Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

Forum: Sheraton Vistana Resort

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By Jessica L.

Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

Q: What is the scope of the refurbishment project? A: The project includes completely upgrading villa interiors with modern and stylish designs and furnishings that will improve comfort levels and enhance our family's vacation experience at our Home Resort. Kitchens and bathrooms will be enhanced with granite countertops, upgraded cabinets and new tile floors. The following items will be replaced or added, though this list is not all-inclusive: KITCHEN: Granite countertops, cabinets, window treatments, oven/range, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, sink and faucet, trim and paint DINING ROOM: Dining table and chairs, bar stools, carpet, chandelier, artwork and paint LIVING ROOM: Media center with 42" LCD flatscreen TV and Bose® entertainment system, queen sofa bed, lounge chair, carpet, lamp, coffee and end tables, draperies, artwork and paint MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM: 32" LCD flatscreen TV, mirrors, lighting, king-size headboard, duvet, nightstands, lamps, dresser, lounge chair, bedroom carpet, draperies, artwork, granite countertop and sink, fixtures and paint GUEST BEDROOM: 32" LCD flatscreen TV, headboards, bed coverlets, nightstand, lamp, dresser, art, window treatment and paint GUEST BATHROOM: Granite countertops, mirrors, vanity, bathtub/shower tile, lighting, fixtures and paint PATIO/BALCONY: Table and chairs Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: How was the design and style of the villas selected? A: Vacation ownership design is based upon luxurious comfort. Savvy designers tastefully utilizing layout, furniture and decorative accents to maximize living space and create a more welcoming environment for multi-generational family travel will create the final interior design. The villas will have an elegant and stylish appearance that's currently implemented in the more modern resorts in the vacation ownership industry worldwide. By elevating our standards, our Home Resort will remain a desirable vacation destination for our families year after year. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Who is the designer? A: We are currently reviewing bids from several design companies of the highest caliber that specialize in vacation ownership property refurbishment. Those companies include IGD Hospitality, refurbishment specialists with 21 years of experience in this type of work. They were the designer of choice for Vistana Lakes and Vistana's Beach Club, recipients of the ARDA Silver Award for Interior Design, which recognizes the top refurbishment projects in the vacation ownership industry. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: When will the refurbishment begin? Will I be able to make a reservation? A: The Vistana Spa refurbishment is scheduled to begin in early April 2010 and to be completed in early January 2011. The construction will cause as little inconvenience as possible to Owners and guests. No services or amenities will be affected, allowing us to relax and enjoy our stay as soon as we arrive. However, because of the massive scope of the project, Sheraton Vistana Resort cannot guarantee that a particular week or villa will be available. Should this occur, the resort will do its best to offer similar accommodations at the resort, in Orlando, or at an alternative resort destination. All Fixed Week Owners will be contacted by Starwood Vacation Ownership Owner Services regarding reservations. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: What is the cost of the renovations? Why are we being billed when we have reserves to replace items in the villas? Are we using the reserves to fund this project? A: The estimated cost of the project is $24 million and will be funded from two sources– existing replacement reserve funds, and the balance through a refurbishment fee to all Owners. The cost of the project is being distributed among the entire Vistana Spa ownership to mitigate the cost to each Owner and make the most efficient use of the reserve funds. Reserve funds that are allocated for specific items, including sofas, appliances, window treatments, bedspreads, TVs, roofs and paving, as previously established in the reserve plan, will be accessed. We will use these funds efficiently; however, items such as countertops, cabinets and bathtubs are not usually included in reserve plans as their expected useful life is equal to that of the structure. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: In the future, will the reserve funds include kitchen cabinets and countertops? A: Yes, kitchen cabinets and countertops will be part of the reserve plan going forward. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: When will the refurbishment fee be billed and when is it due? A: The fee will be billed in three separate installments. Our first invoice will be mailed in late November 2008 in conjunction with the annual maintenance fee and tax invoice, and will be due in mid-January 2009. The second will be mailed in early April 2009 and will be due in early June. The final installment will also be included with our annual maintenance and tax bill. It will be mailed in late November 2009 with a due date of mid-January 2010. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: What is the fee for annual Owners? A: The total estimated fee for our two-bedroom villas is $1,626, and it will be billed in three installments of $542 each. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: How did you arrive at the amount each Owner is billed? A: The amount is based on your percentage of ownership as established and provided in the association governing documents, and the estimated costs to complete the project. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: What is the breakdown of the cost per villa? A: The refurbishment cost for each villa will be approximately $96,200.

