Timeshares have revolutionised the way we holiday, potentially saving timeshare owners up to 50% of what they would spend on hotel accommodation over the same number of years, but that’s just one of the reasons the shared ownership holiday lifestyle is attracting younger families.
The classic old school timeshare model has evolved beyond recognition, with sophisticated, flexible new programmes offered by top class developers and an array of resorts featuring 5-star amenities in every corner of the world from Cornwall to Cape Verde.
If you’re new to timeshare and perhaps want to try before you buy, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about this sector of the holiday industry, to help you make the right choice and but the right timeshare for you.
What is timeshare?
The starting point – how do you define “timeshare”? Timeshare is a way to purchase a share of a resort that guarantees a holiday at least once a year. Timeshare products have evolved so much that there are a lot of different types to choose from – from points-based programmes to week(s) or a combination.
It’s important to bear in mind that you are buying an entitlement to spend time at the property and resort – not bricks and mortar. And timeshare is just one form of shared ownership. If you buy into a fractional property, for example, you normally do own your bricks and mortar share – be it a quarter, an eighth, or so on. Because you own the deeds, this means is that when you sell your fraction, if the property price has gone up during the years you have owned it, you may even make a profit although of course there are no guarantees.
When you sell a timeshare, on the other hand, there is no capital gain but you will probably making considerable savings compared to taking the same number of holidays over the same number of years, had you paid to stay in a hotel.
Is there a difference between buying a timeshare from a resort developer v. through a resale company?
When you buy direct from the actual resort developer there may be certain incentives included such as a year’s free membership with the resort’s exchange company. But more importantly, buying from the developer means you’ll enjoy consumer protection – look for a developer who is a member of the official timeshare organisation in Europe, the Resort Development Organisation www.RDO.org. RDO member companies must abide by RDO’s code of ethics, so this adds to consumers’ peace of mind.
Although it can be less expensive to buy “resale”, make sure you are completely sure the paperwork is in order before parting with funds. A select number of resale companies are also RDO members. If there is anything you are unsure about in the contractual agreement, or you have unanswered questions, make sure all the terms are put firmly in writing.
Can I try before I buy?
If you would rather dip a toe into the water before committing 100%, consider a trial membership with one of the leading timeshare developers. Most timeshare resorts offer rental programmes too, so you can try the resort before you decide to buy. The trial memberships are normally very affordable – you get a certain number of weeks for a set upfront fee.
Another way to try a resort is to take advantage of offers such as discounted stays in return for attending a sales presentation.
What’s the difference between staying in a hotel v. a timeshare resort?
First of all, the size of a hotel room v. the size of a self-catering apartment will be the main differentiator. Most timeshare accommodation is very spacious – more like a home from home than a confined hotel room. Fully equipped kitchens, large living spaces, multible bedrooms and sofabeds for extra guests make timeshare properties far more economical than multiple hotel rooms for the same family. As everyone knows, the cost of eating out on holiday can really add up!
Is timeshare a good “investment”?
It’s important to understand that timeshares do not offer financial profit – you are investing in a lifetime (or shorter term) of happy holidays. Timeshare should never be thought of in the same way as a property investment, nor should it be sold as that. In a recent survey, almost 90% of timeshare owners confirmed they were very satisfied with their timeshare purchase.
Put another way, timeshare can save you a significant amount of money, cutting your family’s holiday spending (or budget) by up to half over, say, a 20-year period, when you compare the cost of timeshare holidays with comparable weekly or fortnightly stays in a hotel.