Is a timeshare an investment or a bad move?

33 Replies

I have recently looked into picking up a timeshare in a few areas we like to go for vacations with my kids being young (3 1/2 and 3 months old), the prices are way cheaper then hotels if you think about it and then it would force me to take a few more vacations (My wife would be happy).

My question is are these really investments? I am looking at one 2 miles from Disney with a week at the end of May, we would use this every year probably until my kids are teens but will I even get any money out of it after that? Or will I be stuck with it like these people selling them now that are almost giving them away?

I hope someone on here has some experience with timeshares and can give me some advice or feedback, I also have never done one before but from what I can read you just pay the yearly HOA fee and that's it. Seems to good to be true.

Thanks BP!

I have two time shares but only because I inherited them. When I do the math they are not a good investment for the price. But mine were free plus the annual HOA.

I too own two timeshares.  Great for vacations...lousy as an investment...but I didn't buy them for an investment.

Joe Villeneuve

Timeshare and investment should not be used in the same sentence.  Unless you're the one developing the timeshare project.

Watch for the maintenance fees.  I've looked at this a few times and the maintenance fees plus purchase cost almost always added up to more than just renting a similar unit off VRBO or some such. 

Make sure you cover your timeshare with aluminum siding the door-to-door guy sells you, have the driveway paved by a Traveler who just happened to have some extra asphalt from a job in your neighborhood, fill it with furniture from Rent-a-Center, and pay for it all with a payday loan.  Then you'll have like the perfect storm. 

...definitely NOT an investment.  It's basically air you are buying.

Originally posted by @James Mudd :

...definitely NOT an investment.  It's basically air you are buying.

 Actually, a condo is buying air.

This is buying usage of the air for a certain period each year lol

Lol got it, so not as an investment but maybe for vacation.. How hard are they to get rid of when I am done?

@Richard C.   Nice!  When you are sick of paying the maintenance fees and are done with it, the place you bought it from won't even want it back for free.   There is no market for these things. After you check your budget and are sure vacation is the best use for your dollars, just pay as you go and don't bring it home with you in the form of payments!  

Originally posted by @J. Martin :
Originally posted by @James Mudd:

...definitely NOT an investment.  It's basically air you are buying.

 Actually, a condo is buying air.

This is buying usage of the air for a certain period each year lol

 Actually this is buying the burden of being forced to pay rent every year for your week of air usage.  

Originally posted by @Patrick L. :
Originally posted by @J Martin:
Originally posted by @James Mudd:

...definitely NOT an investment.  It's basically air you are buying.

 Actually, a condo is buying air.

This is buying usage of the air for a certain period each year lol

 Actually this is buying the burden of being forced to pay rent every year for your week of air usage.  


How hard are they to get rid of when I am done?

Best to assume you will be stuck with it forever.  Look on e-bay.  Many are available for essentially $0.

@Ian Hoover People that buy timeshares as investments, would buy swampland in Florida. However, if you buy them for vacations that's different. Most REI should be good at it. First, you NEVER buy it when they give you the first price...or the second, or sometimes the third. We got our 2nd timeshare by buying one of the many they have that others are trying to sell. Kind of like going to the paint store and buying paint that was returned because it was mixed wrong at a few bucks a gallon. They always have them in their inventory, but they would rather sell you the full price ones...if you're gullible enough to buy them. Like I said, as REI, this shouldn't happen.

I have two "weeks" and can go to a top of the line resort for vacation (or sell the weeks for more than the maintenance fee), so we never have a loss.  We've "transferred" to all points of the U.S. (including Hawaii) and Mexico.

If you buy them using the same analysis and negotiating tools you use as a REI, they can be great. If you think they are an investment, like I said, I can get my hands on some waterfront (back, sides, etc...) property in Florida I can let you have dirt (OK, there's no actual dirt...) cheap.

Joe Villeneuve

Originally posted by @Ian Hoover :

Lol got it, so not as an investment but maybe for vacation.. How hard are they to get rid of when I am done?

 I don't own one, but my parents did (in Hawaii). When they decided to sell it, it took them 17 MONTHS to find a buyer. And they didn't make any money.

