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A timeshare is a property that you own for a portion of the year, typically located in vacation destinations. Traditionally, people owned timeshares by the week, where they would by an ownership period for one of the 52 weeks of the year. More recently, timeshare companies have responded to the requests of the traveling public and created some seemingly flexible options, allowing people to not be locked into a single property or season.
There are definitely downsides to timeshare ownership. The three biggest negatives are:
- Maintenance Fees. These come every year, and typically rise every year and must be paid whether you are able to use your timeshare or not.
- Inability to Book a Vacation. For those “flexible” ownership options, a big complaint is that it is often very hard to book. Many people don’t plan their trips a year in advance, and even when trying to book a highly desired resort a year out, it may not be available.
- No Timeshare Resale Market / No Way to Give it Back. The fact that timeshare resorts don’t take timeshares back has given birth to a completer industry known as timeshare exit. Sadly, it has also opened up the opportunity for fraud, with timeshare exit being one of the biggest fraud targets reported. There is a Consumers Guide to Timeshare Exit which is a must read for anyone who is seeking to purchase a timeshare so they know what they are up against. And if you are seeking to get out of your timeshare, you definitely need to read it, to make sure you know how to avoid the scams.
Today, I want to focus on the advantages of timeshare ownership, because you might find that it is something that works for you and your family.
- You can pass it along to your children or heirs. A timeshare can be left to your children or your estate through your will or estate plan. You should discuss this with your kids before leaving it to them because they may not need or want your timeshare and leaving it to them will leave them with the financial responsibilities of maintaining it.
- It allows you to reduce the cost of future vacations. The cost of hotels has typically risen over the years and will continue to do so. When you purchase your timeshare, you will be able to keep the cost of your vacations at a stable level, with the exception of any fees associated with your timeshare that are likely to increase. If you are currently traveling a few weeks per year, this could represent a significant savings over time over staying in a hotel of the same quality as your timeshare.
- It allows you to take more vacations. If you are currently not taking vacations, this might help you take a much-needed vacation, and open you up to more vacation possibilities. More travel means more memories, less stress, and better quality of life!
- Travel Perks. With the right timeshare network, you can also gain significant travel benefits such as “best price guarantees” on air travel, “discount weeks” where you can spend a week at a 5 Star resort for under $300.
- Travel to More Locations. In the modern day of vacation travel ownership, you can find properties in dozens of countries that you can stay in. If you are in a network where you can exchange your week for one in another country, this could help you make a trip of a lifetime more affordable.
- Give You the Perks of Owning a Second Home without the Costs. Owning a second home sounds nice, but what about the costs and upkeep when you aren’t there? And wouldn’t you rather have thousands of “second homes” in dozens of countries as opposed to just one?
- Great Amenities. Most timeshares want you to have all of the comforts of home. This means having your own kitchen (do you really want to eat every meal out?), washer & dryer (for those long stays), pools, spas, water sports, golf packages, ski packages… you name it!
- More Space. Timeshare resorts are typically larger than hotels which means bigger families can travel together and require fewer rooms.
If you are currently vacationing and not a timeshare owner, I encourage you to consider timeshare ownership. If you simply want to travel more because you know it will improve your quality of life, then you should consider it as well. BUT, I don’t actually recommend going to a timeshare presentation or buying one directly from a timeshare resort as you will simply overpay for the same thing that you could get for free.
Keep in mind, that there is a secondary timeshare market where you can also purchase timeshares for a fraction of the cost (and often free) and still end up with a timeshare at the exact same resort that was going to sell you a timeshare week for $20,000 (that’s the national average). The other thing you need to be aware of is that the annual maintenance fees typically increase year after year, so be prepared for that.
If you are considering attending a timeshare presentation, you have to read this article titled How to Survive a Timeshare Presentation where I share insider tips on what you need to know to make it through a timeshare presentation (if you dare) without ending up buying something you don’t need or want.
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