10 Financial Myths About Timeshares

The following is a guest post from Jeffrey Strain, who is a digital nomad and personal finance writer. His main website is Saving Advice

There is a lot of misinformation flying around about timeshare that can get you into a lot of financial trouble if you believe it. Most of it comes from timeshare salespeople overstating the truth that get repeated when people explain why they purchased a timeshare. But just because something has been repeated many times doesn’t make it the truth. The following timeshare myths may help you avoid running into timeshare trouble in the future. Consider each one carefully before putting your hard earned money down to purchase a vacation property.

10 Myths About TimeShare

Timeshares pay for themselves: Timeshares do not typically pay for themselves, unless the currency you are talking about is memories. Even then, you can still get those memories at a fraction of the overall cost. While the sales agent may not want to divulge this information to you, timeshares are most definitely not just about property payments. They also come with plenty of other costs, hidden fees and taxes. No matter how little you use the timeshare, you are still responsible for its upkeep, sometimes including utility costs and maintenance. These extra fees can be hundreds of dollars per year.

Timeshares are smart investments: Those interested in timeshare as potential investment opportunities should think again. Timeshare owners make money on a sale rarely, if ever. Usually, timeshare purchases end up as money-wasters rather than money-savers because the value of the property depreciates drastically over time. In bad economic times, timeshares can be especially foolish investments since they can often be impossible to give away for free sticking the owner with all the yearly fees.

Timeshares are a good value: On the surface, a timeshare might look like an excellent value because one gets to share ownership of a property he or she might not otherwise have been able to afford alone. However, when all the payments, fees, and taxes are added up which must be paid toward their timeshares, they would have saved money by taking a traditional vacation instead.

Timeshares are a safe bet: There are risks associated with every vacation and all kinds of travel, and timeshares are no different. There are numerous ways that buying a timeshare can be a risky venture, so don’t assume that buying now will reserve your vacation spot for life. many timeshares are located in places where natural disasters occur or the timeshare management company could go bankrupt just to name a couple.

Timeshares are easy to swap: Plenty of families buy timeshares with the expectation that swapping properties with others will allow them to vacation all over the world. This is not often the case, and may be more trouble than it’s worth. Even if you do have a timeshare worth swapping into, it requires a lot of research into each possible swap location before finalizing your plans. You don’t want to end up swapping to a location that has poor maintenance records, few amenities, and a bad surrounding area. Unless you join a very active network that has dozens of interested swappers every day, you might find this swapping process difficult and a hassle.

Timeshares are easy to sell: As with almost all properties these days, timeshares are not easy to sell. There are few incentives for buyers and even less demand. With so many tens of thousands of timeshares available, it’s difficult to find someone willing to take on ownership. Most people looking at the timeshare resales market know the truth about timeshares being poor investments, having many fees and the difficulty in getting rid of them making it extremely difficult to sell even during good times.

Timeshares are always well-taken care of by their owners: Just because a timeshare has several stakeholders does not necessarily mean it is, or remain, in amazing condition. Timeshares often have rules that restrict the amount of decorating and personalization that can be applied to a property. Since owners each have such a small stake in the timeshare, the upkeep and pride that comes with owning a property often falls on the maintenance staff. This can sometimes mean an inconsistent, or even run-down, quality in a timeshare.

Timeshare gifts are amazing deals: As with many other aspects of timeshare ownership, amazing advertised freebies are not all what they’re cracked up to be. Some sales agents throw in special vacation certificates, but beware. Free vacations like these end up costing unsuspecting couples and families hundreds of dollars in hidden fees. Don’t assume that these freebie vacations include costs like transportation or other undisclosed fees.

Timeshares make great places to visit year after year: Some families do enjoy revisiting the same spot each year, reliving past moments and building new traditions. This isn’t right for everyone, however, and families change over time. Your family might enjoy trying a new vacation spot each year, and trying new things, rather than repeating old ones. Consider what you enjoy most about vacations. Is it getting to try new restaurants and activities every time? Is it discovering attractions you’ve never seen in your life? If so, the consistency of a timeshare might not be your style.

