People are always asking me if it’s a good idea to buy a time share. There are soo many different companies out there that will tell you that they their program is the best and they even go so far as to bribe you with free hotel stays and other expensive gifts. It’s all designed to lure you into a room decorated with breathtaking almost life size luxury vacation photos created to entice you while you eat the complimentary breakfast or lunch they’ve given you [law of reciprocity], they even provide you with free child care to eliminate anything that may distract you from their highly polished sales pitch that they’re about to hit you with.
Their next move is to set down their modest little binder in front of you and start to show you photos of their own family vacations as they ask you personal questions about your kids, your line of work and of course… your vacation habits. You can always tell how experienced the Orlando real estate agent is by how good they deliver their personal story and then effortlessly mix it into the whole timeshare “Set Up” at the end of their enchanting little story. The agent then goes into a carefully rehearsed presentation about all the benefits you could receive by becoming a member and how if you walk out the door without buying you would regret it for the rest of your life.
I know what you’re thinking and you’re right…I’ve been to a whole bunch of these. The truth is, before we became successful in Orlando real estate, my wife and I would sit through these excruciating timeshare presentations just to get a cheap vacation out of it for our family.
By going to all these presentations we learned a heck of a lot about timeshares as well as travel clubs. We saw one common denominator with timeshares that was a huge negative for us. That was that even if you don’t use your timeshare, you would still have to pay maintenance fees and property taxes. Over the years, I’ve had people approach me wanting to just sign the timeshare over to someone for free just to be free of the taxes and maintenance fees. They didn’t even care about losing the $10,000.00 they paid to buy it in the first place.
Travel Clubs are the way to go
Travel clubs on the other hand seemed to make a whole lot more sense to us. Joining a travel club is like joining a big box store like “Sam’s” or “BJ’s” in the sense that they buy up all these unused days in resorts, condos, etc. and pass the savings on to the consumer. They charge you a yearly fee to be a member, usually around 3 to 5 hundred dollars. Once you’re a member, you can access seriously discounted vacations by calling or through their website. The downside is that you have to buy in at about the same amount you would for a timeshare [five to ten thousand dollars] but that’s it. After that, there’s no property tax or maintenance fees to worry about at all.