Timeshare Users Group

Buying Wyndham Points on Ebay!

Part 6 of our 10 part series on Wyndham Timeshare points, this article specifically discusses buying Wyndham points on the resale market!

Buying Wyndham Points on Ebay®!

A buyer’s market for timeshare has existed for quite some time and that situation is probably still true as you read this article. Although, I had never been to eBay® prior to June 2009 as a registered buyer or seller, the decision to go there turned out to be a stroke of veritable genius because, as of that time, the market had tanked and bargains were plentiful.

If you're looking to pick up Wyndham points at a great price, eBay® is an internet site that you should consider. Buying in the re-sale market is not for everyone; but the bargains have gotten even better, with many buyers avoiding closing costs.

If you are not risk adverse, and you have the patience required, you too may find that it is possible to get what you want on eBay®. Great deals may be found IF YOU TAKE REASONABLE PRECAUTIONS and the RE-SELLER is HONORABLE and LEGITIMATE!

Consider what you should know before jumping into eBay®. The following are not necessarily all the questions and/or issues you should consider; but they provide a starting point.

What are the costs that will be charged to you as the Buyer?

If you are like me, you are looking for the bottom line, which is getting your points with all associated costs at the lowest cost possible per thousand points. Read auction ads carefully. Understand exactly what you are buying and what any associated costs will come to. Some sellers, to unload inventory, may not charge you more than your bid. Others may want you to pay what you bid and various costs. It is up to you to make sure you know the costs and then figure how much you want to bid above those costs. Once an auction is over and you are declared the winner, read the contract carefully to make sure there are no unexpected charges.

Closing costs can vary. Some timeshare auctions on eBay® are conducted by companies that have an on-going business relationship with one or more Post Card Companies. PCCs send you a post card or call you with offers to relieve you of your timeshare for an upfront fee.

Other sellers may be individual owners, brokers or real estate companies specializing in timeshare. The seller may or may not have a strong business relationship with a particular closing company. In the end, however, you may have no option to choose your closing company if you want to purchase from a particular seller at the right overall total cost.

Is the number of points you acquire in the contract a consideration?

Closing Costs, and other costs associated with the purchase increase the average cost you pay per thousand points. Therefore, your strategy may be to get as many points as you can per contract. However, do not acquire more points than you can reasonably afford to own or use. Keep in mind that the more Wyndham points you obtain overall the higher your annual maintenance fees will be. As a points owner you have to pay the Club WyndhamSM Plus Assessment on those points whether you use them or not each Use Year. The assessment is explained below.

Is there a resort transfer fee that will be required?

Many resorts charge a transfer fee. Wyndham is a company that charges a transfer fee to transfer a deed or assignment & assumption (A&A) document between owners. Be sure to review the fine print on the auction listing before you bid to determine if you are to be charged for the transfer and/or the Estoppel Letter. [An A&A is explained near the end of this article.]

Is the contract for the points free of any entanglements?

Try to do your due diligence before the auction ends. Contact the seller and ask him or her for an Estoppel Letter from Wyndham. For information on “What Is an Estoppel Letter?” use this link: What is an Estoppel Letter?

If you have concerns after receiving an Estoppel Letter; call the Seller, Closing Company and/or Wyndham to find out why the information differs from the auction ad or the contract. Provided below are some questions that may get answered by an Estoppel Letter:

  • What is the Use Year of the Contract?
  • What points are available for use?
  • What is the number of points and are they allocated every Use Year or Every Other Year? (If EOY is it every odd or every even year?)
  • Are the “maintenance fees” and program fees up to date?
  • What is the monthly/annual assessment fee?
  • Does the fee differ from the advertised fee? [See Understand the Definition of the Club WyndhamSM Plus Assessment which is provided later in this article.]
  • Is the property deeded?
  • Is there an active loan that needs to be paid off?
  • Are tax obligations paid up and current?
  • Is the contract number shown?
  • Are there any special assessments due?

Do you need Title Insurance?

Title insurance provides some protection from flaws in the title. However, the decision on whether or not to buy it is an economic consideration. Whether you choose to acquire Title Insurance or not is up to you. Many people feel more secure when they have title insurance. For more on this subject a link is provided to the TUG article What Is Timeshare Title Insurance?

How Much Can Be Saved By Buying Wyndham Points On eBay®?

I have won an auction for points for as little as $1.00. Although there are a lot of things to consider before a purchase, buying points on eBay® may save you thousands of dollars.

How Do You Start the Process?

A great place to start is the TUG Wyndham forum where you can find countless other wyndham owners and tips on buying resale! Wyndham Owners discussion forum.