Timeshares are right for everyone: Timeshares are certainly not perfect for all types of people, and if anyone tells you this is true they are probably just trying to make a sale. Timeshares are not right for a wide range of people. For instance, young couples who might start a family soon, or who are very likely to move within a few years. Timeshares might also not be great choices for older couples whose mobility isn’t what it used to be. A particular timeshare might seem like a wonderful place now, but as years go by you might not think so as your lifestyle changes. Every potential buyer should evaluate what kind of person they are, how their family and lifestyle fits into the decision, and what kinds of vacations they enjoy the most.

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      • says

        Only pay for the maintenance for a place where you don’t even go every year and can’t rent out either..Strange that people can be fooled.

    • Lavinia says

      People got duped into buying timeshares in the 80s and 90s. They sounded like a good deal but the reality is a lot different. The timeshares are not “usually” close to main cities. Like I took a trip with a friend that has a timeshare and swapped for one in England. It was way in the south and it took forever to get to attractions plus my friend would not consider “paying” for accomodatins someplace else if the day was getting late. A lot of our limited time was spent in transit so it was not good at all. I am not one to go to the same place every year and as far as my friend, she does not do anything at her regular timeshare any more since she has “seen it all”. So, she stays at the hotel?? If you want to stay in a hotel on your vacation, just go to a hotel in a sunny area close to home!! Save the $$ and time!! Plus going with her was not a deal financially. I could have book accomodations a lot closer to attractions for a lot less.

  1. says

    We own with a timeshare company, and while I agree it’s not for everyone, it can be fabulous. This article deals only with the traditional “I buy a portion of a single property” timeshare. Most of the newer timeshares are more like investing in a company and I have options to spend my time at locations owned by my company all over the world, whenever I want, as long as I have the shares to cover it, and all properties are maintained to the same high standard.
    I will honestly say it was not the smartest money C and I ever spent, but it’s also a purchase that I do not regret, not even a little bit.

  2. says

    Timeshares rarely make sense purely from a financial standpoint mainly because you can rent timeshares at the same resorts for about what they cost to own without any of the risks. Some people like timeshares because they live busy lives and the timeshare forces them to take a vacation — this is a quality of life decision over a financial one — nothing wrong with that if they know exactly what they are getting into and why they are.

  3. says

    I suspect a lot of people end up buying time shares not because they want them, but because they’re persuaded by the hard sell pitches that accompany many of the “free gift, just listen to our presentation” type offers.

    • says

      You are right, one of my colleagues has a timeshare in Orlando. He got it on one of the trips to theme parks. He gave in for a pair of free park admission tickets.

      • says

        Gave in and actually committed financially to a time share, just based on getting the free park tickets? Wow, that’s not a whole lot of willpower that colleague has!

        I have zero desire to get a timeshare. Don’t see how it’s worth the committment or hassles.

        • says

          Yeah, he took advantage of the timeshare for first couple of years going to same set of parks again and again. Then onward trying to sell it off. And not sold in last 3 years. He’s has made a huge blunder.

    • says

      They are very hard sell — if you ever happen to find yourself in such a situation, an easy way out is simply to say, “I love the timeshare — I just need my lawyer to look at the contract.” If the try to persuade, all you have to ask is, “is there something in the contract that my lawyer wouldn’t approve of?” This puts them on the defensive and allows you to make an easy escape.

      • Zack says

        Yeah, we spent half the day getting to get free Disney tickets at a timeshare facility. It sounded like a great idea, but in the last 20 minutes of time when we refused again and again to sign on the dotted line before seeing a breakdown of all costs and fees…it was pretty easy to see by the math the timeshare companies were making a huge profit 30k x 20-50 weeks per year would pay for the condo we saw in Orlando several times over. A little better organization between a small group of friends one could do much much better. It was no wonder these companies were so interested in our money. They weren’t happy but they gave us free tickets in the end. What was a shock was they had this gimmicky scheme where everyone clapped if someone bought a timeshare. It was some kind of group coercion, which should be illegal, since many of the people there had very poor math skills (I think) and were not working out the numbers correctly. I think for people with a lot of expendable income who want the convenience of living in a home away from home, it could offer advantages. But a financial one for the majority of people it is a big ripoff.

