timeshare ownership - good or bad?

calilooMay 19, 2002

Hi All

I am looking for anyone who has experience owning a timeshare. My DH and I are considering one and I am a little skeptical as to the advantages of "ownership" as opposed to staying at a hotel anywhere and/or anytime you want.

Please respond with any positive OR negative experiences.

Thanks in advance!


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I don't own one but I went to a sales appointment to get the free gift, and listened to the whole talk and at the end, they said the interest rate was 15%!! And we have perfect credit. It would have to be a pretty spectacular investment to make it worth it to BORROW MONEY to invest, especially at that interest rate. Maybe it would be worth it if you enjoyed the facilities that much. I don't travel to watch a big TV in my room and hang out in a pool or a weight room though - I can stay home and go to the gym for a lot less.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 8:25PM
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We have a timeshare in Hilton Head, SC and absolutely love it!! You do need to do your research - make sure it is deeded & research the selling company with BB etc.. Do not by any means, decide on the spot. If the selling company gives a high pressure pitch - walk away. Being in Hilton Head, vacationing there would be very expensive otherwise. I do not look at as an "investment". I look at as a paid vacation spot each year that we have for life and can pass to our children. We abosolutely enjoy the island and look forward to each it year. It works well for us.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 8:59AM
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I found that it was very easy to get caught up in the PITCH and I know several people who regreted buying time share.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 2:04PM
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My parents own a timeshare and they have only used it twice out of the 8 years they've had it. It cost them about $5,800 and I believe they are still paying on it to this day! Basically, they find themselves opting for other adventures rather than the constraints of the timeshare. I say don't do it. My husband and I also went to one of those super-high pressure sales pitches many years ago just for the $50 gift incentive. We barely left financally unscathed because the sales tactics were unrelenting. I've also noticed that many classifieds in the paper are selling timeshares from private individuals for half the cost. Personally, I wouldn't want the rules, regulations, and financial headaches associated with these plans.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2002 at 6:52PM
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Thanks so much for all of your responses, I really appreciate it. No Peach, your idea of looking in the paper is a good one - I've started watching a few on eBay and they seem to sell a LOT cheaper than "retail".

We actually stayed in my MIL's unit last week and really enjoyed it, but needless to say, the management company tried to hard sell us since we weren;t the actual owners. I'm really glad we didn;t give in while we were there and have the time to research our options fully.

The company we are looking at is Fairfield, which is now associated with RCI. The interesting aspect is the flexibility of the point system they are converting to. We wouldn;t have to commit to the same week at the same resort.

Thanks again so much to everyone who has responded and if anyone has additional ingformation to add I would certainly appreciate it!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2002 at 7:20PM
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We own two timeshares. One is in the Bahamas which we purchased in 1980. The most recent one we purchased was in 1999 and is in Orlando, Fl. We love OWNING timeshares. Note the word "owning". We have a deed for both. Our TS in the Bahamas is member owned. It is not run by a company. We elect our board of directors, and they do the hiring, schedule when furniture/appliances is to be replaced, etc. Do not buy ones where you just lease them for a certain number of years. We belong to RCI. They are the best in the business. You do not have to go to the same place every year. Nor at the same time every year. If there is somewhere else you would like to visit and there is space available then you can exchange there. We have exchanged to different places all over the U.S. We have been to Germany, Denmark, and plan on going to England, Scotland, and Ireland when things quite down in the world. We pay a yearly maintenance fee each year on both TS. If you choose to exchange to a different place there is also small fee. We have saved so much money by owning a timeshare. Not having to pay for a hotel, bringing your own food and cooking in the kitchen a few nights a week. As for the hard sell they do, we haven't really had as bad a time as some have mentioned. All you have to do is say no and get up and walk away. Check out the TS you are interested in. You can probably get some good deals on ones where people are upgrading their units and want to sell their old ones. I too know people that have bought one only to have it go under in a year or two. For our family it has been a fantasic way to vacation. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   May 23, 2002 at 6:56AM
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I agree with NancyLouise, we own a TS, deeded property, in St. Maarten and love it. We've exchanged to Florida, England and this year we are taking a cruise. We have definitely saved lots of money. For example, when we went to Orlando, FL, we stayed in a 2 bd villa w/private bath for each room, washer & dryer, full living room, full kitchen and a screened in balcony. We brought another couple with us. The place normally rented for $400 a night but with our exchange we stayed a whole week for about $100 for the 4 of us! DH & I travel a least 1 week a year so it's worth it. If you plan to take at least 1 week vacation a year, I'd say give it a try. But do your research to make sure you will own the property, not just lease.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2002 at 8:25AM
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We own one in Cabo San Lucas. It's good if you are into taking yearly vacations. We haven't used ours since we moved from Alaska 3 years ago. Plan on using it hopefully soon. We own 1 week a year for the next 15 years now. Can use up to 5 weeks a year if we want. I like it, however, since we haven't used it for a while (financial change) we're trying to sell it or willing to rent it out.

