Vacation Property vs. Time Share

Owning vacation property or a time share depends on long-term goals.
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Whether you'd rather buy vacation property or purchase a time share depends on your purpose and the costs you have in mind. A vacation home requires the same responsibilities as owning a home. You can party there whenever you want, but you also need to consider insurance, utilities and property tax as well as upkeep and maintenance. A time share has limits to when you can use it and may even decrease in value, but you share costs and maintenance with others.

Your Place

Owning vacation property allows you to relax in your own home. You can stay there as long as you want without the hassles of checking out at a certain time, as you have with a time share. You probably want to use your vacation home as a place to escape at times of your own choosing. Your and your friends can party it up late into the night, and you don't have to worry about neighbors in the place next door. And it's all yours -- you don't have to share it with many other owners. You can even consider it as a place to retire sometime in the future.

Second Home Issues

A potential downside is that you must take care of any bills and repairs that are needed periodically. Because it is vacation property, you might not be there when something goes wrong and walk into an unpleasant surprise if, for example, the plumbing, air conditioning or heating system has gone kaput. That means more money on top of the money you already spend on your primary home. Consider a vacation property similar to buying a home, a long-term investment. You should not rush into buying a vacation property anymore than you would make a home purchase on impulse.

Time Share Costs

You own a time share for a limited period of use, usually a week, each year, although you have a deed and own a particular unit for a specific time of the year. You pay property tax, insurance, a title and title insurance at the closing. Although you don’t have to worry about actual maintenance, you do have to pay significant annual management and maintenance fees as part owner of the time share unit. At times, special maintenance is needed because of damage from natural events such as hurricanes, beach erosion and other problems. These fees are tacked onto your annual maintenance fee.

How Time Shares Operate

Time shares work for you if you know when you take a vacation each year. Although you pay maintenance fees, you don’t have to worry about having the work done yourself. When you use your time share, it’s clean and ready for your time there. You don’t necessarily have to use the same time share each year. You can trade your time share and use someone else’s throughout the country or world. Trading organizations that manage time share trades require fees. You might find a time share similar to yours somewhere else, and you could even get lucky and stay in a better one that’s more expensive. Another issue to consider: Selling a time share can be difficult. Time shares can drop in value and may be worth far less than when you bought yours.

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