Is Buying a Timeshare Ever a Good Idea?

Welcome to the “2-Minute Money Manager,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers.

Today’s question is about timeshares; specifically, if it’s ever possible to get a good deal on one of these much-maligned vacation pads.

I’d bet timeshares are the source of more questions I’ve gotten over the years than any other. I can’t count the number of emails I’ve received from desperate owners looking to unload. That alone will provide a hint as to my opinion of these things.

Watch the video with this post, and you’ll pick up some valuable info. Or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the full transcript and find out what I said.

You also can learn how to send in a question of your own below.

For more information, check out “What You Need to Know About Buying or Selling a Timeshare Property” and “Ask Stacy: How Can I Get Out of My Timeshare Without Being Robbed?” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the word “timeshare” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic.

And if you need anything from a better credit card to mortgages to travel deals, be sure and visit our Solutions Center.

Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.

Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video

Hello, and welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager.” I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and this answer is brought to you by MoneyTalksNews.com, serving up the best in personal finance news and advice since 1991.

Today’s question comes to us from Sam:

“Regarding timeshares, is there ever a good deal on a timeshare, making the purchase a wise decision?”

It seems Sam has been following my columns on timeshares over the years and knows I’m no fan. I’ve had many, many people contact me and say, “What do I do? I can’t get out of this thing!”

It’s no wonder. Timeshares are typically overpriced and sold in a high-pressure environment to people who can’t afford them. Then, when it’s time to get out, they can’t.

Back to Sam’s question. I’ve got three things for you, Sam.

Thing No. 1: The types of timeshares

Let’s understand the two basic types of timeshares. First, there’s a deeded timeshare. It’s real estate — real property you can pass down to your heirs.

More common these days, though, are vacation interval plans, points that can be used at a variety of properties on a variety of dates. These aren’t technically real property; they’re personal property.

Thing No. 2: Not an investment

Whichever kind of timeshare you choose, they are not — repeat, “not” — an investment.

Allow me to read to you from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website:

The value of [timeshares] is in their use as a vacation destination, not an investment. Because so many timeshares and vacation interval plans are available, the resale value of yours is likely to be a good deal lower than what you paid.

So let’s get this straight: Timeshares are not a way to make money. In fact, they’re not a way to break even. Sure, they’re a way for you to vacation with your family. But don’t ever consider this an investment, because it certainly is not one.

Thing No. 3: Never buy ‘new’

If you’re going to buy a timeshare, buy it on the secondary market. You’ll be amazed at the number of people out there who will literally give you their timeshare for nothing.

Why? Because they want to get out from under giant annual maintenance fees. After purchasing a timeshare, you could easily be on the hook for a $1,000 a year in maintenance fees, whether you use your timeshare or not. Some people can’t afford that anymore, or they simply don’t want to do it anymore. They just want out.

Another tip: If you do get a timeshare, for God’s sake, don’t borrow money to do it. That’s likely to make it virtually impossible for you to sell it, unless you pay off the loan first.

Of course, as with anything in life, there are going to be exceptions. So don’t send me hate mail if you happen to own one. There’s probably a timeshare somewhere that people are clamoring to buy on the secondary market, or one that’s gone up in value. But in my experience, it’s super, super rare. Therefore, always buy on the secondary market and don’t ever borrow to buy.

Where is the secondary market? Ebay has a ton of listings. Other sites include Redweek.com and TUG, which stands for Timeshare Users Group.

Bottom line: If you buy a timeshare, plan on keeping it, and paying the maintenance fees on it, for many years to come. Because I can assure you, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.

Got a question you’d like answered?

You can ask a question simply by hitting “reply” to our email newsletter, just as you would with any email in your inbox. If you’re not subscribed, fix that right now by clicking here. It’s free, only takes a few seconds, and will get you valuable information every day!

The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

Got any words of wisdom you can offer on today’s question? Share your knowledge and experiences on our Facebook page. And if you find this information useful, please share it!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This

Chances are good that you share this fear. Here’s a way to overcome it.

5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind

Tech startups are making it easy to find the best rates for all kinds of insurance policies — and get covered fast.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid
The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid

As a new year dawns, deals abound for some types of products. In other cases, it pays to wait.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.