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How do I pick the best Timeshare to buy?
This article is meant to be a simple guide to assist you buying your
first (or second) Timeshare!

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How do I pick the best Timeshare to buy?

We find a good percentage of individuals who find TUG are doing so before making that first plunge into the Timeshare world as owners!  Another large percentage are those who have already made that first purchase, but have discovered that perhaps it was not ideal for their situation, or after enough time, just simply does not fit their Timeshare "dream" any longer!  This guide is not going to answer all possible questions for you as they are simply limitless, but instead act as a road map of sorts to at least point you in the right direction to do your research before your next purchase!

If there is one thing to take away from this article before you even go any further, is that no matter what Timeshare you wind up deciding on, do yourself a favor and research buying on the resale market from an existing owner!  We cannot stress enough how much money you can save by doing this, and there is absolutely no reason at all you should not at the very least check out resales before you buy your next Timeshare!

The rest of this article will ask a series of questions that all individuals should be able to answer before any Timeshare purchase is made!  Doing so will narrow down your choices and have you end up with exactly what you want!

Where do you want your Home Resort to be?

This is the first question you want to ask yourself when deciding on a Timeshare purchase.  The general rule when purchasing a Timeshare, is to purchase where you want to vacation most!

When doing this, you know that the location you buy in will always be available to you for a vacation, this way you don't have to rely on exchanges or rentals to vacation at your most beloved spot, your home resort will let you stay here every year!

There are a few exceptions to this rule however!  If your favorite vacation spot happens to be Orlando, or Las Vegas, we would suggest considering another Home Location!  The reason for this is very simple:  These are the two timeshare capitals of the world, More Timeshare units exist in these two locations than anywhere else!  This means there is always a surplus of rentals, and exchanges available to travel to either of these two locations!  

What are your top 5 Vacation destinations?

This will perhaps have the most impact on your decision to purchase your next Timeshare!  Where do you want to travel to on vacations besides your home resort location?  Do you want to travel overseas?  Mexico?  Hawaii?  If your vacation plan includes a myriad of destinations, you certainly want to look at the modern developers that provide a wide selection of resorts in or near those destinations!  You will want to examine the costs (in either points, or trade value) to stay at the various locations that are not your home resort location to see if you could easily trade or exchange into those other destinations on years you wont travel to your home resort.  Chains like Marriott, Wyndham, Starwood, Disney, Hilton, and Diamond all have huge portfolios of resorts to choose from, but you usually want to focus on the bulk of your vacation wishes!

How big is your Vacation Family?

How many people do you normally travel with?  Do you require 2 or even 3 bedroom units for your vacations due to a large family or multiple adult couples?  Finding resorts that have large timeshare units available in multiple destinations will narrow down your search substantially, although it is more and more common to see 3 bedroom units (that are actually a combination of a 2bedroom unit connected to a separate 1bedroom unit called a lockout or lockoff). In other years that perhaps you do not use your Timeshare, or the entire family does not want to attend, you can possibly rent out the unused portion of your unit to offset some or all of the annual maintenance fees!

What level of accommodations do you prefer?

This is where we separate into various classes of Timeshare resorts!  Does your family expect to stay in a 5 star world class resort for vacations?  (Disney/Starwood), are you happy with 4 star very good resorts (Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, etc), or are you just looking for a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in at night?

Obviously the biggest difference in these is cost, but as we mentioned before, buying resale can save you a fortune, and you would be surprised what you can purchase on the resale market (compared to what you likely would pay buying retail!). 

What are you comfortable with spending each year?

Owning a Timeshare requires the payment of annual maintenance fees to use the unit.  As of 2013 the average annual maintenance fee at a Timeshare Resort was roughly $800.  In many cases, especially for those who cannot commit to vacation each and every year, this can be cost prohibitive!  It is very important for you to be realistic with yourself as you are essentially "pre-paying" for your vacations every year forever whether you use them or not!  As you would expect, the nicer the timeshare, the more exclusive the location, and the more exclusive the time of year (ie holiday weeks)...the more expensive your annual maintenance fee is likely to be!

It is also important to note that one should not expect your annual fees to remain the same over the entire length of ownership.  Maintenance fees historically increase year after year with few exceptions, and while a few dollars each year is not going to make or break most folks, it is something that can have a profound impact after 10, or even 20 years of ownership!

Are you aware of the resale market?

Yes we have mentioned this twice already, but we find that almost universally all first time Timeshare purchasers don't even think about the resale market until the need to sell their Timeshare!  It is at this point that they are shocked by the difficulties (depreciation, scams) that they encounter when trying to sell!  You must be very honest and upfront with yourself about purchasing your new timeshare and what it will be worth years down the road when you find yourself looking to divest yourself of ownership.  

The Final Word
There are more than 2 million timeshare owners today, and its important to anyone looking to join this group of owners know exactly what they are getting into before making the plunge and buying a Timeshare!  You can have some absolutely amazing vacations for outrageous value if you just take the time and do your research before you buy! It is not just a coincidence that the phrase we hear most from individuals who join TUG is "I wish I would have found TUG before I bought my first timeshare!"

Some other helpful articles and links for you to read before purchase!


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page updated Feb 2014  by B Rogers - Send email regarding this page to tug@tug2.net