  4. says

    We inhereted the timeshare. For free. We do need to pay an annual cost but other than that it seems to be a good deal for us. We pick and choose time of the year we want to go. We can exchange it and go to a different place, we can rent it out. No complains so far. BUT I would never bought one. Ever.

    • says

      Good to hear a different perspective, perhaps you are happy because you didn’t pay for it. What about annual maintenance, are you not paying for it every year?

  5. Bret @ Hope to Prosper says

    My friend got married in Maui and got talked into a timeshare on their honeymoon. They thought it would be cool to relive memories of their wedding. Now, they have been divorced for years and still can’t get rid of the timeshare. So, they have to split the costs and take the vacations on alternate years. Plus, the airfare to Hawaii every year is expensive, so they often trade it for one closer to home.

  6. says

    I do not want to take away from your article as these 10 myths are relevant, accurate, and good points to think about for prospective timeshare buyers. I think it is worth highlighting the myth that they are easy to sell. I would go as far as to say they are nearly impossible to get rid of. You may be on the hook for life once you sign a timeshare contract. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

      • says


        To reply to both of you:

        a) its also a myth that you are “…hooked for life… “. Resorts want people to think that, as they get the overpriced fees for life, but its not true. There are 2 ways to get out: cancel it or transfer it.

        b) the reason you can’t sell a timeshare (or in some cases, only a few resort units actually do have value) is because: who in their right mind would buy a liability, that cost more and more every year!
        A timeshare is not an asset.

        The resorts are selling timeshares to unknowing vacationers who believe the lies that the resort told. Once the owners find out or figure out, they lied, they can’t sell it — no one wants it.

        And for once, the law is on the owners side — BECAUSE the resorts lied and it has been proven over and over — a contract signed based on lies is invalid.
        So the owner can cancel at anytime.
        The resorts have a team of lawyers, but they do not want a class action suit — as they know they would loose.

        Now granted, it does cost money to get out of your timeshare, but the amount “saved” vs. paying a lifetime of fees is far greater than keeping the timeshare.

        Get Out Of Your Financial Burden!

  7. Phil says

    I have done some research and come up with one question. Why are timeshares allowed to operate the way they do. Its ridiculous. What do you do if you can’t afford to use it or afford the HOA fees because of the downturn of the economy. You’re just screwed I guess and none of the politicians give a crap. They don’t care that many people are completely deceived, as I was, by the timeshare people saying “Its an investment” and “You can sell it”. Check on line, some people are trying to give them away with no luck. So, I guess you are stuck even though you can’t afford the up keep. Only in America, right?

  8. says

    These are posts I wish I had read years ago when my wife and I decided to buy one. What a waist of time and money. We finally ended up giving it back to them so we did not have to keep paying the stupid maintenance fee. I do love the comment about currency being memories.

  9. Agu Hoffard says

    Without a doubt, timeshare cancellation is the best option to get rid of an unwanted timeshare. Once the timeshare contract is properly cancelled, there are no further financial obligations attached to the resort, which means:

    No more calls
    No more timeshare maintenance fees
    No more timeshare debt
    No more special assessment fees
    Know about fraudulent resorts: http://www.timesharescam.com/timeshare-complaints-resorts-black-list/5-el-cid-resort-timeshare-complaints/

  10. Joshua Brooker says

    Buy timeshare or sell timeshare with Travel Leisure Group We are a reputable timeshare broker who have been helping clients for over 20 years

  11. Courtney Hubbard says

    Timeshare industry is no stranger to rip-offs. Ever since the whole timeshare idea was created, the industry has been very criticized due to the dishonest sales practices, the false promises, the aggressive attitude from some sellers, the constant harassment, the high fees and the misinformation used to confuse customers, among other issues.

  12. Linda Rogers says

    Global economy is not at its best moment, and even if it was good, the truth is that nobody wants to waste his money in something that could be worthless. With the ever increasing fees, and the current financial difficulties, it seems almost impossible to maintain a timeshare. Because of the costs of owning a timeshare, many timeshare owners find it necessary to get rid of their fractional ownerships. Some of them try to sell them, some others try to rent them or even donate it, but the vast majority does it with no success.

