Timeshare has a reputation for being a second-rate vacation product with third-rate benefits. You probably know someone who returned from a timeshare presentation and immediately regretted it. The word “timeshare” itself is practically synonymous with “buyer beware.” But that doesn’t mean timeshares are all bad. In fact, there are some great timeshare properties in the world, including some high-end locations and luxury resorts. It’s just important to understand what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re considering buying into a timeshare, or have been offered an opportunity to do so, read on to learn everything you need to know about this cost-effective vacation alternative before making that decision.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Timeshare?
- The Pros of Timeshare Ownership
- The Cons of Timeshare Ownership
- Which Type of Timeshare to Buy
- How To Buy a Timeshare
- How Much Do Timeshares Cost?
- The Hidden Costs of Timeshares
- What To Look for When Buying a Timeshare
What Is a Timeshare?
When you buy a timeshare, you buy a certain amount of weeks every year at different vacation destinations, usually resorts. In exchange, the developer who sold you the timeshare gives you access to the property (and its facilities) during those weeks, when no one else is there. The developer then sells the remaining weeks to other timeshare owners, who have the same type of access to the property.
A timeshare is a type of shared ownership in real property where a group of people own a percentage of a vacation property and have specified usage rights during specified periods of the year. A timeshare is often a condo or a vacation home that is part of a larger timeshare community, where the owner has a set number of days or weeks that he or she can use the property for a specified number of years.
Timeshares are often sold to people who are looking for an affordable way to own a vacation property. Some timeshare companies also offer financing, which means that you can make payments as you go without having to pay the full amount upfront.
The Pros of Timeshare Ownership
- You have a vacation destination for your family – As we discussed, one of the biggest benefits of timeshare ownership is that you have a vacation destination for your family. Whether you have children who want to go to Disney World every year, or you have aging parents who want to visit family in another state, timeshare ownership gives you a vacation destination.
- You get access to a variety of destinations – Timeshare companies often offer access to a variety of destinations. You can visit a tropical island in the Caribbean one year and rent a ski chalet in Colorado the next. You can even choose to travel to a different country each year.
- You can travel in luxury – Timeshare companies offer different types of properties. You don’t have to settle for an average beach house or a basic condo. You can choose a luxury resort condo or even a timeshare on a cruise ship.
- You get access to shared amenities – Some timeshare companies offer access to shared amenities at a lower cost than if you were to buy your own private amenities. If you want a tennis court but don’t want to pay the full cost of purchasing a tennis court, you can buy a timeshare that gives you access to a tennis court.
- You can get financing – Timeshare companies often offer financing options, which means that you can purchase a timeshare in smaller payments over a period of years, and you don’t have to pay the full amount upfront.
- You can access vacation savings – Some timeshare companies offer special discounts and specials for their members. You can take advantage of these special offers and save money on your vacations.
The Cons of Timeshare Ownership
- You have an expensive long-term investment – Timeshare ownership is expensive, and you purchase it as a long-term investment. Depending on how often you use your timeshare, you may never recoup the cost of purchasing it.
- You can’t use a timeshare during high-demand periods – If you want to vacation during the busiest times of the year, you may find that you can’t use your timeshare during that time. Some timeshare companies don’t allow their members to use their timeshare during Christmas, New Year’s Eve, spring break, and other high-demand times.
- You have to pay maintenance fees – Timeshare companies have to maintain their properties, and they have to pay for utilities, landscaping, and other costs associated with keeping the property up and running. They also have to pay for insurance and other operational costs. They charge their members maintenance fees to cover these costs.
- You have to pay annual assessments – Timeshare companies have to maintain the properties they sell, and they have to pay for insurance on those properties. They charge their members annual assessments to cover these costs.
- You may have to attend timeshare presentations – Some timeshare companies require their members to attend timeshare presentations. If you sign up for a timeshare, you may be required to attend a timeshare presentation and listen to a sales pitch.
- You may have to deal with timeshare resales – Timeshare resales are common, but they can be a hassle.
Which Type of Timeshare to Buy
When it comes to timeshare, there are two primary models.
A “Points-based” Timeshare
The first is a “points-based” timeshare, where you purchase a set number of points, and those points can be redeemed for a certain number of nights each year at any participating timeshare property. A points-based timeshare might be the best option if you like the idea of being able to travel to different destinations every year and not being locked into one specific property. However, a points-based timeshare may be more susceptible to changes in the industry because it’s not as concrete of an investment.
A “Usage-based” Timeshare
The other option is a “usage-based” timeshare, where you purchase a specific unit at a specific resort and have the right to use that unit for a specific number of weeks each year. The number of weeks you can use the unit each year will depend on the type of timeshare ownership you buy into. A usage-based timeshare might be the best option if you’re looking for a more concrete vacation experience at a specific resort and plan to visit that resort each year. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the type of timeshare ownership you buy into will determine how many weeks you can use your timeshare each year.
How To Buy a Timeshare
There are a few different ways to buy a timeshare.
- The first is to buy one directly from the resort. This is typically the most expensive option, but it’s also the easiest. You simply show up at the resort and ask for a tour. If you like what you see, you can buy a timeshare immediately.
- There are also several third-party sites that specialize in buying and selling timeshares. These sites offer many benefits, including lower prices and better customer service. The final way to buy a timeshare is through an estate sale.
- You can find these on Craigslist or Gumtree, among other places. This option is great if you’re looking for a cheap timeshare that’s in good condition, but it’s not ideal if you want to move into the unit right away.
How Much Do Timeshares Cost?
Unfortunately, there’s no set price for timeshares. The price you pay for a timeshare will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of timeshare you buy, the location of the timeshare, and the condition of the timeshare. The price of a timeshare can also change based on the market and supply and demand. However, you can use the resale evaluation to get a rough idea of what a timeshare will go for. Overall, the price of a timeshare will depend on a few factors: the type of timeshare, the location of the timeshare, and the condition of the timeshare. For example, a Bahaman beachfront timeshare will likely cost more than a timeshare in Ohio. The condition of the timeshare will also depend on its age. A timeshare that’s been recently renovated will cost more than an older timeshare in good condition.
The Hidden Costs of Timeshares
As we mentioned above, the price of a timeshare will depend on a variety of factors. However, there are also some hidden costs to buying into a timeshare that you should be aware of. First, make sure you factor in any transfer costs, closing costs, or maintenance costs. Additionally, if you’re buying a timeshare in a resort, it may be subject to a homeowners association (HOA) fee. Finally, make sure you have a financial plan in place to make sure you’re able to afford all of the fees associated with a timeshare.
What To Look for When Buying a Timeshare
Finally, before you buy into a timeshare, it’s important to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Here are some things to look for when buying a timeshare:
- The reputation of the timeshare company. It’s always a good idea to look up the reputation of the timeshare company to make sure you’re buying into a reputable brand.
- The type of timeshare you’re buying. Make sure you’re buying the type of timeshare that will best suit your needs.
- The location of the timeshare. It’s always a good idea to make sure the timeshare you’re buying is in a location you’ll actually want to visit.