Most vacation properties are only used a few times a year. The timeshare industry became immensely popular since owners were basically allowed to purchase a week interval at popular destinations and in prime locations for a fraction of what similar properties would sell for and only for the time period that you would actually use it.
For a lot of lucky individuals, there comes a time where you may want to and have the ability to purchase a second home or condo for vacations. I personally have been looking for a second home and I truthfully have run into a difficult situation where I might actually purchase additional timeshares instead of a second home.
There are definitely a lot of pros and cons associated with timeshares but there are also a lot of pros and cons about home / vacation home ownership.
In my opinion, here are the potential benefits of purchasing a vacation home:
1. You will have your own place in a location that you love to travel.
2. You can go to your vacation home at any time without worrying about reservations or availability.
3. You can keep you things at the vacation home so that traveling will be easier.
4. You could rent out the vacation home and make some additional money or help you offset your expenses.
In contrast, here are some potential downsides of purchasing a vacation home:
1. You have to either have cash to purchase the property outright or have a large upfront deposit and be able to obtain financing.
2. If you obtain financing, you will have a second mortgage payment each month in addition to your primary home.
3. Repairs, maintenance and landscaping need constant attention.
4. You will need to spend time and attention to rent it out and you may not want to rent it out to complete strangers. Strangers will never care for your place as much as you do.
5. Unplanned maintenance issues can arise so you need to have extra funding set aside for those expenses.
6. Vacation homes can take a while to sell if and when you want to sell it.
Additionally, in my opinion, the benefits to timeshare ownership are as follows:
1. The initial upfront cost would be much lower than purchasing a property;
2. You will not need to worry about repairs, maintenance or other ownership issues;
3. You can afford to "own" in very desirable areas that would normally be out of the price range for most individual owners.
4. You can trade or exchange your ownership to other weeks or locations
Additionally, in my opinion, here are the following downsides to timeshare ownership:
1. You will have to buy multiple weeks in order to use it for more than one week at a time;
2. You will not have the same opportunity to rent it out or make additional money;
3. The value of the timeshare will likely be much lower than the initial purchase price.
4. Timeshares can be difficult to sell so if you cannot sell, you will still owe maintenance fees forever.
5. You cannot leave any personal belongings at your timeshare.
6. Although you may "own" your week, you are essentially a guest and you cannot decorate or otherwise personalize your timeshare unit.
While I highly doubt that I touched on all benefits or downsides to both vacation ownership and timeshare ownership, the general idea is that neither is a perfect situation and both have pros and cons.
The financial considerations for either purchase can be significant but purchasing property in a very desired vacation spot can be extremely costly. Timeshare costs can be pricey but will almost always be cheaper than comparable properties since you are only buying a week or a certain interval of time.
I do not think that there is an easy answer to this question and I think each individual will be unique in their decision making process. Both types of vacation purchases have unique attributes and there is no wrong answer.
The key is being able to travel where you want to travel so however you can accomplish this is the right decision for your.
Does anyone have any additional considerations or comments?