Kitchen*, $4,200 Dining room, $3,500 Living room, $12,800 Master bedroom/Bathroom*, $9,700 Guest bedroom/Bathroom*, $5,000 Patio/Balcony, $840 Carpentry/Granite/Millwork, $13,600 Paint/Drywall, $5,700 Tile/Carpet, $4,800 Demolition/Renovation, $15,500 Stairwell improvements, $4,000 Other/Contingency, $16,500 * These estimates are for furniture, fixtures and equipment only. Reserves will be used to offset the refurbishment cost by $13,250 per villa. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Will Starwood Vacation Ownership profit from the refurbishment? A: No, Starwood Vacation Ownership does not receive any profit from the refurbishment. In fact, the company is required to pay the refurbishment fee for any Vistana Spa villa that it owns, just like any other Owner. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Does the renovation increase the value of my villa? A: It is difficult to put a value on our refurbished villa but, typically, market conditions or supply and demand dictate the monetary value of vacation ownership villas. As your villa is upgraded with modern and stylish interior designs and appliances, and as the resort becomes a more desirable vacation destination, it is likely that there will be greater demand among vacation Owners. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: How often do refurbishment fees occur? A: Refurbishment fees can occasionally occur, but are not commonplace. In the past, we have replaced items for which replacement reserves were allocated. This is the first refurbishment that included items not in the reserve plan. A refurbishment takes into consideration the aesthetic life of furnishings, while the replacement reserves consider the useful life. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Why wasn't I given an opportunity to voice my opinion regarding the refurbishment? A: Voting on this matter and most issues associated with the management and operations of the association is solely at the discretion of your Vistana Spa Board of Directors, and we are all Owners. While your board and management company greatly value Owner feedback, it is extremely difficult to ascertain because of the sheer number of association members. The decision to proceed with this project was the result of careful, in-depth and thorough analysis and examination of every pertinent factor. The board meeting held in December 2007 represented the official culmination of approximately two years of painstaking effort, planning and discussion. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: If I choose to do so, how do I sell my villa? A: You may log on to www.ResalesMart.com to list your villa. Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Who can I contact for further queries or information? A: The Association Management team is pleased to assist you with any questions. You can reach them via email at SpaRenovation@starwoodvo.com or by telephone at the following numbers: United States, Canada, Puerto Rico 800-847-8262 407-903-4640

United Kingdom 0-800-89-5065

Mexico 001-800-847-8262

Japan 0053-113-0318 KDDI 0034-800-400-195 NTT 0044-221-233-28 ITJ 0066-338-213-35 IDC

All Other Countries 407-903-4640 Top of Page | Find Other FAQs Q: Do I have the option to make additional payments towards my annual maintenance fees (assessment)? A: Yes, you have the option to build a credit balance towards your

Avatar for Jessica L. Jessica L.

10 years ago
May 28, 2009

By Jessica L.

I found some useful info at mystarcentral.com. I copied and pasted it for all to see!

Avatar for Jessica L. Jessica L.

10 years ago
May 28, 2009

By Bonnie A.

I emailed Starwood to advise them that my unit was sold and that the new owner would pay the refurbishment costs and this is what I got back.. There are no benefits owning here at all and I own 4 of them!

