Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve just become a timeshare owner and we’re excited for you to start your new adventure. Timeshares can be a wonderful alternative for travel and lodging, with plenty of great amenities, thousands of locations, and the security of owning time at a luxurious property every year.
We hope you’re just as excited about your new ownership as we are! While a timeshare is a new fun and exciting aspect of your annual vacations, there are a lot of things about timeshares that are worth understanding. It’s more than just a sweet vacation property; it’s more secure than booking hotels; there are flexible ownership options which could allow you to travel all over the world; and best of all, there are resale options which allow owners to enjoy the luxurious amenities of a timeshare property and incredibly affordable rates.
Here, we’re going to cover the most common questions every new timeshare owner has, including:
So with that, let us help you understand how to own a timeshare, all the benefits and perks you’ve received now that you’ve purchased a timeshare, and well, just what exactly a timeshare is!
Let’s start off by first answering the question, “what is a timeshare?”. The definition of a timeshare is: a piece of property that you share with multiple individuals, but have access to at different times. To own a timeshare means you’ll own an allotted time frame in which you’ll have the property all to yourself.
Ownership comes in many different forms. The most common form is a fixed week, which means you buy time at the resort for one specific week—say, the first week in February. A fixed week means you own that week every year for the rest of your ownership.
However, life tends to do what it does, and maybe you can’t vacation that particular week of the year. Luckily there are other types of ownership which may accommodate you better, such as a points-based membership or vacation club.
Another important thing to understand about timeshares is the annual maintenance fees that are associated with your ownership. While many may consider this a negative aspect of their ownership, once you educate yourself on what these dues are used for, you’ll find they actually benefit you in the long run.
Timeshare maintenance fees are a sort of “tax” owners pay (typically annually) to maintain the timeshare resort property, pay insurance, utilities, purchase appliances, account for refurbishing, and pay for annual taxes. Everyone who owns a timeshare has to pay them, including those who own the other weeks at your property, regardless of whether it was bought through retail or resale.
Depending on location, size, and type of timeshare unit, the fees vary. Some are as low as a couple hundred dollars while some can be over $1,000. It’s also important to note that maintenance fees are NOT fixed rates, meaning they could increase during your ownership.
Failing to pay maintenance fees is exactly like being late on a bill payment: you’ll hurt your credit score; you could incur interest and late fees; and if you continually miss payments, you could even be taken to court by the timeshare management company. Be completely familiar with the process and make sure you understand timeshare maintenance fees. If you can’t afford your maintenance fees or you can’t vacation at your property, but don’t want to pay them, there are ways you could get them covered, through renting out your property.
So now that we’ve gone over what a timeshare is, let’s go over why you should have one. The obvious contender against timeshare ownership is booking hotel rooms.
To their credit, hotels do have the ability to offer bonus programs and last minute deals for rooms at a great value if they want to raise room occupancy or they have some empty rooms available. But as great as a spontaneous vacation is, there are a lot of risks being under-prepared for a vacation, especially if it’s a meaningful romantic rendezvous or a family vacation. With timeshares, there are plenty of resale options to help lessen the cost, which offer way more value for an entire week versus the high costs of the pay-by-day hotel system.
But price, while important, is only half of an owner’s concern. The other half is what you actually get out of your property at those great prices. If you compare the amenities of a hotel room versus those found in a timeshare, you’ll actually find that you’ll get way more bang for your buck in a timeshare property. Take any standard hotel room. Chances are you’ll receive one single room with two double beds or queens beds, one television in the room, one separate room for the bathroom, and maybe a coffeemaker and maybe a mini-fridge.
If you contrast that with a standard timeshare suite, you’re in a whole other ballpark. Timeshares typically feature multiple rooms, a queen or king sized bed in the bedroom, a sleeper sofa in a separate living room, two televisions, one in the bedroom and one in the living room; a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, a fully-equipped kitchen; and sometimes even a washer/dryer. You can’t go wrong with lots of space at little financial strain!
We also have advantages over online rentals such as AirBnB and VRBO, which you can read about as well.
By now, hopefully we’ve relayed why timeshares can be a really cool way to vacation. But here’s the last big hump: should I buy directly from the developer or should I buy a timeshare resale.
Let’s start by first explaining what a “resale” is. If you bought a timeshare on the resale market, you’ve bought a piece of property that was put up for sale by the owner on the secondary market as opposed to a timeshare directly from the developer, i.e. Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, etc.
When you buy a timeshare directly from the developer, chances are, the price you’ve paid for your timeshare was way more than just the cost of the property: also included in the price could have been the advertising for the property, the commission for the sales person, the cost of all those “free promotions” you get when you sit through a pitch meeting.
If you bought a timeshare directly from the previous owner, odds are you’ve probably saved up to 70% off the cost of the developer’s price, which is an incredible discount!
But sometimes when you buy resale, there is a catch in the form of “resale restrictions”. Though you may save on the cost, some companies will restrict owners access to certain perks that owners who purchased their properties direct from the developer will receive. This may include access to the company’s timeshare exchange programs, their ability to purchase “points” for flexible ownership, bonus benefits like cruises and events, and more.
With all this knowledge in mind, let’s end on a positive note: the endless opportunities for what you can do with your new ownership!
The first message to relay is for those concerned about vacationing in just one place year-after-year-after-year. Almost every timeshare brand offers their own special exchange programs which allow owners to exchange their timeshare week with another owner at a different resort, allowing you both the chance to swap for a vacation in another resort, city, or even country! Owners can even purchase memberships to timeshare exchange program affiliates such as RCI and Interval International.
If you’re looking to lower your cost even further, there’s a way to do that too! Owners can purchase a lock-off unit, which means that a section of your suite can be rented out to friends and family, another party, or you can rent out both halves to different parties! Split week options are available for owners who would much rather take two short vacations at their resort than one week-long one.
Last, but most certainly not lease (timeshare humor), many resort brands have converted their timeshare ownership programs into vacation clubs. Vacation clubs are available at select resort brands and can be extremely beneficial to the enhancement of your vacation experience. If you own a points-based membership with a brand such as Wyndham, Disney, or Marriott, you are automatically enrolled into their vacation club. You’ll receive special deals like owner rental discounts, no-cost resort exchange, deals on cruises and tours, air and car rental reservations, and so much more.
Hopefully we’ve helped you develop a better understanding of your new ownership, and how it’s the perfect way to make sure you get to experience your dream vacation every single year. But if you have any more questions and you’d like to speak with us about it, don’t hesitate to call us at 877-815-4227.
Or, if you’re not yet an owner but excited to become one, explore the great deals we have waiting for you in our timeshare resale and rental inventory!