Friday, July 29, 2011

Tips on Renting a Timeshare: Webinar Recap (Part 1)

Lisa Ann Schreier is the Timeshare Crusader, and writes the Timeshare Crusader Column in the RedWeek Newsletter. A webinar on timeshare rentals, hosted by RedWeek and featuring Lisa Ann, was held last month. Lisa Ann’s purpose in presenting the webinar was “to take a little bit of the fear away from “newbies” about renting a timeshare.”

The webinar booked up quickly and if you were one of the people who did not get to attend the webinar live, we are posting Lisa Ann’s highlights in a 2-Part series.

Tips on Renting a Timeshare:
  1. Listings. You can find a lot of listings on RedWeek – and here’s a helpful hint – shop around. In most geographical locations you’re going to find a lot of listings, so see what’s out there, do some research, find information about the resort online, such as the resort’s own web site, Tripadvisor ratings, and be sure to read the reviews posted on RedWeek.

  2. Negotiate. Once you find what you’re looking for – don’t be afraid to negotiate the price with the owner. We typically don’t negotiate very often – not when we go to the grocery store, for example, so for some it can be a little scary. All the owner can say is no. Make a reasonable offer. Nothing bad will happen, and you might get a better deal. Especially if time is short, and the owner is well-motivated to rent.

  3. Verify. Once you settle on a price, verify the resort and unit details. You want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. For example, if you are under the impression that it’s an ocean front unit or has a pool view, be certain. Verify the number of bedrooms, etc. Verify with the owner, and with the resort itself.

  4. Sign a contract. The safest thing to do at this stage is to go through an escrow service. RedWeek makes First American Title, one of the most reputable escrow businesses in the country, available for your use. Timeshare rental escrow works this way: The owner or renter initiates the escrow. Both parties pay a $125 fee. The contract is sent out by the escrow company for both parties sign. At that time the renter pays either half or the full amount of the rent, and that money is held by the escrow service until after the renter’s vacation stay. The escrow company will get confirmation from resort that the reservation is in your name (however, you should still call the resort yourself and verify).

    After the vacation stay, if the renter files no complaints the money is released to the owner. This keeps scammers from renting out non-existent timeshares. (A red flag is if the “owner” asks for money via wire service.) The security of escrow does a great service for both parties. After all, the owner doesn’t know you, and you don’t know owner.

  5. Confirm. Confirm the reservation yourself by calling the resort directly. You need to make sure that they know you have the owner’s permission to be staying there. Otherwise, since you are not the owner, the resort will have no record of your name. Send the contract to the resort by FAX. When you arrive at the resort for your vacation, make sure you have their confirmation and a copy of the your contract with the owner.
This might all sound to newbies like a little bit of work, but honestly ask yourself would you not do all of this if you went to a hotel? And the extra step of using the escrow service is simple and easy.

Tips on Renting a Timeshare: Webinar Recap (Part 2)

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