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Almost everyone loves vacations, but some hate the stress and complexity of planning details such as where to stay and when to go. Others may have a favorite vacation destination, and want to ensure that good accommodations are available when necessary. For these and several other reasons, people may buy timeshares as a way to ease planning a yearly vacation.
A timeshares is a home or condominium in which individual owners have assigned dates of occupancy. Typically, the period of ownership is one to two weeks per year, either for a set number of years or in perpetuity. To buy timeshares, interested buyers can go through real estate agents or timeshare companies. Most experts recommend avoiding timeshare companies, which have a reputation for aggressive sales tactics and false advertising. Going through a real estate agency can ensure that a buyer gets what he or she pays for, which is no small thing considering the sky-high prices of accommodations at many vacation spots.
People who buy timeshares often enjoy the comfort of returning to the same location each year. Rather than having to worry about acceptable amenities or problems that can arise with hotels, timeshare owners know the exact details of the property and what to expect. For some, this can allow immediate relaxation on a vacation, without any worries of check-in nightmares.
Although having a property for a designated week each year may sound overly restricted, there is often considerable flexibility in timeshare ownership. Some properties allow a floating schedule, meaning that the week of ownership can be requested at the beginning of each year. Even for fixed schedule timeshares, owners are generally allowed to swap weeks with one another if necessary.
Some people buy timeshares as an investment. Instead of taking the vacation themselves, owners can rent their allotted time out to others at an increased rate. In some highly desirable vacation destinations, this tactic can prove a worthy investment and provide the owners with a steady stream of income. Many timeshare investors will purchase multiple properties in order to increase returns and have a more regular income from the venture.
Investors who buy timeshares may also include real estate speculation in their purchase. Certainly, a property in Hawaii or Florida is likely to bring in money each year, but purchase price in established vacation locales will likely be comparatively high. Some people buy timeshares in up-and-coming vacation spots in order to capitalize on the purchase. If the area receives a sudden or gradual increase in popularity, the owner can raise prices accordingly regardless of the initial price of ownership. Of course, there is a related risk; if the area never becomes popular, the owner is stuck with a dead-end property and can easily lose money.
Buying a timeshare can also result in housing-swap vacations with other timeshare or vacation rental owners. If a ski resort sounds more appealing than a tropical island, a timeshare owner can contact real estate agents or private owners to trade his or her property for one in another location. This can be a good way to vary vacations and visit different places each year.
When my wife and I won a trip to Aruba, there was a timeshare development right across the street from our resort. One of our prize options was $50 cash if we agreed to go over there and listen to the timeshare pitch. I wouldn't call it a high pressure sale, but they wanted people to make a decision fairly quickly.
The model apartment was really nice, with plenty of room for four people and a great view of the ocean. I could see spending a week there every year. However, we didn't have the kind of disposable income necessary to make the yearly payments and pay for the cost of transportation to and from Aruba. Buying a timeshare was not a good idea for us. I could see where a large company might want to buy a timeshare and use it as a reward for a top salesman or something.