  13. Liliana Wong says

    There are lots of misunderstandings regarding timeshares. The basic idea about them is simple enough- you own the right to use a luxury suite in paradise every year- but it seems almost too good to be true. Even though many people love them, timeshares have been categorized several times as one of the worst purchases you could ever make by many financial magazines. Know the most common timeshare problems and how to get out of timeshare scams.

  14. Chris says

    I thinkn with all do respect the person who créate this blog, was a víctim of fraud, because he didnt read the small letters in the agreement cause he based his purchase on the sales person not the real fact wich is the black and white letters or contract to be more clear! And Also do your self a favor jeffrey research for real about timeshare cause there is tons of diferent programs to buy and hundreds or thousands of familys enjoy that ,if you dont have enough money to buy a good one dont say stupid things

    • says

      Well, I am creator of this blog and till date I haven’t invested in time share. Mainly because I never gave it a serious thought. So no question of me getting in to a fraud. This was a guest post, not written by me.

  15. Sasha Collins says

    The truth is that the cost of owning a timeshare doesn’t just stop by paying the total purchase price. There are other timeshare fees that must be taken into consideration. By the time you pay the maintenance fees on your timeshare, plus the other fees and expenses, you’ll realize that you’ve paid as much, if not more, that the total cost to stay it a good and nice hotel.

  16. Samantha Freeman says

    Timeshares have always been a bad buy. But for those who really feel they need one I make one recommendation: Never buy from the developer. Always wait for timeshares to appear on the secondary market, usually at half-price. People like you get excited at the new developments and jump right in, only to become disillusioned later and dump the property onto the secondary market, at a loss, for a patient, informed buyer to take advantage of

  17. Amanda Blue says

    Buying a timeshare under the impresion you will save money on the long run on travel expenses such as airfare or cruises equals to being a victim of timeshare fraud. Timeshares will barely provide you a small discount on accomodations and that´s it. Timeshares will not provide you, in most cases, any discounts on your vacation expenses.

  18. Natasha Pink|Timeshares says

    There is lots of misinformation about time shares, yet appearances deceive. What appears to be a “good investment” can become in one of your worst financial enemies.

  19. Kelsey Franz says

    Timeshare scams have been around since the beginning of the timeshare industry, but these frauds weren’t well known until recent years. What happen is that before there were not as many timeshare laws and regulations as there are now (as you can see on the article get out of a timeshare legally so many of the owners just resigned to the fact that they had to keep the timeshare they bought without thinking.

  20. Adina Varo|Timeshare Scams says

    Timeshares need to be looked up as a purchase and not an investment. Regardless of how timeshares are presented, they don´t perform as well as a house or stock investment. If you look around the resale market for timeshares on websites like EBay, Redweek, or TUGBBS will find that you can buy a timeshare for far less money than what the first owner purchased it for.

  21. Ann Moore says

    Timeshares are not the financial investments consumers thought with it was. Timeshare resorts Such as Wyndham, Marriot, Disney, Royal Holiday or Mayan Palace are very successful at selling their timeshare products, timeshare consumers haven´t been as lucky.
    With the economy as it is today, consumers owning a timeshare out of their city are struggling to pay not just maintenance fees climbing yearly up to $800 yearly, they also have to pay transportation to their timeshare destination.

  22. Matilda Palmer says

    Many owners don’t know how to get rid of their properties, and a big part of them have been trying to do it for years. They were told that they could rent their units out and even make a profit, or that they could resell the timeshare very easily and for a bigger value. That sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it? But then, if you take a look at EBay, you’ll see several timeshare offers for a buck or even less! That’s because renting or reselling a timeshare is not an easy task at all, in fact, it is almost impossible. Therefore, to cancel a timeshare becomes the easiest way to dump a property.

  23. Don says

    TIMESHARES are scams, period. There are no exceptions. They are sold to suckers who are pressured and mislead into buying them. Anyone who claims timeshares are a good idea must in some way be involved in the sleazy timeshare industry.

  24. Fonz says

    While some timeshares are way over priced (scams), it is no different than buying a car or a diamond ring. People get scammed buying those everyday as well. There’s nothing like doing your research and adding the numbers in everything you purchase, unless money is not an issue. with that being said, not every timeshare is a scam to everyone. It’s no investment either, but does work for some people.

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