Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marriott Crystal Shores Timeshares Status


Marriott Crystal Shores, an upscale, oceanfront timeshare resort on Marco Island, Florida is still is operating as usual, though they have temporarily suspended their sales and marketing efforts of the timeshare units. As many as 36 employees in sales and marketing were thought to have lost their jobs. Marriott Crystal Shores has cited that the status of the economy is what lead to the impact of retail sales efforts. The property just opened for guests and timeshare owners in March 2009.

"The property is fantastic and a lot of owners and visitors are there now enjoying it," said Edward Kinney, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Brand Awareness for Marriott Vacation Club International. "Our management and associates at this beachfront resort will continue to deliver the vacation experiences our owners and guests have come to expect from Marriott Vacation Club."

The economy is not slowing expansion plans, though. The resort currently has 71 villas and will have 219 when complete, including some larger three-bedroom penthouse suites. The timeshare resort is perfect for the traveler who wants the same luxury found at other Marco Island beachfront properties, but who also wants more space. Crystal Shores timeshare ownership really appeals to those considering buying a second home and with a timeshare, travelers get a completely different vacation experience filled with resort amenities. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the 20-foot-wide beach access for the resort will include a foot shower area for the comfort of their guests.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last Minute Timeshare Exchanges

If you’re planning a last minute vacation any time from August 1st through Oct 2nd, check out these last minute timeshare exchanges available on RedWeek.com. Right now, we’ve got weeks available in: Florida, Colorado, Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Dominican Republic, Sint Maartin, Mexico, Hawaii, California, Arkansas, Idaho, Bermuda, Missouri, Georgia, New Hampshire, Bahamas, Vermont, Nevada, Virginia, and some are up to 73% off the usual price! These vacation rentals are priced to move, so, if you were thinking about exchanging your week and want to take advantage of these great last minute deals that MUST be used within the next 90 days, now is the time to act.

To get a free evaluation of your timeshare week, just visit RedWeek.com.
Just tell us what timeshare week you have to exchange, and we will send you an offer for RedWeek Exchange Points within 24 hours, or the next business day, with no obligation for you to deposit. After you receive our offer, you can decide whether or not you would like to accept it and deposit your week.
Please note that your week must be:
  • A full week (7 nights)
  • Not committed to another exchange company or individual
  • At least 90 days away from today’s date
Here’s the hottest deal! 73% off the usual price (was 1,534 points, now 399!):

4 Seasons at Desert Breezes Resort
If you’re looking for a trip to Palm Desert, California you’ll enjoy the beautiful grounds and swaying palm trees at Desert Breezes Resort. Situated at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains with a view of a reflective lake, these Mediterranean style villas offer ten buildings with studio, one-, and two-bedroom timeshare accommodations and are fully equipped with kitchens and cozy furnishings.

With five tennis courts, two pools and whirlpools, a TV room, game room, putting greens, an exercise room, gas barbecues, and video rentals, you’ll never tire of things to do at the resort. Nearby you’ll find spectacular desert plants and animals at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, designed to entertain and educate visitors.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Who’s Got the Best Price? RedWeek.com Timeshare vs. Travel Web Sites

Finally we’ve answered the burning question vacation travelers want to know. Who’s got the best price on accommodations? Is it RedWeek.com, with its list of almost 5,000 timeshare resorts available for rent worldwide, or an online travel Web site like Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity? We decided it was time to take a hard look, compare prices, and find out once and for all. On May 15, 2009 we conducted research on a 7-night stay in a 1 or 2-bedroom condo listed on RedWeek.com and compared it to the exact same (or similar) resort at Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity. You might be surprised at the results we found.

We looked at four top travel destinations and these are the prices we found, per night, for a 7 night stay:

Orlando:
Expedia $159, Orbitz $159, Priceline $186, Travelocity $159, RedWeek.com $86

Las Vegas:
Expedia $106, Orbitz $79, Priceline $113, Travelocity $127, RedWeek.com $75

Cancun:
Expedia $231, Orbitz $230, Priceline $294, Travelocity $247, RedWeek.com $141

Maui:
Expedia $430, Orbitz $450, Priceline $430, Travelocity $430, RedWeek.com $214
Click here to see the comparison chart.

