JULY 25 2023
Are Timeshares Worth It? The Numbers Say Yes

Today’s travelers have more booking options than ever before. They can choose to stay in a hotel for a weekend getaway, swap homes with someone overseas for a longer stay, or rent out an entire house for a family reunion. 

Still, we see an increase in the number of travelers year after year who choose timeshare ownership over these rental options, making the timeshare industry worth more than $10 billion as of 2022

But are timeshares worth it? Let's dive in.

What Is Timeshare?

Timeshare, or vacation ownership, is a contractual agreement that lets you share a property's cost and time with other owners. By owning a timeshare, you gain access to the property annually for a specific week or weeks, either on a fixed schedule or through a points-based system. As of 2022, more than 9 million U.S. households own one or more timeshare products, according to ARDA.

Two main types of ownership are available: deeded and non-deeded (interval) timeshares. Deeded timeshares grant partial ownership of a specific property, usually divided into weeks or points. You have a legally binding ownership interest in the property and may even have the option to sell it or will it to your heirs. Non-deeded or interval timeshares provide the right to use a property for a specified number of years, but you do not own the property itself. Instead, you have a contractual agreement to use the property for the agreed-upon timeframe.

Within those two timeshare contracts, you also have different subtypes that relate to how often you can use them.

1. Fixed-Week

Fixed-week timeshares give you a specific week each year for your vacation. This means you have the same assigned week annually, which can be beneficial if you prefer consistency in your vacation plans.

2. Floating Week

Floating-week timeshares allow more flexibility in choosing different weeks within a particular season or time frame. This flexibility lets you schedule your vacation based on availability and personal preferences.

3. Points-Based

Points-based timeshare models allow you to purchase a certain number of points and use them to book stays at various resorts within the timeshare company's network. You can often use points for different lengths of stay and seasons or exchange them for other travel-related services like flights or cruises.

Timeshares offer a variety of customizable options, and it’s essential to understand each so you can choose the one that best aligns with your vacation needs and lifestyle.

What Are The Benefits Of Timeshare?

From the size of the units and on-site amenities to the wide catalog of destinations. There’s a reason why some owners believe that timeshare is a worthwhile investment for their families.

Consistent Quality and Comfort

Timeshare resorts are renowned for their well-appointed accommodations with spacious living areas, fully equipped kitchens, and a range of amenities. Rather than relying on the unpredictability of booking hotels or vacation rentals, timeshare ensures that you have a comfortable home away from home, no matter where you choose to travel.

Cost-Effective Vacationing

By purchasing a timeshare, you essentially lock in your future vacation accommodations at today's prices, eliminating the worries of rising hotel rates or fluctuating rental costs. This can lead to significant savings in the long run, especially for frequent travelers or those who prefer extended stays. And, unlike owning a condo or vacation home, you share the financial responsibility of property maintenance.

Flexibility and Variety

While timeshare ownership traditionally entailed fixed weeks or seasons, the industry has evolved to offer greater flexibility in recent years. Many timeshare companies now offer points-based systems, customizable travel dates, and a large network of affiliate properties worldwide. This newfound flexibility allows owners to explore more and tailor their vacations to suit their preferences, ensuring unparalleled freedom and variety.

Exchange Programs and Global Access

Through affiliations with exchange companies, you can exchange your timeshare week or points for stays at other resorts around the world. This opens doors to countless vacation possibilities, granting access to exotic locales, cultural hotspots, and picturesque destinations that might have otherwise been out of reach.

Resort Amenities and Services

From swimming pools and fitness centers to spa facilities and on-site dining options, timeshare resorts go above and beyond to create a memorable vacation environment. Many properties also organize a range of activities and events for families and adults, so there’s always something to enjoy during your stay.

Potential for Rental Income

If you’re unable to use your timeshare during a particular year, then you could rent it out to help offset maintenance fees or even provide a passive income stream. By advertising your property through reputable platforms or working with specialized rental agencies, you can attract vacationers and make the most of your investment.

With proper planning, realistic expectations, and a clear understanding of how timeshares work, they can provide enjoyable and cost-effective vacation experiences for years to come.

Are Timeshare Owners Happy?

Timeshare ownership satisfaction can vary depending on personal experiences and references. According to the American Resorts Development Association (ARDA), approximately 85% of owners report being satisfied with their timeshare. 

For those who thoroughly research the purchase, understand the associated costs, and align their vacation habits with the timeshare structure, timeshares can provide lasting memories and enjoyable vacation experiences.

What Are the Drawbacks Of Timeshare?

Everyone has different personal experiences and opinions. So before becoming an owner, it’s important to look at both the pros and cons to make an informed decision.

Financial Obligations

Owners share the responsibility for the property's maintenance costs. While resort management handles upkeep, repair, and renovations, you contribute financially through annual fees. Understanding and budgeting maintenance fees, special assessments, or other ongoing costs can help you avoid potential financial strain.

Changing Lifestyle & Vacation Preferences

Your vacation preferences or circumstances may shift over time. You might want to explore different destinations, need a different size unit, or find that your ability to vacation has changed altogether. In such cases, the fixed nature of timeshare ownership and the commitment to a specific property or timeframe may become more difficult.

Limited Availability or Flexibility

While timeshare ownership offers more flexibility than before, there are still limitations to consider. Booking your desired dates and locations may be subject to availability, and popular times and destinations can be more challenging to secure. The need to plan ahead and potentially face restrictions on vacation dates can limit your spontaneity.

Do You Ever Finish Paying Off A Timeshare?

In a traditional timeshare ownership model, you typically purchase a specific week or number of points. The initial purchase price covers the cost of acquiring the timeshare, and many buyers opt for financing options to spread the payments over a set period.

Similar to a mortgage or a car loan, timeshare financing often involves a fixed-term loan with a varying repayment period. Throughout this period, you make regular monthly payments toward the principal amount borrowed, plus any accrued interest.

Once you complete all the required payments, you will have satisfied the loan agreement terms and will no longer have any outstanding financial obligations related to the purchase. Essentially, you will have fulfilled your loan responsibilities, and the timeshare will be considered yours.

Can I Sell My Timeshare?

Yes, but all timeshare contracts have exit policy requirements that need to be met in order to start the resell process. Read your policy thoroughly before signing so you’re prepared to sell if that time ever comes. Also, be aware that the timeshare resale market is often saturated and the value of timeshares can depreciate over time. Finding a buyer and navigating the resale market may require patience and persistence. 

And if you’re looking to sell outside of your timeshare, then be cautious of common timeshare scams. Some companies will offer to help you exit your timeshare in exchange for an upfront fee. These companies often make enticing guarantees of quick and effortless solutions, but once they receive your payment, they disappear without fulfilling their promises. 

So, Are Timeshares Really Worth It?

  • $10.5 billion industry
  • 9.9 million owner households
  • 85% satisfaction rate

Bottom line: The numbers say yes. But deciding whether a timeshare is worth it for you depends on your unique travel preferences, budget, and long-term goals. Ask any timeshare owner, and they will tell you that it is an option worth exploring.

The Internet Explorer web browser is no longer supported by Club Wyndham. Please upgrade your browser.