Having been a DVC owner for over 8 years, I’ve learned quite a bit about the DVC membership world. I’ve been studying the DVC Resale market for longer than I’ve been a member and have seen how its grown and evolved over the years. More on that in a minute. I want to briefly tell you my introduction to the Disney side of purchasing DVC.
I started out like most people by taking a DVC tour from an associate in the parks. It started as a casual conversation and then, with some convincing of free Fastpasses and ice cream (it was a hot day in my defense) I decided to go with them to see a model. I was at Walt Disney World at the time so I ended up at Saratoga Springs Resort.
After a tour of several villas and a showing of all the resorts that DVC offered, I entered the room of despair. After several times of saying no I was finally set free and sent back to the parks to enjoy the rest of my day.
For most people, this is a pretty common experience except for one part: saying no. Most people end up saying yes only to regret it later. And this is where the DVC Resale market comes into play. Luckily for me, I had already looked into the resale market before taking my official DVC tour and knew some of its benefits and price points.
So after having gone through the timeshare scenario with Disney, I knew that buying resale was the best option for me. And this is going to be true for most people.
Let’s pause here and look at some FAQ’s you might have about DVC Resale:
What is DVC Resale?
DVC Resale is when a current owner of DVC wants to sell their ownership (in this case a points contract) to a certain resort and the DVC program. An owner may have purchase their contract directly from Disney or by resale from previous owner. Purchasing resale means that you are not buying directly from Disney Vacation Club. A licensed real estate broker will mediate the deal between the current owner and the new buyer and, if everything is approved, the buyer will become the new owner of the contract.
Is DVC Resale cheaper than buying direct?
In almost every scenario, yes, buying DVC Resale is going to be cheaper than buying a contract directly from Disney. Most people will see a savings of 35% all the way up to 50% if you find the right contract. While Disney does tout that buying directly has its perks, the savings difference tends to outweigh any perks that may be offered.
Is buying DVC Resale safe?
All long as you are purchasing for a reputable broker, then yes, it’s a very safe method to obtain a DVC contract. In order for a resale to take place there needs to be a seller, buyer and a broker/agent to connect the two and do the paper work. Contracts need to be signed by both the owner and buyer and then the offer needs to be sent to Disney for Right of First Refusal ROFR. Assuming Disney okay’s the deal, some paperwork comes back, money is exchange via an escrow account and then the new owner takes over.
What is Right of First Refusal?
Disney, who owns the property and timeshare program, has first say in whether a resale contract is okay or not. Essentially it’s their opportunity to protect the value of the program by ensuring points aren’t sold for too cheap. When a resale contract is sent in for ROFR, Disney has two options: they can say okay and the deal goes through or they can say no and purchase the points back themselves.
Most resale contracts pass ROFR, meaning, Disney approves it. That’s because most contracts are sold at reasonable prices that are mainly driven by the demand in the market. Because demand for DVC has always been high, prices have stayed in a reasonable range. Very few contract are bought back by Disney themselves. When this does happen, Disney pays the asking price per point, just like the buyer was going to.
How long does a DVC Resale contract take?
Most resale contracts take about 60 days from start to finish. This includes the paperwork for both the seller and buyer, escrow, ROFR, closing and then the new owner receiving their points.
Resale vs. Direct – It’s all about the money
The reason people look at buying resale is because they’ve heard or seen that it’s a cheaper way in to DVC ownership. And they are correct. Buyers can save anywhere from 35-50% compared to buying direct from Disney. For most people this is a savings of several thousand dollars which is extremely appealing.
Right now a buyer can purchase 100 point contract from Disney for about $20,000 plus closing costs. A 100 point contract, depending on how you use it, can get you a week or so in a studio at most resorts. You may have some points leftover, maybe not.
Compare that to a resale contract on the market right now, 100 points, is going anywhere from $12,500 up to $18,000. Keep in mind that the higher costing ones are usually at resorts that are no longer for sale or are brand new to DVC.
My most recent experience with DVC vs. Resale was an addition to my Aulani contract where I wanted to add 100 points. I visited my DVC rep and he told me that he could add on the points, give me this years points and last years points, that they would be in my account for use the next day and it would cost me $20,000 plus closing. Now a few things to point out: First, when I say this years points and last years points, essentially what’s happening is I’m getting 100 points from 2022 and 100 points for 2023. My contract is still only 100 points each use year.
Second, I would have been required to make a deposit of 10% of the total contract price right then and there ($2,000 and some change). Third, the points being put into my account the next day for use is…awesome. I can’t hate on that. It’s easily the fastest way to get access to points. But we’re still talking $20K for 100 points.
Now I had already done my homework and had been watching a 125 point contract on the Resale Market that was going for $125 a point for a total of $15,625 plus closing. It was also offering last years points and this years points. So after my conversation with my DVC Guide, I went on and made an offer for the 125 point contract for a total of $15,250. It was accepted in less than 12 hrs and will be completed by the end of February 2023.
