By Thomas E. Yeary, Lic. Real Estate Broker
Handling Disney Vacation Club Resales requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise as they are unlike any other timeshare on the market. It is imperative that you use a broker who specializes in this area to achieve the outcome you desire and avoid some of the unpleasant pitfalls encountered by inexperienced brokers.
Warning signs for BUYERS:
1. A small amount of listings in their inventory (Indicates NO track record)
2. Talking with agent leaves you unsure they know the product. Ask questions about banking, borrowing, points in holding, etc.
3. Unreturned or late response to your inquiry (Where will they be when you need help with the Right of First Refusal (ROFR), Closing Process & getting into the DVC system? A working knowledge of the right people to contact in case of a situation is imperative.)
4. Mistakes in listings on their website. Example: OKW, 2 bedroom Wk 6 (DVC contracts are for points, not weeks or certain size units.)
5. The company tells you that you can purchase a contract for an unusually low price and that clearing ROFR will be no problem. (They will get their commission when Disney exercises their ROFR so they really don't care if you are a new owner or not. In fact, they prefer it, because it's less work for them and they don't have any worries about the closing process or other details.)
6. Do they have an office? (Many don't. Ask for directions or look up their address. Be wary of addresses in residential areas or P.O. Boxes.)
Warning signs for SELLERS:
1. The company asks for an upfront listing, advertising, appraisal, website development, or auction fee. (There is no end to the names they come up with to describe an upfront fee. This is one of the biggest ripoffs out there. These people will take your money and in most cases you will never hear from them again.)
2. The company insists that you sign an "exclusive" listing agreement with a term of several months or even a year (usually 6 months or more), which of course means you are stuck for the duration of the agreement even if you find your own buyer. Even if another company or you yourself find a buyer for your package, you still owe the “exclusive” broker a commission.
3. The company charges you a cancellation fee if you withdraw your listing before the end of the listing term. (Example: If you were selling for financial reasons and suddenly came into some money, you would still be forced to sell or pay the cancellation fee which can sometimes be hundreds of dollars.)
4. They tell you they can get you $150 per point. (That's an exaggeration, but it happens. They will start hitting you up to reduce your price as soon as the listing contract has been signed. They will say the market has changed. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!)
5. Is their office easily accessible to the public? You should be able to walk in during regular business hours and be assured they can and will handle your business transaction. Does the broker work out of their home? Do you really think a purchaser is going to drive to their subdivision, knock on their door, and sit down at their kitchen table to write up a contract? How many DVC buyers have actually done this? The internet has enabled many people to disguise the true circumstances of their situation. They have a pretty website, so the public thinks they are dealing with a really big operation.
6. Do they have a person answering the phone or is it primarily an answering machine. People are continually frustrated in this day and age just dealing with the obstacles of trying to speak to a real person. This does NOT put them in the buying mood. Most often they will keep calling around until they reach someone who can discuss their situation.
The latest trend in the Resale business is for brokers to align themselves with a national franchise in order to legitimize their operation, thereby creating a false sense of security to the general public. Examples: ERA, Century 21, GMAC, RE/MAX, etc. Some Resale brokers go from one franchise to another after the number of complaints build up, they simply purchase a new franchise and it's business as usual. Most legitimate and ethical businesses should be able to use and operate under the same name for many, many years. In fact, if their reputation was one they could take pride in, they would insist upon it!
The above statements are certainly not meant to be construed to include "every" agency that is backed by a franchise. There are definitely some reputable Resale offices with ties to franchises. My warning is, it's NOT always the case. Protect yourself, look for the same warning signs with these companies as you would with any other Resale company!
Thomas E. Yeary
The Timeshare Store, Inc.
Thomas E. Yeary is a Licensed Real Estate Broker and owner of The Timeshare Store. The Timeshare Store is the #1 Disney Vacation Club resale company in the world, having sold nearly 5,000 DVC properties. To contact Tom or one of his associates, visit http://www.dvc-resales.com or call 1-800-550-6493.