Originally, a timeshare was an apartment-style space at which purchasers owned the right to one week of vacation per year. While that can still be true, many brands have come to offer new models of ownership to accommodate the obvious reality that not everyone wants to go to the same resort every year. That said, the same basic definition of a timeshare hasn’t changed: you are still purchasing a guaranteed vacation at a resort with suites offering multiple bedrooms, living rooms, and full kitchens. Now, however, you can purchase the right to stay at the same resort each year (fixed week) or at a resort of your choosing (points system).
In the case of both fixed-week and points systems, timeshare ownership offers spacious and beautiful accommodations with all the great amenities and features you would expect from a resort. But some owners find themselves overwhelmed or second-guessing after their purchase – especially when that first maintenance bill comes due.
Our first bit of advice? Remove the word investment from your decision making when it comes to timeshare ownership. With high purchase prices, annual maintenance fees, and significant depreciation on the resale market (to $1 in some cases), you shouldn’t get into timeshare ownership if you’re looking to build your portfolio.
That said, a timeshare can be worth it – if you view ownership as a travel purchase that’s aligned with your vacation lifestyle. The benefits of ownership come from the enjoyment of a vacation you know you’ll love. And in the event you’re not able to use your weeks in a given year, renting out your timeshare can be the perfect hack to ensure you’re not on the hook for yearly maintenance fees.
Purchasing a timeshare should be an exciting decision, and one you feel confident in. From points to presentations, we’ll help you discern which route is best for your travel lifestyle.
One of the most important decisions in choosing to buy a timeshare is whether to go with a brand that offers fixed-week or points-based ownership. Here’s how it works: fixed-week is pretty much what it sounds like – accommodations at the same resort within the same timeframe, year after year. Though fixed-week arrangements do allow for rental opportunities or trading with other owners, they are (very) limited in terms of flexibility. It stands to reason that points systems have been embraced by more and more resort brands, and have grown in popularity.
In the points system, you’re essentially part of a vacation club within a network of resorts. Think of points as a sort of currency. Owners can book dates throughout the year, and even break up their week into shorter stays at some destinations. The benefits of points clubs extend beyond resort bookings, as well. At the Marriott Vacation Club, for example, owners have access to various collections in their Destinations Exchange Program, and can trade points for cruises, culinary tours, and excursions like mountain biking and river rafting.
So what’s the downside to points? In a nutshell, it boils down to options. Many of the best windows at the best resorts (think Park City at Christmas, or Aruba during spring break) come with high redemption costs. Moreover, these prime windows tend to get booked fast – in some cases, within a few days of availability. This means you not only need to own a lot of points to book that dream vacation – you might need to plan it up to a year in advance.
You may want to wait to hold off on buying a timeshare while staying in one. Remember, you are buying a product that comes with yearly fees, so you’ll want to be sure you can enjoy it in the long term. Consider carefully what you value in vacation, and give thought and time to your decision – make the final call from the comfort of home. Renting a timeshare from an owner is another great way to explore the benefits of ownership before committing.
The average price of a timeshare interval exceeds $20,000, according to the American Resort Development Association. But if that’s out of your price range, it’s also possible to purchase a timeshare on the resale market. From Facebook to Timeshare Users Group to eBay, you won’t have to go far to find a resale at a stunning discount. While you are still obliged to pay maintenance fees on a resale, the calculation may be quite a bit more favorable if you’re not obliged to make a hefty upfront payment.
When purchasing a timeshare, it’s important to consider your interest in that location, your likelihood of returning year after year, or what audience would be interested in that same destination if you ever need to rent it out. Are you a traveler who enjoys spending winters by the shore? Does skiing draw you and your family back to a cherished destination? Would potential renters be drawn by your timeshare’s unique combination of timing, location, and amenities?
Remember that whether you choose a fixed-week or points-based timeshare, you’ll need to plan your holiday far in advance to secure the best locations and dates. And if you’re planning on renting out your timeshare, choose a season and location that appeals to a wide range of travelers. A timeshare close to Orlando’s beloved theme parks is a high demand destination year round, while a ski resort, for example, peaks during certain months of the year. Timing is everything!
As you consider purchasing a timeshare, asking yourself “are timeshares worth it” might not be the right question. Rather, ask yourself if a timeshare is worth it for you.
If you’re not able to utilize your timeshare weeks within a given year, there’s still opportunity to make the most of your vacation ownership by renting it out. Our KOALA platform provides timeshare owners with secure payments, lightning fast listing creations, and no upfront costs. Get started today!