Ask RedWeek / January, 2015

Should I buy a timeshare from a friend that isn't perfect?

A friend wants to sell me his Hyatt timeshare deed - he tells me it's worth 1270 points annually. Unfortunately, if I were to purchase, I would need to double up and use the points for trading to a more convenient time until my kids go to college. What is the reasonable value of this timeshare and should I do it?

Thanks for the good question! Our writer and multiple-week timeshare owner, Jeff Weir, has this advice to share:

  1. If this is a timeshare you'd like to use repeatedly, then maybe it's a good purchase (but that depends on price and maintenance fees). But, if you have no intention of using it in the near future, forget it. In all likelihood, you can buy this very same timeshare for the same price or lower several years from now, because the resale market in general is flat.
  2. Call Hyatt to double-check the annual point value and maintenance fees. Find out what and where you could go within the Hyatt system, for the same points.
  3. Hyatt's timeshare villas are, in general, very high value, high class resorts. As long as you are buying into that network, you'll have many nice places to visit. Suggest you check out the Hyatt-branded resorts that fit within this network so you're aware of other places you can use your points to visit.
  4. Don't use trade value as a reason to buy a timeshare. Only buy a timeshare on the secondary market if you really like the resort and plan to go there repeatedly. Buying a timeshare for points or future trade value is a huge mistake.
  5. Be aware that Hyatt may buy back the week from your friend even after he tries to sell it to you. Hyatt may have a Right of First Refusal on this timeshare, which would enable them to legally buy the timeshare back from the original owner during your escrow to buy it. That ROFR is common in the industry.
  6. Buying a timeshare from a friend could be a great way to end a friendship. If he wants out, then maybe it's not a good deal for you, either. Find out as much as possible about how he has used the unit, and why he intends to sell.
  7. Reasonable value depends upon who is talking: call Hyatt and find out what it would cost to buy the very same timeshare from them. Then call Hyatt's resale department and find out if they are selling any of these very same timeshares at the resort, and what they cost (there may be a huge difference with many strings attached on usage). Also suggest you call a timeshare realtor in Florida (and we can recommend reputable ones with long experience in timeshares) and ask them the same questions about price. Finally, price out this timeshare on RedWeek.com to see what real owners are trying to sell it for now. Hyatt is a great timeshare brand, but Florida is flooded with timeshares. So, no matter what your friend may ask for his timeshare, any price above $5k is probably too much.

Janet Erimie, one of our full-service resale brokers looked at your specific week and resort and said the week you're inquiring about should be bronze season which would have 1,300 points annually. If this is the case, a similar timeshare recently went for $1,700.

Check out Hyatt's resort offerings and available resales on our Hyatt resort directory page. You can compare prices for the same week you are being offered, to determine the value, but should also look at the offerings for your more ideal weeks -- if you can get a deeded timeshare that suits you better, you will be happier with your purchase in the long-run.

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