Are Timeshares a Good Deal? The Hard "Truth" About Vacation Ownership

The allure of timeshares often paints a picture of vacation bliss, but the reality is steeped in complex legalities and huge financial burdens. Let's take a deep dive into the truth about vacation ownership, and ask the question, "Are Timeshares A Good Deal?".

Are Timeshares a Good Deal? The Hard "Truth" About Vacation Ownership

Why You Should Never Buy A Timeshare!

Deceptive Sales Pitch

1st reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
The timeshare industry is notorious for its aggressive and often misleading sales tactics. During high-pressure sales presentations, potential buyers are promised benefits and features that frequently do not align with the harsh realities bound in the fine print of their contracts. Crafted by expert attorneys, these contracts secure the resort's interests, leaving buyers with little recourse when promises are unmet. The disparity between what is sold and what is delivered has contributed to the timeshare industry’s poor reputation, emphasizing a significant risk of buyer’s remorse.

Timeshare Resale Value

2nd reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
It is a very common dishonest sales pitch for a timeshare sales representative to equate timeshares with real estate investments, such as buying a home. However, they do not behave as such in terms of value appreciation, and sadly it's the opposite.

Sadly, like buying a car; 100% of all timeshares depreciate immediately after purchase! The timeshare resort industry's sales pitch isn't only misleadingly, but outright criminal. Using well known terms like "deeded", it's given the sales reps the easy ability to trick the buyer into believing it's a lasting investment akin to traditional property ownership, yet this is far from accurate. It's actually far worse than a car, because you can sell a car! You can't sell a timeshare. You have to pay someone to take it! More on that in a bit.

Timeshare's Upfront Cost

3rd reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
Timeshares are typically marketed at exorbitant prices, ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, directly from resorts. However, a stark contrast in value is evident on secondary markets such as eBay, where timeshares are often listed for free or with incentives like covered closing costs and prepaid maintenance fees. This dramatic depreciation indicates that timeshares are not worth their hefty initial price tags, as owners desperate to exit their commitments flood the market, making such properties vastly overpriced at the point of sale.

Buying A Timeshare Doesn't Make Basic Financial Sense

4th reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
For 1 week of ownership time (Weeks or points), the average maintenance fee for a a two-bedroom timeshare unit in 2024 is approximately $1,200 annually. Could be more or less depending on where exactly one owns and with what company. Costs for studio and one-bedroom units are typically lower, whereas three- and four-bedroom units command higher fees. If one owns more than 1 week, you would multiply it by however many weeks of time that is owned.

These high annual fees is the core reason so many timeshare owners risk large sums of money to try and get rid of such commitments by hiring an exit company.

Consider a scenario where an owner is billed $1,000 annually. It will increase every year, but let's just pretend it's $1000.

What happens when:

  • There is no availability and couldn't use it
  • Lose your week or points due to it expiring, but you paid for the maintenance.
  • Because you couldn't get in, you paid out of pocket for a place.

But that place you rented out of pocket? There was some really great things about it!

  1. You were able to go to the exact area that you wanted to be in
  2. You were able to get the exact resort or hotel you wanted
  3. You didn't have to go on a sales presentation or get harassed to go on one.

So this brings us to our next point. If one is paying $1000 per year for their timeshare maintenance fees. That's an average of $171.42/night. You can get a pretty great place to stay for $170/night and you can choose the destination, timing, and are assured availability, only paying for nights when accommodations are secured.

This preserves 100% of their flexibility and guarantees availability each time they choose to travel. Importantly, in years when no travel occurs, no costs are incurred. Thus, it makes 0 mathematical sense to buy a timeshare, and we believe no one would if they had been told the truth at the time of purchase. But that was just the maintenance fees. Let's say the timeshare is $20,000 upfront for 1 week. (Most are).

How many nights would you get renting at $170 per night, before you spent the $20,000 that the timeshare cost upfront? $20,000/$170= 117.65 nights.

So in other words, if a timeshare owner could undo their entire purchase. They would get 4 months of vacation time for free. And if they don't want to go one year, they won't be forced to pay the $170/night. Pretty crazy that these things are even legal to sell.

Timeshare Exit Scams

5th reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
Leaving a timeshare arrangement can be as problematic as entering one, with a plethora of timeshare exit companies offering their services that vary in reliability and integrity, and sadly this many times leads to the owners losing money several times trying to get rid of it and the exit companies they hired, were either a scam or failed at the task. Some lucky owners who are very persistent, can find success in a small number of cases handling negotiations directly with the resort.

Don't fall for the once great reputation and famous finance life coach Dave Ramsey, who sold his soul and promoted a company called Timeshare Exit Team that lead to thousands of people getting scammed, and he is now facing a $150,000,000 (Million) lawsuit.

Timeshares Are 100% Free On eBay

6th reason why timeshares are not a good deal!

Why timeshares are free on eBay
Hilton & Wyndham Timeshare For $1 With 0 Bids On eBay

There are always a list of hundreds, if not thousands of timeshare sellers on platforms like eBay, who are offering to sell the timeshare for .01. eBay requires you charge at least a penny, but if you look in the fine print you will see the seller is willing to pay all closing cost, transfer fees and many times even the first usage year's maintenance fees. This is done as a means to try to make their listing more tempting to a potential buyer, in the sea of free timeshares listed on platforms like eBay. You can view free timeshares on eBay here, but don't forget to come back and finish this exposé.

The Ongoing Burden of Maintenance Fees

7th reason why timeshares are not a good deal!
Maintenance fees are a constant and rising expense for timeshare owners, covering everything from property upkeep to employee wages. Contrary to assurances given at the time of purchase, these fees invariably increase every year, adding financial strain over time. When compared to the cost of traditional vacation rentals, which offer greater flexibility and no long-term commitments, the economic disadvantage of timeshares becomes painfully clear.

Our Conclusion

DO NOT Buy A Timeshare!

Timeshares are fraught with challenges that can turn a dream vacation into a financial nightmare. The industry is plagued by deceptive practices and a resale market that offers little to no return on investment. Coupled with escalating maintenance costs and complicated exit strategies, the conclusion is unequivocal: timeshares are seldom a good deal. The promises of timeshare ownership rarely match the reality, leaving many owners regretful and financially burdened. In light of these insights, we tell anyone who asks the question "Are Timeshares Worth It"? Never! It's a huge burden that takes away all of your flexible freedom and is a never ending money pit, both to own and to get rid of.


Will my children be forced to take my timeshare when I die?

How can you get rid of a timeshare?

Do timeshare maintenance fees increase every year?

Why can't I sell my timeshare if it's deeded real-estate?

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