Guide to Buying a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Contract
Are you thinking about buying a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) contract? If so, you may already know that you’ll find better value on the resale market. Still, you’ll have a lot to think about as you weigh your purchasing options. There are countless listing options, even in the current seller’s market, and you also must consider which companies to use to buy your contract. Here’s a guide on buying a DVC resale contract.
The Basics of Buying DVC
You’ve possibly already made the first choice, which is purchasing via resale rather than direct. Based on this decision, you are wanting to maximize your vacation dollars and savings.
What else do you need to know? The next five sections will detail the various factors that can impact a purchase. The basic aspect is simple. You must pick where you want to say.
In DVC terms, your Home Resort is the location that is the basis of the contract. You own an ownership interest in this property. As long as you’re not a first-time buyer, you understand this premise. If you are, a first-timer, A) You’re making the right choice! And B) I recommend that you read this article by Nick Cotton. It explains the importance of the Home Resort choice better than I ever could.
I do want to add something to it, though. You’re buying DVC points in order to have guaranteed Disney vacations for many years to come. You’re also angling to stay at a particular property, presumably the one that makes you happiest.
The general rule of thumb is that you should always buy points at the resort where you want to stay (i.e your Home Resort). That’s been the case since the mid-90s, but it’s going to be truer than ever in future years.
In 2019, Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge will open to the public. It’s going to spike traffic at Walt Disney World so much that many of the company’s amazing D23 announcements were proactively addressing those inevitable traffic concerns. Parks are going to be more crowded than ever, movement between parks and resorts will increase so much that Disney’s added new transportation options, and hotel occupancy percentages will be historical.
In the past, you might have had a chance to book a different resort well into the seven-month booking window. I strongly suspect that won’t be the case from 2019 until at least 2021, maybe longer. I’m expecting record-setting traffic at Star Wars Land that will spill over into all other parks and resorts at Walt Disney World. For that reason, I would STRONGLY suggest that you pick the Home Resort where you prefer to stay.
Choosing How Many Points You Need
Like everything else in life, you’ll have to make a buying choice here. You must decide how big your budget is, how flexible it is, and how many points that you’ll need. I’m never inclined to tell anyone else how to spend their money, so you must set your budget for yourself.
What I will do is detail how we chose our first resale contract. My wife and I evaluated how often that we expected to visit Walt Disney World. We weren’t sure at first, so we were extremely cautious with our purchase. We only bought 50 points, a modest investment. With so few points, we could only visit for a week every other year at one of the cheaper hotels (in terms of points cost), but that seemed reasonable to us.
Over time, something I’ve appreciated about our decision is that we kept an open mind. We wound up spending at least 10 nights a year at Walt Disney World, and we developed a preference for monorail resorts. Suffice to say that 50 points is nowhere near enough for us. That’s the beauty of the system, though.
Disney Vacation Club members laughingly/lovingly reference a phenomenon known as Addonitis. This fake word has a real meaning, which is that current DVC owners have a seemingly insatiable appetite for more points. Who wouldn’t want to visit a Disney theme park as often as possible, right?
The beauty of DVC is that you can always go up or down on your point total, depending on your current needs. Many contracts are structured such that you can sell them in smaller blocks, generally 100 points or less. These contracts are much easier to sell since they require a more modest investment, much like our first purchase.
This premise shouldn’t deter you from buying a larger contract, though. To the contrary, if you find yourself in a similar situation to my family, you can tear through a 250-point contract’s annual points in a single visit. These larger purchases make sense for guests who already know and love Disney theme park visits and have no worries that they’ll eventually grow tired of a visit. If you can look around your house and see more than a handful of Disney merchandise, you’re a Disney lover and someone who will receive great job from a larger contract.
In short, you can buy a few points, or you can buy a lot. The most important thing to remember is that you should remain flexible. Always maintain flexibility about your contracts and total number of available points.
Importance of Use Year
The Use Year is one of the most complicated issues for a DVC contract. DVC Resale Market owner Nick Cotton has written an excellent guide that you can read here. I will presume that you read this and add only a couple of thoughts.
The first is that if you want the least complex DVC membership, target the same Use Year with your add-on contract. As Nick points out, however, you can additional flexibility if you don’t mind keeping up with multiple contracts. A second Use Year is ideal for people who plan to visit Disney at multiple times each year.
You can view each contract as the one you’ll use for a certain season. In practical terms, DVC members will refer to one of their add-ons as the Food & Wine contract, the holiday season contract, the Spring Break contract, and so forth.
The most important suggestion I can make is that you pick a Use Year that doesn’t jeopardize your points. If you fail to cancel a DVC reservation early enough in your Use Year, they will go into the Holding Account. That’s a messy process.
