The Timeshare Debate

Updated on October 9, 2018
diyerfy profile image

I'm a mom of 2, blogger, and hard worker. Sometimes I need a vacation and I do it with my timeshare.

Get to Know your Timeshare

Has your timeshare experience made you feel like it is a waste of money? Are you confused by all the rules including how to use the exchange? Or have you avoided a timeshare altogether because you've heard horror stories of pushy sales representatives and unhappy buyers? Getting sucked into a time share may seem like a dream come true turned nightmare and there's lots of companies that will happily help you sell. However, their strategy is based on a negative perception in that timeshare owners are uneducated in what they purchased, and they want out of their “mistake.” Having an educated understanding of timeshares and how they work will help you make better timeshare decisions and leave you happy with your purchase.

What are the top 2 Timeshares?

Marriott and Disney top the lists in both the Sharket.com perfect score ratings for 2016 and redweek.com's 2018 25 best timeshare rentals list. Safe to say that these two companies tend to be "quality" timeshare picks.

The Good Side of Timeshare Ownership

Owning a time share means that you not only plan to take a vacation, you will vacation. These vacation destinations are often resorts full of amenities, activities, and luxury treatments such as spas, theaters, restaurants, and events all on-site. They are typically designed to pamper you. Even if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t take your intended vacation, timeshares are usually flexible in that you can deposit what you have into an exchange to use somewhere else at a later date. Break your week up into weekends to enjoy a few mini-vacations, or roll over your week into the following year. Some benefits to note are:

  1. A time share forces you take a vacation.
  2. A time share is flexible for use (please refer to your own terms of use)
  3. You can put it into an "exchange" and go somewhere else
  4. It can be affordable as there are different packages to buy
  5. Payment plans and Ownership levels allow for flexibility and affordability
  6. Buy it for life or buy a set amount of weeks
  7. Luxury resort living features and amenities
  8. Prime locations all over the world through the exchange program
  9. A way to treat yourself and your family
  10. Gets you out of your house and allows you to reset with a nice little “break.”

The truth is, there is so much that goes into timeshares, you really need to do your homework before you buy. The sales person is there to make a sale now, not tomorrow. They want you to buy it now, not think about it at home. Anyone who knows a thing or two about sales (in general) knows that if people have time to "think about it," the chance of a sale fades away rather quickly. And that goes for anything: houses, new cars, boats, alarm system monitoring, insurance plans. Feeling pressured? Don't be because ultimately you are in control. Remember this is YOUR wallet and pocket book and who’s in control over it? You are!

The Bad Side of Timeshare Ownership

Touring a timeshare property can be exciting. Right away you can see yourself vacationing there. But there are things to consider such as budget, flexibility, and availability of what you are buying. Don't sit there like a ditz! Remember, you are the one that is going to say "yes" or "no." Your word is final, not anyone else's. So here are some things to ask about when you are looking at a timeshare:

  1. Points system or weeks buy? What kind of a system they are on will tell you what you are buying. Some work on a points system in which you buy a certain number of points to be used for the year and it will equate to a certain type of room package. If it's a "weeks" system then you buy X amount of weeks, after which your timeshare ends when you run out of weeks. Points systems usually last a lifetime and can be transferred to your children so be warned that if it's something they wouldn't want later, call a timeshare exit team to get rid of it when you're done or find out from your timeshare resort on how you can sell it.
  2. What are the maintenance fees? This is important because maintenance fees vary depending on how many points you buy (for points systems). Usually the more points you buy, the higher the maintenance fees (usually paid yearly) because you are essentially getting better, bigger rooms, more incentives, etc. Weeks buys will also have maintenance fees that usually stay the same and don't vary by the amount you buy. Another thing to note is that Week's maintenance fees are usually paid when you book, not yearly like the points systems. Know your maintenance fees. When are your maintenance fees due and how can you pay them?
  3. What kind of incentives do you get with your purchase? Usually they give you a free night's stay at the resort as a trial to see if you like it before you go into the sales meeting the following day. You may want to look at the location of the resort in relation to attractions you may want to visit. What are the onsite activities? How many or what kind of restaurants do they have there? Are there any nearby shops or shops on property? What do the rooms look like and what do they come with? What value does the resort have for you?
  4. What exchange will you be a part of? There's more than one exchange company and the most well-known are RCI and Interval International. Both have similarities but boast a catalogue of different resorts around the world. They also have different fees associated with them, so you may want to ask about exchange rates with whichever one the resort is a part of. You may want to make a list of places you want to visit and ask to see the book, so you can get a first-look glance before you buy at what is available through that exchange. Just keep in mind that exchanging your weeks or points usually isn't free and there may be fees associated through the exchange program.
  5. Can you sell your weeks, give them to family members, or rent them to other people? Some resorts have a way that you can sell your yearly points or a week or two to other people so that you don't lose out on it. This can help make back some money for you or keep it from "going to waste" that year.
  6. Is the resort apart of a bigger resort network? This is a good one because not all resorts are stand-alone resorts. Some are a part of a network of resorts that belong under their respective umbrella. This usually means you can go to any of their resorts without having to pay extra fees. You just use the weeks or points needed to stay at another property and off you go on vacation!

Owning a time share should be a great experience that opens the doors of adventure and exploration. The most important thing is to know what you are buying and read the contract. Make sure the time share is one you are happy to own and will be happy with for years to come. If it something you don’t think you’ll enjoy or need, then don’t buy it. You should never feel uncomfortable or pressured to the point you want to run out and hide. The bottom line is that even if the deal is only valid while you are there yet you are not 100 percent sold on the idea, there’s plenty of other time shares to explore and buy.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

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      • diyerfy profile imageAUTHOR

        Alice V 

        4 months ago from California

        the bad thing about timeshares is that your experience is common. It's like going to buy a car, they know that if you don't buy right now then you probably wont come back to buy later.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 months ago from UK

        I had a bad experience visiting a timeshare once on the Canaries. The pleasant, friendly guy showing us around underwent a character change when he realised we were not going to buy in. But, on the upside, we got tickets to a local attraction. It is interesting to hear from an experienced timeshare owner.

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