Timeshare pros and cons
Still greeted with scepticism by many, the timeshare is very much misunderstood despite being a viable option when it comes to holidaying abroad.
Evolving as a convenient way of enabling groups of people to effectively share ownership of a property, there are various pros and cons to the arrangement.
With varying degrees of flexibility, timeshares can either be owned on a fixed-week basis, where the same time is allocated each year, or on a floating basis where each person reserves their chosen holiday time as they see fit.
It’s also possible to swap timeshare weeks by registering with a vacation club which allows owners to holiday at another timeshare depending on the value attributed to their own. It pays to be organised when having a timeshare as those hoping to exchange, or people on a floating contract, may find weeks become booked up some time in advance.
There are many good points when it comes to timeshares, the most obvious being that it allows for a guaranteed and often cost-effective holiday each year, to a familiar location. This is ideal for people who like to travel to the same place year after year, and returning to a much-loved destination can take a lot of the stress out of choosing a holiday.
The main benefit to a timeshare over a holiday home or similar is that instead of a property lying vacant and becoming costly when not in use, a specific block of time is paid for. This reduces costs, ensures the property is secure and in use by others, and takes the hassle out of arranging upkeep and maintenance.
Another thing that appeals is the fact that this option can be very economical, especially if large families use it together. It avoids price increases associated with traditional travel and can offer exceptional facilities and high-level furnishings to suit larger groups.
Despite the many draws, there are also some negative aspects to consider. One of the major issues is that timeshare owners are at the mercy of changes in the property market, meaning that the investment level can go down as well as up. This can be problematic in the event of selling – it may not always be easy to sell, and any sale may be subject to big financial losses, depending on the market at the time.
Another drawback is that timeshares can be restrictive, especially if there is no option to exchange and benefit from a change of location from time to time. Going to the same place frequently can lose its appeal, but it’s problematic if by the time that happens there is a commitment to do so under contract.
There are also maintenance costs to consider, and due to the high standard of many timeshares, these can be costly and usually rise every year.
Making the right decision
Buying a timeshare is very much a personal decision, and there are many variants in cost, location, type of property and the terms of ownership.
Before considering buying a timeshare, it’s essential to conduct extensive research to ensure that the location and property are suitable. It’s also a good idea to check the potential for exchange, and to know the reality in the event of wanting to sell a timeshare back in the future.
Owning a timeshare can allow for many happy years of holidaying but it’s an investment that should not be taken lightly, and an informed decision is always best when taking the plunge.
Photo credit: halfcut at SXC