This is a question that I have helped people answer many times over the years and the answer is yes! Well from a salespersons point of view the answer is yes. From a real world perspective there would have to be more information given. Do you go on vacation every year? Do yo stay in one area for a week at a time? Would you enjoy staying in four and five resorts that have one and two bedroom luxury suites, swimming pools, tennis courts, and other amenities? Do you spend more than $150.00 dollars per night for your room or rooms?
If the answer to these questions is yes then purchasing a timeshare would be for you. There are, however some things you might want to look for in your purchase. Below is a list of the conditions I would want if I were to purchase another week.
The first condition is that it would have to be a fixed week. It would have to be a holiday week and it would have to be a 2 bedroom or larger unit. When I first started working in the industry, we sold only fixed weeks. You would buy a week a year during the time you would go on vacation. Of course the popular and most expensive weeks were Christmas, New year, fourth of July, etc. The problem with fixed weeks was there were weeks people wouldn't holiday in that location. An example of this would be a week during May at a ski resorts.
Not sure if you snow ski or not, but May in a ski resort is called mud season. Its when the snow is melting and there isn't anything you can do during that month. With a fixed week you didn't have to get in touch with the resort unless you weren't going to use it. We used to say all you have to do is show up every year with your suitcase and tooth brush and your room will be waiting for you.
Should I Buy a Timeshare?
So floating weeks came into existence. With a floating week you can buy in a season and vacation any week during that season. In my opinion this was done for developers and not for owners. It was a way to sell the bad or unusable weeks they weren't able to sell as fixed weeks.
After floating weeks came points. Points allows an owner to stay at different resorts for different amounts of points during each season. So by having enough points for one week during high season, you might be able to receive 2 or more weeks during off season. Points sound good but they are still floating time.
The next problem with buying a floating week or points is it can be hard to exchange during the time of the year you want to go. Im sorry to say this, but the truth is that the exchange companies don't work. So condition number one would have to be that its a fixed week. Preferably a Christmas, New Years week or Fourth of July week.
Secondly, It would have to be in a place I would like to go back to every year.. I wouldn't buy a house in a neighborhood I don't like. And I wouldn't buy a timeshare at a resort I wouldn't want to spend my vacations at every year. Lets face it, Exchanging is very hard to do. If you're purchasing because you think your week is going to get you to all of the exotic places you've ever dreamed of, you are wrong.
Third, It would have to be fee simple ownership. Fee simple ownership means I own it in perpetuity or forever. I know there are a lot of stories that go like this. "Once you buy a timeshare you are will pay maintenance fees forever. You can never get out of it". I have done this business my entire adult life and you can get out of it. You can sell it if you want or simply give it away if you feel you've gotten your moneys worth and are done vacationing. Since I'm purchasing this to return every year I would like to have the pride of ownership that owning a second home brings.
Fourth, It would have to be with a large company such as Disney, Marriott, Wyndham, etc., Maintenance fees are always going to go up. Exchanging is always going to be a problem. So why not shield yourself a little with a large company that's been in the business for awhile and has a good reputation? Many of the larger companies have internal exchanges within the resorts they own. These exchanges are easier than an RCI exchange. Although I would never buy strictly to exchange, having the option for an easy exchange with 20 or more resorts does make it more valuable.
Fifth, Management fees would have to have a 2%-3% yearly cap on how much they can go up. I have worked at too many places where maintenance fees doubled or even tripled in a year. This is unacceptable and one of the reasons why so many timeshare owners are unhappy. Having a cap will help (not guarantee) your management fees won't get out of reach before you've started enjoying your ownership.
Be aware of special assessments too. A special assessment is a fee that can be charged, upon the discretion of the homeowners, when something special needs to be done. A new swimming pool as an example or a new club house. If money in a maintenance fee account is disappears or is insufficient for expenses, the homeowners association will enforce a special assessment.
All homeowners should vote on a special assessment. Most contracts state that the selling company will retain control of a homeowners association until 50%-80% of the resort is under contract. So I would want special assessment clause spelled out as to when the homeowners take if over, what constitutes a special assessment, etc. All of the homeowners should vote on a special assessment.
**Authors note: Timeshare is known by many names including but not limited to timeshare, timesharing, vacation ownership, holiday ownership, interval ownership, vacation insurance.