In every case, RedWeek.com’s timeshare rental was the lowest price for room accommodations! And, what’s great about renting a timeshare is that the space is so much larger than a traditional hotel room, which is ideal when traveling with children. You can even save more money when you cook meals in your timeshare because most have a full kitchen and dining room. You can even pack lighter by washing clothes while you are there because washer and dryers are almost always standard.

On your next vacation, plan ahead and check out the beautiful timeshare resorts available for rent at RedWeek.com. You’ll be glad you did.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tax Aspects for Timeshare Rental

If you’re a timeshare owner that’s decided to rent out their timeshare resort, you may be wondering about tax implications. What should do you about reporting the income you receive from the rental? What about deductions or loses? How do I calculate depreciation? Do I use Schedule E when filing? Here are answers to those questions and some suggestions on how to handle your timeshare tax situation from David H. McClintock, CPA.

  • Reporting Income
    In almost every situation, you are required to report the income you receive from renting your timeshare on your tax return. The income should be reported on schedule E and can be offset by allowable deductions.


  • Deductions
    The most frequent deductions that are allowed regarding rental income would include: your annual maintenance fee, any advertising to offer the property for rent, rental commission, depreciation, property taxes (if you pay them separately from the maintenance fees) and interest expense on your timeshare loan.


  • Depreciation
    To calculate depreciation, you should take 3.485% (based on an IRS table) of the amount you paid for your timeshare as a depreciation expense in the first year. However, if you have previously used your timeshare for personal purposes (including an exchange or use by friends or family), you must base your depreciation on current the value (or resale value) as of the date you started using it as a rental. Again, you would calculate the depreciation at 3.485% of that amount.


  • Loses
    If you incur any losses from renting your timeshare (ie. Expenses exceeding the rental income), that typically is not considered a tax deduction. You should direct your tax advisor to Section 1.469-1T(e)(3)(ii)(A) of the Temporary Income Tax Regulations or IRS Letter Ruling #9505002, which gives explains the IRS position on this issue.

This article does not cover every situation associated with renting your timeshare and these suggestions may not apply to your circumstances. You should always consult your own tax advisor.

For more information on taxes and timeshares, see our previous articles:
Tax Deductions for Timeshare Owners
Should You Donate Your Timeshare to Charity

Friday, July 17, 2009

Voice Your Opinion in the Timeshare Forums

We are now living in the age of User Generated Content (UGC) on the internet. A multitude of Blogs and Web sites exist online for people to discuss any topic of their choosing, with anyone, at any time of day, worldwide! Isn’t the internet amazing? Online social networking is really taking hold and for those of you passionate about your timeshare ownership, you can discuss and share that love with others in the RedWeek.com time share forums. With seven Timeshare Discussion Forum topics to choose from and individual forums available just focused on the resort you own, there is no limit to the conversations you can start, or take part in. Maybe you want to talk about: timeshare points and exchanges; buying, selling or renting your timeshare; timeshare companies and developers; or you have travel tips and advice to share. Get involved, help others and have fun.

Let’s say you love the forums, but, long for a way to really tell your story about what timeshare ownership has meant to you and your family over the years. Consider writing a Blog about your travel experiences. A Blog is a “web log” that tells your story about a certain topic, say for example, your timeshare vacations. Blogs are a fun and exciting way to post your story to the world publicly, or to keep a private diary of your experiences and in this example, writing about your travels to a variety of timeshare resorts would make for some fun reading for your family, friends and other travelers browsing the internet. And, if you didn’t know it, blogs are free to create and easy to manage. Just try Wordpress.com or Blogger.com to get started. Once you’re up and running, don’t forget to blog about your timeshare vacations (and even how RedWeek.com was a great resource for finding that perfect resort!)

See this link for a past article about the RedWeek.com Timeshare Forums.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Involved with Your Timeshare Board

You’re a timeshare owner and you want your property to run smoothly and be managed well so it doesn’t cost you extra money, right? Why not get involved in your timeshare board? This doesn't have to take a lot of your time. You can start very simply by reading the newsletters, and attending a few board meetings, (at least the Owner’s General Meeting). Meeting other owners will help you learn a lot about what’s going on with your property. Find out who is on the board. When you meet the board members, be prepared with a list of questions for more insight on what’s going on with your resort: How do they see the future of your property? Is the budget being met? Who would they like to see on the board? After your discussion ask yourself: Would you hire these people to run your own business? If not, maybe it’s time you run yourself.

