When does a condo make more sense than DVC?

Travel60

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Before you buy a condo, insist on seeing past board minutes as well as the annual budget, bylaws & history of any special assessments, and especially the current status of the reserves. A LOT of the associations have kept fees low by not funding adequate reserves / necessary maintenance. Don't buy someone else's problems!!
Absolutely true but difficult. We thought we had done that (2 CPAs here with 60 years business experience between us). But the effort it took to get the info should have been a clue to us that all was not right. It wasn't until we attended a meeting and asked questions that we realized the management company really didn't know what they were doing and the board was following their advice.
 

CraigInPA

Since June 1974
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Condos can be a good choice for some people, provided they are run well and maintained.

I'm not going to say that every Condo is run poorly, but I can tell you, having been on the board of my local HOA (all single family homes) that the majority of owners don't give any thought to funding reserves or future repairs, and are vocal about any proposed increase in monthly/annual dues to do so. Kicking the can down the road, as we saw with the Surfside Condo collapse, is the rule, versus the exception. And, as we saw with the Surfside Condo collapse, comes back to bite everyone in the end.

The other issue of Condo (and HOA) life is the percentage of full time versus part time residents, and the percentage of units being rented. Where you have part time residents, they aren't thrilled paying for costs associated with the property when they aren't there, especially seasonal ones, and want the lowest possible dues. If your part time residents outnumber your full time residents, they'll also wage war over paying for things they perceive as being there primarily for the full timers. Where you have a lot of rentals, they require the amenities to be "top notch". So, you're staffing a lifeguard at the pool in two shifts, versus a single shift.

Most Condo/HOA management companies are terrible. They typically exist to be a scapegoat for everything. Dues goes up? The management company raised prices. Pool railing not fixed in an hour? That darn management company doesn't employ enough maintenance staff. Most management companies are good at collecting dues, and usually nothing more.

Before you buy a Condo or home in an HOA, you'll want to read the rules and regulations and bylaws and declaration. Many states require these to be provided to you, and offer a "exit agreement of sale" if you don't like what you read. Also, ask to read the meeting minutes for the last two years. Most monthly meeting minutes are only a couple of pages long, so it's not a lot of reading. These are typically not provided to you automatically. These are where you're going to see strife and issues.

My advice would be to not buy a Condo. I'd be looking for a "55 and up" senior community that maintains the outside (or at least the grounds) of single family homes. Alternatively, a single family home not in an HOA, and find your own lawn care maintenance, and bug treatment companies.
 

pineapplepalms

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
I wouldn’t buy a condo since I like the flexibility of DVC. Currently we don’t feel comfortable flying across the country to FL, so we’re spending our points at VGC. In the long run we plan to use our points at WDW, DLR, and Aulani. I don’t want a condo to tie me to just one location and I don’t want to deal with managing it. Plus I like to stay on property especially at resorts where you can walk to a park (a couple of our home resorts are BWV and VGF).
 

MICKIMINI

Love the Mouse!
DVC Premium
Joined
Sep 6, 2003
We went around and around regarding buying more DVC vs a condo. We decided on more DVC in small resale contracts that we can flip anytime. We didn't want the worry or expense of dealing with a property we were only at for a couple months.

With DVC, we pay for cleaning, maintenance, insurance, property taxes, etc in our MF's. We can use it how we like when we like (w/in 7-11 months), bank if we don't need them or rent (not a big return but better than not using).

We are looking at OTOTW and Stone Creek in Ocala. I agree that paying for exterior maintenance and lawn care is definitely worth it. The Villages is too large for us, unless we find a deal then we'd consider. We are excited to get more details regarding Lake Nona 55+ in conjunction with Disney. That would be a big move from NH so time will tell. If we make the move we'll keep some DVC so we can entertain family. Two homes is just too much worry for us.

