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Wyndham Maintenance Fees - Wyndham Points article 7 of 10
This Timeshare Advice article discusses buying Wyndham Points on Ebay.  Written by TUGGERS and provided to you free by the Timeshare Users Group!

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Article VII - Wyndham Maintenance Fees

by TUGGER: GoofyHobbie


Wyndham resorts which are sold out may have re-sale units. Those resorts and other Wyndham resorts that are not sold out should have a significant and, in some cases, a well established “maintenance fee” history. If you are seriously considering Wyndham for a traditional fixed week ownership or for the flexibility of Wyndham points, a group of owners has formed a community to help you. This group keeps track of the “maintenance fee” history and special assessment history. That history is available for you as a potential buyer. The history in some cases goes back at least ten years and for the most part the information that I have investigated has proven to be accurate or easily checked. Research the Property Owner’s Association (POA) (“maintenance fees”) before you buy. The POA fee history can be a reasonable precursor of things to come. Note the reference to Maintenance Fee Spreadsheets later in this article.

 Owner-controlled resorts because they are owner controlled, often have better cost controls in place. If a management company hired by a Property Owner Association is not getting the job done the owners have the power to employ a different management company.



Research Issues That May Apply To Your Resort

TIP:  Maintenance costs and what exactly that involves is something you better get straight well before you decide to buy retail, through an eBay auction, or by some other means. Those considering a purchase at a non-Wyndham resort may find such information more difficult to access; but some information should be available if you dig deep enough.  

Be wary of any suggestion that maintenance fees are much lower at some of the new resorts like Wyndham Capital Cove at National Harbor because of the commercial development within the resort complex. One or more Wyndham sales people may make such a suggestion as a reason to buy points at that “home resort” location. They may call to your attention the fact that the maintenance fees are much lower than older resorts and also much lower than many new resorts because of the commercial viability of the complex. Take such statements with “a grain of salt.”

When the subject of maintenance fees at Wyndham National Harbor was brought up during a Wyndham Special Weekend in Washington, DC about this time last year, I had some concerns. Perhaps the developer, through its sales people, was understating the actual maintenance fees by taking some of the cost onto itself as developer costs. At the time the resort was practically finished; but occupancy was not to begin until the fourth quarter of 2010.    

National Harbor's Property Owner Association (POA) maintenance fees were indeed lower than 2009 maintenance fees established by the POA at Wyndham resorts at Myrtle Beach, SC.  In May, 2009 National Harbor's POA maintenance fee was roughly $2.87 per thousand points. But, who knows what they will be in Use Year 2011 and beyond.

Although my experience with developers and their business model is extremely limited, it did not surprise me to learn that other resort developers have understated or overstated maintenance fees while they are still in control of the on-going operations of the resort. A developer can control the POA if they own enough units and/or have enough proxies from unit owners so that they can control the Board and determine how and by whom the resort is managed.

An example that comes to mind is The Manhattan Club, where the developer is said to be retaining control by expanding the number of timeshare units.  Some owners at the Manhattan Club may have anticipated that the resort would be “sold out” by now and that they, the owners, would gain control; but it is said that the Board is controlled by the developer.

If you were about to become a buyer of timeshare at The Manhattan Club you would be making a mistake, in my humble opinion, if you failed to do your homework.  Some owners are no doubt concerned about the escalating maintenance fees being charged. A casual review of The Manhattan Club’s 2010 budget reveals that over six million dollars (roughly 20%) of the 2010 Budget is being paid to the management company and that is over and above the $15.6 Million budgeted for administrative and labor cost.  A casual observer would have to ask “what is up with that?”  Source:  http://www.tmcny.com/budget-2010/scheduleb.htm

When considering a timeshare purchase the buyer should be aware of what is going on because your biggest expense over time is going to be your share of the maintenance fees. As a longtime timeshare owner and as a TUGGER, I have learned to be skeptical when something doesn’t seem to jive with what my experience has taught me.  There are probably many benefits to having owner control of a resort POA; not the least of which would be picking the management.  But, owner controlled resorts can also have difficulties. Ask questions of owners at the TUG forums and/or other websites that have open forums where the discussions are predominantly about timeshare. Get an idea of what is going on at the resort where you plan to become an owner. Pay attention to the maintenance fee history at any resort you consider. 

That $2.87 per thousand points quoted for Wyndham National Harbor is an exceptionally low maintenance fee; especially if your strategy is points are points. But, to get those points you may have to “pony up” far more than they are worth because, given the fact that the resort just opened this year, few contracts will be found in the secondary market for at least a while.

Common sense tells me that the maintenance fees at Wyndham National Harbor started out that low, in part, because the new resort was in construction mode. It will be some time before we have a better idea of what will be a reasonable level of maintenance fees at such a new resort. However, an assertion that National Harbor’s commercial rents will cause maintenance fees to remain low over time is, in my opinion, just speculation. Inflation and/or currently unidentified costs will or should increase National Harbor's Property Owner Association fees.

Remember, it is imperative that you know beforehand as much as possible about the current and likely maintenance cost at what will be your “Home Resort.” Those costs are something that you will live with until you eventually pass on or transfer the timeshare property to someone else.

What you are going to pay in “Sunk Cost” is pretty much self-explanatory when you carefully review the developer proposal or an auction advertisement.  If you are concerned about making a serious mistake when buying re-sale you are not alone.  But at least when buying on eBay if the advertisement turns out to have a material mistake you can immediately address the issue after the auction closes. If you cannot get satisfactory resolution you always can fall back on eBay polices, especially the one that states that real estate auctions are not binding.