Most states require that toward the end of the initial selling phase of a timeshare resort the property should become self-governing and pull away from the developers. From an owner perspective, this is a good thing. You want the day to day operations of your resort to be under the power of a board that you vote in, not one chosen by the developer. The problem arises when the owners do not take over control of their property and vote that a management company be in charge instead. The chance that a management company-controlled board will "do the right thing" for you is rare. They will do what is in their own best interest. If a professional property manager is a part of your management team, you are normally better off. At least you have a potential check and balance system in place. Although that manager must report to the board, he can answer your questions directly and is likely to notify you if there are any problems.

If you currently do not know who is in charge of your association, it’s time to find out. If the resort has been running smoothly and most everyone on the board is pleased, when voting time comes around, you may want to keep most of those who currently hold seats. Most associations do have a wealth of talent with a resource of professional and business people on the board. Term limits are always a good idea, even in a stabilized environment with a permanent property manager. Again, if you have the time and background, you should consider becoming a board member yourself. Don't just assume that everything is fine, protect your investment. You will gain insight into your property and you can make a difference that can translate into cost savings for all owners.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Timeshare Pros and Cons

At RedWeek.com, we are in the timeshare business and of course find value in them. In an effort to make consumer more aware of how timeshares work, we have created this list outlining both the pros and cons of timeshare ownership. After reviewing it, you should be able to determine if timeshare ownership is right for you and works well with your lifestyle.

PROS:
  • Long-term Savings
    You pay a one time purchase fee that entitles you to a week every year at a resort. Instead of renting your vacations, you now own them.

  • Home-like Accommodations
    Most timeshare units have floor plans that resemble condos, with an additional sleeper sofa in the living room area, allowing plenty of room for families. Timeshares come stocked with kitchen utensils, dishes, silverware, and laundry amenities that make your vacation more convenient and affordable.

  • Exchange Options
    Exchange is consistently a top reason people buy into timeshare because you can exchange the week you bought for another resort worldwide.

  • Deeded Properties
    Some timeshares are "deeded", which means you are buying real property. You can give it away, will it to your heirs, rent it or sell it as you wish. Not all properties offer this, check with the seller.

  • Guaranteed Vacations
    Americans are notorious for giving up vacation time. When you buy a timeshare, you're making a significant upfront investment and may be more motivated to take time off.

  • Flexibility
    If you cannot use your vacation week one year, you can bank it with exchange, or rent it out. Fees do apply.

  • Cheaper Than A Vacation Home
    Why keep an expensive vacation home that sits vacant during the time you're not there? Timeshares come fully furnished and stocked with appliances and cooking utensils, plates, glasses, cups, and silverware. Plus, you have access to amenities such as gyms, pools, spas, on-site restaurants and bars, tennis courts, child care and activities, golf, and so on.

CONS:
  • Bad Rap
    Some people feel timeshare ownership is unethical and can be a scam, due to hard sales pitches and sneaky techniques by salesmen. Things have changed in recent years as most major companies are now committed to standards of ethics.

  • Same Resort Each Year
    Some people prefer to decide when and where to go each year, in the more traditional methods of travel planning. If you own a week and want to exchange for another resort, your first choice might not be available, depending on the value of the week you own and fees apply to conduct the exchange.

  • Cost vs. Benefit
    Timeshares are valuable in the long-run, but you have to put your money into it up front. If you need to finance the property, you will be paying interest, which needs to be worked in to your calculations to decide the cost versus benefit in your particular situation. A timeshare should not be considered a money-making investment.

  • Reselling
    If you ever needed to resell, there may not be a buyer waiting at the time you are ready to sell. In addition, some developers include clauses into timeshare purchase contracts that may restrict your ability to sell on your own.

  • After Purchase Fees
    In addition to the price you paid for the property, you’ll also have to pay maintenance fees cover the grounds and housekeeping services, utilities, insurance, on-site management, facilities upkeep, etc….
    Assessment fees happen in special cases where something at the resort needs to be fixed, and the cost exceeds the maintenance fee reserves.
If you have never been to a timeshare resort before, browse RedWeek.com and rent a timeshare first. This will allow you to get a feel for the accommodations and help you determine whether a timeshare purchase is right for you. While you're at the resort, speak with owners about their experiences. If you decide to purchase, check out the timeshare resale deals on RedWeek.com and save money over buying retail from the developer. If you do decide timeshare ownership is right for you, just know that you are joining a very happy bunch of vacationers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tax Deductions for Timeshare Owners

Do you know what expenses you, as a timeshare owner can deduct on your tax return? The answer is not the same for everyone. Here’s some details from David H. McClintock, CPA, regarding the most common deductions and how they might affect you, depending on your particular situation. This information can be best used as a starting point for discussions with your own personal accountant who can then advise you on the best course of action.
  • Interest Expenses
    In addition to your primary home loan, the interest you pay on a loan that you used to buy a timeshare week is often deductible. But, if you have two separate loans, such as one for a vacation home and one for a timeshare week, you can only choose one of those to deduct, in addition to your primary home.

