• June
  • 3 min read

Vacation Homes vs. Timeshares: A Guide

Vacation Homes vs. Timeshares?

Vacations bring up ALL the feelings and memories. A big part of the American dream is the vacation, writ large. These weeks away happen in vacation homes and timeshares, rental properties, tents and more. Plus we’ve now invented the stay-cation, so we can capture that vacation feeling without leaving home.

The rest and relax vibe is so strong that many Americans find themselves strategizing ways to maximize their vacation time, even when they can’t afford it. Tents and rentals are temporary solutions, but people are always searching for long-term options. Vacation homes and timeshares are highly sought after solutions for Americans seeking to get away.

So, which is better? You can probably imagine that we lean away from timeshares. After all, we don’t get many calls from people telling us how much they love their timeshare. In fact, in our industry, it’s quite the opposite. But, many timeshare owners are currently happy with their timeshare arrangement. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, 80% of timeshare owners are not planning to call us to exit their timeshares. At least, not today. Meaning, at some point, in these studies, a compelling reason for timeshare owners to want to get out crops up. Read on to learn why the way you feel about your brand-new timeshare will likely change.

We do know the difficulty people face when their decision to buy a timeshare no longer serves them. None of us can control the way our lives and needs will change over time, but we make our best choices with all the information in front of us. So, will a vacation home or timeshare suit you best today and tomorrow? Let’s take a look.

Vacation Homes

Whether you seek a lake, forest, or resort feel, you can find what you’re looking for in a vacation home.


A vacation home is a true investment. Just like your “regular” home, your vacation home tends to increase in value over time.

Standard real estate rules apply. You can work with a real estate agent you love who has your needs in mind. Although markets may shift, your experience will be much like what you experienced with your primary home.

All yours, all the time. You’re not bound by your week or your points. Head to your haven any time, even on a whim!

You’re in control. You make the decisions about your vacation home. Including how to handle maintenance, landscaping and more.


Vacation homes are expensive. Although we’d all like to live the dream of a second home, it’s just not feasible for many of us. The cost of a second home sends many potential buyers in search of alternatives.

You’re responsible for the maintenance of your vacation home, whether you’re there or not. Since it’s your vacation home, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be there all the time, especially when the elements are at their worst. Vacation home in Northern Minnesota? Frozen pipes when you’re away will cost you. Plus, get ready for lawn-mowing, housekeeping, weather-stripping, and more. Many people opt to hire a local maintenance provider to keep the elements at bay. (The good news? You choose who to hire!)


If a vacation home is too much for you, you may find yourself considering a timeshare.


Timeshares require lower fees up-front. Prices start around $19,000, substantially less than the total cost of a vacation home. Even if you need financing, you’ll likely be paying lower monthly fees.

Affordable consistency without the hefty initial price tag. Building consistent memories in one location over time is so appealing and what drives so many families to timeshares.

Points! Timeshares offer consistency but strive to offer more. With many resort timeshares, you can earn points to stay at other locations operated by the parent company.

You don’t perform maintenance. The majority of timeshares include the maintenance although you will have to fork over a maintenance fee. No lawn-mowing or snow-shoveling needed!


Emotional decisions! High-stress timeshare sales tactics and even timeshare scams seem to place your dreams within reach, which puts consumers at risk. According to Chris Rither of OneMeanDream, many timeshare providers, “Prey on the emotional feelings people have for their favorite vacation spot. The problem is that we go on vacation to get away from our responsibilities, and now we’ve turned our favorite vacation spot into another financial liability. And what fun is there in that?” (Source: The Street)

Timeshares are not investmentsthey are obligations. This is one reason timeshares are cheaper than a vacation home. The IRS doesn’t consider timeshares to be investments. Timeshares don’t gain value over time. Let’s repeat that shocking fact once more: Timeshares don’t gain value over time. If you need further proof, ask your real estate investor friends and see how many of them have timeshares. We’re predicting a fairly low number.

Maintenance fees increase over time. Although timeshares don’t typically require you to perform any maintenance over time, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Timeshare ownership comes with obligatory maintenance charges. These fees start at around $700 and increase even when you skip your week. The year-over-year increases are out of your control and make budgeting a challenge.

Points. The ability to earn points doesn’t mean free vacations. In fact, for many, it would be cheaper to just book those vacations at other locations, even without points.

They don’t accommodate changing needs. For most of us, our needs change over time. Families grow up. Children’s interests shift. Finances shift. Sometimes, we just seek out new horizons. Timeshares do not offer the flexibility of ownership. Once you sign, it’s yours forever, unless you can figure out how to exit the agreement. (Cue, Primo Management Group!)

Timeshares are difficult to sell. When you’re ready to move on, you’ll face challenges. First, your timeshare will be used. You and your family have already lived in it to make your own memories. Maybe for you, it’s not so much “used” as well-loved. But prospective owners won’t see it that way. The timeshare market is flooded with new construction at competitive prices, so your well-loved timeshare can be a tough sell. As a result, you may have to take offers well below what you consider to be the value. That’s if you can sell your timeshare at all. Many timeshare owners find themselves unable to sell on their own and turn to other options.

Only you can make these important decisions about your future. At Primo Management Group, we urge you to make informed decisions based on research. We hope this guide helps you on your journey. Did this advice come too late? That’s okay. If you need to exit your timeshare, we’re here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.

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