Since, I personally had no experience using eBay® prior to my purchases, my first concern was how to get started. First I accessed Google™. The initial question was -“How do you get started buying on eBay®?” Next, I put the following question to Google™ “How do you research timeshare sales on eBay®?” Consider your sources; but that is how I started.

How Do You Search for Comparisons?

Once registered as an eBay® user sign in to the site. After signing in you should see a SEARCH button at the top of the page. To the right of that button locate the link for advanced search.

  • Click on: advanced search.
  • At Find Items enter the key words: Wyndham Points
  • Below Find Items Check: Completed Listings and click on SEARCH

With your comparisons found you next want to research sellers of current auctions. Do that by reviewing auctions in progress. Find several auctions that seem of interest and click on the Username of the seller. Then contact that seller and get basic information that is not apparent in the auction listing. Identify the company name of the seller, and research the name.

TUG has a special sub-forum entitled: Ratings of Timeshare Related Business which you can easily search for reseller names and customer reviews.

Customer Service is just as important as price

As you consider a seller’s reputation look for those that are transparent. If an eBay® seller ignores you or does not provide the information you need to make an informed decision move on. There are other sellers to choose from. Test the waters to see what, if any response, you get.

If you plan on bidding in more than one auction focus on one seller if possible. Since I knew that a purchase of four contracts would be necessary; a discount on closing costs was requested early in the process. I chose my seller carefully, focused on four contracts and asked for a discount. The discount was granted and the service received was outstanding.

The eBay® policy regarding bidding on real estate is a simple and straight forward policy. Bids on real estate including timeshare or timeshare points are non-binding on eBay®. However, it is probably not a good idea to bid on an item if you do not intend to buy the item. Consider: Ebay policies on bidding and Ebay Real Estate buying guide

Become an information sponge. The more information the seller provides the better decision you will make. Ask the seller to e-mail you a copy of the owner’s purchase contract and/or deed and definitely the estoppel letter. You may not get all of the information requested before the auction closes; but a discerning buyer should ask for appropriate information and expect what is requested to be forwarded before accepting an auction result and signing a purchase contract.

Use all the information obtained to confirm the auction description. Avoid surprises! Verify the current maintenance fee rate (stated in dollars per thousand points) and get a handle on what you are expected to pay monthly or annually in maintenance and program fees.

TIP: For those of you who would like to know how the addition of a particular point contract would affect your overall obligation to Wyndham for “maintenance fees” there is a calculator available at the Wyndham Forums Website. By using that calculator you should be able to learn exactly what you will owe to Wyndham upon transfer of title.

Maintenance Fee lists

TUG maintains a yearly list of maintenance fees for all Wyndham resorts, it can be located here: Wyndham Timeshare Maintenance fee chart

Understand the Definition of the Club WyndhamSM Plus Assessment

An eBay® seller may mean the “assessment” when he says “maintenance fees.” The average longtime owner of timeshare fixed weeks probably interprets the term “maintenance fee” as just the fees associated with maintenance of the week or time owned. A person, new to timeshare may also think that the term refers to maintenance associated with the underlying property interest. However, when referring to Wyndham points, the term “maintenance fee” as used by my eBay® seller and other sellers on eBay® meant what Wyndham refers to as the annual Club WyndhamSMPlus Assessment which is actually two separate fees combined.

When you, as an owner of Wyndham points, pay your Club WyndhamSM Plus Assessment, either annually or monthly, you are paying for the underlying “maintenance fees” and for your share of the Club WyndhamSM Plus “program fee” which is intended to cover the expenses associated with the operation and administration of the Club WyndhamSM Plus vacation plan established by the Trust Agreement to which you as an owner assign your points. Source: Wyndham Vacation Resorts® Club WyndhamSM Plus Trust Agreement and Accompanying Documents. For detail on maintenance fees and how to research that history at Wyndham resorts go to Article VII.

Create a Strategy before You Bid

If you are competitive and bid to soon you could get into a bidding war and end up paying a lot more than you need to for your purchase. Consider using a sniping service. Such a service enhances your chances of becoming the winning bidder while it takes the emotion out of the bidding process. To get more information Google™: “How to snipe an eBay® Auction?” Below are some benefits that I discovered when I looked into using a Sniping Service.

By using a sniping service you increase your chance of winning. You should pay only what it takes to "beat" the next highest bidder up to your pre-determined price.

