If you own a holiday home - for personal use, to rent out, or a timeshare to swap with others, either abroad or in the UK - have you ever wished that there was somewhere you could go to find someone to talk to about the experience? You might want to share all the great things about the way you use your second home, you may well be looking for fresh ideas and inspiration, or you could be in need of some advice and a little reassurance in managing your property. You, and others like you, now have a place of your own where you can go to talk about your place in the sun, and to learn from others in a similar position, as well as from the international property market experts themselves.
The Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) was established back in 2006 and has grown to be a respected and trusted trade body for professionals around the world where the people investing in the build and sales of your holiday homes, rental and leisure properties, as well as timeshare resorts, sign up to a voluntary code of conduct. The organisation and website has, over time, fostered some strong friendships.
Those same people asked themselves where the buyers of their properties go to 'meet' like-minded holiday home owners or to seek advice they can trust. The AIPP leadership couldn't see that their buyers and owners had any such forum, and so they joined forces with the European governing timeshare body, Resort Development Organisation (RDO) to create a website for the British owners of the many different types of second home properties or holiday homes out there today.
Launched in August this year, aipo.org.uk provides somewhere owners of freehold, leasehold or timeshare properties can go with confidence for neutral, independent help, advice and support. The Alliance of International Property Owners (AIPO), known as the Alliance, is run by a collaboration of the membership organisation's main facilitators, AIPP, and RDO. The coming together of these two bodies is ideal, since both organisations operate not-for-profit trade membership organisations founded with the aim of improving consumer education and protection by establishing standards of professionalism in a largely unregulated international property industry.
AIPP research reveals that as many as 1.5 million UK residents own freehold, leasehold or timeshare property overseas, while an average of 30,000 more purchase foreign properties, including timeshare, each year. Out of 1.5 million owners, 640,000 of them are Brits who own timeshare. If you are one of them, as you can see, you already have a great community out there - and now the Alliance has given you the one shared voice.
Welcome to the Alliance of International Property Owners
The Alliance of International Property Owners, or the Alliance, is a not-for-profit membership organisation in which members will reap exclusive benefits and have access to higher levels of advice and guidance, including knowledgeable guides, legal support, opportunities to make savings and offers to lower costs. In the longer term, the Alliance intends to provide expert and professional representation, as well as government lobbying on property owner issues, in the UK and overseas.
It will also build a community to share ideas and inspiration around holiday home purchase, use and lifestyle, showcasing all the benefits of choosing to holiday in this way, as well as keeping you up to date with the latest product development news.
To provide this level of support, and to sustain the vibrant community it wants to build, the Alliance will need significant resource. Getting funding to support its planned activities is important and, while it is launching with a free membership for a limited period, there will be a membership fee payable going ahead, the monies from which will be used, directly, for the benefit of the Alliance community. Founder members will, however, be offered a heavily discounted rate when they renew their memberships at a later stage.
The website features a dedicated timeshare section, to help you navigate your way through your recent purchase or, if you’re further on in your timeshare owning and holiday journey, you'll find help and ideas around the different timeshare use and management options available to you.
You should buy right and own well
Built on the premise of ‘buy right, own well’, the Alliance online hub and membership organisation was set up to foster a property ownership community, initially for British buyers of all categories of overseas holiday and leisure properties and holiday homes.
Buying a holiday home of any description is always going to be an emotional purchase - and a big one in terms of financial commitment. Regardless of economic fluctuations, the appetite among British people to buy into holiday lifestyle escapes and the many home swap and holiday ownership and share product options open to you today are both exciting and intimidating. You need to buy right to get the holiday lifestyle that best suits you and your family. If you are looking into an overseas holiday home purchase, you need to check out aipo.org.uk for all the inspiration and guidance you need. The site's regular updates on all kinds of topics and angles, with support from lawyers to financial organisations, as well as peer-to-peer learning, will give you the impartial and timely advice you need.
Currently, the launch offer is a free 12 month Luxury Restaurant Guide Membership worth £105, once you have signed up.
Timeshare owners will also benefit from an additional launch offer of 20% discount off Leisure Guard Travel Insurance.
New European Timeshare Owners' Association
European trade organisation, RDO, works closely with its US-based counterpart, American Resort Development Association (ARDA). This trans-Atlantic collaboration came about to allow leisure property professionals to share ideas around doing business in the timeshare industry, exploring the ways in which they could benefit from the experiences and the learnings of each other.
Timeshare owners in the US have benefited for many years from the ARDA-ROC timeshare owners' body which was established by ARDA, and which is run largely by timeshare owners, for owners. The work of ARDA-ROC is funded through membership fees and the owners' committees - or home owners' associations, as they are known - decide what those fees should be. It is intended that any such membership organisation dedicated to the owners of timeshare across Europe should be based on the US model.
RDO met with 33 timeshare home owners' associations representing 34 European resorts in London, in September this year, to discuss this proposal. Those attending gave the concept of a timeshare owners' body to represent them much support and were very positive. Following the advice of ARDA, based on its experience in the US, it was stated that the organisation would start with small, focussed goals and objectives and grow, little by little. Initially, it was decided it would be run by unpaid volunteers from RDO, but that it should set a budget for a professionally-run secretariat.
While being a stand-alone organisation for timeshare owners, it was thought that it would benefit from working closely with RDO, thereby bridging the gap between owners and the resort management, working for shared goals and the good of both communities. A vote at the meeting was unanimous in approving the decision to set up a European timeshare owners' association, and that it should be progressed by a working group who will now create a framework, agree objectives, and fix a funding and budget mechanism.
It is anticipated that the working group's first report will be delivered early next year. Meanwhile, for useful tips and advice from the US region, click here.
And if you don’t currently own a property, but are dreaming about owning your very own place in the sun, you should check out AIPO’s free downloadable resources which include tips and buying guides for popular destinations, including Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
If you want to see where a shared holiday ownership that you can swap - or exchange, as it is called - click on the button below to browse the resorts which are available for exchange by RCI members.
If you already own your place in the sun - you own a timeshare - to swap it for other holiday stays around the world click on the button below to become a member of the RCI Holiday Exchange community and start your world travels.