy where you see yourself going EVERY year. I've heard mixed reviews on trading through the exchanges, although while in SP a few months ago I ran into a couple that traded their timeshare in Grand Cayman (or maybe it was Florida) for a week at Captain Morgans - not a bad deal in my opinion.

If one is considering buying a timeshare, I suggest they check out the secondary (resale) market. The people that originally forked out $10,000 will resale to you for $2000-5000 - maybe less!

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#72360 - 08/26/03 05:45 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
nuc Offline
That is good advice to check out the secondary market. Just for fun, after listening to the spiel and getting the gift, I went on the web and with just a little search found several resales in the same building they were trying to sell me available for less than half the price. If you want to see the salesman squirm, ask him to let you use his computer to go on the web and search for resales when he tells you how "easy" it is to resell. I bet he will suddenly discover his computer has crashed.

If you add up the total cost of owning a timeshare, it will usually be more than just reserving a nice room in a nearby hotel.

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#72361 - 08/26/03 09:56 PM Re: Timeshare advice for potential Buyers
cambriagal Offline
Somebody said the key words, there are no regulations/laws regarding timeshares in Belize, in the U.S.A. timeshares are governed by Real Estate Departments, imagine the surprise when someone I was talking to pointed to my unit and said they owned a timeshare in it. I own my unit free and clear, so they will sell whatever you want to buy. Beware.

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