Research Maintenance Fee History

When picking an Undivided Interest Ownership (UDI) or Unit(s) that have been converted from fixed Week(s) to Points choose a Property Owner’s Association (POA) that has a reasonable maintenance fee history given the resort location. There is more about the importance of that information below and within Article VI – Buying Wyndham Points On eBay.

When doing your research, keep in mind that an owner of Wyndham points where the resort is in Florida has to pay Florida real estate taxes separately. The real estate taxes are not included in the Property Owners Association “maintenance fees” when the resort is in Florida. You should expect to be billed separately for your portion of Florida real estate taxes.

TIP:  Wyndham as a developer does not currently sell fixed timeshare weeks.  They only offer points.  However, in addition to acquiring UDI points in the secondary market, you may find the opportunity to acquire a points contract that came about because the original owner converted a former Fairfield Resorts, Inc. timeshare fixed week to what is now known as Club WyndhamSM Plus points at the time of a retail purchase of points or by paying a fee to make the conversion.

 

Note:  If a conversion to Wyndham points has been made the pre-determined allotment of points is deposited into the owner’s point account at the ten month mark. During the Advance Reservation Priority (ARP) period the owner of the fixed week has the option to notify Wyndham that he intends to use the specific underlying week.  If the owner has not so notified Wyndham by the last day of the ARP period the points are placed in the owner’s account  and  the specific underlying week for that Use Year is no longer available to the owner.
 

TIP:  If you simply want your points as cheaply as possible and you adhere to the concept of Points are Points then factor in the acquisition cost up front and the relative Club WyndhamSM Plus Assessment fee going forward for the contracts that you are looking to purchase. In my humble opinion, if you are using the points are points strategy it really does not matter that much if you buy a UDI contract or a converted to points fixed week contract





Before You Go To eBay Or Buy Elsewhere Do Your Homework

Make sure you have carefully decided where you want your “Home Resort” to be and make sure you fully understand the current situation at that resort. Failure to fully understand the facts you should know can cost you money and be inconvenient to you later. If you have not been to a Wyndham presentation at the resort you are considering, the experience is worth the trouble because of the materials you can acquire to complete your research.

The “buzz” the sales people will impart will create questions and you should take the time to write those questions down before you leave. Be cautious regarding anything a sales person offers that is not in writing. My recommendation is to NOT PURCHASE from the developer at least until you have carefully researched other options.

Since my personal choice for situate was Myrtle Beach, SC that is what was researched.

Research helped me to discover that the underlying “maintenance fees” at Wyndham Westwinds are significantly higher than the underlying “maintenance fees” at SeaWatch Plantation or Ocean Boulevard in the Myrtle Beach, SC area.

As mentioned previously, the largest cost factor that you will encounter when buying timeshare interests may not be the purchase or “sunk cost,” especially if you are buying re-sale. The largest cost is more than likely going to be the on-going underlying maintenance fees that are charged by the Property Owners Association.

At this point you might be asking yourself what difference it makes. It mattered to me when I was trying to determine my on-going cost given my plan to buy multiple contracts involving different property owner associations. If you are just interested in one contract and the information provided by the seller is accurate you probably could care less.

If you want to do more due diligence, consider comparing the “maintenance fees” for the underlying properties that you are considering. Why? Because you should make sure that you acquire property that has reasonable fees when compared to similar property.




Maintenance Fee Spreadsheets

Go to the Wyndham Resort Forums:

 http://forums.atozed.com/viewtopic.php?f=164&t=5890

Full Credit for this information goes to the site owner: Glenn Benscoter and the volunteers who maintain the spreadsheets.  Be sure to thank the volunteers at that free website.

To those underlying “maintenance fees” you will have to add the Club WyndhamSM Plus program fee that will be charged to your account. However, the rate charged can end up being less per thousand points owned if you eventually buy more contracts.

How much an owner of Wyndham points has to pay toward the program fee is NOT determined by how the points are acquired. It makes no difference if you purchase your ownership re-sale or from the developer, you as an owner pay the same program fee that any other owner has to pay who owns the same amount of points that you own. It is the total number of points in a member’s account that determines the rate per thousand points charged for the program fee.

  • If the Club WyndhamSM Plus Member is also a participant in Club WyndhamSM Plus PlusPartners the break between point groups is the same but the rate per thousand charged is higher for each group.  For more on PlusPartners see Article I.
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is not a participant in Club WyndhamSM Plus PlusPartners will be charged the following Flat "Program Fee" if the point account has less than 154,000 points: $88.12
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is not a participant in Club WyndhamSM Plus PlusPartners will be charged the following "Program Fee" per thousand points if the point account is between 154,001 points and 299,999 points: 57 cents
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is not a participant in Club Wyndham SM Plus  PlusPartners will be charged the following "Program Fee" per thousand points if the point account is 300,000 or higher: 51 cents
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is a participant in Club WyndhamSM Plus PlusPartners will be charged the following Flat "Program Fee" if the point account has less than 154,000:  $107.08
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is also a participant in PlusPartners will be charged the following "Program Fee" per thousand points if the point account is between 154,001 and 299,999 points: 69 cents 
  • A Club WyndhamSM Plus Member who is also a participant in PlusPartners and has 300,000 points or more will pay the "Program Fee" at the rate of 53 cents per thousand.

Source: Club WyndhamSM Plus Program Summary dated June 17, 2009



Footnote:

If, you have any inquiries regarding how to use Wyndham’s product features or benefits consult Wyndham’s written documents and materials including the resort directory for additional information about how to use the product.

 

Wyndham Forums on TUG




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