If you are a vacation travelor, yes it's worth the money. If you only vacation once in a while (like most) don't buy the hype.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2002 at 2:32PM
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We have a timeshare which about 3 hours away from our home. (Whistler , British Columbia.) We just love it there. We bought close to our home, because if we didn't want to trade it that year, it was most economical to drive to with out air fare. It is a very high demand area. Easy to trade. We have exchanged this through RCI for Aruba and Mexico. Some of the advantages of timeshares opposed to hotels are. Hotels are usually just one room, not usually cooking facilities. Timeshares seem to be more spacious with full cooking facilities, washer and dryers, usually more amenities, pools, tennis courts, hot tubs, exercise rooms etc. One mistake we did make was buying straight from the resort itself. We have found resales to be a much better buy. Some people I have talked to wished they bought closer to home, instead of farther away. Not every year can someone afford to travel by airline to get to their timeshare. Especially with a family. We found it more practical to live closer to home. Exchanging every other year or so. We haven't regretted buying it for a minute. The biggest advantage is staying in nicer places with more amenities, than a hotel.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2002 at 2:28AM
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For what it's worth, I wouldn't purchase anything from Fairfield Resorts. We bought several years ago and have had nothing but problems with Fairfield.

The units were very poorly maintained. As opposed the promised "every 7 years" of complete refurbishment, we had nothing done. Slap a coat of paint on something and that's it? The amenities were sold off to outside interests, so we must now pay extra to have the use of the most basic things, such as the tennis courts.

We do still own our timeshare. And yes we have used it nearly every year. But our association has broken all ties with Fairfield. And have been actively taking legal action against Fairfield for the last several years over the various fiscal improprieties that have been discovered.

I agree with the others who have said that you'll do best to purchase from a third party, rather than from the company. First and foremost, you will pay a lot less, because you will not be paying the outrageous mark up for the company and commission for the salesperson. Secondly, you will have the time to check out the property with other property owners. That is if you are willing to put in a little time doing such.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2002 at 6:04PM
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Thanks so much for all the added responses! We are still doing our research, and I am sooo happy that we have the time and are looking carefully.

I still welcome more opinions and experiences.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 9:18PM
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We own two timeshares and love it. We have never visited our homebase. Each year we trade for somewhere interesting and take our married daughters and their families with us. We are retiring this summer and plan to take advantage of the RCI specials we receive now and then. Ours are deeded property and one of them has a feature where we can call a week in advance of when we want it and go for $60.00 a week without using our points. This is a beautiful condo in Branson.

Check out the web sight Timeshare Users Group they have a lot of valuable information.

We bought from the resorts themself but I would never do that again. Buy thru resale or directly from someone wanting to sell they are about half of what you pay from the resorts. Timeshare Users Group will tell you how to do this and they have classified adds.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2002 at 12:48PM
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Maybe i just do not get it but i have been to the sales piches and when they finaly give a price.Compared to staying in a motel and eating in resturants does not take me long to decide what is the best value Best Western or Freds motel is the cheapest and smartest and a tent is better yet.I guess i do not need fancy luxury pluch places to stay while on vacation.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2002 at 10:24PM
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Dear Alexa:

I am a sales agent who sells what is called "Quartershares", similar to a time share but instead of one week of time you get 13 weeks of time. Let me say that I am not one of those pushy, promise you the sun sales people.... and I would say to you that quartershares are a good deal! Out of the 400++ owners I deal with I would honestly say that less than 3% have anything negative to say about their ownership.

