Are timeshares worth it? While timeshares certainly have their advantages, they aren’t right for everyone. For instance, those who prefer to frequently switch up their vacation destinations are likely not good candidates for timeshare ownership. However, those who prefer a routine, hassle-free vacation may benefit from splitting a timeshare with other owners.
If you’re mulling over the idea of investing in a vacation timeshare, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of Americans make the decision to purchase a timeshare property. These resort properties are typically owned, used and paid for by multiple people, making them (in many cases) a more affordable vacation option. Each owner of the timeshare has the right to use the property for a certain amount of time every year. These properties usually have more than one bedroom and can often be shared by multiple people at one time. Timeshare owners who aren’t able to visit their property during their scheduled time period can typically rent out or give away their specific timeshare dates to others. They may also be able to switch dates with other owners of the timeshare.
Curious whether owning a timeshare is worth your money? Read our list of timeshare pros and cons to find out.
Are timeshares worth it?
Here are the pros
- You have a built-in vacation every year – While being on vacation is certainly fun, the planning process often isn’t. With a multitude of hotels and activities to choose from, planning your annual vacation can turn into a time consuming and stressful undertaking – especially if you plan to vacation somewhere new. Fortunately, timeshares are a hassle-free way to experience and enjoy your annual vacation. Timeshare owners are already familiar with the property and its amenities, so they don’t have to worry about what they’re going to do once they arrive. In addition, since a timeshare owner uses the vacation property during a certain week or month every year, they can plan for the trip in advance.
- Timeshares can be fun for friends, families and groups – Most timeshare properties offer multiple bedrooms. This makes it possible for friends or family members to split a timeshare during the same time period and plan their vacations together. This is especially helpful for large families, as well as singles who don’t want to vacation by themselves. Every year, their vacation reunion with friends or family is pre-planned for a certain week or month, making it easy to see loved ones on a regular basis. In addition, splitting a timeshare with friends and family makes it possible to vacation in an otherwise unaffordable destination.
- They can be cost-efficient – Without a doubt, owning a timeshare is one of the most cost-efficient ways to vacation on a regular basis. For example, if you spend $400 a night for a one-week vacation in the Bahamas every year for seven years, you could end up spending $19,600 in total annual vacations. However, if you own a timeshare in the Bahamas, you might have to pay $10,000 upfront and $500 in annual maintenance fees, but ultimately you’ll end up saving money in the long run. In fact, after seven years, you’d only end up spending $13,500 on the Bahamas timeshare. Compare that to the nearly $20,000 you’d spend on a pricey vacation rental, and you can see why many people who vacation in the same place year after year choose to purchase a timeshare.
Here are the cons
- Less flexibility for vacations – Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to owning a timeshare is that many of them don’t allow much flexibility when it comes to planning your vacation. Every timeshare owner is allowed a certain time period each year to use the property. Depending on the type of timeshare, this could mean living in the property for a certain week or a specific season. In many cases, the dates rotate every year so that all owners are able to enjoy the property during multiple seasons. Unfortunately, if your share falls during a time that isn’t convenient, you’ll have to either rent it out to someone else or consider it a sunk cost. On the other hand, owning a vacation home outright allows owners to visit anytime they want – giving them considerably more flexibility with dates.
- There could be unexpected fees – Unfortunately, unexpected expenses are fairly common with timeshare properties. While timeshare owners can expect to pay for routine maintenance, taxes and utilities, other expenses such as special assessment fees may hit them out of nowhere. According to Timeshare Exit Team, these special assessment fees often cover property upgrades, repairs and anything else the resort deems necessary. Timeshares located near the beach or other natural disaster-prone areas, may have more frequent special assessment fees. For instance, if a hurricane unexpectedly hits your timeshare property and causes damage, you can expect to foot part of the bill for repairs.
- Timeshares are difficult to sell – Tired of using your timeshare? Unfortunately, you may have trouble selling your share of the property. In fact, as LearnVest points out, “the Federal Trade Commission warns against buying timeshares as financial investments.” Unlike typical real estate investment properties, you are almost guaranteed to lose money when selling your part of the timeshare. This is because there simply aren’t enough buyers out there to purchase all of the timeshare properties listed for sale. LearnVest also claims that while many timeshare hotels and resorts tend to be popular when they first open, they eventually lose that shiny, brand new appeal over time. Of course, there are many long-time owners who will tell you that, regardless of resale value, their timeshare property was well worth the money.
Moving into a seasonal timeshare?
If you’re planning to live in a seasonal timeshare for a month or longer, you may need to make appropriate plans for the move. Depending on your specific needs, this could mean anything from professional auto transport to box and supplies. Fortunately, Moving.com’s free and easy-to-use tools have you covered. To find discounts, quotes and details on all of your moving necessities, check here. Good luck and happy moving!