Timeshare – An investment or an albatross?
Several years ago I received a phone call saying, ‘Congratulations. You’ve won a week’s holiday in Malta!’
Yes, I had entered. I dabble in competitions sometimes. I also knew that it was one of those competitions where everyone’s a winner!
Hubby John was very excited. I lived in Malta and went to school there, but I’d never been back, and he was eager to see my roots.
We stayed at the Radisson Hotel, Golden Sands. The deal was that we had to attend a talk on the last day. It’s a huge hotel so we weren’t hassled at all as the Reps didn’t know who we were.
It’s a wonderful hotel but we had no intention of buying. We were finally offered a repossession, minus the price that had already been paid for it.
I made it clear over and over again that we were only buying it as an investment and we wanted to sell it in 2-3 years.
With lots of nodding heads they assured us that everything would easily be sold by then and as they needed to keep their jobs they would be wanting apartments for re-sale.
You’ve guessed it. Seven years later all the hotel’s weeks are still not sold. They blame the recession. And to make it worse, they’ve bought another enormous area of land for redevelopment. We’re stuck with it.
I want to tell you the pros and cons of owning a Timeshare. I’m quite an expert now.
We return to the Radisson every year. It’s absolutely wonderful there. The service is top-class. It’s absolutely faultless. We can’t always make it for our real week due to the pressures of work, but they’re very obliging and flexible, and adjust around us. Sometimes they place us in a more expensive apartment if ours isn’t free
There’s an annual fee which goes up. But it’s still far lower than we would have to pay if we booked the hotel privately.
The hotel is built in one of the most beautiful parts of the island. Actually it’s hard to find anywhere better anywhere else in the world. And the sunsets are stunning!
We hire a car for a week, and usually prepare our own meals in the apartment’s well-stocked kitchen as the fresh food is so flavoursome.
There’s a wide choice of bars and restaurants in the hotel, plus a supermarket. As members we get a discount. Our flights are also discounted.
We automatically get worldwide membership, so if we didn’t want to go to Malta we could exchange our membership and go virtually anywhere in the world that we fancied.
I met a couple with six children and a large number of grandchildren. They all have the same week’s membership. It’s absolutely perfect for them. Their accommodation is guaranteed booked, so they can all holiday together in magnificent surroundings that they couldn’t afford individually.
Another couple have a membership but they never go there. They exchange it and stay somewhere else. They also take advantage of the spare points and they seem to go away for a weekend every month, staying very cheaply in 5-star hotels.
A lot of the Maltese buy a week at the Radisson. They might live in a flat in town. For a week every year they can entertain their family in a luxury hotel beside the sea, with a pool. They all look forward to it. Our friend also entertains his clients there in one of the restaurants. He can go there all year round.
Once a week there’s a Members’ Drinks evening. All of them are dissatisfied with their membership. There are no bending the rules for illness, hardships, or anything else. Nobody can re-sell until every unit has gone.
Timeshare companies aren’t allowed to advertise. The free holidays are genuine. You get a chance to Try Before you Buy. There are some expert holidaymakers who regularly Try but don’t Buy! Let’s face it, that was our plan too!
Do discuss it seriously before you go there. The Sales Reps don’t get a salary. They only get commission. Nobody intends to make their mind up at once. It’s a proven fact that if they walk away to ‘think about it’ they never return. Never. So the Reps will really give you the hard sell treatment. They have to if they want to make a living.
Timeshares genuinely do have legalities. The banks make sure of that! You legally own your week. It’s your property.
You can bequeath it to your family. But check if they really want it! Can they afford the annual fees?
What you buy is a luxury holiday for the rest of your life. If you go on holiday every year, you’re getting top quality at a 3-star price. Yes, we absolutely love it. What we hate is that we’re stuck with it, and the fact that we were assured that we could sell it easily.
You can’t sell a Timeshare. No way!
Beware of Companies that claim they can sell it easily for you to the Russian market. Of course you have to purchase something-or-other for a few more hundred pounds. Yeah, sure!
As I said above, Timeshares are wonderful for some people if they’re used properly.
Always buy a well-known name.
There are some very good British Timeshares. If you play golf, for instance, you might like to have Membership to one of the Stately Homes. You’re still entitled to exchange your week worldwide. And although you can only sleep there for your week, you can use the facilities any time.
Avoid the Reps like the Plague. And never never be talked into buying another week, or changing the one you already have.
You’ll hear of people with four or even more weeks that they’ve bought to rent out for ‘vast profits.’ They’re lumbered with the annual fees. Sometimes they just leave it to be repossessed.
I think Timeshares are great if you know what you’re buying and you use your week and the Timeshare system properly. You can literally stay anywhere in the world in luxury for a fixed price.
If you don’t want to go, you can rent it out privately. Or you can give that year’s week as a present for a birthday, or a honeymoon. And you can take guests with you free of charge. Most apartments can sleep six.
But a Timeshare is like a puppy. It’s for life.
We are now selling our Timeshare.
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