Good luck!
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
We went around and around regarding buying more DVC vs a condo. We decided on more DVC in small resale contracts that we can flip anytime. We didn't want the worry or expense of dealing with a property we were only at for a couple months.
I hadn't articulated that out loud, but yes. I always viewed this as a well run condo board where I could stay for a few weeks, and flip easily if I change my mind. Most property interests of this scale are not so easy to leave. And, yes, I agree. I have multiple small contracts.

My opinion of "well run" has been tested recently. Hopefully the issues with management can be resolved.
 

cbyrne1174

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
Wyndham resale points are just as easy/convenient to buy as DVC resale points, but without the insane buy in costs. You could stay at Bonnet Creek for about 1/5th the price of DVC for similar size accomodations with current dues and buy in costs. Also, Wyndham has a bunch of other snowbird locations other than WDW. Another option is Marriott, but it's about 50% more expensive than Wyndham. Both companies have really good FL inventory. I own both and can't bring myself to buy into DVC because of the cost. I would rather get a month of vacation a year owning Wyndham than 1 week owning DVC (they cost the same).
 

808blessing

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Wyndham resale points are just as easy/convenient to buy as DVC resale points, but without the insane buy in costs. You could stay at Bonnet Creek for about 1/5th the price of DVC for similar size accomodations with current dues and buy in costs. Also, Wyndham has a bunch of other snowbird locations other than WDW. Another option is Marriott, but it's about 50% more expensive than Wyndham. Both companies have really good FL inventory. I own both and can't bring myself to buy into DVC because of the cost. I would rather get a month of vacation a year owning Wyndham than 1 week owning DVC (they cost the same).
how’s the resales? Same as dvc?
 

Lorana

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Thanks very much! I guess it just seemed like with all the people in the 1000 point club, and discussions about “Disney retirement plans” there would be more people out there who’ve considered the 2, since DVC costs more …& yes, we’d have a sizable down pay for a condo/home if we sold all our points (which I am not ready to do yet). Just was curious about others’ thoughts on how they continue deciding to add on. And I can definitely see the value in some nearby timeshares 👍
We admittedly didn't do a TON of research into purchasing a condo or home in the Orlando area (not to the level we researched DVC), but just enough to realize it likely wasn't for us, particularly around concerns of actually breaking even between all the costs, time and hassle, and actually being able to rent out our condo/home when we weren't down there *especially* as we are mid-career and are still likely 15 years from retirement. It's possible our minds may change as we near retirement. But, part of the reason we decided to go the DVC route rather than a condo/home is (1) we like being onsite / we love the DVC resorts, (2) we like someone else taking care of the maintenance and cleaning and everything, and (3) we like the flexibility. DH says that even if we win the lottery, he'd rather DVC over buying a home in Golden Oaks for those reasons (though personally I'm not sure I agree with him entirely, lol!). Owning DVC means we can choose which resorts and when and where we want to stay, and break up snowbirding in Disney by doing a few weeks at one resort, and then a few weeks at another. As we live in New England, it also means we can go to Hilton Head on the way down and back up on the same points. Additionally, we can also choose to use our points in other ways - exchange into RCI and go somewhere else one year and/or rent the points out and go somewhere else. We also liked the option of being able to pass them to our kids if they wanted, and also that DVC (at least at present) holds it value, so if we wanted or needed to sell (or our kids did), they would sell reasonably easily and reasonably well.

Also, I know this rarely comes up, but one of the things that also mattered to me was the ability to just get out of things immediately if we needed to. That Disney would allow you to just "hand over" your contracts and sign them back to Disney if you wanted a fast out was important to us. Not because we expect to ever do it - we'd sell first - but because we've heard enough horror stories and had a relative who couldn't get out of a timeshare that I wanted to know that we could get out of DVC if our financial situation changed enough that DVC was a burden. But, the fact that DVC holds it value and resale is a hot market was more of the primary factor, as that made us comfortable we could exit quickly if needed.
 

starry_solo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
I have looked into a few other ones, but my hubby appreciates that DVC consistently holds its value … I just really love going to Disney & our kids do too! 😍

Is there a specific one you would recommend (preferably one that holds value & is close to Disney?)?
You would likely be better off renting timeshare weeks, rather than owning non-Disney timeshares.
 