  • Secured Loans
    If your timeshare loan is secured by the financed property, then the interest is deductible. If you used a home equity loan to finance the timeshare week, that qualifies. If your current loan is not secured, you could consider refinancing the mortgage on your primary home for a higher loan amount, and use the proceeds to pay cash for your timeshare week. Non-secured loans include: Credit cards; loans offered by the timeshare developers (Check your paperwork to be sure); Right-to-Use (RTU) timeshare loans. Based on the amount of debt for the properties, your deduction amount may be limited. Generally, the total debt cannot exceed $1,000,000 of mortgage (property acquisition/improvement) debt and $100,000 of home-equity type debt.

  • Property Taxes
    Property taxes should be deductible unless the property taxes are neither directly billed to you nor separately stated on your maintenance fee billing. This is usually because the timeshare resort has been assessed and billed for property tax as one parcel or parcels bigger than just your individually owned week. If the tax is not assessed against your individual ownership, you may not use it as a deduction. There is no limit to the number of properties for which you may deduct property taxes, however, maintenance fees are not deductible.

  • Assessments and Expenditures
    In general, special assessments by your timeshare association are not deductible because they typically represent fees for improvements, major repairs or unexpected expenses. Closing costs and legal expenses related to the purchase of your timeshare are not deductible and should be added to the purchase price to determine a total cost of your week from a tax perspective.
For most timeshare owners, interest expense and/or property taxes will be the only expenses you can deduct, but, you should always consult with your tax advisor to determine your particular tax situation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Timeshare Units Not Affected by Ilikai Hotel Closing

Waikiki's famous Ilikai Hotel, which was featured on the 1960's show "Hawaii Five-O” announced this week that it will close its doors. The hotel was purchased by iStar Financial Inc. in May, and the company hoped that its subsidiary, SFI Ilikai Property Owners, would be able to identify sufficient cost savings and operational efficiencies to allow the hotel to remain open, but this did not happen.

The shutdown ends an era in Hawaii's hotel industry and puts as many as 142 union employees out of work. Current guests staying on the property are being moved to other hotels and those with future reservations will be contacted with other accommodations.

The closure will not directly affect day to day operations and common areas for residents of the 600 full time condominium units or the 200 timeshare units within the Ilikai property. Timeshare owners should still plan to use their vacation week and continue to pay the maintenance fees as usual.

Residents are complaining the developer, Brian Anderson, is to blame for the condition of the property. Homeowners are paying to maintain the entire property, not just maintenance fees on their unit, and they are not happy. Homeowners have filed a lawsuit to take back control of their association board from developer Brian Anderson. They hope this will give them the control they need to make the property flourish again and reclaim its iconic stature.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Find a Timeshare You Can Drive To

Is it time to find a timeshare you can drive to? Some timeshare owners are considering selling their units on the resale market to find a timeshare resort closer to home. With vacation budgets tight in this economy, many people who still want a vacation, would prefer to save money by driving to their destination instead of flying. Driving can be much more convenient than flying, and even with gas prices fluctuating, certainly cheaper. Plus, when you drive, there is more fun family time in the car. See these tips for traveling with kids. You can go at your own pace and stop along the way when you see something interesting. You could even stumble upon a fun tourist spot you may not have even known about.

Driving can also be the preferred method of travel for retired timeshare owners who no longer want to go through the hassle of airports and flying. The far away trip to Mexico or the Caribbean was great for family trips when the kids were younger, but, with the children grown and out of the house, a far away destination can seem like more of a hassle than a vacation. A resort that is within driving distance now has great appeal.

