This is a question I've 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. Do you go on vacation every year? Do you 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 is for you. There are, however, things you might want to consider when you purchase. Below is a list of conditions I would want if I were to purchase another week.
The first condition is it would have to be a fixed week. When I first started working in the industry, we only sold fixed weeks. Clients would purchase one week a year and that was the week they would vacation. A fixed week is more like owning a second home. The only time you have to contact the resort was if you were not going to use your week or you were going to exchange 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. Other conditions are it would have to be a holdiay week and it would have to be a 2 bedroom or larger.
With fixed weeks the most popular and most expensive weeks are Christmas, New year, Fourth of July, etc. From a developers perspective, the problem with fixed weeks is there are certain times of the year people won't go to specific locations. An example of this would be the month of May at a ski resorts. Not sure if you snow ski or not, but May in a ski resort is mud season. The snow is melting and there isn't anything you can do during that month.
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. The problem with Floating weeks is it's hard to get one of the prime weeks. Let's face it, there's only one Christmas week. If everyone who owns during prime season wants that week, there's no guarantee you'll be the one to get it.
After floating weeks came points. Points allows an owner to stay at different resorts for different amounts of points during each season. If you have 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 are still floating time. There's still no guarantee of getting the week you want.
Of course, you could exchange it through your exchnange company and increase your odds of getting the week you want right? Well, Im sorry to say this, but exchange companies don't work and no matter what time of the year you vacation it's hard to exchange. This is well known in the industry and should be made public. So condition number one would have to be it's 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 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. 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, this product might not be for you.
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've 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, and exchanging is always going to be a problem. So why not shield yourself a little with a large company that has a good reputation and has been in the business for awhile? Many of the larger companies have internal exchanges within the resorts they own. These exchanges are easier than an exchange with the major exchange companies. Although I would never buy strictly to exchange, having the option for an easy exchange with 20 or more resorts makes it more valuable and useable.
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 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 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 the selling company will retain control of a homeowners association until 50%-80% of the resort is under contract. So I would want a special assessment clause spelled out as to when the homeowners take over, what constitutes a special assessment, etc.
**Authors note: Timeshare is known by many names including but not limited to timeshare, timesharing, vacation ownership, holiday ownership, interval ownership, vacation insurance.
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