RoseGold

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
You could stay at Bonnet Creek for about 1/5th the price of DVC for similar size accomodations with current dues and buy in costs.
OK, I'll play. Let's buy 1M Bonnet Creek points for free, as there are multiple listings close to free. Let's ignore the transfer fees or activation fees or whatever games. Dues are $7,500/year. For DVC SSR, using the board sponsor cost, $11/point/year, that translates to about 680 SSR points/year.

Lets go to the charts and pick late August. Bonnet Creek gets 4.3 weeks in August in a 2BR presidential vs 2.2 weeks in 2BR SSR. Bonnet Creek doesn't have studios, but it gets 7.9 weeks in the cheapest Bonnet Creek unit vs 6 weeks in a SSR studio.

Bonnet Creek is a lovely property, and maybe Wyndham is a good choice for many, but it's not 1/5 the cost, and it isn't like reselling DVC. Though writing this out is making $3,500/mo rent for a Wyndham vacation property sound pretty nice, if you wanted to lock this much up in a timeshare commitment, assuming you can even make bookings, like I know you could with DVC.

Edit to add: You can also rent the other timeshares as well, and that looks like an even better plan. I do hope to stay in Bonnet Creek sometime. Its thread is always popping up, and people seem to love it! And wow, 100-150/night to rent a 2BR!
 
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npatellye

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 30, 2019
We thought about a condo and ended up deciding that, for now, we would prefer DVC because of its convenience with the management company. However, as we are both now in our 40s, our long-term plan is to buy into a 55+ community (or maybe an all ages community if we can find the right fit) as soon as my husband is old enough (still 14 years away). We plan to eventually become snowbirds so owning a smallish house is better suited to our plans. But that’s a long way off and plans can change.
 

CraigInPA

Since June 1974
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Though writing this out is making $3,500/mo rent for a Wyndham vacation property sound pretty nice, if you wanted to lock this much up in a timeshare commitment, assuming you can even make bookings, like I know you could with DVC.
At the current interest rates, $3500 a month for principal, taxes, and HOA dues, you could probably buy a single family home in the $600k+ range...
 

bwvBound

DVC SSR & other timeshare
Joined
Feb 5, 2004
LOL, we've done it all: Condo, Vacation Home, DVC and other timeshare.

FWIW, the vacation home was purchased specifically to be near one of our timeshare, at that time. We loved that timeshare property so much we bought a house and land to "upgrade" our timeshare experience. Kinda crazy ... but it worked for us. The timeshare, quite sadly, closed in 2012 and has not yet reopened in any form. I miss it. But ... I've brought some of that experience to our vacation home (specifically the horses) and now live in that home full time. It is all good.

I'm inclined to say "follow your heart" and be ready to adjust as needed along the route. If it doesn't work out: sell it. No big deal? If need be, consider it an expensive lesson learned??
 

HappyDisneyWife

Powered by pixie dust... and espresso ;)
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
LOL, we've done it all: Condo, Vacation Home, DVC and other timeshare.

FWIW, the vacation home was purchased specifically to be near one of our timeshare, at that time. We loved that timeshare property so much we bought a house and land to "upgrade" our timeshare experience. Kinda crazy ... but it worked for us. The timeshare, quite sadly, closed in 2012 and has not yet reopened in any form. I miss it. But ... I've brought some of that experience to our vacation home (specifically the horses) and now live in that home full time. It is all good.

