Are timeshares a good buy?
I’ve heard this question many times, particularly when friends have just returned from vacation: “Are timeshares a good buy?” On more than a few occasions, my friends had already purchased the timeshare and were just looking for positive reinforcement for their impulse purchase! There are options for cheap family vacations to consider before you find yourself sipping daiquiri at a timeshare show.
I guess the answer is that it really depends. First of all, a typical timeshare will set you back $10,000 to $20,000 up front, which can be financed at a fairly high interest rate (and the interest is no longer tax deductible). You’ll also need to pay an annual maintenance fee of between $500 and $1000. Lastly, you better like the resort where you bought your timeshare because finding available timeshares at more exotic timeshares on the dates you want can be very difficult. and it may cost you more money. If your children have grown up and you prefer to go to Maui instead of Disney World, be prepared to be flexible and patient!
Another option that we are seeing more and more, particularly in the bad economy, is discount vacation clubs. They usually charge an initial fee of between $1000 and $10,000, but you never have to pay again and you have the membership for life. Also, the appeal of the timeshare discount vacation club is that it is not limited to certain weeks each year or to certain resorts. The world is your vacation choice, and you also have the option of cruises and all-inclusive resorts. Plus, you don’t need to feel stressed if you miss a year because your membership is already paid in full. The last advantage I see for discount vacation clubs is that they have resale value. In fact, its value will remain at least as much as you paid if you decide to sell it.
In my opinion, timeshares are no longer a great purchase. You have options that are much better. I know it’s tempting when you’re on vacation and you get an offer for a free breakfast and a round of golf if you attend the timeshare presentation. You are not obligated to buy anything. Well, I know of 2 different couples who each own 2 timeshares in the same areas of Florida. Those presentations can be very persuasive while you are relaxing and enjoying your vacation. It’s not so relaxing when you’re back home making those monthly timeshare payments and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into!