Playing the Timeshare Game

Can You Play the Timeshare Game and Win?

I can't count the number of times I've been asked if timeshares are a good idea. The honest answer is "sometimes" and that actually surprises many of my readers. Most people think that "timeshares" is a dirty word and should be avoided at all costs. What they don't know is that there's a resale market that can really benefit the consumer. If you like to travel but have been avoiding timeshares like the plague, there are some things you should know.

Never Pay Retail

First and foremost, don't ever pay thousands of dollars for a timeshare. You can get one for a lot less. There are many timeshare resellers who can get you a timeshare for dirt cheap and if you look for a deal, you can get one for a few hundred dollars. I personally bought my Wisconsin Dells timeshare for about $200, and that included closing costs.

The Catch

Now, before you go buying 10 timeshares just because you can find a deal, you need to understand a little thing called annual fees. My timeshare cost me $200 up front, but I have to pay about $500 each year to keep it. The fee goes towards the upkeep of the resort where the timeshare is located. So before you buy any timeshare, make sure the annual fee isn't more than the timeshare benefits are worth.

Doing the Math

How do you know if an annual fee is worth it? Find out how much it costs to stay in the area where your timeshare is located. A decent hotel room at the dells costs at least $150 a night depending on when and where you stay. For a 6-night stay, it would cost me a minimum of $900 if I booked at a hotel. My annual fees of $500 for my timeshare save me about $400 per year - and that's on the low end of the spectrum.

Of course, math isn't the only homework you have to do. Make sure you deal with a reputable seller. I personally like eBay when it comes to timeshares. I know there are crooks on there, but when dealing with sellers who have hundreds of feedback and a 100% positive feedback rating, you can be pretty sure you're safe.

So if you like to travel and you do so each and every year, a timeshare can definitely be worth it (as long as you don't pay full price).

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