After years of helping vacation owners escape the grasp of their onerous contracts, we’d like to think we know a thing or two about the pros and cons of ownership. But when you think about it, what are the benefits to purchasing a timeshare? While we’ve spoken to a number of buyers that are completely content with the product, many make it their life purpose to get rid of it.
No matter how you see both perspectives, timeshare owners tend to identify with one or the other – and for good reason. There are really only two types of buyers: Those that are informed during the purchase phase and those that are not. Although a multitude of owners have learned to deal with their obligations, people either enjoy timeshares or they don’t. There isn’t really any grey area in between.
What Is Usually Seen as a Timeshare Perk?
A majority of timeshare sales teams use reverse psychology to close perpetual vacation agreements. Truth be told, helping buyers see the reality of their product is tough because many are led to believe there are added perks that make a disappointing purchase worthwhile.
In other words, even when availability is slim, some hang onto timeshares for the wrong reasons. The sooner an owner is able to validate presentation promises or debunk them will allow them to determine what benefits their purchase provides. But before we get started, it’s important readers understand many timeshare scenarios are unique and some contractual terms provide different options for certain users.
Speaking to a professional about these things before paying for any type of cancellation service is highly recommended. The last thing any owner wants to do is waste more money on another misleading sales pitch. With that being said, let’s dissect some of the popular benefits to purchasing a timeshare.
1. The Bolstered Financial Portfolio.
When a timeshare purchase first begins to discourage an owner, resort representatives often point to a collection of benefits that may not actually be beneficial. Similar to the initial presentation, timeshare companies have been known to insist that their product is an investment or some sort of asset. Once this has been embedded into the minds of buyers, many believe it’s worth holding onto.
In reality, obtaining a timeshare to add to your financial portfolio is proven to be incorrect from a stance that it will be in a profitable position by renting or reselling. As a matter of fact, most of these types of purchases are simply a Right-To-Use (RTU) agreement that doesn’t provide much of an advantage at all – aside from possible availability.
Timeshare members oftentimes don’t actually own any real estate. Instead, they own a right to reserve the property for at least one week per year. There is almost never a return outside of usage.
Trusting a Timeshare Sales Pitch is Risky.
Even experienced or educated consumers have been known to misunderstand deeded interest. There are plenty of examples of real estate professionals that have fallen for the mirage of vacation ownership. Unfortunately, it’s often viewed like a home loan. But the interest can easily be assigned to a trust that’s controlled by the timeshare per the purchase agreement. In other words, buyers typically hold no oversight or input but are held responsible to cut the checks.
No matter what you believe, financial advisors have stated that the product is not an asset. Although it is strongly shaped to be perceived in this fashion, simple research will open your eyes. Oftentimes a quick glance at the contract itself will tell you all you need to know. Those that think a bolstered financial portfolio is one of the benefits to purchasing a timeshare usually end up chewing on sour grapes at some point.
2. The Benefits of a Furnished Vacation Home.
When people buy a timeshare, the opportunity is often seen as an affordable way to own a vacation property in a destination that normally wouldn’t be available to them. This in itself is highly intriguing. An ability to reserve a luxury condo with no strings attached sounds great to anyone who doesn’t truly understand what the package entails.
Who wouldn’t pay a few hundred dollars every month for a furnished property they don’t have to maintain or manage throughout the year? Some vacation owners even look forward to decorating their new place or customizing it to suit them best during their visits. But is this actually one of the benefits to purchasing a timeshare?
Are Personal Touches Allowed in Hotel Rooms?
Like we mentioned before, timeshare owners have no say in the upkeep or personalization of the property. You will not be able to paint the walls, change the furniture or reshape the environment how you see fit. Although sales teams may paint this picture, most can’t even guarantee availability for certain dates at the point of sale.
If you purchased a timeshare because you think the benefits include ease of use, a personal abode away from home and no maintenance – then guess again. The simple fact many new buyers aren’t privy to annual maintenance fees ($1200 average) helps paint a more accurate picture.
Once you’re under contract, you get what you get and if you throw a fit it will likely land on deaf ears. Even if you don’t think annual fees are being used to improve your paid accommodations.
3. There is Prosperity in Renting Timeshares.
Since vacation owners tend to categorize the product as a financial asset, many believe they can make money off of the property. But most timeshares have created suicide for their owners, the possibilities of profiting are extremely limited. First and foremost, almost nobody is looking to buy a timeshare. New buyers are typically pulled off the streets or from the comfort of their home. Appealing solicitations unexpectedly lead to 5+ hour timeshare sales presentations.
In other words, a majority are sporadically sold with limited-time pitches in controlled environments. Those that believe the travel market is flooded with people looking to rent timeshares are normally in for a big surprise. Especially if they’re investing $20-40K (sometimes as much as $400K) on prepaid vacations with aspirations of a large return.
The monetary “investment” almost always outweighs any potential return. While the sales rep may pitch rental as a possibility, it’s always best to investigate the opportunity yourself. The competition for online travel retailers and rentals by owner (Airbnb or VRBO) is not stagnant. A simple comparison may show you retail bookings are far more favorable.
