Does Buying a Timeshare Make Sense?

Posted News & Updates by Deanna Keahey on July 24, 2014

Some people will tell you that you should never buy a timeshare. They think it's just a scam. They say it will cost too much and be difficult to use when you want to. Are they right? Well, there are certainly people who have bought timeshares and experienced those issues. They paid a lot of money and wound up not using their timeshares. For them, it was not a good purchase.

There is, however, another side to this story. Imagine if you could buy a timeshare for 70% off the developers’ price, and use it to get wonderful vacation bargains at top resorts. Wouldn't buying a timeshare make sense then?

There are two ways to get into the timeshare game – the pricey way and the cost-effective way. Below I break down the strategies and show why buying a timeshares made sense for me and my family.

The expensive way to buy a timeshare

If you buy a timeshare from a resort developer, you pay premium prices. The process typically starts with offering you a freebie to get you to their resort, like a free 3-day, 2-night vacation. Once there, you’re required to partake in a timeshare tour, which ends up with you sitting in a room with skilled salespeople doing their best to sell you a timeshare.

When you buy a timeshare this way, you could pay $30,000, $60,000, or even $90,000 to buy a single week (or the equivalent in timeshare points). The purchase price will depend on where you buy and what you buy. Regardless, buying a new timeshare from developer is the most expensive way to get into the timeshare game and usually ends up with the buyer feeling scammed or duped.

The cost-effective way to buy a timeshare

The alternative way to purchase resort weeks is through a timeshare resale. This is an approach that allows you and your family to by-pass developer prices. Once you know how to do it, you can get some great bargains!

My family currently owns four timeshares. We were able to afford it because we went the resale route. In a resale transaction, you are buying a timeshare from another owner. There are many timeshare owners out there who no longer use or want their timeshares. These people want to sell to avoid paying yearly fees. If you want a bargain, this is where you should look.

In most cases, there is a big price difference when you buy resale instead of retail. In fact, at one resort, we bought a timeshare for just $1 on resale, even though the company was currently selling the exact same thing for $25,000. That's quite a savings!  

How to use multiple timeshares

Like I mentioned, my family owns four timeshares. Three are two-bedroom suites, while the other is a studio. The three larger suites are "lock-offs" units. This means that each suite can be split into two, one-bedroom units and can be used at two separate times.

When we break them apart, it gives us six weeks of vacation from the lock-off units, plus one week for the separate studio for a total of seven weeks of vacation to use or exchange every year.

So, how did we afford seven weeks of timeshare vacations? At standard developer prices, this could cost over $100,000 plus thousands of dollars in maintenance fees. Instead, the four timeshares cost us $4,002 and our combined fees are less than $1,000 per year.

The first lock-off unit was $3,000. The next cost $1,000. After that, we purchased the remaining two for $1 each.

How can I get a deal like that?

You can buy timeshare resales for a fraction of the developer's price. You just need to know where to find them, what to look for, and how to do the research.

Thanks to the Internet, it's incredibly easy to find timeshares resales to buy. On Vacatia, you can browse up-to-date timeshares listings with all the information you’ll need to make a sound decision. After all, research is essential to evaluating if a particular timeshare fits your family’s needs.

With that said, there are many variables to look at besides the initial purchase price. You need to consider:

1) How you expect to use it

2) The annual timeshare maintenance fees

3) The quality of the timeshare resort

4) The size and season you want

5) And where you can exchange it

Once you perform your due diligence, you’ll know whether a particular timeshare is a good buy for you. In most resale cases, you’ll wind up with an excellent deal, like we did. Believe me, there's nothing like knowing you have a great vacation coming up and that you’ve saved thousands of dollars!  

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For expert tips on how to score a great deal on a timeshare check out Deanna's book Winning the Timeshare Game: Buying the Bargains, available on Amazon.com. She also writes an ongiong blog on the same topic at timesharegame.com.