I would also agree with what some of the others have said before... weigh out the options... always look into everything with you eyes wide open....

and by all means... don't do any of those sales tours, unless your desperate for that free toaster they offer!!!

So maybe if timeshares aren't for you... look into the quartershare concept!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 2:23PM
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For those of you who own timeshares ... are any of them in or within fifteen minutes on public transportation of any large cities? I've thought about buying one, but I'm not really into fun-in-the-sun vacations, or anything else where outdoor activities and a rec center are mostly what's offered.

However, I would love to see a series of vacation condos, maybe in highrise buildings, in many of the great cities of the world.

I'd love to trade Paris for Rio, or Rome for Prague.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 9:11AM
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We own 2 timeshares both in Grand Cayman. Love one, not loving the other quite so much. We vacation once if not twice a year so it was a good investment for us. As someone else mentioned, tug2.net is the best place to find info. Plus, they have a long list of people who want to sell their timeshare. I would not buy from the resort again.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2002 at 12:52PM
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I think a timeshare is fine if you consider it a prepaid vacation accommodation and not an investment. As previous posters have noted, the resale market for timeshares is poor, with deeply discounted timeshares available in many markets. Within a couple years of our purchase, for example, units were available for less than half of what we paid.

The other disadvantage for our family has ben the lack of flexibility. Our timeshare is located at the base of a major ski resort and we had intended to use the unit ourselves rather than trade to a different resort. However, the specific weeks we had hoped to use it, when the kids are out of school in the winter time, are extremely popular to the point where the resort only permits owners to reserve those specific weeks once every three years, even if you are lucky and early enough to reserve those times. Consequently, we have ended up using the timeshare far less than we had originally hoped.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2002 at 9:04PM
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Another pro to timeshares: If you decide on one that has that option of using elsewhere, then you can go practically anywhere within the club locations. Once you pay it off, you have minimal fees (swap with other members) or none at all to continue using your own.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2002 at 4:06PM
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It is like buying Fools Gold.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2002 at 1:03PM
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So Alexa,
Did you deside what you want to do? As I mentioned before timeshare ownership with RCI has been a pleasure for my family. It has saved us tons of money. We have been to places we would have never been able to go to if we hadn't owned. We have met people from all over the world. It's been great fun. Let us know what you deside! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   August 22, 2002 at 12:51PM
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We're undecided as of now. We purchased our timeshare in November 2001, and our first trip is scheduled for November 2, 2002. We purchased in Florida, but for our November trip we're going to St. Marteen. We're already booked for Calgary, Canada in February, and the Cayman Islands in November of 2003, and Vail, Colorado in February, 2004.

We generally vacation alot and with our timeshare (RCI) we receive 2 weeks a year, then 2 "bonus" weeks a year. You can bank weeks you don't use for upcoming years, but the bonus weeks if you don't use them, you lose them. We did a 0% financing option they had and it will be paid off in November 2002. Not bad for 2 weeks of vacation for the rest of our lives and I'm only 33, my husband is 35.

I don't think it's for everyone, but for people like us who don't have children and like to travel it will easily pay for itself numerous times.

Someone above mentioned a timeshare in Whistler, B.C. We have been trying to get a week up there for the next 2 years to go skiing, it is impossible!!! Hopefully it will work out someday.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2002 at 1:39PM
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My wife and I own time share in Spain on the Costa Del Sol in a little resort called Dona Lola which we have visited on several occasions. We have also swapped for New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Canada and numerous other places over the years and because it is gold crown membership you are gauranteed 5 star accomodation wherever you go. I would recommend timeshare to anyone.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2002 at 6:25AM
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