Instead, if you plan to visit in May each year (for example), target a Use Year of February, March, or April. Your points will be early enough in the Use Year cycle that you can cancel without risk of the Holding Account issue. You can read a more detailed explanation of this in the link above under the section, “For Non-Members Looking to Join.”
There’s also a larger point here. Again, you should pick a contract based on where you want to stay and when you expect to visit. Your DVC membership is for you and your family. Select one that best caters to your needs.
Benefits of Double Points Contracts
You should consider one other key factor when shopping for a new DVC contract. All listings indicate how many points are available in the current year. Sometimes, the current owner hasn’t spent their points yet. So, they have multiple years of points available when they deal the contract.
These contracts are potentially of huge benefit to you. How? Well, two options are open to you. On the one hand, you could have a lot of fun. You have the option of spending twice as much time as Disney the first year of the contract. With those extra points, you can spend days or possibly even weeks more at a DVC resort for no additional cost.
Alternately – and this is the one I suggest – you could use the extra points to mitigate the cost of the contract. Other Disney fans will pay to rent DVC points from you. Sites such as DVC Rental Store will also pay you if you’d prefer to deal with a business rather than an individual. At an average cost of $15 per point, each 100 points is $1,500 that you can direct toward the cost of your resales purchase. This task turns double points contracts into DVC contract coupons! Don’t get me wrong, though. Using the points to enjoy a dream Disney vacation is a LOT more fun.
Hidden Advantages of Stripped Contracts
A lot of people think the same way that I do about double points contracts. Because of this logic, stripped contracts have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle a bit.
You may read a DVC listing, see zero points this year or next year and wonder, “Who would buy that?” And the answer is smart people.
Let me explain. Every existing DVC contract will last until at least 2042. That’s 25 years from now! Others will last more than 20 years past that point. When you buy into DVC, you’re playing the long game. You know that your investment will pay off after five-to-seven years. So, you’re already thinking years down the line.
A stripped contract sells for less than a regular contract. We’re talking several dollars per point. That savings adds up quickly, particularly on larger contracts. When you buy a stripped contract, you don’t get the immediate benefit of a DVC resort stay. You will a year or two down the line, though. More importantly, you’ll have the benefit of a cheaper contract that you will enjoy just as much a decade from now, when you won’t remember the lack of points the first year.
Impact of a Resales Company
This is obviously a DVC resales site, and you would expect a bias on this topic. However, I want to state that I purchased DVC resales long before I became a contributor here. I merely want to relay my story so that you can learn from it.
When we contacted multiple DVC sites to inquire about listings, we received several variations of replies. Some were responsive and friendly, others were curt, and a couple seemed ambivalent in general. None of the ones that I mention is the site you’re currently reading. It didn’t exist yet since many of the employees were still cast members and DVC direct salespeople back then.
We didn’t purchase from the friendliest one, and I quickly regretted that choice. Instead, we went with one of the highest-volume companies in the industry, one that Disney gave resales business. They had a lot of contracts. That seemed like a positive at the time, and it actually should have been.
In our experience, we were treated like just a number. The agent who facilitated our transaction was quick to respond at first. I presume that this person worked on commission and recognized that we were ready to buy. After we filled out our paperwork, however, several delays occurred in the transaction.
The couple selling their DVC property was in the process of a divorce. They both had to sign paperwork to complete the contract. One of the parties was clearly reluctant to do so. What should have been a quick process stretched out for several extra months.
Our agent largely kept us in the dark. I want to be clear that I don’t blame the person. There was only so much this individual could have done, short of driving to the person’s house and demanding a signature. Still, they could have relayed information to us in a clear, concise manner, letting us know the problem and when it would be resolved. We didn’t get that, and the transaction left a sour taste in our mouths.
The human element is critical in a business deal of this size. You’re paying thousands of dollars, after all. A phone call or email takes a couple of minutes. I regret not using a resales business that offered Disney-esque customer service.
What I can say as an impartial observer is that I have met Nick Cotton and his lovely wife and daughter. I have interacted with them personally and professionally. When I have friends who discuss DVC, I tell them to visit this site first, because I trust all of the people involved implicitly.
The staff here is professional and talented to be sure – Nick was basically a rock star of sales when he worked for Disney’s direct DVC sales group – but there’s a subtle element that differentiates the people here. They are Disney-trained and understand that special dose of Disney magic that is customer service. When you deal with the staff at DVC Resale Market, you’ll feel like you’re dealing with Disney, but you don’t have to pay Disney prices. It’s that little sprinkle of pixie dust that will elevate the purchase process. And it’s free of charge!