Q: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Timeshare

Mar 30, 22:02 Question by Maple (Ginger R.)

I am thinking of buying a timeshare. I want to go away and the advertisements look so appealing. What are the advantages of owning a timeshare?

Mar 30, 22:04 Answer by jberman (Jonathan Berman)

Maple: 

You ask an interesting question.  Some people love them, but they are not for everybody. Many people own timeshares and each have their own reason.  There are over 5,000 time share properties worldwide and over 1,500 in the US alone.  Let’s look at a few advantages and disadvantages, but before we do so, there are a few issues that need to be clarified.

There area many types of time shares.  Some plans are ridged and some are flexible.  You can get a specific room in a specific hotel every year for a week and then in some you get points that can be used in any property in the chain any time during the year. In some cases points can be accumulated over several years. Then there are many plans that are somewhere in the middle. The more flexibility and / or the more fancy the hotel and depending on the season, the more you will pay. The type of plan to buy or not to buy will very much depend on your pocket and lifestyle. Naturally, each package has its unique advantages. 

Some of the advantages are:

If you are locking in a specific week every year, you know that you are getting away.  By doing so, you know in advance when and where your vacation will take place.  Everything is very certain. Most people rarely get away.  It is far from being healthy. By paying in advance for your vacation and assuming you value your money, you will not let that time go to waste and you will actually get away. 

Some plans allow you to exchange locations.  Therefore, one year you can vacation in one destination and next year on a different continent.   It is a nice way to see the world.  You do not have to research hotels.  It is all done for you. 

By owning a timeshare, you more or less know your vacation costs.  You have your fixed cost and an annual maintenance cost.  By knowing your costs upfront, it removes a lot of the unknown and it makes it easier to budget your other expenses

You can use the week yourself or you can share it with your family and friends.  If you see that you do not have the time to take vacation during a specific year, you can give the timeshare to your relatives and friends. How cool is that?  By doing so you definitely become Mr. Popular.

Some timeshares from time to time will give you a bonus.  An extra few days here or there can really make a big difference.

There are also a few disadvantages which are important to know:

It is not cheap.  Depending on the timeshare, week and flexibility you will pay a nice upfront sum.  Then you have to pay an annual fee which again can be somewhat costly.  In some cases it is less expensive to go to a nice hotel in the same city and you might save yourself a good amount of money.

In some timeshares, if you do not use the week that you purchased you lose the right for the year.  So you paid all that money and you wasted it because your boss did not allow you the time off. 

If you are restricted to a specific hotel, it is possible that after a while you will get board and not be interested in going back to the same location.

It is a poor financial investment because the cost is high and it is hard to resell at a reasonable price.

Some older timeshare that have sold out can be a bit run down.  There is no real incentive for ownership to keep them up like they used to when the hotel was new.

As you can see, I can go on and on.  The decision is yours.  My advice to you is to see if it fits your lifestyle.  If you like it, do it.  Is there anything better than being on vacation?


Good luck,

Jonathan Berman @ PropertyAnswers.org
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