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Don't treat timeshares as an investment

Timeshares can be great vacation option – but don’t expect to make money on the sale.

Timeshares can be great vacation option – but don’t expect to make money on the sale.


Spring is for love, rebirth, delightful bulbs blooming, dogs shedding and probably more fitness resolutions than are ever made in the New Year. It is also the season for timeshare regret. More than 77 per cent of timeshares are purchased between December and March. Come spring, the second guessing begins.


Judy was one of the 77 per cent.


“I bought a timeshare in Florida three years ago and now realize that with all the cheap inclusive packages being offered, I probably jumped too fast without doing my homework. I am shelling out about $750 year for maintenance/fees. Should I try to sell it or hang on, hoping home prices will go up eventually and sell later? I was a person who never took time for a vacation. At least now I do get away a couple of weeks and look forward to it.”


First of all, about those cheap all-inclusives. On a family trip to the Mexican Riviera a few years ago, I snagged a great bargain at a five-star resort advertised for $1,050 a week per person. By the time we added in taxes, tips, a couple of facials and massages, an upgrade to an ocean view room, better wine and a sightseeing tour the real cost doubled. The economics of timeshares are like the economics of most purchases from clothes to cars. Buy because you like it, but don’t expect to make a profit on any future sale.


On my television show, Maxed Out, I worked with a couple who bought a timeshare in Florida during a trip to Disney World and after a few too many margaritas. After getting into financial trouble they eventually unloaded it, for 35 cents on the dollar. In their case, however, the maintenance, fees and return airfare had strained their resources to the point where they couldn’t even use their weeks.


Judy is different. Judy is exactly the kind of person who should buy a timeshare. It forces her to take a holiday, she enjoys it and it sounds like she can afford it. Don’t mess with a good thing, Judy.

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