One of the most common tactics employed by Timeshare salespeople is to compare the cost of owning a Timeshare to the cost of staying at a hotel.
Often, they will try to convince prospective buyers that they will save more money by owning and using a Timeshare than they would by booking a hotel room every time they wish to take a vacation.
But there are more to these claims than meets the eye, and, when looking at the full picture, claims of the economic benefits of Timeshare ownership are often misleading.
According to the Timeshare industry’s trade association, the average price of a new Timeshare Week was $23,000 as of 2021. However, many major companies sell packages to customers for twice this amount, but then conveniently offer a “discount” if a customer buys immediately. With this “discount,” the final cost ultimately balances out to the average price.
Most prospective buyers cannot afford to pay the full purchase price up front. In such cases, Timeshare resorts offer their own financing at an interest rate far greater than one would find with a bank or mortgage lender.
These interest charges quickly add up - while an average 10-year mortgage has an interest rate under 6%, a Timeshare resort will charge over 14% for a 10-year loan on a Timeshare.
With such high interest rates, customers ultimately find themselves on the hook for close to double the amount of the original purchase price.
In addition to the purchase price and the added expenses due to high interest loans, Timeshares charge maintenance fees as well. These are imposed annually, whether or not the owner uses their Timeshare that particular year.
In addition, these timeshare maintenance fees are often increased, and owners are forced to pay higher and higher amounts each year. This can create an ongoing charge every year on top of the purchase price, and these extra fees can add charges of over $1,000 per year.
While maintenance fees are charged for normal upkeep and improvements, special assessments are charged for costs associated with things such as natural disaster damage. These can be assessed at any time and without advance notice to the owners.
A Timeshare owner may receive substantial emotional and mental fulfillment from taking vacations using their Timeshare, but that owner will never see a financial return on the investment.
When considering the upfront price, possible finance charges, and the ongoing maintenance charges, the value of a Timeshare actually decreases over time.
Finally, the cost of travel is borne entirely by the Timeshare owner, be it by air, train, car, or bus. Having a vacation spot in a fancy location is meaningless if you can’t get to it.
The added cost of actually getting to the location of the Timeshare is yet another added expense paid by the owner every time they use the Timeshare.