  • Avoid shill bidders who draw you in and may cause you to pay more than you should.
  • Consider costs other than your bid and THEN establish your bidding limit. Submit the figure to the service and stay away from the action. Your chances to win are enhanced and you should avoid overpaying. You may get out sniped but there are other auctions
  • You do not have to be bothered monitoring the final minutes of the eBay® auction.

Caution: Make sure you understand how the service works before committing. All of my auctions where a service was used worked out fine; but your results may differ.

To Get an Outcome You Want Anticipate What Needs To Be Done

There are no guarantees. But, if you do your due diligence, deal with reputable sellers and work with a reputable closing company you should be O. K.; but it is necessary that you be proactive to make sure everything is being done that should be done.

TIP: If you plan on eventually purchasing more than one Wyndham contract consider how you want the ownerships to read on the deeds or assignment & assumption(s) (A&A) and especially how you want your Wyndham account(s) to be set-up. You have an excellent chance of getting deeds and/or A&As put into the same Wyndham account (unless specifically requested otherwise) if the deeds and/or A&As show the same first owner or the same group of owners.

Note: You may choose to avoid the above approach if, for example, there is the possibility of a disagreement between owners, or you own points at a resort affiliated with the exchange company II and you desire to have those points separate from your RCI affiliated points.

Some owners of Wyndham points, set-up their ownership and their Wyndham account as a Trust. For discussions about setting up ownership within a Trust go to the Wyndham Owners Forums.

You May Achieve the Success Sought, If You Research and Execute A Plan

My first and all subsequent purchases through my eBay® seller went well. Because of their professionalism, efficiency, prompt responses, and attention to detail they received 100% of my business. After the initial contact the equivalent of four contracts totaling 469,000 points were purchased over a period of a week. Choosing a reputable Seller is a must.

With a well thought out plan, the choice of a good seller, research, and an effective execution of your plan; you may meet your expectations. Each auction you participate in may not be won; but at least you will be properly prepared when you do win. It is not the bid price you pay that is important, it is the total outlay of capital to get what you want that matters. As a buyer, be reasonable. Expect mistakes to be made. Knowing you can get those mistakes fixed is what is important. Communicate immediately and effectively and do so throughout the process.

TIP: Not all sellers will want to give you the information you want especially if you are a “newbie” with zero feedback on eBay®. Be persistent! Insist that you want to know exactly what it is you are bidding on. Carefully consider your options before doing business over the internet or in person when it can cost you a significant amount of money, if you are not comfortable with whom you are dealing with look elsewhere.

The overall information provided by my seller allowed me to complete my due diligence and follow the recording processes of my subsequent deeds. An auction ad can often be less than perfect. You may not have a lot of experience using eBay®; but all you really need is common sense and a willingness to learn.

Whether you have had lots of experience or zero experience with eBay® and/or re-sellers you want to keep errors to a minimum and make sure any errors will be fixed. If my point was not completely made above, allow me to make it clear here. When you make up your mind to purchase something and have found options on eBay® then spend as much time as it takes to research the various aspects of each purchase. It is better to let an auction pass than bid on something you have not verified.

The Closing Company

My seller required that I use their closing company. At first I balked at the use of a closing company with such close ties to the seller; but after some research, the company checked out. Although I used TUG’s sub-forum: Ratings of Timeshare Related Business the research did not stop there. After reading the threads on TUG the company was researched on line and communication set-up by both phone and e-mail. Appropriate questions regarding bonding, attorney supervision, and ability to record a deed in the situate state was asked and answered.

The Contract

After you have won your eBay® auction for Wyndham points a contract should be sent to you. Read the contract carefully. If what the contract describes is different from the wording of the advertisement you may be buying something different from what you bargained for.

As the process proceeds make sure you get what was advertised and made part of the contract. One of the issues that occurred in one of my transactions had to do with the final official document that I would receive as proof of ownership. The ad and the contract both said that a warranty deed would be issued. Obviously that is what I expected to receive. Turns out that Wyndham had never issued a deed once the original contract was paid off.

The Closing Company was going to get an assignment and assumption (A&A) document from Wyndham and if I wanted a deed there was to be a fee paid to Wyndham to record the deed. An assignment and assumption (A&A) document is issued when a Wyndham contract is put into the name of a new owner. That was not what was bargained for. So, I got the seller to arrange for the closing company to get a warranty deed from Wyndham and have it recorded. Because I chose a seller that does the right thing, the issue was resolved at no cost to me. It took a few days longer; but a warranty deed was issued and recorded at the Court House.

The Wait!

