The Timeshare Option – Should You Buy a Timeshare?

The more I travel to Mexico, the more I notice the timeshare or vacation ownership option continues to be popular. So on one trip I decided to ask myself,  “Should I buy a timeshare?”

I understand the basic concept. One purchases “time,” a set number of days (one week or two) at a resort (or resort properties) for a set number of years (usually 10-20) and essentially shares the property with other “owners.”

Listening to the Timeshare Pitch

I’ve been asked several times in Mexico to listen in on a timeshare pitch and I was finally convinced to listen and decided to learn about timeshares in Mexico.  I accepted a lunch, the jet ski rental passes, and transportation to and from the property (its not cheap to get around in Los Cabos) to listen to a pitch. I was curious. Very curious.

the Westin Timeshare in Los Cabos

timeshare property in Los Cabos

After a pitch that extended past the promised ninety minutes, I left without a purchase. I said no to an offer that started at $29,000 USD for the “platinum” to a much smaller “share” for under  $6,000 USD when I finally left. Everything seemed negotiable too. The salesman calculated different prices by changing the number of years, the weeks per year, access to other vacation resorts, the room type, etc… But, it was still not for me.

But was it a good investment for others who want to take a vacation every year? Well, I thought, I know for a fact people buy them. A few of my friends have made a purchase, and friends of my parents have spoke very highly about their experience.  Who should buy a timeshare?

timeshare at the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan

timeshare property in Mazatlan

Things to Consider when Buying a Timeshare

  • Do you Love the Destination? For me, Mexico would be a great choice because of its hospitality, service, reasonable priced luxury, delicious food and the country’s colorful culture. But you need to determine what makes the right destination for you. It’s your place. Do you love it?
  • The Lure of the Trade-In.  It can be a huge lure when you hear, “You can trade a week and get a week in Bora Bora.” But, if you are more excited about the trade, then maybe you’d rather be at the other destination.  And, I am not saying trades don’t occur, they do, but remember you are buying access to one property and usually one destination. Just make sure you want to visit and be a part of that resort.
  • Can you Commit? Many of us struggle to commit to a two-year cell phone contract, so committing to a timeshare might be too much. And remember this becomes part of your life.  Yes, it is a good part, a needed part, but you really need to make sure you can commit to the time and money involved if you want to use the timeshare.
timeshare at Dreams VillaMagna in Nuevo Vallarta

Vacation Ownership in Nuevo Vallarta (by Puerto Vallarta)

  • A Structured Life. Are you structured? Do you consider yourself stable? Can you plan one week every year to do something. Have you? Here, your past performance will be very indicative of your future results. Remember over the years your life will change too…Family? new jobs? new homes? If you are not the stable, secure planner, this might not be for you.
  • Rent a Timeshare. Many times the rooms or weeks go unused and people sell them as an investment or more commonly not to take a loss and break even. So I say, try it before you buy it. This is a great way to 1) see if you like the property or the destination and 2) talk to others poolside to learn about their experience. And if you like it, remember there is always timeshare resales too.
  • Annual Payments. It is not just the buy-in purchase price you must consider. All places have maintenance or room fees you must pay ever year. It’s not just buying twenty weeks of vacation up front, no, I noticed you will also paying to access ( or maintain) the property annually.
  • Pay money to force you to take a vacation. This one puzzled me the most. Yes, people pay money to make sure they take a vacation. Not the vacation cost itself, but actually buy a timeshare to ensure they take a break every year. Essentially the theory is you can’t waste it. Apparently this is one of the biggest selling points on sales to Americans. Yes, people will use what they pay for, So, if this is you, then a timeshare option may be a great way to make sure you take an annual break.
the beach at timeshare at hacienda tres rios, riviera maya

timeshare property in the Riviera Maya

In summary timeshare ownership was not right for me (at this time), but it I learned it is right for others. So, if you are considering a timeshare, make sure you know all the facts about both you and the property to make the best investment for your vacation.  And if you are considering it or own one, please share your thoughts below. I remain curious; very curious.

stay adventurous, Craig

the opinions in the post are my own and from my experience with timeshare and vacation ownership only

 

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  • http://www.travelrinserepeat.com/ John

    I think the limiting nature of timeshares is what would keep me from ever buying into one – even though some can be quite flexible, they’re still more restrictive than just going wherever I want, whenever I want. 

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ Andi Perullo

    I would never do it, but I know a couple of people that have done it and LOVE it!

  • http://mjdresselbooks.wordpress.com/ Mary

    Buying a timeshare is not for me. I want to be able to choose different destinations for vacation. I know so many people who try to sell their timeshare because it doesn’t work for them anymore. This can be a difficult task, I’m told. If it works for for someone, that’s fine for them, but it’s not for everyone.

  • Maryann

    I thought about a timeshare  many years ago.  I looked at several  different locations.  It is a good idea if you are interested in vacationing in the same place each year.  It would not work for me as I prefer to travel to different places. 

  • http://twitter.com/timeshareauthor Lisa Ann Schreier

    Nice article and you raise some good questions to ask before buying. However, there is much to learn about trading, different type of ownership (weeks, points, deeded, etc.).

    Also, consumers need to know that in most cases, they can get a timeshare for thousands less on the LEGITIMATE (I can not stress that word enough) secondary market.

    Buying a timeshare can be an expensive proposition and not one that should be entered into based on one 2 hour sales pitch.

    My company, Timeshare Insights offers one on one consulting for those looking to buy or sell timeshare without doing any of the actually selling or buying…so that I can keep my unbiased nature and provide consumers with a truly independent view of things.

    I love your idea of renting a timeshare before buying it!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Thanks for your thoughts and comments…. and I agree, the 2 hour pitch on a major investment doesn’t sit well with me… and glad you like the rent a timeshare… I just discovered how BIG this market really is…
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

    John, Maryann, Andi, Mary, I tend to agree… it is the limits on seeing more of the world and vacationing in different places that make a timeshare commitment a challenge.
    stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://www.timesharescam.com/ Harriet Mendler

    Timeshares can be a terrific purchase for some families, as they also can be a giant rip off for others. 50 years ago, also known as Holiday Home Sharing or timeshare travel, timeshares were created with the idea of offering fully furnished accommodations for a lower price than a full-time ownership.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      It is definitely a decision not to make in one afternoon over a free lunch and a beer, but something to consider way before you board your plane to take a vacation. Stay planning, Craig

  • http://www.timesharescam.com/ Harriet Mendler

    Buying a timeshare under the impresion you will save money on the long run on travel expenses such as airfare or cruises equals to being a victim of timeshare fraud. Timeshares will barely provide you a small discount on accomodations and that´s it. Timeshares will not provide you, in most cases, any discounts on your vacation expenses.

  • http://www.timesharescam.com/ Grace Evans

    Timeshare fraud has been around since the timeshare idea was created, but they increase during poor economy. When times are difficult, timeshare owners are stuck with properties they can´t travel to or even afford.
    Desperate to recoup some money to pay for bills, they can easily become victims
    to scams artists pretending to be their timeshare salvation who will take upfront fees -as much as five number figures in some cases- but fail to fulfill their promise.