Timeshares Are an Expense and Liability.
Moreover, the product is oftentimes oversold and availability is proven to be extremely difficult to access. Even if you were to find someone to pay for your week, you still have to be able to reserve it for them. Because of the inconsistency of the purchase and lack of true customer service, many buyers find themselves trying to rent their weeks for less than what they are obligated to pay annually – just to garner some sort of offset.
In reality, the prime inventory at resorts is oftentimes pushed out to online retailers such as Expedia and Priceline. It’s not given to vacation owners to remarket and profit off of. Because of this, buyers with rental aspirations are forced to compete with these platforms for reservations. The average consumer just isn’t equipped to overcome the budget, tactics, lure and aggression of online travel agencies.
Renting Your Timeshare Week Is No Easy Task.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to close the deal? Could you find yourself liable for someone else’s bad experience? Are you prepared to present the same contract terms as the timeshare in order to protect yourself? What happens if you have to process a refund?
At the end of the day, sales reps that sell timeshares tend to pitch a better product than what’s actually being offered. License-to-lie clauses protect them in contracts. Availability and accommodations are usually a lower value than presented. Doing so places a greater overall financial commitment on the buyer’s end – making it nearly impossible for them to ever make money.
4. Selling a Timeshare is a Benefit Too, Right?
From a logical standpoint, one may assume that if the real estate market is strong that selling a timeshare would prove to be a profitable move. But like we mentioned before, vacation ownership is nothing like homeownership. Since we’ve already written a number of articles on the reality of resale, we won’t bore you with the long list of lies and possible pitfalls.
For the same reasons as rental, the market to buy timeshare properties is virtually non-existent. The supply smothers the very little demand. If you believe this is one of the benefits to purchasing a timeshare, feel free to do the research for yourself. While you may be able to find some promising reviews, it’s nearly impossible to actually speak to a former owner that’s completely offloaded their timeshare deed or membership through resale methods.
5. Expansive Trade Value For New Destinations.
Today, new timeshare purchases are almost always set up with a prepaid exchange program for the first year of usage. At first, a majority of buyers see this as a valuable benefit that essentially guarantees them an enjoyable experience. It also seemingly provides them with options if one of the destinations isn’t ideal for the price point.
In some cases, owners are allowed to trade their timeshare ownership points or weeks for other properties in different locations through third-party exchange platforms. The problem is, exchanges only involve lodging and accommodations of equal or lesser value.
Sadly, the latter is more frequent. Contractually bound consumers that constantly seek an improved return normally land in disappointment unless you have committed to some serious financial obligations.
Do Exchanges Truly Provide a Vast Amount of Options?
In reality, exchange programs simply keep buyers under contract. When owners feel as though there is always a hopeful possibility to enhance the experience, they don’t look into cancellation. It also distracts them from the rescission period. In the long run, annual renewals and unexpected exchange fees make it difficult for owners to see this as one of the benefits to purchasing a timeshare.
Just because you paid a lot of money for a weekly interval doesn’t mean you’ll be able to trade an unsatisfactory 2-star unit (at a less-than-stellar resort or during an off-peak season) for something more desirable. Unless you upgrade or purchase another contract, you’re probably not going to get the 4-star property in Hawaii during peak season.
6. VIP Access and Prime Reservation Priority.
During sales presentations, timeshare companies go above and beyond to make their guests feel like royalty. At the end of the day, they want you to feel that your enjoyment is important to them. While it may appear they’re doing everything they can to provide you with the vacation you need and desire, could the song and dance eventually end?
Because of the effectiveness of timeshare demonstrations, many consumers don’t even consider the idea of a bad experience. When they trust the pitch, the thought of passing up an offer they may never see again can be deceiving. Sadly, the diligence of the sales teams is not exactly echoed throughout the experience.
Sales Operations Focus a Lot on First Impressions.
In other words, the VIP access and priority booking that was promised during the sales seminar rarely comes into fruition. In fact, this is proven to be the exact opposite for many timeshare owners. Even when their desired resort is available on retail booking websites, owners are oftentimes told it’s unavailable. However, it’s available for cash paying individuals.
As you can imagine, this would be extremely frustrating – especially when they’re led to believe that there is little they can do about it. Despite tens of thousands of dollars being spent on the product, many have to spend more money just to go on the vacation they planned for. Some are even encouraged by their timeshare to “pay the cash price to book it.” Ouch.
What Benefits Does Your Timeshares Provide?
The above 6 benefits to purchasing a timeshare are widely used to justify the product’s value. When a timeshare prospect knows nothing about the actualities of the experience, these can seem awfully appealing if oversold or misrepresented. When it comes to making decisions in the timeshare industry, looking for the proof in the pudding before adding the cherry is key.
Although it may seem like our intention is to talk you into canceling your timeshare – it isn’t. We pride ourselves in listening to every owner and educating them so that they can make informed decisions going forward. The last thing any buyer wants to do is hire an attorney-based solution to get rid of a timeshare burden. We get it. So the best thing we can do is help the general population understand the real possibilities of ownership.