By June 24, 2009 the process was well underway. Since I had already asked for and received copies of the original deeds and/or original contract information, as the auctions proceeded, reviews of those deeds and contracts were undertaken and the fact that they had been recorded was verified by accessing the website of the courthouse before bidding was completed. It takes a while for all the deeds to be recorded and for Wyndham to recognize your ownership.

The Horry County Courthouse website made it easy to confirm recording of the original deed and subsequent transactions. Your experience may differ depending on your transaction(s).

The elapsed time from purchase to recording of a deed depends on many factors including the efficiency of the closing company, the location of the property, and the laws of the state or country where the deed is to be recorded. Based on my personal experience it can take place as fast as 14 to 21 business days after purchase. You as the purchaser should be proactive in monitoring the timeline and reviewing the paperwork as soon as practical upon receipt. The closing company used by my seller had a good “pipe line” for getting deeds recorded at Conway, SC situate of the Horry County, SC Courthouse.

Wyndham’s Acknowledgement of Transfer of Title

After a new deed is recorded it has to be retrieved by the closing company and sent to Wyndham so that they can verify everything and set-up the new owner’s account or add the contracts to the owner’s existing account. About the same time, you should get a copy of the original deed. But, receiving your copy of the deed does not result in access to the points. Wyndham has to complete the transfer process. Until the transfer process is complete the new owner cannot use the points.

The closing company that was used for my transactions was Timeshare Closing Services, Inc. (TCS) in Orlando, FL. Timeshare Closing Services, Inc. by agreement with Wyndham sends their recorded deeds and transfer paperwork to Wyndham in a batch once a week. Believe it or not that operation is efficient.

Wyndham’s Research and Title Services department takes at least 14 business days to complete research of a title. Until that 14 day period is over you probably will not get anyone at Wyndham to acknowledge that they have received your contract(s). Bugging them will do you little good. Wait until 14 to 16 business days after you receive your copy of the recorded deed and then call the Wyndham Transfer of Ownership Department at 1-866-812-9798.

Before you make the call be sure to have your Member Number (if you have one) and the specific Contract Number(s) that you are calling about. The Transfer of Ownership Department should be able to tell you the date that the deed(s) cleared Wyndham's research department. Unless the Transfer of Ownership Department says differently, it is reasonable to expect that from date cleared you will have notification of transfer within 30 days.

If the Transfer of Ownership Department cannot confirm that your contract is in the system by the 16 day mark it probably means something is wrong with the paperwork and it has been returned to your closing company for correction. If that happens contact your closing company by e-mail or by phone to "dog" the people there so that the paperwork gets corrected and returned to Wyndham.

Once you have been notified that transfer has been completed go ahead and contact a Wyndham Vacation Counselor (VC) at 1-800-251-8736 and get a member number and your account set-up. My purchases took place between June 6 and June 10, 2009 so I had built in the probability that I would not have access to any of the 2009 points prior to September 1, 2009. Obviously buying in June did not provide a lot of options for use of those points and that fact was factored into what I was willing to pay to acquire the points in the first place. You should plan for the time it takes.

It was customary in June 2009, for a seller to try to recoup maintenance fees already paid and make the buyer responsible for all fees through the end of the use year. But, the market was changing and opportunities existed to get the 2009 points for just the amounts owed to Wyndham as of the date they recognized the transfer. So that strategy is what I pursued at that time.

In today’s market one can get the seller to pay all of the 2010 maintenance fees and the closing costs if the buyer is persistent. Only time will tell what the market will allow in 2011 and beyond. But one thing is for sure, it will be a buyer’s market for a very long time.

Because I was proactive and communicated regularly with key personnel at my closing company and the Wyndham Transfer of Ownership Department, access to my points was much quicker than most would have expected at the time.

The time that it takes a Wyndham Transfer of Ownership employee to complete the transfer after it is entered into the computer is supposed to be 30 days or less. Based on my personal experience it took just a little over two weeks after Wyndham completed research for the Transfer of Ownership Department to recognize my ownership.

Your experience may vary considerably from mine depending on a lot of factors.

What to Do Once You Have Access to Your Points

Depending on when you get access, you want to have some idea of how you are going to use the first allotment that you receive. In my case that allotment of 469,000 points was split between four contracts with three having a Use Year ending on December 31, 2009 and one contract scheduled to end on March 31, 2010. So, I had flexibility but not a lot of time. To get a detailed account of how my 2009 and 2010 points were used go to Article X.

The Final Word!

Wyndham points are amazingly cheap on the resale market, and anyone considering buying into the Wyndham program should take a good hard look at buying resale points and putting the tens of thousands of dollars you saved into making your future vacations even better!

Come check out our free Wyndham owner Discussion forums!

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