Thank you all for the insight! Much appreciated.

@Ian Hoover ,

I purchased a 2 B/R timeshare in the Pocono's for $1., plus the closing costs. It is a floating week, in the Summer.  I usually use it the week with the 4th of July in it.

This was done via ebay.  It is NOT worth anything on the resale market. 


Timeshare for personal use can be a good purchase.  Depends on how you are acquiring the timeshare and what you are paying for it.  If it has a viable exchange program so much the better.  You should acquire one that you would not mind going to each year and if the week(s) your buying are right to use or deeded.  If you are buying a specific unit for a specific week it makes life a lot easier.  You can acquire timeshare units on line at give away prices and as mentioned check on the maintenance fees.  There are some excellent "dirt cheap" units available.  Investment no, family utilization a good expense as it will make you get away and enjoy the family.  Food for thought.

I "crammed" for a few weeks last year on the ins and outs and learned that there are certain strategies that can make sense for vacationing, but no, not as investment. Bottom line: 0-$5,000 max, $500 or less per year maint. fees. And these "max's" assume it's a HUGE value trader, 2 weeks, peak season (red week) in either a sought after area or local area. For example, it might make sense for us to have a really nice Maine beach time share because we can either have a "cheap" (i.e. no airfare) vacation OR trade it for something better.  Unless paying $400 or more per night, I cannot imagine a timeshare being cheaper than hotel. The main reason "knowledgeable" timeshare users buy them is to get really nice digs for much less than they'd pay for same.

Why buy a timeshare when you can invest in a short term rental home and put it on auto pilot, have it make money, and you can use it whenever it's not booked (30-40% of the time)? 

Timeshares are a HORRIBLE idea.. you can't sell them, and you should never pay more than $1 for one. You can take them off people's hands for $1 any day of the week because they are so burdensome.. even then, it's bad because you're liable. I cannot be more against this idea. 

Good insight thanks!

Not that you need any more convincing but no and not really great for vacations unless you want to hang with that company where they are or go to the same place.

When I started out, I had the opportunity, I have bee proud of myself concerning my newbie decision ever since.

We have the big boys represented down in Branson, I could go see a show and have dinner anytime if I sat through some bottom feeder's presentation. I'm not hard up. You ought to hear these sales folks talk about their fish stories, not the fish they catch out of the lake either.

Much cheaper in the long run to pay your own way and book a nice place before you go, IMO. :)

Ian Hoover they are worthless an are impossible to get rid of. Don't even consider.

The only thing timeshares are good for is whatever freebies are given to attend the sales presentation. The best deal I got was $120 cash for 90 minutes and I got it twice from the same company :-)

Thank You, for your wonderful responses, I too was approached and had signed a timeshare buying contract near Disney, Orlando, FL, I could use the "POINTS" for anything, air tickets, car rentals, hotels or other RCI properties any where in the world. But faxed cancellation within 5 days out of 10 day review peorid, when numbers did not add up. Wish had read this blog before, would not have wasted time going through their sales presentation.

Just got back from Hawaii where we had a package for timeshare promo. Thats the only good deal you will get out of a time share.  Leaving aside the idea that you don't actually own anything, lets just do the math. The Westin Princeville in Kaui where we stayed is actually a great property. We had a one bedroom suite, full kitchen, ocean view. We paid $700 for 5 nights which included $184 credit to rental car. We upgraded the room and that cost us another $200 plus the obligation to the presentation. So we went and here are the numbers for 1 week in a 1 Bedroom Lock off.

 Upfront cost: $59,000

Current Maintenance fees $2700/year

In my world, a rental home paid cash $59,000 would generate at the bare minimum $6000 per year cash flow. Add that to $2700 per year maintenance (which goes up) and you have a cost of $9000 per week to stay in the same room I just got for $900! I tried explaining that  math to the sales guy but he was not amused :-)

Later we were wandering in town and saw the same 1 week advertised for $12000 in a timeshare resale place. I wouldn't take the thing if they gave it to me for free. All it is is an open ended liability with no caps. No thanks.

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