This post looks at some of the myths around what is a timeshare. It’s an extract of a post originally published on Wealth of Geeks.
When trying to explain “What is a Timeshare?” to people who are unfamiliar, it can be helpful to mention what timeshares are not.
Over the years, in my timeshare owners’ Facebook groups, I’ve seen posts from unhappy timeshare owners. Many of these people bought a timeshare for a specific travel hack or certain travel destinations.
Unfortunately, after their purchase, they learned that their plan is either not possible or very difficult. Their assumptions about timeshares often fall into one of three categories.
Here are 3 of the biggest myths about timeshares.
1. A Way to Travel to Every Destination in the World
If you are buying a timeshare to travel to Iceland, Alaska, or to have a place to stay in Dayton, Ohio, to visit your grandkids, you’re going to be disappointed.
That’s because those places don’t have timeshare resorts. If you have specific cities you want to travel to in the next ten years, take some time to make sure timesharing is a match for your bucket list.
One of the easiest ways to see timeshares worldwide is to look at the Resort Directories for the two largest timeshare exchange companies in the world.
So while you can’t go to every place in the world, there are still a lot of vacations you can go on via the 5,300 resorts in the timeshare exchange system.
For example, timeshare owners can travel to 70% of U.S. National Parks by exchanging their timeshare with RCI as there are 277 affiliated RCI resorts near 44 American National Parks.
That will keep many timeshare owners busy for years!
2. Guaranteed Exchange Availability at the Most In-Demand Resorts
Access to an exchange program is an exciting part of owning a timeshare. We take some of our weeks at our Catskills timeshare and deposit them with RCI to secure room reservations at other resorts.
For example, in May, we reserved a room at a gorgeous Barbados resort by completing an RCI timeshare exchange.
But if I had my heart set on using my ownership to stay only at The Crane Barbados and only during my birthday week, with only a month’s notice, I’d be frustrated with timesharing.
If you’re buying a timeshare to travel hack and get cheap reservations at specific resorts like Aulani, a Disney Vacation Club, or The Galleon Resort in Key West, you should reconsider your approach.
While those two resorts are in the exchange companies’ resort directory, they rarely become available for exchange.
That’s because those owners are either using it themselves or renting their timeshare out.
While it’s not impossible to get those types of reservations, it could take years, require super last-minute travel, and not be during the specific week you are looking to travel.
3. A Real Estate Investment
If the idea of renting out a high-demand timeshare got your attention, it’s crucial to understand that a timeshare is not a real estate investment like owning a whole vacation house or condo.
In fact, a timeshare, in almost all cases, is a depreciating asset and will sell for 75 to 99% of the resort’s direct purchase price.
So that’s another reason to purchase one on the resale market from an existing owner if you do decide to buy.
But even in that case, it’s dangerous to think of a timeshare as a financial investment or a vacation rental business. What happens when Airbnb regulations change in their cities or states?
Or what happened to the people who own 20 timeshare units during the pandemic when travel shut down?
Could they cover all the yearly maintenance fees and taxes for those properties without any rentals? What would happen if they also lost their job during that time?
For example, our timeshare resort in New York shut down and was not allowed to have any guests for part of the pandemic.
That meant we couldn’t use it, couldn’t deposit any weeks with an exchange company, and we couldn’t rent it out. But we were still responsible for the bills.
That’s why when answering the question “What Is a Timeshare?” to friends, I always mention the long-term financial commitment that’s involved.
Featured image credit: Unsplash.