I started this blog because I really enjoy using our timeshare. I find that I get tremendous value out of the systems and can travel the world for a fraction of the cost of staying in hotels and with more space and with the conveniences of having more space and a full kitchen.
As I researched advertising for the site, I was googling timeshares, timeshare information, timeshare blog, etc. and 99% of the results came back with how to sell your timeshare, how to get out of your timeshare contract and advertising from attorneys who claim to be able to help you get out of your timeshare.
Based on my google research, I was apparently the minority who actually enjoyed our timeshare. In starting this blog, I am either completely on the wrong track or there is a need to understand the pros and cons of timeshares and figure out how to maximize their use so that you can get more value out of them than the initial cost and maintenance fees.
In searching through the various complaints, the common theme that came up was that timeshare owners could not exchange into the desired weeks and were surprised by the constant stream of fees that you need to pay in order to make reservations, exchange, upgrade sizes, etc. These are all valid complaints and will complain with the rest of them. Like most businesses, timeshares have become fee happy along with airlines and hotels.
My family and I have enjoyed many great vacations with our timeshare but definitely understand why timeshares have such a bad reputation. Exchanges are difficult, you need to be flexible on your travel plans and destinations, you need to constantly search, you need to always calculate whether the timeshare exchange makes financial sense and you need to learn complicated systems and multiple sets of rules.
Timeshare developers generally do not disclose any of these issues which can quickly create buyer’s remorse. They make it seem that you can travel around the world in nice resorts at any time without issue.
My goal is to explain how to actually do this. It is not easy but I have had many great trips and you can too.
Each timeshare system is different and each has the own unique sets of rules, points systems, valuations and sweet spots. Timeshares are really complicated. If you are not well versed in the particular program or the rules of the various exchange programs, you quickly can become disenchanted.
Also, the biggest secret in the timeshare world is that it is very difficult to sell your timeshare and if you actually can, the price is materially less than the original purchase price. Timeshares are like cars, they quickly depreciate and will ultimately become worthless.
With the secret out, you must be asking yourself why anyone would purchase a timeshare. As I explained in other posts, a timeshare is not a financial investment. I would argue that it is a lifestyle investment. Some things that may not have monetary value may have a different type of value.
I value being able to travel around the world in nice accommodations with my friends and family. I also argue that the actual cost of using the timeshare is far cheaper and superior than hotel accommodations even when factoring in the purchase price and maintenance fees provided that the initial purchase price is not astronomical.
I know that I will be taking 2-4 weeks of vacation every year. I know that I will be paying my maintenance fees each and every year and I know that like everything, they will increase. Every year, my maintenance fees go up about 10%. It is a lot! I am not happy about it but the average price per hotel room has gone up even more.
Add resort fees, taxes, upgrade fees, fees to use the fitness room, fees for rollaways, fees for fridges, etc. While I will continue to complain about my maintenance fees, I find the hotel fees to be even more obnoxious. Resort fees are the worst where they want to charge me $40 a night for a resort fee on top of my $300 nightly rate so I can use the pool??? Come on!
Even with the purchase price and annual maintenance fees, I still think that a timeshare is worthwhile. I can stay in nicer accommodations for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. I can use exchanges to get at least three weeks out of my one timeshare week and stay in resorts where one week would cost more than my annual maintenance fee! I have provided multiple examples of this and will continue to do so to show you how to truly leverage your ownership.
The word “timeshare” has definitely become a four letter word. All the major “timeshare” developers no longer use the word timeshare but now market under the terms “vacation clubs”, “residence clubs”, “membership”, “fractional ownerships”, etc. At the end of the day, they are timeshares with new fancy terms. There is nothing wrong with that provided that you understand this and recognize the limitations.
Timeshares or whatever you want to call them have increased in popularity. In addition, as the ARDA report detailed here, the demographics of the timeshare owners have changed. Timeshare owners are not purchasing a timeshare on a whim but timeshare owners are smart, diligent, financially savvy and educated. Most will not purchase at the first meeting but will review and do their research. It is essential to do your research before purchasing!
The marketplace is changing as the previous system of a specific deeded week is waning and flexibility is becoming more pronounced. Instead of weeks, developers are selling points that can be used at different resorts for stays of one night or more. However, the systems are still complicated and still requires a lot of patience and flexibility to get what you want and to maximize the system for your own benefit.
I have personally succeeded in navigating these systems and hope that you can too. My goal is to show you how.
If you change your thinking about timeshares and recognize their issues, it is possible to use them and exchange into great vacations. Timeshares are not for everyone but if you know you are going to travel each and every year, a timeshare can actually make financial sense.
I do not get compensated from any timeshare developer or property so I have no ulterior motive in posting this information. Transparency is important as I do not want to be viewed as another timeshare salesperson looking to make a quick buck. That is not me.
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The Timeshare Guru