Timeshare: Asset or Liability?

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“Congratulations, you have won a free stay at _____.  Please come to our office at ____ to collect your voucher.  We would like to introduce our exciting new travel offers through a short presentation. No obligation to buy.”

How many times has this happened to you?  The come-on many vary but the intent is the same – at the end of 60 minutes, you will purchase a vacation timeshare.  Depending on the audience, the hook may also vary – international vacations on the cheap ; potential money-making investment etc.  The presentations are glitzy and there is quite a bit of time pressure to commit.  I have to admit, I was very attracted to the idea to being able to go to Boracay / Bohol every year.   But when I asked myself “Is this a good investment?” the answer at the time was no. 

Today’s paper had this headline:  “Timeshare owners see assets turn into never-ending liabilities”.

Some take-aways:

  1. Many buyers believe that owning a timeshare is like owning real estate which many hope will increase in value.  Wrong!  They do not have ownership of the underlying property but rather the right to use it.  Timeshare is a prepaid vacation, not an investment.
  2. The timeshare resale market is a buyer’s market.  Sellers are lucky to get 10% of the original price.   Case in point: Go to Ebay.  Timeshares are routinely offered at a starting bid price of 1 cent.  Some people are even trying to give their timeshares away in order to get out from paying the annual maintenance fee. 
  3. Research the places being offered for timesharing.  If some cases, they are located away from the “happening” places so you might actually have to spend more on transportation.

So is ownership in a timeshare a good investment?  I’d have to give a qualified yes.  With a bit of patience and prudent research, you can get great bargains.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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One Response

  1. While it is absolutely true that time shares can be had for a bargain, I also believe it makes sense to rent a vacation house in the general area of the time share to see if you like the location. wouldn’t you agree?

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