So let’s break down this entire scenario for a comparison:
100 points for $20K plus closing costs totaling $22,139.16
This years points and last years points (double points)
Points accessible the next day for use
10% deposit right then
Financing is available or you can pay the entire thing on a credit card
125 points for $15,250 plus closing costs totaling $17,234.24
This years points and last years points (double points)
Points aren’t accessible for about 60 days
10% escrow deposit due within 5 days
Financing is possible through 3rd parties
So I ended up paying $4,905 less for my resale contract and getting an extra 25 points each year (valued at around $4,100) making my grand total savings $9,055 when buying resale vs. direct.
If you want to browse or purchase a resale contract I recommend you use Andy Berry at DVC Resale Market. He will get you the best deal possible and tell you all the advantages about certain contracts. He’ll even hunt one down for you if you’re looking for a particular one.
What about the DVC perks?
You may have heard that there are some perks to being a DVC member. This is true. In the past these have included special offers like tickets and AP’s, member-only events, merchandise and more. Currently several of these are still available. My favorite is the DVC member lounge at EPCOT. It offers a nice place to relax in the park with free drinks and snacks.
But what if you buy a resale contract? Do you still get all the perks that members who bought directly get? Yes and no. As a DVC member, no matter how you joined, you’ll always be able to buy member-only merchandise and visit the EPCOT lounge. You will not receive certain Membership Extras if you purchased resale after April 4, 2016 including Member discounts on dining, shopping, Member-exclusive events, and certain special Member offers.
The way you get to use your points is really the biggest difference. Members who purchased directly with Disney can use their points at any resort, on Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney Hotels (non-villas), Interval International Collection and Concierge Collection.
As a resale purchaser you have access to all DVC resorts* and the Interval International Collection.
So how to do you overcome the “deficit” that resale contracts bring with them? Let me start by saying that most of those Membership Extras go unused by members. Most people are in it for the stays and that’s about it.
One option you do have (if you really want those Membership Extras) is to purchase a small amount of points directly from Disney after you’ve obtained a resale contract. I did this for my Boardwalk Resort several years back and have been able to take advantage of them. It’s a small 40 point contract but it keeps me tied directly to Disney.
Your other option is to buy direct. I personally do not think the additional cost of direct is worth these Extras but it’s a decision you’ll have to make.
*Resale contracts for Disney’s Riviera Resort only allow you to use your points at Riviera and nowhere else.
What if I don’t want to be a DVC member anymore?
There’s always a way out of your timeshare contract if you need to. And the great part is the DVC contract tend to retain a much better resale value than most other timeshare programs. In fact I’ve watch certain home resorts (namely the Grand Californian Hotel) grow in value significantly over the years to the point where owners can actually make money selling their contracts. This is especially true for members who joined early on.
In general though, you’re probably going to lose some money if you bought direct from Disney and are now wanting out. Disney is selling points at about $207 per point for resorts that are available or add-ons. Depending on your home resort, how many points you have and your account status, you’ll probably end up selling between $110 per point to $190 per point. The average being around $145 per point. So in general you’re looking at losing around $62 a point. Again, it all depends on the resort you own and the status of your points.
If you have banked and unused points from a previous year, those contracts tend to sell for more. If you have used all your points up, your contract will sell for less. If you’ve used all your points plus borrowed some and used those, your contract will be on the lowest end.
Grand Californian contracts are selling at a premium right now at around $285 per point. I personally recommend selling now before the new DVC tower at Disneyland opens up as I believe this will drive down the demand and resale value of the Grand contracts.
If you’re set on selling then reach out to a company like DVC Resale Market and have them list your contract. I personally recommend Andy Berry who knows the in’s and out’s of DVC like nobody else.
The simple truth
Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare program. You will be committing yourself to many, many years of membership by purchasing a contract. This includes annual dues needing to paid each calendar year. DVC isn’t necessarily flexible (despite what others might say) and is definitely a planners game. You’ll usually be booking somewhere between 9 and 11 months in advance.
It works great if you have an annual trip to Disney World, Disneyland or Aulani. I do this every September and it works out great. If you’re not a planner and like to do last-minute trips, you’ll find that using your points is much harder as most resorts sellout around the 7 month mark or earlier. Converting your points into a collection also doesn’t help because you tend to get less value for them.
Whether you purchase direct or resale you’re going to receive a Guide and they will be your point of contact for a lot of things. One thing to keep in mind is that guides are paid on commission. They always want you to add on to your contracts. It’s very profitable for them. If they work for Disney, they will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t buy Resale. If they work Resale, they will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t buy direct.
I’ve had Guides from Disney who left and went to Resale and the flip flop has been funny to watch. I tend to agree with them though in that Resale is anyone’s best bet when it comes to joining.
If you have questions at all please feel free to leave a comment or write a question on our community page. If you’re not committed but are interested in trying out DVC you can always rent points and see what it’s like.