If you’re thinking of buying timeshare, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons. Like any durable goods purchase, timeshare has advantages and disadvantages, so this article will walk you through exactly what you can expect if you become a timeshare Owner. Once you’ve finished reading, you should have a better idea of whether timeshare is a good match for your lifestyle.
Advantages of Owning Timeshare
Secure Your Future Holidays
Buying something means you can use it whenever you want. Timeshare is no different.
When you become a timeshare Owner, you gain the right to use your property for a certain amount of time each year, for the entire lifetime of your Club. Basically, you’ve bought yourself guaranteed holidays for the next few decades.
Accommodation is the most expensive part of holidaying, so buying timeshare can really take the financial sting out of future vacations. Even if you don’t feel like using your timeshare one year, your Club will normally allow you to make bookings for your friends or family – nothing says ‘happy birthday’ like a free week of accommodation in Fiji.
Timeshare also isn’t affected by inflation. Hotel room rates increased by an average of 2.8% per year from 2015 to 2018, and are likely to continue rising post-COVID once global travel fully resumes. When you book timeshare stays using Points, you’ll always spend a similar number of Points, regardless of how much hotel costs have gone up since you joined your Club.
Be Motivated to Holiday Each Year
One of the biggest challenges many people face is finding the motivation to travel during their annual leave.
You probably know what we mean. Work and family commitments can make the idea of a real holiday feel difficult or impossible, especially if you need to find time to organise things.
Owning timeshare can help remove that mental block. Because you’ve spent money buying your timeshare, it’s normal to feel like you should use it. Many Owners get motivated by this feeling and end up holidaying more often.
Experience Better Health and Wellbeing
Did you know that taking holidays has been proven to improve your health?
Stress is a health condition that many of us experience. Stress can cause problems such as:
- Chronic back pain
- Immune disorders
- Gut issues
- Reproductive problems
Because work is a big cause of stress, taking a break can sometimes be all the medication we need. In fact, holidays have been proven to increase general happiness, even once they’re over. They can also improve your health and wellbeing and reduce your levels of stress.
Not sold? A scientific study found that holidays can also lower your risk of coronary heart disease. What’s better – taking heart medication, or relaxing in the Whitsundays?
Owning timeshare can make holidaying easier and more enjoyable, which can motivate you to get away more often – and, as we now know, those getaways can improve both your physical and mental health.
Enjoy High-Quality Accommodation
Modern timeshare is normally operated through Clubs, which means experienced companies like Wyndham, Accor, Classic Holidays and Marriot look after where you stay. This allows timeshare Owners to enjoy a consistently high standard of accommodation.
Many timeshare properties are resorts, not hotels, so rooms are often large, spacious, and have plenty of great amenities. Most resorts also have facilities to enhance your holiday experience – these can include activity areas (like tennis courts, gyms, and games rooms), laundries, pools, and on-site restaurants. If you’re thinking about a longer holiday, being able to wash your clothes and prepare meals in a kitchenette can be really useful.
Timeshare properties aren’t just places to stay. Think of them as your personal holiday homes – all the comforts you need paired with all the luxuries you want, run by some of the world’s best accommodation companies.
Receive Service From a Dedicated Team
Timeshare Clubs are a bit like five-star hotels – and, as an Owner, you’re treated like a five-star guest. Most Clubs have dedicated Owner services teams to help you get the most out of your timeshare. They can do things like:
- Make bookings for you
- Tell you ways to maximise your timeshare
- Recommend holiday destinations
- Find rooms that suit your personal needs
- Give you tips for exploring the areas around your timeshare property
Owner services teams are like your personal concierges, and having friendly, knowledgeable staff available seven days a week can really make a difference to how much you get out of your holidays.
Disadvantages of Owning Timeshare
It’s a Long-Term Commitment
One of the biggest disadvantages of timeshare is that it’s a long-term commitment. Of course, that’s also the thing many people love about it!
Most Australian timeshare Clubs have lifespans of 80 years (the maximum amount of time permitted by Australian law). Once those 80 years are up, the Owners vote to either dissolve the Club and sell its assets, or continue it. Because timeshare isn’t that old (most Australian Clubs were formed around 2000), it’s quite possible that you’ll own your timeshare for the rest of your life.
If you don’t want to go on holiday each year, paying for timeshare can seem like a waste of money. That’s why it’s important to think about whether timeshare is right for your lifestyle before you buy it – after all, one of the reasons many people become Owners is because they really like the idea of holidaying year after year.
There Are Lots of Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions about timeshare. Let’s take a look at some of the most common.
- “Timeshare is impossible to sell.” Although timeshare used to be notoriously difficult to sell, modern Owners have some options to consider if they don’t want to keep their timeshare. Online reseller services and private deals are two ways to sell timeshare, although it’s important to watch out for reseller scams. Alternatively, you can contact ATHOC (that’s us) to get advice. As an independent, non-profit organisation, it’s our job to look after the interests of both Timeshare Clubs and Owners.
- “The annual fees are crazy! Hotels don’t have those.” The annual levies that many timeshare Clubs charge aren’t a way for them to make money. Your annual levies go towards the maintenance of your properties, and also pay for new amenities, furnishings, and other upgrades. If you think about how much a single resort costs to maintain each year, an annual levy of a few hundred to few thousand dollars isn’t a lot! In the product disclosure statement (PDS) for your Club, you can find the maximum amount your levies can be increased by each year.
- “I thought timeshare was supposed to be a good financial investment!” It’s important to understand that you should never buy timeshare to make money from it. Timeshare is a lifestyle purchase, not a financial investment. Although Owners will typically receive a portion of the profits from Club assets if and when their Club winds up, there’s no guarantee about how much you’ll receive. If you want to buy timeshare, do it for the reasons we discussed earlier in this article, not because you want to get rich.
- “I’ve read the stories … timeshare must be a scam.” Timeshare isn’t a scam. In Australia, timeshare programs are classed as managed funds, which means they’re regulated by ASIC. Most people who are unhappy with their timeshare feel that way because they didn’t buy it for the right reasons. Timeshare is for people who want to enjoy regular holidays at high-quality accommodation in amazing locations. It isn’t a way to make money, and it isn’t necessarily cheaper than hotels. Before you buy timeshare, think about why you want to buy it, and carefully read the PDS.
Getting Bookings Can Be Difficult
Unlike traditional timeshare, most modern timeshare Clubs have lots of properties available for Owners. This helps keep your annual holidays fresh and exciting – you can stay at one property every year, or you can explore different cities and countries when you feel like an adventure.
Unfortunately, the way timeshare works means that popular properties can be difficult to book. Many of your fellow Owners probably want to stay there too, so it’s a matter of ‘first in, first served’. This means that you might have to book a holiday at a popular resort six months or more in advance, which requires more forward planning.
There are plenty of advantages to owning timeshare, but it isn’t the right choice for everyone. Before you buy, it’s important to fully understand what you’re paying for, and to think about whether timeshare matches your lifestyle. Read the PDS, ask lots of questions, and really think your decision through.
If you need free advice about Ownership at a specific timeshare Club, or about timeshare generally, contact us. At ATHOC, it’s our job to represent Timeshare Clubs and Owners as well as work towards a better timeshare industry. That means helping people understand whether timeshare is right for them.