Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scottsdale: Living in (Affordable) Luxury

This isn’t a timeshare solicitation – no 90 minute presentation required to visit our home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Sunset - Pinnacle Peak, Scottsdale
However,  this  is a tale about timeshare life in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun. . .in the northeast corner of Scottsdale . . .in the shadow of Pinnacle Peak.
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Hiking Pinnacle Peak

Our place – the Residence Club at Four Seasons Troon North --is an easy walk to Pinnacle Peak park, the starting point for hiking the path that leads along its rocky face.

It is a short drive to recently opened trails at Tom’s Thumb and Brown’s Ranch.

Since our purchase three years ago, we’ve had a home here  for two weeks each year – we choose the dates in our season (late spring,  fall or early winter). This year we opted for November, a time when temperatures are ranging from 70F – 90F for daytime highs while back in Kirkland they are hovering at 40F – 50’s.

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View of the Four Seasons Residence Club - Scottsdale
We now own timeshare homes in Arizona (Four Seasons) and Hawaii (Marriott). Both locations provide, quite literally, ‘million dollar views’ – we’ve checked nearby home prices at both places.

Hawaii and Arizona have been favorite  ‘getaway’ destinations for years, but we aren’t quite ready to put down permanent roots in either location. The timeshare is ‘semi-permanent’ but with the option to trade what we own and head to some new location.  A perfect lifestyle for these two nomads.

Sadly, “timeshare” or “fractional ownership” still has a ring of distain to it. The horror stories abound from those who fell victim of some high pressure 90 minute sales pitch and found themselves owning something they don’t want.

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Four Seasons Hotel Pool with Pinnacle Peak in background
What you don’t hear often enough are the stories from people like us (and there are thousands of us out there) who are making the most of timeshare life – and loving it.

We’ve been asked so often about this timeshare world of ours that today I thought we’d answer some of the questions we’ve been asked:

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Our home in Scottsdale - living area, master bedroom, guest suite
Do you really own anything?

We own deeded Arizona property, a week at a two bedroom, two and a half bath luxuriously furnished condo that has a full kitchen, two adobe-style gas fireplaces, dining for six, huge bathrooms with soaking tubs and showers, and walk-in closet. One of the bedrooms can be used as a stand-alone studio-like suite (with kitchenette) so we ‘lock it off’ and use the small side then move to the large side which results in us getting two weeks use out of one week’s purchase.

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Library at the Four Seasons Residence Club
So, how do you buy a timeshare?  

We purchased our Four Seasons property on the re-sale market as this small development's 44 units sold out quickly after being built. The only way to buy here  is on that secondary market.  The purchase price was half the price of the two of us taking a 7-day Oceania cruise.

(Tip: buying on the secondary market will likely result in saving the buyer money as they are usually priced less than the original purchase price. The flip side is, that as an owner, you are not likely to make money either when you decide to sell.) You don’t buy timeshares to make a return on your real estate investment as with a conventional home.

RdTripAZ2WA2012 019Is that all it costs?

Once a year we write a check to pay for the maintenance, staffing and services. Unlike owning a second home, we don’t need to fret about the pool maintenance, yard care, fumigation (for the southwestern critters), maintenance. . .the Four Seasons takes care of that.

Why own when you could rent? 

Well, if we divide 14 nights into our annual maintenance fee, we are paying $157 a night for a luxury condo, with daily maid service, plush robes, a pool, exercise room exclusively for the Residence Club as well as, access to the hotel’ pools and exercise area  and discounts at the hotel restaurants, bars and spa.  We checked yesterday for discount hotel prices in the area and the best we found for here was $369 per night. 

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One of the sitting areas in Four Seasons Residence Club grounds
Five things to keep in mind when considering a timeshare purchase:

1. Costs beyond the purchase price?  Will you be able to swing  the maintenance fee each year? And if the fees increase, can you continue to pay them? (Ask for a history of maintenance fee increases). Also, as with any deeded property real estate purchase there are closing fees to be paid.

2. What are you purchasing? Deeded property or are you buying into a points system? (Some prefer the flexibility of a points system, we prefer having a title to real property in hand.) Know what you are purchasing and how you can use it.

3. Trade value of the property.  We went with high-end luxury resort properties and as a result have had no problem trading our weeks with other high end properties around the world. (You might get a real deal with a lesser priced property but then find yourself unable to trade it to anywhere else). Do some research and weigh the advantages/disadvantages of the ‘deal’.

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Lobby - Four Seasons Hotel Troon North - Scottsdale

4. Who is managing the property? Is is some company like Marriott or Four Seasons that you’ve heard of before or some unknown company?  Do some research into the company’s performance and reputation before signing on the dotted line.

5. Spend some time at the property. We’ve actually met people who own timeshare property that they’ve never stayed at it – in fact, they’ve never seen it!  Spend a vacation at the property (sometimes prospective buyers can get a deal in exchange for sitting through that 90 minute sales presentation).  Talk to other owners on site. We did that here and the endorsements were so strong, that we couldn’t wait to sign that offer of purchase.

That’s it for today. Thanks for visiting our home in Arizona!
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Hope to see you back here on Tuesday for some pie and coffee, Sydney style!


  1. Hello Jackie & Joel. Your home at Four Seasons is breautiful and so exotic. I have learned something about timeshare from this post, thank you. It is a good feeling to own.

    Have a great week


    1. Yes, we do like the ownership here (and I get to 'play house' by cooking and doing laundry etc.but without the heavy duty maintenance, yard work and upkeep of a 'real' place). Thanks for visiting Helen - happy week ahead!
      Jackie xo

  2. I'm so glad you've had such a good experience with time shares. :-) I have some good friends who absolutely love theirs too. :-)

    1. What is so funny about all this is that we both - for YEARS - had a mantra: "I am not a cruise person. I am not a timeshare person!" Oh, famous last words. . .thank for visiting today; loved your post on morning coffee and time for yourself.

  3. It looks beautiful, Jackie and Joel. Very interesting to read for me, as I did not know much about this system.

    1. Hi Andrew! Thanks for stopping by - I've been enjoying your photos but have been remiss in leaving comments. . .I promise to do better!


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