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Should I Rent Before Buying a Timeshare?

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Posted on July 10, 2023

Timeshares present a fascinating concept in the travel industry, enabling vacationers to own a share of a vacation property (usually a resort condominium) for a specified period each year. The idea is very appealing, particularly for those who want to vacation in the same location without the large cost of whole ownership of a vacation home. However, it's worth asking yourself “should I rent before buying a timeshare?” In some cases, the answer leans toward yes, and here's why.

Reasons to Rent Before Buying a Timeshare

To begin with, renting a timeshare before buying gives you the chance to 'try before you buy.' Just as you wouldn't purchase a car without test driving it, the same logic can apply to timeshares. This initial trial will provide firsthand experience of the property, the location, the management company, and the overall experience of staying there.

One important advantage of this approach is the ability to evaluate the property's quality. Photographs and descriptions can often portray a rosier picture than reality, so staying at the property will allow you to assess its upkeep, amenities, and the overall atmosphere. If the property doesn't live up to your expectations, you'll be glad you didn't commit to a long-term purchase.

Also, you'll be able to gain insights into the location and whether it suits your vacation preferences. A specific locale might seem appealing based on research, but staying there for an extended period might change your outlook. Renting allows you to check the accessibility of attractions, restaurants, and other elements that might influence your vacation experience.

Moreover, buying a timeshare is a commitment that usually extends over several years. In addition to the purchase price, there are maintenance fees and potentially special assessment fees for property upgrades or emergencies. By renting, even though you may not gain all the benefits of an owner you can get a sense of whether the costs would be worth it without first making the long-term commitment.

Once you purchase a timeshare, you're generally tied to that resort for a specified week (or weeks) each year, unless your timeshare has a points system allowing for some flexibility. By renting first, you can assess whether this arrangement fits with your travel preferences and lifestyle.

Be Careful of the Resort Sales Tactics

Some timeshare resorts engage in high-pressure sales tactics. Renting a timeshare allows you to assess the property and make a decision at your own pace, free from the sales pressure often associated with timeshare presentations.

Keep in mind that most resorts offer timeshare tours to renters and you will be offered a chance to buy a timeshare during that process. That’s why it is important to know the resales on offer beforehand so you can buy at a discounted rate far below the resort retail price.

Resort prices can be 50-60 percent higher than the resale prices because resorts mark up their prices to cover sales and marketing costs. That can add up to thousands of dollars you can save by buying resale, so keep that in the back of your mind while listening to a timeshare presentation.

Also consider the potential for change in your circumstances or tastes. While a certain location might be ideal now, your preference may change over time. Perhaps you'll crave new experiences, or changes in your personal or professional life might require a different vacation schedule. Therefore, renting timeshare in a points-based program such as Club Wyndham or Marriott Vacation Club first can give you insight into whether a timeshare vacation is compatible with your lifestyle and future plans.

If You’re Ready, Buying a Timeshare May Be Better

On the flip side, there is legitimate reasoning against renting before buying: If you're certain about the location and the quality of the resort, renting first might seem like an unnecessary additional expense. But for many, this cost serves as a form of insurance, confirming whether the timeshare is a good fit before making a larger financial commitment.

Remember that timeshare companies are connected to exchange programs like RCI or Interval International, providing you with the ability to trade your week with other timeshare owners and giving you a chance to vacation in different locations. If you're attracted to a timeshare because of this feature, renting at different properties first will allow you to assess the value of such exchange programs and how the resort lines up with the exchange demand for the location.

With the long-term commitment and financial investment that comes with purchasing a timeshare, it's generally wise to rent before buying. This step provides invaluable firsthand experience and allows you to make a more informed decision. Just as you would do thorough research before buying a home, it's important to approach a timeshare purchase with the same diligence. Renting a timeshare can serve as a significant part of that due diligence.

How to Begin Renting or Buying a Timeshare

Fortunately, you are already on one of the most comprehensive websites available for timeshare rentals and available timeshares to buy. If you have already rented a timeshare and are considering buying, check the ads for that resort by entering the name of the resort into the search bar at the top of the page. You can also access timeshares for rent the same way at that resort.

Once our system offers the resort name link to that resort page, click onto the link and you’ll see the buttons where you can check out the rentals or the timeshares for sale for that resort. just scroll through the offerings and click the Make Offer button where you can send an inquiry directly to the owner.

If you are still asking yourself “should I rent before buying a timeshare” or need more information, our team is always ready to help. Just give us a call on 800-640-6886 or send us your questions by clicking here and our Customer Care team will respond as soon as they can.  


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Steve Luba - Chief Communications Officer


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