For many, a timeshare can seem like the perfect way to vacation on a regular basis without incurring the expense and hassle of a dedicated vacation home. And if you and your loved ones are Disney aficionados, purchasing a Disney timeshare can seem the best option to avoid peak pricing and lack of available hotel rooms. But because timeshares can require a significant commitment—in that selling a timeshare is often easier said than done—there are a few factors you'll want to consider before you purchase your Disney timeshare.
1. Will You Use it Consistently in the Future?
If you have young children who love Disney, it's important to note that they may outgrow this love in the near future and want to vacation in other locations. Unless other members of your family are likely to take advantage of your timeshare or you're interested in renting it out (and this rental is permitted under your timeshare contract), you'll want to take future use into account.
Some Disney timeshares are more flexible than others. If you're purchasing from a timeshare company that has shares in all 50 states, the likelihood is far higher than you'll be able to trade or redeem your points for other properties during "off" years rather than spend every vacation at Disney World or Disneyland.
2. What are the Terms and Conditions?
As with any real estate contract, the fine print can be crucial. You'll want to know the ongoing costs you'll be assessed—timeshares are rarely a one-time purchase, and you may be charged membership fees on an annual basis. You'll also want to learn more about the flexibility that will be afforded when it comes to declining to use your timeshare in a certain span of time, subletting your timeshare to guests, or purchasing additional vacation time. By having all this information at the ready before you sign a contract, you'll have the knowledge you need to make future vacationing decisions or determine how to deduct timeshare costs on your income tax return.
3. What Happens if I No Longer Need a Timeshare?
Selling a timeshare can often be more complex than selling a house, so it's good to make yourself aware of how this process works before you find yourself trying to offload a timeshare you no longer use. Some timeshare companies host websites that allow users to buy, sell, or trade timeshares, while others may have dedicated buy-back periods during which you can return your timeshare to the issuing company. But while a timeshare may be valuable to you and can help you save tens of thousands of dollars in hotel fees over the course of a decade or two, you'll want to avoid entering this transaction thinking that this investment will appreciate in value over time.