We get this question all the time, and because we own some 16 weeks of timeshares it’s obvious that we are familiar with the process. For each one we have faced the question to buy or not. A number of times we have said NO, but 16 times we said YES. We have been happy with the weeks we own and have had years of great timeshare vacations by ourselves as well as having family and friends join us. We bought them all resale at a fraction of the developer prices. Let’s take a look at this question and try to help people who are faced with the question: to buy or not?
First, you need to be certain that timesharing is the way you want to spend your vacation time and dollars. We have written several posts about timesharing, comparing it to other methods of vacationing. We took a look at RVing, vacation homes, condo purchases, hotel, etc. With all of that analysis, we think we prefer using our vacation dollars doing timesharing. Others have made different decisions that fit their needs and personalities. What is important is for you to take a look at you and your family and finances, and decide what’s best for you. Take the time to look at all the options.
We recently did a comparison between a vacation we took to Florida and what that same vacation would cost if we did hotels, or if we stayed in rentals. Timesharing wins with lower costs and a more dynamic vacation, but should that sell you on buying a timeshare?
Let’s get to the basic question. If you have an offer from a developer, or will be attending a timeshare presentation, the answer is NO. Take everything a timeshare salesperson tells you with a grain of salt. Buying from a developer is a mistake, because the costs are astronomical. Given the current economic climate, you can pick up all kinds of timeshares resale for a fraction of the cost. If you have just purchased, check the rescinding language for the state in which you have bought, and take action. Follow the directions and dump that purchase. Each state is different, allowing a certain number of days to rescind the purchase with no penalty or cost to you.
Frequently, people are attempting to give away their timeshares to get out from under the yearly maintenance fees. If you are considering one of these transactions, you need to look closely at what you are getting and what you can do with it. Track those yearly maintenance fees, because they will be with you for as long as you own that timeshare. We pay from a low of $419.00 a week to a high of $926.00. You need to look at the week (time of the year), size of unit (studio, 1bd, 2bd or 3bd), the timeshare system you are buying into, (Hilton, Wyndham, etc.) and how you can trade that week both within your system, as well as within the trading system (RCI, II), that your resort is a part of.
After making a purchase, if you decide that you made a mistake—well, mistakes are how we learn. Long ago, we bought a Marriott week in Hilton Head in South Carolina to trade. We got a good deal buying off eBay. It was in low season and a nice resort. The maintenance fees were high and we were told we could trade into top notch resorts during high times. This was not true for us, and it did not work out, so after a couple of years we sold it.
Buying a timeshare should not be a rush job. Take your time, look around, check with the resort, look in the paper, follow eBay listings, and do your homework. Read our site, check other sites like TUG (timeshare user group), use the internet, type in the resort name, and see what comes up. Email other timeshare users and ask for their help.
Make sure you are comfortable with the area in which you are buying. The timeshare industry is always changing some of the rules, and we always say “buy where you love to go.” They frequently throw some curves at us with the exchanging and trading system. You can trade into other resorts and to other areas, but when all is said and done, you should be happy going to the location and the resort you bought, if that were to become your only option.
The bottom line: is it right for you, is the price on target, are the maintenance fees low enough, and will you enjoy going there? If you can answer “yes” to these, then go for it, and enjoy!