Should I Vacation at a Timeshare Rental?

Timeshare rental: tropical villa with a pool

Timeshare owners who are short on cash or can’t use their assigned timeshare week sometimes have the option to rent out their unit to fellow vacationers. This stops them from wasting timeshare weeks when they’re unable to take a vacation during their given time slot. It also gives owners a way to earn funds they can put toward paying their maintenance fees


Most timeshare owners probably did not think they were going to do a timeshare rental when they first signed their contract. But maintenance fees and other timeshare expenses make it so many timeshare owners are unable to handle payments on their own. 


So while it’s not ideal to give up vacation opportunities in favor of earning extra money, offering a timeshare rental gives owners the chance to charge other people hotel room prices to stay in their unit. While the rental income will not likely cover the maintenance fees due to soft rental market pricing, it may offset a small portion of those fees.


If you are looking for a more spacious room to stay in on your next vacation, the idea of a timeshare rental may be tempting to you. After all, access to a full kitchen, living room, and other luxury resort amenities are much preferred over a tiny hotel room. But be careful not to fall into a trap. 


Many timeshare resorts are on the prowl for unbeknownst timeshare renters who they can swindle into a timeshare contract. Regardless of what timeshare salespeople say, the low rental prices these days have made it so renting timeshares is much cheaper than owning one. We’ll explain  why it’s so easy to get swept into ownership and how to properly navigate a timeshare rental without getting tricked. 


How Timeshare Rentals Work

Timeshare rental: elegant living room

Timeshare rentals exist for the same reasons that Airbnb and other home rental services exist. Renting out your space can make you a lot of money. This is because vacationers are willing to pay high prices to stay in a luxuriously spacious unit with access to top-tier perks that timeshare resorts offer. And many timeshare owners could really use the money.


Timeshare properties are only fractional ownership. So when someone rents out their unit, they might be forfeiting their ability to stay at their property for an entire year. Why give up their chance to do this? Because they need to offset the high costs of owning a timeshare. 


In addition to the initial down payment on the property, timeshare owners have to pay annual maintenance fees that increase every year. And if they belong to a points-based timeshare program, they likely have other membership fees to take care of. If they are unable to keep up with these payments, offering timeshare vacation rentals may be their only way to help stay afloat and avoid foreclosure


If you are looking into timeshares for rent, should you be concerned with the reasons why a timeshare owner is renting out their property to you? Can’t you just enjoy your Disney getaway at Orlando, Florida, or your stay at a timeshare beach resort in Hawaii guilt-free? Maybe not. Because if you decide to stay at notoriously aggressive timeshares like Wyndham or Westgate, you may be targeted by a sneaky salesperson and roped into a several-hours-long timeshare presentation.


How Timeshare Rentals Trick Vacationers

Many timeshare developers offer direct timeshare rentals to vacationers who may or may not be looking to buy a timeshare. Sometimes they’ll even offer free stays at their resort in exchange for attendance at a timeshare sales pitch. If you are renting directly from the timeshare resort, know that as soon as you check in to your timeshare rental, you should be on the lookout for salespeople who want to sell you a timeshare. 


The same goes for renters who’ve booked through a timeshare owner. People who rent out their timeshare units have to get permission to rent from their timeshare company. They may even have to give the developer a commission of what the renter is paying them. So the resort you’re staying at is aware of your renting status and wants to upgrade you to buyer status as soon as possible. 


Even the most savvy of renters can be tempted into timeshare ownership after experiencing all the perks that timeshare resorts claim to offer. They’ll try to dazzle you with larger rooms, nice swimming pools, and activities like badminton, tennis courts, and arcades for kids. These resorts try to sell a home-away-from-home experience where guests have everything they need to be comfortable, entertained, and relaxed on their week or weekend getaway.


Whether renting out units from an owner or directly from the developer, timeshare resorts attract people looking to experience a higher-quality lodging experience. But keep in mind that as a renter, you are only seeing the glamorous side of timeshares. This glamor is exactly why timeshare developers are able to make millions. They win over renters with the appearance of top-notch amenities and world-class customer service, making them wonder why they’d ever stay in a regular hotel room again. Before you know it, renters are convinced to attend a timeshare sales pitch and are conned into signing a timeshare contract.


Don’t Be Convinced to Buy

Miniature house, keys, pen, calculator and a contract

If you had a great experience staying at the resort and are excited by the idea of returning every year, why not upgrade from renter to owner? Because renting a timeshare and owning one are two completely different realities. 

Don’t be fooled by the glamorous appearance and amenities of these timeshare resorts. Once you actually become an owner you’ll find that they usually have significantly poorer services than a regular hotel. On top of that, renting is a one-time investment that gives you all the perks of staying at a timeshare without the responsibility of owning it. And these responsibilities are plentiful. 


When you own a timeshare, you have to pay annual maintenance fees that can increase drastically each year. If your timeshare is a fixed week, you have to vacation at the same exact time each year or your week is lost.  If you have floating weeks or belong to an exchange program, you have to compete with other customers just to book a stay. And for the vast majority of timeshare companies, once you sign your contract and hand over your credit card, you are stuck in your timeshare for life. Even if your financial circumstances change or you decide timeshare ownership no longer fits with your lifestyle, getting out of a timeshare is nearly impossible. 


Whether timeshare rentals are safe or not is debatable. Because whether you are renting directly from a resort or from a timeshare owner desperate to get rid of their timeshare, you may feel pressure to invest in a timeshare purchase. So if you’ve already made your last-minute timeshare rental reservation, it’s best to go into the situation with a plan. Enjoy all the amenities that come with staying at a timeshare resort. Indulge in delicious breakfasts, luxurious days by the pool, and roomy living spaces big enough for your entire family. But keep your wits about you when it comes to interacting with the resort staff — especially timeshare sales people looking to capitalize on innocent renters.


Avoid a Timeshare Rental Disaster

Spending time at a timeshare rental may tempt you into buying one yourself. But it’s not worth it. As soon as you start experiencing all the fees and limitations that come with timeshare ownership, you’ll start to wish you’d stuck with renting — especially when you realize how impossible it is to get out of a timeshare contract.


So what do you do if you’ve mistakenly made the switch from renter to buyer and are now regretting your purchase? If fraudulence, high-pressure sales tactics, or misrepresentation were used to get you to sign a contract, Centerstone Group may be able to help you. We are a full-service advocacy group that specializes in resolving timeshare contracts for clients who have been victimized by deceptive timeshare companies. Contact us today and get started with a free consultation from one of our timeshare relief experts.


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