If you’ve ever met a timeshare owner who was happy with their purchase, you met a unicorn. Most timeshare owners regret making their purchase, and many describe their experience as a “horrible waste of money”. A timeshare will never appreciate therefore it cannot be considered an investment, so why are nearly 10 million Americans timeshare owners? 

Timeshare companies like to describe “vacation ownership” as a means to travel more and spend less, but that is a false truth. Timeshare owners cannot take a vacation whenever they want and are typically given a specific week, or weeks of the year to use at their chosen resort. And owning a timeshare is expensive. 

The average initial buy-in for a timeshare is $24,000 with yearly maintenance fees running into the thousands. Then there are the special assessments that were mentioned in a CBS Money Watch story that timeshare owners are charged yearly to cover resort upgrades and repairs. These assessments average at $980 per year and “might arise when you least expect them”. 

When you do the math and add the buy-in with 20 years of maintenance fees and assessments, vacation ownership ends up costing around $283,600. Compare that amount to what most families spend on vacations, $2500-$6000 depending on the size of the family, multiply that number by 20 and timeshare owners are spending more to travel less.    

The next time you’re planning a vacation at a resort and offered a free night’s stay or free tickets to a theme park in exchange for attending a 90-minute timeshare presentation, politely decline the offer.