Once documentation is received evidencing conveyance of the interest or transfer of title, your name will be removed from this account and you will no longer be subject to collection efforts. Your name will not be removed until this documentation is received. "

Wow for all the maintence fees and refurbishment costs that I have paid they give you no grace period at all!!!! Don't ever buy new from them you will be wasting your money . Just to the presentation and get the free gift.. Only buy resale .

Avatar for Bonnie A. Bonnie A.

10 years ago
May 28, 2009

By Linda U.

i have own 2 weeks since 1988 i was made redunant in jan just surviving is a nightmare so there is no way on this earth i can afford the maintainane fees let alone the renovation fees so if i walk away from it i understand it will affect my credit is this true? it really is not fair because after all thats happenend i have managed to keep my credit intact and now vistana are going to ruin it what do i do??????????????

Avatar for Linda U. Linda U.

10 years ago
Jun 11, 2009

By Bonnie A.

I don't know the answer to that one. All I know is that they will make your life and credit horrible if you don't pay them. The replies I have been getting from them are not supportive in any way and I hope people read these forums to see what is being done to all of us with these fees . It is a shame that with the economy the way it is that more grace time has not been granted in this situation. Good Luck!

Avatar for Bonnie A. Bonnie A.

10 years ago
Jun 11, 2009

By John M.

I am curious to see if somebody is going to do what you Americans do best.... and form an action group and seek legal advise. There is a lot of unhappy people here. me included. I have declined to pay Vistana any money this year, not even the maintenance fee. Kind regards John M (UK)

Avatar for John M. John M.

10 years ago
Jun 12, 2009

By Hazel M.

We are just totally disgusted with Vistana and it would be great if all owners could get together and protest about this. We are just not paying this refurbishment fee as requests for money for refurbishment will not stip here. Next year it could be a few thousand for a roof or whatever. We have owned in the Courts since 1981 and paid our maintenance every year since without delay. We live in Scotland and I have even suggested to Vistana that we may go national regarding this perhaps in the papers or on TV. I think this is the only way. if they are collecting 400,000 dollars per house per year why on earth they cannot pay for a refurbishment is beyond belief. I look forward to hearing from as many members as possible.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

10 years ago
Jun 21, 2009

By John M.

Thanks for your input Hazel. We are also disgusted with Vistana. We have also owned for a similar period and live in the UK. We are pinning our hopes that a Vistana owner from Florida will take the initiative and seek legal advice. Then we can all exchange contact information and speak with one voice through a legal representative. I also think that if we do not stand up to the management company at this time, then we will regret it at a later date.

Avatar for John M. John M.

10 years ago
Jun 22, 2009

By Hazel M.

We are so glad to hear from someone else in the UK as my sister in the Uk also owns at Vistana. We must all keep in touch and do what we can to stop this. info@morrisonsholidayhomes.com www.morrisonsholidayhomes.com

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

10 years ago
Jun 22, 2009

By Hazel M.

Important Update Affecting Resale Purchasers

I would support a Media presence regarding this. We have owned since 1981 in The Courts and are appalled at the way we have been treated. Lets stick together with this issue.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

10 years ago
Jun 22, 2009

By Hazel M.

My husband and I have owned in the Courts since 1981 and we have scrutinised our Titles and all forms we signed and nothing on them points to us have to pay a refurbishment fee as well as maintenance. We have paid the maintenance faithfully every year on time. We were just disgusted to learn of this refurbishment fee and have no intentions of paying this because we feel this will only be the beginning and if we pay it they could ask for what they like in the future. I have also pointed out to Vistana that no one gets a refurbishment done to their home without a solid estimate first but it seems Vistana are not doing this because I think they must be waiting to see how many people pay up and if a lot of people do not pay they may charge the stupid people who have decided to pay. We live in Scotland and I note you are writing to the Attny of Florida so we would give you every support in this. We do not have an address for this person but if you can help with this we would be delighted to write to them. We cannot let Vistana away with this as I know many people will not be able to pay this in this economic climate. One timeshare help site I contacted in the U.S.A. suggested that this was another way of Vistana making money as they are unable to sell timeshare at the present time. I do not think this is far wrong. I even suggested to Vistana Assoc. that we may try and go National in the newspapaers of TV so if you have any ideas we would be delighted to take part.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

10 years ago
Jun 22, 2009

By Laurie S.