Those who love timeshare ownership have a few options. You could simply exchange your current property, year after year and take advantage of the great resale values out there by purchasing a second timeshare closer to home. Or, you could resell your existing unit and use the proceeds to purchase a resort that better meets your needs by being just a car ride away. Typical timeshare resales cost a fraction of what you’d pay from the developer and could be up to 80% less than retail, so, check out RedWeek.com today and peruse the newest timeshare resale listings. You might find just what you are looking for.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Try a Maui Timeshare This Year


Everyone loves Hawaii. Beautiful tropical scenery, stunning beaches, killer surf… but most tourists end up visiting the island of Oahu. This year, it’s time for a trip to Maui. Maui has great year round events and activities, in addition to the sun, sand and surf. On the island of Maui, you’ll find timeshare rentals on Kihai (in the South), and Lahaina (in the West). Here’s more detail about each city so you can plan your vacation in Maui this year.

Lahaina, West Maui

Often referred to as the “Crown Jewel of Maui,” Lahaina was once the capital city of Maui, home of the Kamehameha dynasty in the early 19th century. Today, Lahaina has nearly 50 acres of historic districts, and National Landmarks. Celebrations abound, from welcoming of the humpback whales to “Friday Night is Art Night,” the King Kamehameha Day Parade, the Ocean Arts Festival, the International Festival of Canoes, the Taste of Lahaina Food Festival and the annual Halloween celebration (like Hawaiian Mardi Gras). Golfers will love the championship courses and outdoor adventure enthusiasts, will want to visit the Kapalua Adventures Mountain Outpost that provides challenges such as tower climbing, and ziplines to sail through the sky.

Front Street is the heart of the town, where you’ll find a colorful assortment of gift shops, retail stores, art galleries, and award-winning restaurants. The 60 foot tall Banyan Tree stands at one end of the street and stretches out hundreds of feet wide. It was planted in 1873 to honor Lahaina’s traveling missionaries. Around its massive trunks beneath the branches you’ll find some of West Maui’s most talented artisans, who display their artwork and entertain visitors daily. Lahaina is also the home of two of the islands most popular luaus, the Old Lahaina Luau and the Feast at Lele. Each offers visitors a traditional Hawaiian feast, with food, music, chants, and hula dancing. Visitors can also find live entertainment at the Maui Theater which features a live music performance depicting the history of the Hawaiian Islands.

A short distance away, the breathtaking ocean vistas and lush gardens of Kaanapali welcome guests to a spectacular three-mile stretch of golden sand which has been voted “Best Beach on Maui” by a number of travel Websites.

After your visit to West Maui, it becomes clear as to why the royal families of Hawaii once considered the area to be a rare and beautiful jewel, fit for kings and queens.

See Lahaina Hawaii timeshare rentals.

Kihai, South Maui

The ancient Hawaiians were drawn to South Maui’s sparkling white beaches, crystal-clear waters and vibrant, sunsets which continue to attract visitors today. With its dry, sunny climate you’ll find an endless supply of things to see, do and taste. The beach town of Kihei offers the bulk of South Maui’s shops, restaurants and attractions. The numerous picturesque beaches vary greatly. One may be ideal for surfing, whereas another is best for snorkeling with the kids. Often times the parks and beaches are filled with craft fairs, live music and events. For those visiting from November to April, you’ll find a fantastic beach front view of the humpback whales on their annual migration.

Visit Wailea to see nearly two miles of gently sloping terrain and rugged shoreline. While you’re there, you’ll encounter upscale retail shops, boutiques, art galleries and award-winning restaurants. Native Hawaiian cultural programs, guided nature tours, marine education workshops and children’s programs are also available for travelers who have already enjoyed the golf courses, tennis courts and day spas. After dark, Wailea comes alive with musical performances, dancing and traditional Hawaiian luaus.

The nearby Makena Landing is popular for diving, snorkeling and the rare opportunity to be up close and personal with sea turtles and indigenous fishes. And a trip to Makena would be incomplete without a stop at Big Beach, which lives up to its name, stretching more than 3,000-feet long and 100-feet wide. Visitors should note that this area, although beautiful, has a high and unpredictable surf.

See Kihai Hawaii timeshare rentals.

See all Hawaii timeshares.
(Photo provided by visitmaui.com)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Disney’s Old Key West Timeshare Resort Gives you “Value for Your Dollar”


Ready to take a step back in time? Walk among the turn-of-the-century styling’s at Disney's Old Key West Resort, located in the heart of Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. These residential-style timeshare units are very large, which is great for family travel, and offer fantastic amenities to visitors. Rooms face either the waterways, woodlands, or fairways for a lovely view all around the property.

