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.
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?
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.
- 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.
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