I totally share the oppinions of these last posters.. I too have owned since 1981.. and I am sick and tired of "MONEY PEOPLE" making decisions that cost the rest of us money that we can't and won't afford. I agree,, if I want to redo my home.. I shop for the best value.. but these people aren't spending their own money,,, they are spending what they can get of ours. Alas .. they dont' care what it costs. I have always loved vistana for it's florida look. They want to make it into something that doesn't even resemble Florida. WHY?? Because with their Upscale lifestyles, this is what THEY like in their homes. Well I for one don't need Granite countertops and all the fancy EXPENSIVE decorations, when I am on vacation. The units were beautiful.. yes they need to be updated, but that is what our maintainence fees are paid for. And I say,, they need to it within That budget.. just as we do. Granite requires a LOT of maintainence,,, and is NOT trouble free.. it can be damaged very easily.. And what is wrong with the walls and room layouts, so that they are going to be moving them and taking out the pocket doors etc. That's just a waist of MONEY.And I am Really sorry that our super SPOILED society of vacationers require 35inch plasma TV 's in all the rooms..$$$ If you want to sit and watch TV ... why would you come all the way to Fl to do it..Just another example of Wasting someone else's money. Just some DESIGNER'S idea on how to get more money for doing a job that could be done just as efficiently to acheive a nice unit for half the cost. WAKE UP AND SMELL the COFFEE.... WE DON'T ALL HAVE TO HAVE THE BEST!! Clean and nice and well appointed is fine for most of us. These renovation plans are OVER the TOP... and unneeded. !! Sorry folks,, but read some of the previous postings.. the Attorney General wants NOTHING to do with Timeshares at all. There are some avenues to go offered in one of the earlier postings.. but I don't know how much that will do either. I do believe you're right.. perhaps a class action suit is needed. Someone has to bring them in to the Real world of the Majority Timeshare owners.

Avatar for Laurie S. Laurie S.

10 years ago
Jun 22, 2009

By Bonnie A.

All I can say is I think we are all fighting a loosing battle with the resort. The refurbishment project bills went out in 2007 and its now 2009 and we have not won this fight. All the owners have either paid the fees due to nasty final notices or they have been put into collections. In regards to the type of upgrades I do understand that we may not need granite and plasma TV's but they have to keep up with the other new resorts being built and timeshares sold. Take a look at the Sheraton resales there are a million of them at every cost. I for one just sold one of my Courts for $100 so even if we sell them due to our frustrations another owner buys in so either way they get the refurbishment costs paid so it doesn't matter. At one point I had the Courts bills (start date 2010) and 2 Cascades bills (start date mid 2009) I would not have even had any of these paid before my January regular bills come in and I own 5 units so do the math. They make there money no matter what whether we pay and go or whether we sell and someone else gets in to the resort as new owners. I am not sure if anyone agrees with me but we have to pay these costs or they will take you to collections.I don't think you have any choice in the matter but good luck to all who feel they might. Sheraton has to keep up with the other resorts if you have ever stayed at the Hilton -International you will see what I mean the units are beyond gorgeous and when you read reviews to most people thats important and they love that elegance on a holiday. The Sheraton wants there 5 star rating back and the prior reviews did not give them this so that had to do a complete makeover to get it and we were the ones that are responsible to pay. They did give us prior notice to all the costs in advance which gave the option for us to sell if we were not pleased.. Honestly you can pick up weeks at Sheraton through any website less than your maintence fees so why own 2.. or as long as you own one unit and are a member of RCI or II you can also get units you will not have to own more than 1 at a time.. so sell off your other annual units and just rent its less money and you won't have to pay for the refurbishment costs.. by the time you pay your Mf's-Ref F's and exchange fee you are over what you can rent for or get an extra week with RCI on extra vacations or II Getaways. Good luck to all!