Here’s what a RedWeek.com member had to say about Disney’s Old Key West Resort:
“The grounds are spectacular and the lakes winding thru the place are so beautiful. It seems everywhere you turn there is "natural" beauty or is it Disney magic. The studios are one of the few places in the Disney timeshares where you actually have 2 double beds instead of a queen bed and sofabed. The rooms actually look more like a hotel room with an efficiency kitchen of microwave and fridge. Don't hesitate to stay here if you want value for your dollar in Disney proper.”

Old Key West can be fully booked and it still never feels crowded with the vast space of their scenic property. If you spend the day just enjoying the resort itself, there's plenty to do: with four heated pools plus a kiddie pool for swimming, work out facilities at the R.E.S.T Beach Recreation Department, boat rental to cruise the lake, or golf at Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Club.

Take advantage of the free bus and boat services at the resort to visit the Disney theme parks, water parks, and more local attractions. Down home dining and family-style meals are served up hot at Olivia's Cafe, or if you just want to get something fast, try Good's Food To Go. Barbecue grills can also be found throughout the resort for those who want to save money and do their own cooking.

See other Disney timeshares.
See Florida timeshares.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hanalei Bay Resort Management Not Meeting Expectations

Located on the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii, the luxurious Hanalei Bay Resort is looking at many unhappy owners these days. Quintus Vacation Management, who was supposed to manage the property through 2012 sold the contract to Celebrity Resorts last August without notifying the Hanalei Bay Resort Vacation Owners Association board members or the Association of Apartment Owners. Under the new ownership, the property’s condition is not showing improvement. Even the Bali Hai restaurant, with one of the best views on the island overlooking the Hanalei Bay, has been closed for a year and a half with no plans to re-open.

Owners have been voicing their concerns over the condition of the property for a few years now and were surprised to learn that despite having their fees raised in 2008 the resort was operating at a deficit and there are no reserve funds to begin renovation of outdated units. Owners have requested that Celebrity Resorts management company be removed, but, to no avail. Now the VOA and AOAO are working together against Celebrity Resorts to terminate their contract. Previous VOA board members are being ignored and Celebrity Resorts instead appointed their own board members, which included three of the company’s senior officers. Legal actions have already begun on that front to determine who the legitimate board of directors is for the VOA. More lawsuits may follow.

“Hanalei Bay Resort should be run by boards consisting of individual owners and in a fiscally approved manner, where management companies report to owners,” says Peter Somerville, a timeshare owner at the resort. “It’s a conflict of interest to serve on the board of a property in which they manage.”

Celebrity Resorts does seem to be recognizing AOAO board members, but they are not being given important information such as company financials. “We really feel the management company should report directly to the AOAO board,” said Kent Oehm, President and timeshare owner. “We’ve been trying to keep the resort going and one of things we’re concerned about is getting the restaurants open.”

On a good note, unconfirmed sources say that the Happy Talk lounge is scheduled to re-open either this month or next, which could mean that Celebrity Resorts is finally starting to turn things around. If you have more details, we invite you to post your comments below.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Know What Your Timeshare Exchange is Actually Worth

Did you know RedWeek.com has an exchange program? Right now, it’s the best kept secret of our members because they are banking their weeks with us and exchanging them for the vacations they really want, not just settling for what they are offered. Does that sound like how it works when you try an exchange with your current company?

“With other companies, it’s like a game of Go Fish.” says Gary Prado who runs the RedWeek Exchange program. “You pick a week you want to exchange your week for, but, it’s typically unavailable so you “go fish” again and again until you find one you are willing to accept. And they don’t tell you how many points your week is actually worth so you can understand the exchange process.”

So many timeshare owners who want to exchange their week just end up settling for the best they can get because they have no visibility to what their week is really worth or what inventory of weeks are available to choose from. This is where RedWeek.com is different. We have complete transparency about the points we give you and the choices you have on where you can go. You get all the information and see everything, up front, BEFORE depositing your week, so, you can make a decision on your next vacation that is the best for you.
You can get a free RedWeek Exchange Valuation online, right now when you login free as a guest and you’ll know how many RedWeek Exchange Points your week is worth within 24 hours, (or the next business day). If you like the offer, you can choose to accept it and deposit your week with us, or do nothing at all. There is no obligation once you receive the free valuation.

