Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
Timeshares have been around for ages. If you've already decided this is an idiot's investment, good for you, move on to the next thread. If it seems to you that there may be a good reason for someone to get one, read on.

About 7 years ago, my wife and I felt we earned a good enough living that we not only allowed ourselves to get hooked for the free offer for listening to the spiel, which in itself is a perfectly acceptable move, but also allowed ourselves to get hooked for the purchase itself. The suite was/is beautiful, this much is true. The location in Vegas is fantastic, no question. Our ability to trade it for wonderful places all over the world, priceless...OK, no it's not priceless. It comes at a price, one that's far too high once you learn a bit more about how this business operates.

One of the linchpins to the offer is that you will 'FIX' your vacation costs for life. Horse-pucky! Another is that over the years, your Timeshare will appreciate in value as any real estate would. More Horse-pucky! I'll address those two as disproving those alone is enough to help anyone make the right decision.

Fixed Costs

Of course, as individuals we have to consider whether we are using financing to support the purchase. For that you'd have to do the math on what the property will eventually cost you once those debts are paid off. You have money you say? You don't need to finance? Well that's great! So take the financing consideration off the table. Must be a great deal now then right? Still no. You can pick it up for a song from some third party that's re-selling it for some poor sucker who decided they can no longer afford it? Still, no dice. Here's the big why.

Maintenance Fees. You have no control over these nasty buggers. We were fortunate to, at least, have bought in Nevada where there are few natural disasters. How bout them poor folks in the Bahamas or even Hawaii? One good tropical storm blows over your little Timeshare and rips a few buildings apart and get ready for some serious increases in your maintenance fees. Even without such tragedy, we've watched our maintenance fees go up an average 5%/year. Good luck trying to carry any influence over this issue. It's not like it's as simple as going to your next general meeting at your strata and dealing with it, as you might living in a townhouse or condo normally. From 6.5 years ago, we've gone from paying $360/year to $490/year. And even at the first number, I stupidly did not consider that cost. We get one week a year at this admittedly wonderful resort. That's 1/52 of an apartment. Extrapolate that over a full year and you get $1560/month maintenance per suite originally or at the present going rate, $2123/month. We're not staying at the Playboy Mansion, or in Dubai, for God's sake! Sweet Jesus, yes, I should have considered that right from the get go! Warren Buffet doesn't have money to throw away like that. Who the heck are we?

I've come to discover there are folks with Timeshares in the Bahamas or Hawaii where they are now straddled with $1200/year and up for a simple one week share.

Appreciating Real Estate

One of the other selling points is that not only will you end up saving on ever increasing hotel costs, but also, in the end, you will have a valuable piece of real estate. The horse-pucky just keeps piling up!

Consider what the increasing maintenance costs you are on the hook for does to the value of your supposed Real Estate investment. Further, consider what the massive over-supply of such Timeshares has done to the value of our Timeshare. Also, consider what an internet littered with offers of people selling their Timeshares for virtually nothing means. Finally, consider that there are many fantastic options out there these days to rent from members of services such as HomeAway. Often, when renting through such services, you are actually renting from those unfortunate, or as I must admit personally, unwise enough to own Timeshares that they can no longer afford to make use of.

I'll go one step further and admit that I've actually put my Timeshare up for sale on for one third the cost of what we paid for it 7 years ago and not one single sniff in 4 months. Though I negotiated a cost for advertising with that company for a fraction of what they were asking, I still have been further ripped off on that front. In my defense that decision was now born out of the desperate realization that I simply don't need this Timeshare anymore. That service is also garbage and nonsense, another dud (unless maybe you offer your Timeshare for free) and whatever they tell you, you aren't getting what they say for your Timeshare. Charities won't even touch Timeshares now if you donate them to them, because they are aware of the issues with maintenance costs. Realtors won't sell them for you because commissions on such interests in real property are worthless, and selling them is virtually impossible. Certainly it's not worth their time. Yet, considering all this, you are legally on the hook for the maintenance fees. Finally, even the company I bought the Timeshare from will not take it back for FREE!! If that doesn't tell you the entire industry is a scam, I don't know what it would take.

If even one person reads this and previously thought they could 'afford' a Timeshare and now realize otherwise, I'd personally deem this board a success. For those of you who already assumed as much, good on you for being a bit smarter than us;)


Next Up, Direct Buy...or Direct Waste of Coin as it should be called.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.