If you’re unfamiliar with the term “timeshare,” it is simply shared ownership of a vacation program or product. Timeshares have evolved over the years and can now refer to many different types of vacation ownership. A deeded interest in a resort points with a resort developer such as Marriott, Hilton, Westin etc. or something else entirely.
A timeshare resale is a timeshare that is purchased or rented on the secondary for sale by owner resale market. These timeshares can be had for up to 50% less than the same timeshare sold directly to a resort developer. If you’re going to buy a timeshare, it makes absolutely no sense to ever buy it through a resort developer directly. Always buy resale.
The Right Reasons to Buy a Timeshare
Timeshares can help you save money on future vacations if you typically travel with your family or larger groups. This is because most timeshares feature private bedrooms and kitchens within the one unit. It’s usually cheaper for a group for 4, 5, 6 or more to stay in one spacious unit than to book two separate rooms. The kitchen can also help everyone save money on dining out costs.
Timeshares can also be a good value if you like to get the family together each year for a family reunion at the same resort. You could buy a deeded interest timeshare on the resale market for a few hundred dollars and then you’d just need to pay the $500 – $800 per year in maintenance fees to stay there once per year.
The cost of a timeshare can increase when you constantly need to exchange it for a different location through an exchange service like RCI or II. These services allow you to exchange your timeshare week for a different timeshare in a different location, but require a fee to use.
The Wrong Reasons to Buy a Timeshare
Never buy a timeshare thinking it’s going to increase in value over time. It won’t. Some timeshare products such as the Disney Vacation Club retain their value better than other timeshare products, but it’s extremely rare for a timeshare to increase in value over time.
The misconception that a timeshare will increase in value comes from the deed that is included with some timeshare products. Just because a timeshare has a deed does not mean it is real estate. Timeshare is a product of vacation time. It allows you to vacation in luxury for one or two weeks per year at a discounted price, but that’s where the benefits stop.
Don’t buy a timeshare thinking it will allow you to vacation for free or next to nothing. After you buy a timeshare you’ll need to continue to pay maintenance fees every year until you sell it or give it away. Figure out how much these maintenance fees will be before you buy and compare them to the cost of a similar hotel room. If you can book a 2-bedroom hotel room in the same resort for less than what you’d pay in yearly maintenance fees for an identical timeshare at that resort, why buy a timeshare there?
Lastly, don’t buy a timeshare unless you can commit to vacationing once per year. If you’re in poor health or have an unpredictable work schedule, you’d probably be better off not buying a timeshare.