I'm inclined to say "follow your heart" and be ready to adjust as needed along the route. If it doesn't work out: sell it. No big deal? If need be, consider it an expensive lesson learned??
Such an interesting journey!! I totally agree that needs change, and we must adjust while we go… thanks for sharing! It seems several people lean more to the “both/and” instead of “either/or” with DVC & a vacation home/condo. And it really does make sense since they’re so different!
 

cbyrne1174

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
OK, I'll play. Let's buy 1M Bonnet Creek points for free, as there are multiple listings close to free. Let's ignore the transfer fees or activation fees or whatever games. Dues are $7,500/year. For DVC SSR, using the board sponsor cost, $11/point/year, that translates to about 680 SSR points/year.

Lets go to the charts and pick late August. Bonnet Creek gets 4.3 weeks in August in a 2BR presidential vs 2.2 weeks in 2BR SSR. Bonnet Creek doesn't have studios, but it gets 7.9 weeks in the cheapest Bonnet Creek unit vs 6 weeks in a SSR studio.

Bonnet Creek is a lovely property, and maybe Wyndham is a good choice for many, but it's not 1/5 the cost, and it isn't like reselling DVC. Though writing this out is making $3,500/mo rent for a Wyndham vacation property sound pretty nice, if you wanted to lock this much up in a timeshare commitment, assuming you can even make bookings, like I know you could with DVC.

Edit to add: You can also rent the other timeshares as well, and that looks like an even better plan. I do hope to stay in Bonnet Creek sometime. Its thread is always popping up, and people seem to love it! And wow, 100-150/night to rent a 2BR!
If you are stupid enough to buy a BC contract when you don't need BC ARP for the holiday weeks that you can't get 10 months out, you won't get a good deal. Why would anyone with basic googling skills grab a BC deed unless they need the inventory not availale 10 months out? It's literally just 3/4 BR presidential Holiday weeks that aren't available. BC is the Vero beach of Wyndham. The MF are crap. BC is usually discounted 35% last minute during the times of the year when kids are in school. If you use Grand Desert points to rent weekdays in a 1 bedroom deluxe, you can get it as low as $33/night. I usually book week 22 Sun-Fri for 48,750 Grand Desert points ($475 for 5 nights or $55/night).

When you factor in SSR buy in cost at $120 point for 33 years, it's $3.64 per point buy in with $7.11 MF. That's $10.70 per point and DVC never discounts the rooms. That makes the CHEAPEST 1 bedroom is 21 points per night (225$ per night).

$225/$55 = 4 times cheaper
$225/$33 = 6.8 times cheaper. '
 

cbyrne1174

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
I understand (and agree with) your broader point, but this is not helpful.
I was just pointing out that it’s a terrible idea to buy Bonnet Creek to stay at Bonnet Creek. No, just no….That would be like getting a Vero Beach contract with the intention of staying at SSR because of the upfront price. If you want to stay at SSR, get a low MF Wyndham deed and exchange into SSR via RCI. A week in a one bedroom at SSR costs resale Wyndham owners with low MF $1000/week. It’s stupid to use Vero beach points. I honestly don’t own DVC because every time I compare resale costs to similar accommodations I’m accustomed to with Wyndham resale, it ends up being at least triple the price.

Also with Wyndham, it’s just as easy to book a week at BC for $600 and flip it for $1200. I honestly don’t get why so many people bash Wyndham resale because it’s a cheap buy in. Wyndham and Marriott resale are both better products than DVC resale. They both have many locations to chose from that are of high quality (DVC doesn’t) and aren’t tied to a theme park that keeps jacking up the prices and at the same time offering less with the new product (like APs). Would I ever buy retail from them? Not in a million years, but when I’m done with my contracts, both companies ( Wyndham and Marriott) have an easy to use deedback program. The ONLY advantage DVC has over the other 2 is that you can book 1 night stays on Saturday for a weekend Orlando trip without it costing significantly more points.
 

RivShore

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
But are there that many DVC rooms available in RCI? When we stalked their site years ago, intending to use a relatives week, we could never find availability. Decided getting one was akin to hitting the lottery and never tried again. Are things different now? And if so, is it a short term thing because of the influx of covid impacted dvc points?
 

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