As the owner of a vacation week at the beach, I’m often asked “Is their value in a timeshare ?” The answer is a qualified “Yes”, depending on what you have, how you use it, and how comfortable you are with the cost of your acquisition.
A few weeks ago, while vacationing at our beach front resort, two other couples asked me if I knew how they could buy more units for the same resort, same week. They come each year, and as their families grow, they need more rooms. It would appear its working for them. If you are considering a timeshare, I would like to share some owner observations on how you can do it successfully. ( I do not engage in timeshare sales as an agent )
Most people hear about timeshare offerings by attending a “presentation” that results in receiving a free gift. You can be sure the sales pitch will be “high powered” and the prices will be equally high. Its OK to attend one of these pitches, but first you need to do your homework. Then, if you are interested, you can take a stand and watch the prices drop dramatically.
Homework ? Before you sit down with anyone to discuss purchasing a timeshare, you need to know exactly what you are getting, the market values, and the health of the resort itself. Here are some principles you can use to do your homework.
- You should only buy property at a location where you want to vacation every year.
- Visit the property before you go for a tour. Walk around and see if it is well maintained. Talk to some of the people who are vacationing there. You want to see if this is a place you will enjoy for a week each year.
- Check the resale market. There are many sites on the web devoted to reselling timeshares. Write down the asking prices and perhaps communicate with the seller to be sure there are no other costs pending ( like overdue assessments ).
- Go to the Timeshare Users Group and ask about the property. ( Tug2.net ). You want to be sure there are not pending major repairs. You can also find out what the annual fees are if there are any pending special assessments.
- Check your own finances. Be sure you know what type of cost is comfortable with your budget. You will have a purchase price, and an annual maintenance fee.
Once you’ve done this, you could view the property and listen to the presentation. You may hear lots of benefits, but the only one that matters is if you will actually use the property. Sometimes the focus is on trading value. You can usually exchange, or rent, your week if its in a good area ( ie. Southern California ) and is a very well managed property. Some areas ( ie. Orlando ) are over impacted with properties and you may have a hard time getting value for it when you won’t use it.
If you go to a presentation, like what you hear, and think it will work for you, don’t hesitate to say ( and mean ) that you want to think about it for awhile. That means a few days. Be absolutely sure you want to enter into this deal. Many people sign on the line, go home excited, and then panic. They can rescind within a few days, but often that doesn’t happen. The right sales person will understand. Take their name and number and promise to call back. Then, DO IT, even if its to say you decided to not move forward.
Finally, there will be plenty of people who will tell you about the $ 1 resales on eBay, and tell you to never buy from a developer. In many cases that is good advice, but if you do your homework, you will know if good resale deals are out there or not. Also, there are usually two departments for sales in a development. One are new sales, and they offer all the incentives ( most of which you won’t use ). The other is a “resale department” and they have units being offered by current owners. Also, some people think that a timeshare should be no more than the cost of a condo split by 52. That’s a pretty wrong assumption because a good timeshare will be run more like a hotel with large units, providing service, cleaning, support, activities, and a lot more.
Feel free to email ( Tim@Tim4Homes.com ) me with your questions about timeshares. Please do remember that this is not “professional advice”, only the view of one owner who has found a benefit from timeshare ownership.