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Why I'll Never Buy A Timeshare

04/15/2015 01:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2015

I thought this guest post from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner was so awesome I had to share it with you.

Over the years I've watched and helped so many people who are buried in a timeshare and can't even give it away. Michelle reminded me again why timeshares can wind up being a financial pit that you should not wander into casually.

Friends don't let friends buy timeshares.

Lately, I've been hearing about more and more people buying timeshares.

Someone I know recently dropped $15,000 on a timeshare. I know of another person who has bought multiple timeshares with their student loans. I recently read on Facebook that another person is trying to sell their timeshare for $1, and there aren't any takers yet.

Sure, I have an open mind and perhaps sometimes timeshares are an okay idea, so I won't completely discredit them. However, I've never met someone who bought a timeshare and was happy with their purchase years down the line.

I've only heard horror stories about timeshares.

Due to this, I've never really understood the appeal of timeshares.

And I'm not sure I ever will.

I'm not writing this post to offend anyone. Like I said, I'm sure there are cases out there where you a person found a great deal on a timeshare and they know they're going to actually use it. I won't ignore the possibility of that. However, I know that each and every year many people buy timeshares thinking they are a great deal when in reality most of the time they are not.

According to Debt.org, there are more than 9,000,000 timeshare owners across the world and approximately $10 BILLION in timeshares are sold each year. Also, according to that same website, approximately 7% of U.S. families own a timeshare.

I had no idea that the timeshare business was this large. Maybe I'm missing something, but the negatives seem to significantly outweigh the positives so I am shocked that there are that many timeshare owners out there.

Below are 5 reasons not to buy a timeshare.

1. The upfront cost is high.


Timeshares are expensive.

According to the American Resort Development Association, the average price for a one week timeshare is approximately $19,000, with an average annual maintenance fee of $660 on top of that.

That is a TON of money.

On top of the expensive costs, many people end up taking loans out for their timeshares. This means that your timeshare might end up costing two or even three times the cost over the duration of the loan due to interest.

If you are asking the question "are timeshares worth it" or "why are timeshares bad," this section right here should help you find your answer.

2. There are maintenance fees.


As I said earlier, the average annual maintenance fee on a timeshare is $660, and in many cases it can be upwards of $1,000 a year. I did some research and I found some timeshares that had annual maintenance fees of over $2,000 a year.

Maintenance fees need to be paid year after year, regardless if you use the property or not.

Also, the annual maintenance fee tends to increase over time as well, and you have no control over that.

Are timeshares worth it in this case? Nope!

3. Timeshares are hard to sell.


If you decide to sell your timeshare because of the high annual cost and/or because you are tired of paying monthly payments on your loan, you will have a hard time selling it.

Timeshares do not appreciate like a normal property would.

If you do a quick search on eBay, you will find hundreds of timeshares going for just $1.00, which is another reason I am unsure of them. If they are such a great deal, why are people trying so hard to get rid of them?

Are timeshares worth it in this case? Nope!

4. You have to pay for the timeshare regardless if you use it or not.


Like I said earlier, maintenance fees need to be paid year after year, regardless if you use the property or not.

Also, with a timeshare, if you have a bad income year and don't have the money to take a vacation, you still have to pay the maintenance fees.

A lot of your money is tied up in the timeshare, and could probably be invested in other better ways.

Are timeshares worth it in this case? Nope!

5. There are cheaper ways to go on a vacation.


Timeshare salespeople try to find buyers by claiming that timeshares are a great way to save money on a vacation.

I just do not understand that.

Spending $19,000 on a timeshare where you only get around one week annually seems very expensive.

There are PLENTY of ways to go on a more affordable vacation. You could shop around for the best prices, use credit card rewards, visit during the off season, bundle your trip, and more. I'm sure you could spend less on an annual vacation than what it would cost to own a timeshare.

Plus, if you are still wanting the "timeshare feel," you can rent timeshares from other owners for a FRACTION of what they have paid. You can usually find them for a couple hundred dollars per week, whereas the owner is still paying the maintenance fees each year that are most likely twice or three times as much.

Are timeshares worth it in this case? Nope!

Related articles: 

Do you have a timeshare? Why or why not? Would you ever buy a timeshare?

If you have a timeshare, I would love to hear from you. Why do you own one? Do you find it worthwhile?

This article by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner first appeared on Making Sense of Cents and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

And then to top off the timeshare story, loads of people have been caught in timeshare scams when they try to unload their units. Asshole marketers have taken advantage of so many people desperate to unload their timeshares. You can read those stories here.

Steve
Get Out of Debt Guy - Twitter, G+, Facebook

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