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The Pros and Cons of Buying a Real Estate Timeshare

We've all heard stories of bad presentations and worse investments, but timeshares can actually be a good purchase.
By Sam Kamra, mortgagecalculator.ca - REW Market Pro customer Mar 11, 2020

Sam Kamra from mortgagecalculator.ca shares some key insights on timeshares, including why they might be right for you.

There’s a classic scenario that you may have seen on TV sitcoms, in a movie or even experienced for yourself. It starts with a letter in the mail or a knock at your door. You’re told that if you sit through a short presentation you will be awarded with a getaway to a timeshare in some beautiful oasis somewhere around the world. Although the idea of a timeshare may be spoken about through a smirk, according to a market intelligence firm, timeshares are a billion-dollar industry - there must be something to them.

So, if you can afford your primary mortgage payments as well as the money needed for the extra mortgage payments sometimes involved in a timeshare, it might be worth considering. Here’s a brief breakdown of what timeshares are, and the pros and cons associated with owning one.

 

What is a Timeshare?

A timeshare is essentially a vacation property that is generally in a sunny and warm area. You purchase and share property costs with others to guarantee you will be granted vacation time at that property sometime throughout the calendar year. But something that usually doesn’t get mentioned before you sign on the dotted line are the fees associated with maintenance and incidental costs that can make the experience worse.

 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Timeshare

Before you decide to jump into a timeshare, consider these pros and cons. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured into making a purchase, consider whether buying a timeshare is right for you and make the decision for yourself.

 

Pros of Owning a Timeshare

  • You have a vacation spot cemented every year
     

  • Narrowing down places to take a vacation can be a lot of work, especially finding a place that suits your specific needs, wants and allotted vacation time. Owning a timeshare ensures that you have a vacation spot to go to every year without having to do the research over and over again.
     

  • They can be good for large groups
     

  • If you’re the type of person who likes to travel with friends and family or entertain large groups, timeshares can suit your capacity needs. Many timeshare properties are spacious with a bunch of rooms for large groups to enjoy. This makes them a great place to have weddings, family reunions or a variety of other occasions.
     

  • They can be cost-effective
     

  • If you crunch the numbers, paying a down payment and maintenance on a timeshare can be much more affordable than going on a one-week vacation to various destinations. For example:
     

    • A standard, all-inclusive resort can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 per person. If you’re a family of four, it could be much more than $10,000 for one trip. If you compare that to the $10,000 (plus annual maintenance fees) that you put down on a timeshare, you will save money over the long run.

 

Cons of Owning a Timeshare

  • Less flexibility in when you can use them for a vacation
     

  • You may not be able to get the property on the dates you want it. This could lead to loss of investment, and maybe even unwanted squabbles between family and friends to book the space.
     

  • There may be unexpected fees or costs. So-called "special assessment fees" are quite common and can come out of nowhere. These fees usually cover upgrades, repairs and other upkeep costs.
     

  • Timeshares can be very difficult to sell
     

    • As mentioned earlier, timeshares don’t have the most positive public reputation, so if you decide to sell yours, you may encounter issues. Sadly, you are almost guaranteed to lose money on the sale of a timeshare, which makes them less likely to be purchased as an investment property. This severely dampens your chances of resale. 

 

Though there are benefits, buying a timeshare - like any real estate purchase - requires a lot of thought and research. Take your time and consider the pros and cons carefully before making a timeshare purchase.

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