Last edit by bonniea16 on Jun 23, 2009 06:01 AM.

Avatar for Bonnie A. Bonnie A.

10 years ago
Jun 23, 2009

By Hazel M.

I have read the article from one person who has 5 weeks at Vistana and they are happy to pay refurbishment - IS THIS PERHAPS ONE OF THE VISTANA ASSOCIATION MANAGERS WRITING THIS AS i cannot believe anyone would agree to pay for this refurbishment

Last edit by hazelm19 on Jun 24, 2009 09:47 AM.

Avatar for Hazel M. Hazel M.

10 years ago
Jun 24, 2009

By Linda U.

thats just what i was thinking when i read it

Avatar for Linda U. Linda U.

10 years ago
Jun 24, 2009

By Bonnie A.

I am not a manager. I live in Niagara Falls Canada and am not happy that I have to pay them at all but I don't really think we have a choice. After 2 years of trying to fight this we just have not won this battle. They WILL take your week away..and they WILL take us to collections and ruin our credit if that happens. I actually spoke to an employee at Starwood on this and they were not sympathetic at all and basically said it has to be paid . So what else are we to do. I have 3 weeks left there and 2 of them have refurbishment fees that I am just not by choice going to send my fees. I have exchanged for Christmas and don't want to get to Ft lauderdale with my children and find out I have had the week pulled by not paying .. Trust me I have no more interest in paying for these than anyone else but I don't have a choice . Please I have no affiliation with the Vistana at all and am so upset with this that I will most likely exchange and not go back there and go somewhere else or sell them but will wait until I can get at least what I paid for them . My apologies if anyone thought I was working for Sheraton . I am just a simple mom wanting to go on a holiday at a reasonable cost but so far its costing me a fortune to enjoy this resort!! Take CAre

Avatar for Bonnie A. Bonnie A.

10 years ago
Jun 24, 2009

Message deleted.

By Shirley C.

Someone keeps mentioning that this has been going on for 2 years. I just heard of it when I received my bill THIS year 2009. I basically had a few months to come up with $3000 (2 weeks in Cascades). With a cut in salary and a child with health issues not covered by insurance, I don't have an additional 3k plus my maintenance of 1700. My budget was the normal payments.

Starwood is not in touch with reality. When I mentioned the reality of economic times, the Starwood rep said the board approved this in 2007 and had no way of knowing things would get bad. So what!!! Many companies have changed their plans due to current situations.

These folks have hurt my credit and made it difficult for me to get a college loan for my daughters.

This organization is scum. The state of Florida has a reputation as being anti-consumer. They have earned it.

Does anyone know why we get charged property tax one year and the next year are credited back 3/4 of the property tax? I've lived in my home for 30 years and I have never had my property tax credited back even once. With Vistana it has happened every year.

Avatar for Shirley C. Shirley C.

9 years ago
Jul 03, 2009

By Jeffrey C.

To my fellow disgruntled owners, This past thursday I sat down with a lawyer for 1hr( which was quite pricey I might add) and went over our options with this refurbishment and sadly it cost $175.00 to find out that there are really none. Which I guess we all knew anyways. Bottom line was that we elect our board and they have our best interests at heart (oh REALLY!!!!!!!) as well as our vote to do anything they want. So next time they run you can vote them out for I am almost all done with this place. I have decided I will let them foreclose on my unit and be done with it. Good Luck to you all!!!!!

Avatar for Jeffrey C. Jeffrey C.

9 years ago
Jul 04, 2009

By John M.

Thanks for seeking legal advice Jeffrey. I was hoping somone would. (I can't because I am in the UK). I too have decided to foreclose on my unit. I am waiting to see what happens next. Can I simply 'walk away' I don't owe any money on the unit? It's a good suggestion to vote the management company out.

Avatar for John M. John M.

9 years ago
Jul 04, 2009

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