Roads Traveled With Linda L. Osmundson
My husband and I own two timeshares. We’ve experienced some wonderful vacations due to exchanging our Breckenridge location for others in Hawaii, Virginia, New York, and Orlando, to name a few. We could book out of the country locations and/or cruises but haven’t yet. We enjoyed the travels right after we purchased, but since
then prefer to travel with a Dixieland Jazz Tour company. So, we’ve see many pros and cons of timeshare ownership.
In researching the pros and cons, each website repeated the same comments. I’ll summarize them here.
What is a timeshare?
It is a resort condo shared with many other owners. The owner pays upfront, an average of $19,000, plus a yearly maintenance fee of about $660. The costs all depend on the type of timeshare: fixed week, floating week, yearly, every other year, right-to-use and/or location. Ours are every other year and, although the costs were a little less, they were still expensive.
The owner may use the timeshare, if available, during his ownership week, or trade it through several vacation club networks such as RCI.com or Interval International (each charges a membership fee) at other times of the year. The owner may bank the week, rent it, or let family or friends use it. Using the timeshare is not limited to your locale or to the owner’s specified week. One of our most enjoyable trips was sharing a week in Orlando with a son, his wife, and twin daughters.
Rather than owning a vacation condo or home where you are responsible for maintenance and taxes, only to use it a few weeks out of a year, you simply pay for the time of use of a timeshare. You are guaranteed a home away from home with all amenities such as kitchen, appliances including washer and dryer, linens, and homelike floor plan with no upkeep.
You are guaranteed a vacation location, hopefully at the time you want. Especially during holidays, you may find limited availability (but, that will be discussed later under cons).
The timeshare is economical for large groups. You can get a three bedroom, two bath, with a sleeper sofa in the living room and entertain eight people. Getting hotel rooms for that many is not as convenient. Besides the costs of accommodations, add the meal costs. A timeshare allows cooking in rather than eating out for all meals.
Owners can sublet and earn a little, but not much over the yearly costs of a timeshare. Exchange programs allow travel all over the world for little money.
You can count on maintenance fees rising almost yearly. Timeshare property does not appreciate. Rather it is like a car that depreciates. No one makes money by selling a timeshare. In fact, you may feel like you are giving it away just to get out of the yearly fees. Read your contract carefully. Some automatically pass to your children whether they want the property or not.
Many resorts limit timeshare availability to only a few units. We tried a New York exclusive property over a two-year period only to discover they allow two units out of ten for timeshare owners. Needless to say, we never got that property. We chose another less exclusive location in the city. Last minute travel reservations are limited, or next to impossible to obtain.
Your money is tied up in a timeshare rather than being available to invest. You prepay for your vacations with the original purchase. Be aware, there is also an exchange fee. Granted, a $125 fee for a week’s timeshare is less than a hotel would cost or a week’s vacation at the same resort.
Timeshares are very difficult to sell. Scammers have been known to say they have a buyer, request an upfront payment, and then disappear.
Whether to purchase a timeshare or not is totally up to you and your circumstances. Research carefully, and never buy the same day you view a property and hear a sales pitch. Think it over first. Search the Internet for the pros and cons of ownership. Then decide for yourself.