You might not know this, but the timeshare business is booming — so much so that total sales measured $4.9 billion in 2020. In just the U.S., this translated to nearly 207,000 units. But staking your claim to a timeshare can mean making a substantial investment. The average sales price for a timeshare in the U.S. was $22,942 in 2020, according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), an industry advocacy group.
The Pros of Owning a Timeshare
It Forces You to Take a Vacation
Owning a timeshare gives you an already-planned reason to get out of town, and ideally, to a desirable location that you actually want to visit. It makes you take the days off you need to rest and recharge, while also eliminating the stress of deciding where to travel and navigating the logistics of renting a vacation home.
It’s Convenient, Especially for Families
Staying at an all-inclusive resort, for example, for a week or longer can be expensive and leave families missing the comforts of home. The average timeshare is more than 1,000 square feet, with multiple bedrooms — usually separated from living areas — and a kitchen, which helps curb meal costs. Contrary to popular belief, these rooms aren’t just plain old hotel rooms; they’re generally dedicated units outfitted with furnishings and all the appliances you need.
You Can Find Deals Through Resale
Head to a trustworthy resale site like RedWeek, a digital timeshare community where you can rent or sell timeshares in both domestic and international locations. You’ll avoid the hard sell that timeshare companies are notorious for, and you’ll also find some good deals.
The Cons of Owning a Timeshare
Scams Are All Too Common
Do your research and stick with reputable brands so you don’t end up writing a check for a timeshare that doesn’t exist. Alternately, if a company says it has buyers lined up to purchase your timeshare, proceed with caution. Often, in return for a fee paid upfront, timeshare scammers promise sellers access to an eager buyer. No buyer exists. The scammer takes your money, and you’re left in the lurch.
There are Fees Beyond the Upfront Cost
If you’re considering buying a timeshare, you’ll need to account for regular maintenance fees, which were an average of $1,000 per timeshare in 2020. This fee alone could finance a budget vacation.
They’re Difficult to Resell
Despite what the timeshare company told you over dinner, this isn’t actually a real estate investment. Timeshares are very hard to resell. There are just too many on the market and not enough buyers. Plus, many buyers prefer to purchase them from developers rather than as resales.
It Might Not Be As Flexible As You Think
Among the pros and cons of timeshares, an important drawback is the lack of flexibility. For example, if you know when you want to go a year in advance, great. But if it’s April and you’re planning a summer trip in June, your ideal week may already be booked. However, last-minute planners may benefit from late cancellations and sneak in, just as with hotels.
Still on the fence when it comes to owning a timeshare? If you’re not ready to commit to buying a timeshare, consider saving money on a hotel or Airbnb rental with these five tips.