Cost Of Owning A Timeshare | Full Fees & Costs
What is the full cost of owning a timeshare? Before deciding to purchase a timeshare, it would be in your best interest to familiarize yourself with all of the costs and fees associated with owning each type of timeshare along with common scams and tactics.
Because there are so many different types of timeshares, you first need to decide what type of timeshare would best suit you and your travel wants and needs to determine how much it will end up costing you altogether.
Week Type: Fixed, Floating, Right-to-use, Or Points?
One of the first things to decide when determining what the full cost of owning a timeshare will be what type of timeshare you are wanting to purchase.
Do you have a specific travel destination that you are absolutely in love with that you like to return to during the same time of year, every single year? If so, than a fixed week might be best for you.
Maybe you love to go skiing every winter, but the week you can go varies based on work. If that’s the case than a floating week might be best for you.
Or perhaps you are looking for something with a little less commitment… a right-to-use ownership might work better for you because instead of owning it outright you can choose to just lease it for a predetermined set number of years.
Or, you might just choose to forgo weeks altogether and decide to go with a points based system so you can travel to a different destination every year.
There’s no right or wrong type of timeshare to purchase, as everybody has different travel needs. Just be sure to do your research so you can be aware of which type of timeshare would be best suited for you and your family.
Seasons: Which Season Is The Best?
Another factor to consider when you want to find out what the costs will be when purchasing a timeshare is the season.
Most timeshare resorts have seasons which they base on factors such as the desirability of the location, as well as the time of year.
This is because certain times of the year can be in higher demand than others. These seasons are often identified as high/peak season, average/mid season, and low/slow season.
For example, a beach front condo in the northeast definitely isn’t going to be as in demand in the cold and gloomy winter when the pool is closed (low season) as it is in the summer when you can go down and swim and play in the ocean or soak up some sun by the pool (high season).
So it only makes sense for the beach front condo to charge more for a week in the summer than for a week in the winter.
Purchase Directly From The Resort Or Resale Market?
Once you decide which type of timeshare is best for you, there will still be many factors that determine the timeshares overall costs.
The cost of purchasing a timeshare goes down by about 50% if you decide to purchase on the resale market.
This is because about half of the cost of a new timeshare goes towards developer overhead, sales and marketing costs, commissions, etc. However, choosing to purchase a timeshare on the resale market can come with some risks.
For example, you will definitely want to be sure to hire a company to do a title search to make sure that there aren’t any old liens against the property, and make sure that the person listing it for sale is the actual owner.
There is also a chance that when you buy a timeshare on the resale market you might be limited to only being able to use one specific home resort.
That’s where the advantage of buying a timeshare directly from the resort comes in… instead of just being limited to one resort, you can typically use your points at any resort within that brand’s family, making the extra cost worth it.
Location: Location! Location! Location!
I think it goes without saying that the location of the resort purchased will definitely be a factor in the overall purchase price or cost of the timeshare itself.
Owning a week at a timeshare in one of the top tourist destinations that tend to be in peak season all year round such as a resort on the beach in Hawaii, Florida, California, the Bahamas, Mexico are going to cost more than if you own a week in the winter at a resort in the Poconos or the Wisconsin Dells, or a week in the summer in Arizona.
Size Of The Unit: Size Matters!
Something else you will need to take into consideration when purchasing a timeshare that can affect the overall cost of the timeshare is the size of the unit you want to purchase.
Are you a family of 4? Then a 2 or 3 bedroom would be perfect for you. Or maybe you and your spouse are retired, in which case a 1 bedroom is more than enough room for 2 people.
Typically the more bedrooms per unit the higher the cost of the timeshare.
Crunching Numbers: Doing The Math
You may or may not have heard of the American Resort Development Association, or ARDA. They are currently one of the largest most respected trade associations in the timeshare industry.
According to their State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry Report in 2018 the average price of a timeshare purchased through a resort costed about $22,180.
This means that the average timeshare owner can typically travel one week per year, every year as long as they are physically capable, for just over $22,000.
Now for some people who do the math, it’s a no brainer. Let’s say you are a newlywed couple in your early 20's and you both love to travel.
Health permitting, you can safely assume that you will both be able to travel for a minimum of 40 more years. (That number could definitely be higher, but we are going to keep it at 40 years because humans are skeptical by nature).
Statistics show that the average American spends about $1,200 per year on vacation, so for 2 people that would be $2,400.
If that number stayed the same (which realistically it would just continue to rise over the years because of inflation) that newlywed couple would spend $96,000 over the next 40 years!!!
It’s safe to say that owning a timeshare is definitely something they should consider looking in to.
Yearly Fee: Maintenance Fees
Once you decide to purchase a timeshare it is important to know that you will have to pay a yearly fee called a maintenance fee that will need to be factored into the overall cost of owning a timeshare.
Just like most nice things in life (houses, cars, pets, etc.) a timeshare requires proper maintenance if it is to stay desirable.
Your maintenance fee is going to cover a number of things that go into owning and maintaining the property, such as staffing, general upkeep, utilities, landscaping, furniture, appliances, external upgrades, and property taxes.
Although the average annual maintenance fee is currently $980, maintenance fees can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on what you own.
You should also be aware that no matter what your maintenance fee is when you purchase your timeshare, that price is not locked in. As a matter of fact, it will most likely increase with inflation year after year.
Total Bill: Your Total Comes To...
As you now know, there are multiple deciding factors that are going to come in to play on what the overall full cost of owning a timeshare is going to be.
No 2 people are going to need or want the same things when they travel or go on vacation. So it’s up to you to take some time and write down your travel goals to help you better decide on what it is that you need.
And keep in mind that if you are going to go on vacation, someone is going to be getting your hard earned money... so it might be worth it to consider putting it into a timeshare that you and your family can continue to use and enjoy year after year, so that someone is you.
After all, you can always make more money… but making memories with your family is priceless.
Need help understanding your timeshare better? Visit our FAQ Page on timeshares.