A timeshare is a property that you own for a portion of the year, typically located in vacation destinations. Traditionally, people owned timeshares by the week, where they would by an ownership period for one of the 52 weeks of the year. More recently, timeshare companies have responded to the requests of the traveling public and created some very flexible and affordable options, allowing people to save money on travel, while not being locked into a single property or season.
You will always hear people share pros and cons of timeshare ownership, however keep in mind that much of what is shared isn’t always first hand information. Take me for example, before I knew what was involved in timeshare ownership (meaning I had not owned one), I was a skeptic and had only listened to the naysayers… and isn’t it funny how they often make more noise than advocates?
Today, I want to focus on the advantages of timeshare ownership, because – like me – you might find that it is just what you and your family need to enhance your vacation lifestyle.
Now keep in mind, these benefits do not apply to all timeshares. Yes, there are those old school timeshares that people are trying to offload on eBay. You will most likely not find the benefits I mention below with those properties, which is why people are trying to get out of them,
- It is a real estate asset. In many states, timeshare sales reps are required to be licensed real estate agents. From a perspective of net worth, it usually looks good to have real estate asset. Now keep in mind, it’s not the kind of real estate that will increase in value over time and most will lose value from a real estate perspective. The main purpose to purchase a timeshare is to take vacations.
- You can pass it along to your children or heirs. Because it is a real estate asset, a timeshare can be left to your children of your estate through your will or estate plan. You should discuss this with your kids before leaving it to them because they may not need or want your timeshare and leaving it to them will leave them with the financial responsibilities of maintaining it.
- It allows you to reduce the cost of future vacations. The cost of hotels has typically risen over the years and will continue to do so. When you purchase your timeshare, you will be able to keep the cost of your vacations at a stable level, with the exception of any fees associated with your timeshare that are likely to increase. If you are currently traveling a few weeks per year, this could represent a significant savings over time over staying in a hotel of the same quality as your timeshare.
- It allows you to take more vacations. If you are currently not taking vacations, this will (should) both force you to take a much-needed vacation, and open you up to more vacation possibilities. More travel means more memories, less stress, and better quality of life!
- Travel Perks. With the right timeshare network, you can also gain significant travel benefits such as “best price guarantees” on air travel, “discount weeks” where you can spend a week at a 5 Star resort for under $300.
- Flexibility in Travel. Owning a timeshare in the right network can open up many opportunities to travel as you desire, whether it’s last minute or a year down the road. In essence, you become your own travel agent.
- Travel to More Locations. I hate to keep stressing the network, but that does make a difference in how many locations you can travel. In the old school networks, you are sometimes limited in what you can trade for; in the modern day of vacation travel ownership, you can find properties in over 100 countries that you can stay in.
- Give You the Perks of Owning a Second Home without the Costs. Owning a second home sounds nice, but what about the costs and upkeep when you aren’t there? And wouldn’t you rather have thousands of “second homes” in dozens of countries as opposed to just one?
- Great Amenities. Most timeshares want you to have all of the comforts of home. This means having your own kitchen (do you really want to eat every meal out?), washer & dryer (for those long stays), pools, spas, water sports, golf packages, ski packages… you name it!
If you are currently vacationing and not a timeshare owner, I encourage you to consider it. If you simply want to travel more because you know it will improve your quality of life, then you should consider it as well.
Oh yeah, and if you are worried about getting a hard sell, that’s a real consideration. Make sure you know what you want BEFORE you go to your timeshare presentation. Don’t allow yourself to be sold something you don’t need. Only purchase it if it makes good financial sense for you and your family. Also, keep in mind, that there is a secondary market where you can also purchase timeshares for a fraction of the cost and still end up with something decent (and no, I don’t recommend buying off of ebay). Check out this post titled How to Survive a Timeshare Presentation where I share additional tips on what you need to know to make it through a timeshare presentation without ending up buying something you don’t need or want.