Our members like knowing how many RedWeek Exchange Points their week is worth before they deposit and that they can view a list of current exchange inventory any time online as well. That exchange availability list, which is updated hourly, shows what each week is worth in points so you can see how many points you need to make a reservation. Also, you won’t find “hidden weeks” here. If it turns out you don't have enough points to exchange for the week you really want, you can purchase the rest (current rate is $1/point), as long as you have at least 50% of the required number of points to start. You can even keep the leftover points when you choose to exchange for a lesser-value week and you have three years to use those points. There’s nothing to lose and the vacation of your dreams to gain.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Vacation in an Aruba Timeshare Resort

Caribbean vacations are fun and relaxing. There is much to enjoy, see and do with the coconut-tree-clad mountains, valleys of sugar cane and banana fields, and beautiful seashores for boating and sunbathing. RedWeek.com has many Aruba timeshare resorts listed on the site for your rental, resale and exchange needs. Choose from the city of Oranjestad, often referred to simply as "Playa", which is Spanish for beach. It is the capital and most important city of Aruba located on the southern coast near the western end of the island and named after the first King Willem van Oranje-Nassau. Or, Palm Beach which stretches for seven miles and touts the world famous Fisherman’s Huts that attract thousands of windsurfers some of the best sail boarding in the world.

Oranjestad, Aruba


Visit the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort just steps from Aruba’s white sand beaches and sheltered in a tropically landscaped garden. This deluxe resort offers beach, golf, gourmet restaurants and nearby casino gambling for your entertainment pleasure. Centered on a large, sparkling freshwater pool, with views of their private beach, you’ll love the amenities and relaxation you’ll find. The resort has one hundred sixty two spacious studios, one, and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and private balconies.

Palm Beach, Aruba

Marriott's Aruba Surf Club sits beachfront on the Caribbean and offers an outdoor swimming pool, health club and 10,700 square foot casino. The resort features spacious villas designed with your comfort in mind. Each villa has high-quality accommodations: spacious living and dining areas, full kitchens, multiple TV sets, VCR, and daily maid service (upon request). You will experience a relaxing escape in a beautiful resort atmosphere. Guests will also have access to services at the Mandara Spa facility.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Should You Donate Your Timeshare to Charity?

Before you decide if you should donate your timeshare week to charity, you should ask yourself what you are hoping to gain by making that donation. If you are just looking to get out from under your financial burden and you have a charity already in mind that you would like to help, donation may be the best decision for you. However, if you are looking for the most financial payback in terms of tax benefits or profits, it will almost never make sense to donate a timeshare week.

Let’s Look at the Numbers
Here’s what David H. McClintock, CPA has to say about the economics of selling vs. donating. “If you sell the unit, you would recover 100% of the value as sales proceeds. However, if you donate the unit, your proceeds will come from the tax savings associated with your tax deduction. Example calculation: Assume that a week will sell for $5,000, its fair market value. In order to save taxes of $5,000 on a donation, a person in a 28% tax bracket would have to list the tax return value for that timeshare week at $17,857! Thus, if you could sell your week for $5,000, you would net $5,000 before considering selling costs. But your tax savings from a donation would be only $1,400 (28% of $5,000). The price at which you can sell the unit is normally about the same "fair market value" as what your charitable deduction should be for a donation of the week.”

Fair Market Value and the IRS
You must determine fair market value when you plan to sell or donate your timeshare week. This is not the price you paid for that week, or what the current retail price is from the developer. From the IRS perspective, and how you will be taxed, fair market value is the price that a willing buyer and seller normally agree to in the marketplace. Since we are talking about the resale market, the value must be equal to or close to what you could actually sell the week for. You’ll have to compare price of other resales at your resort online at RedWeek.com to determine your value.

If the week is valued at more than $500, you must file Form 8283 with your tax return. If your value is more than $5,000, you must get a formal appraisal. Remember, you are responsible for the valuation shown on your tax return. If the IRS finds that you significantly overstated the value of your week in order to maximize your tax deduction, significant criminal and tax penalties can apply.

Bottom line is if you are trying to maximize your profits, or minimize your loss, you should sell your timeshare week. You should donate the week only if your motive is solely for charity, not for tax benefits, though there are some. Also, before making any decision, you should speak with your own accountant. You may find it helpful to take a full copy of this article with you as a starting point for questions. The complete article can be found online at RedWeek.com.