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Timeshares have been popular vacation options for many Americans over the years, allowing them to essentially “own” their vacation properties without outright buying real estate. Buyers can purchase their vacations in advance and use their vacation properties under specific terms, typically for the same amount of time each year.
But as beneficial as timeshares may be, they also come with a set of drawbacks that need to be carefully contemplated. Here are some pros and cons of owning a timeshare that should be taken into consideration before you buy.
Holidays Are Already Set
Some people prefer to hit a different holiday destination every year, but if you’re the type who likes the comfort and familiarity of going to the same place all the time, then a timeshare might be right for you. Rather than having to spend time and effort scoping out a new place to visit, your timeshare makes vacation planning a bit easier.
Essentially, your holiday is already set. A timeshare gives you the benefit of having the same timeframe you initially chose each year. There’s no need to fiddle around with availability; instead, your time slot is reserved for you. All you need to do is call ahead to book your time slot, pack up your belongings, and go!
Accommodations Tend to Be More Spacious
If you’re not a fan of staying in small hotel rooms that offer limited amenities, a timeshare might be the way to go. Timeshares offer home-like accommodations that are usually a lot more spacious than your average hotel room.
Larger families have the benefit of more space, including kitchens, living areas, and several bathrooms. You can eat dinner in your unit if you so choose and keep everyone extra comfortable with more space to roam. You’ll have the conveniences of home while enjoying an exotic location.
More Financially Accessible in Many Cases
An alternative to buying a timeshare is to purchase a property in full. However, this is often an out-of-reach option for many who don’t have the financial means to make such a hefty purchase, especially in certain spots. Beachfront properties, for instance, are typically very expensive and not something that many vacationers can necessarily afford.
Timeshares allow you to enjoy such luxury properties without having to dish out the cash needed to buy real estate the traditional way. You can live in the timeshare for the time period that you reserve. While the prices of timeshares vary a great deal depending on the week purchased and the location of the property, you may be able to snag heavily discounted weeks. You might even be able to rent out any unused weeks to others to help offset the cost of buying the timeshare.
Depending on how your timeshare is set up, you might have the luxury of booking weeks in different places across the globe where the resort company has locations. In this case, you might be able to exchange one of your trips for a different location. For instance, a two-week timeshare in Mexico can be traded for a holiday of the same duration and time slot in the Bahamas.
Flexibility in Travel Times
While it’s typical to buy specific weeks with a timeshare, you may be able to exchange one time slot for another. It should be noted that there’s no guarantee that the time slot you want will be available, and if it is, it will probably have to be booked well in advance to ensure availability.
Timeshares are notorious for scams. In fact, scams with timeshares are so rampant that there have been organizations created to help deal with them to protect the public. As a result, timeshare companies now have specific standards that they must abide by.
Even still, timeshare presentations are typically long and drawn-out, often putting a great deal of pressure on vacationers to buy into them even if they might not want to. Usually, only the pros of timeshares are highlighted in these presentations, leaving people in the dark about any potential cons associated with timeshares. At the end of the presentations, many people are left with buyer’s remorse after having been pressured into buying something they may not necessarily have wanted in the first place.
No Appreciation in Value
Unlike real property that typically appreciates in value over time, timeshares depreciate. That’s because there are generally sky-high advertising costs for timeshare property developers to recoup which do nothing for the value of the property. Instead, these costs are handed down to timeshare owners and little else is leftover to invest in the development. As such, the value of these properties is almost always a lot less than what was initially paid for them.
Difficult to Sell
As if losing value in the property isn’t bad enough, it can be downright challenging to sell the timeshare. Selling timeshares takes far more time than a typical piece of real estate, even in vacation areas that are highly desirable. That’s because the competition can be fierce, including other timeshares in the area. Selling might also be made more difficult because of the restrictions placed on timeshare contracts.
Many Additional Costs
While owning a timeshare doesn’t come with the same types of costs associated with owning real property, the costs that come with a timeshare can be astronomical. Not only are you stuck paying maintenance fees that increase every year, you will also be responsible for paying taxes and special assessments, in addition to a mortgage (if applicable).
The Bottom Line
Many timeshare owners are very satisfied with their vacation ownership and continue to enjoy their holidays year after year. Others, however, regret their purchase immediately after signing on the dotted line, often as a result of high-pressure sales tactics. Like any other major purchase, plenty of time and careful consideration is warranted before deciding to buy into a timeshare. And if you do, be sure to deal with a reputable timeshare company that is completely transparent and up-front about their terms.