What Exactly is a Timeshare?

You've heard about timeshares, you're curious, so let's have a healthy discussion of just what exactly is a Timeshare. The term "timeshare" has been bandied about so much that you need to understand what that word really means. When you break the word down, you see that it defines itself: you "share"/"time." And that means that you are part of a group who is sharing the cost of vacation lodgings, and thus sharing the time to use it. It gets more complex when you start learning about the various aspects of timeshare ownership - whether you're purchasing deeded property, the "right-to-use," or even just paying for "points." See a list of timeshare terms and definitions here.

Because of the bad press, so to speak, of timeshare in recent years, due to a few unscrupulous businesses and scam artists, many timeshare companies (for example Disney and Marriott) now call themselves "Vacation Clubs." They are the same thing as timeshares - the new term just has a healthier ring to it today.

What a timeshare is Not is a good real estate investment. When you "buy" a timeshare, you are not investing in actual property. Instead, you are purchasing "time" to use some property. So your timeshare investment does not appreciate like you would expect most real estate investments to.

Buying a timeshare is, however, a "good investment" if you think of a good investment as something you buy that makes your life more fun and easier. Owning a timeshare might force you to take that well-deserved and oft-needed vacation every year. Owning a timeshare makes vacation planning easy since you know well in advance when you're going, where you're going, and what to expect when you get there. Owning a timeshare also allows you to "see the world" for one easy price, as it were, when you use the timeshare exchange program.

How do you know if a timeshare is for you? If you typically can take at least one week of vacation at a time, you're situation is perfect for timeshare. If you are tired of cramming the family into a cramped hotel room, and even having to pay for a second hotel room to accommodate everyone - look at timeshare rental which will give you the living - and relaxing - home-like space of a small apartment, as well as save you money on a per person basis. If you enjoy the amenities of a full-service resort, that can range from waterpark-type swimming pools to golf, or if you'd like to have your own personal space in a great location such as Manhattan or downtown San Francisco, then a timeshare is for you.

Vacationing every year as a timeshare owner could be the thing you do that truly helps create a family bond, and gives everyone in the family wonderful memories to last a lifetime. The best place to start if you are interested in timeshares is by renting one. After that, you can determine if buying a timeshare resale is right for you.
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