My Parents Bought a Timeshare – Help!

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Last week I got an exciting call from my parents: “You’ll never believe it Jen, we bought a timeshare through RCI!” They probably were a little surprised when my excitement was not there and I instead responded with concern: “You did whaaaaatttt… Without consulting me! Why did you do this!” They went on and on how they got a good deal, blah blah blah blah. Oh, and I was even told, “You and your siblings will inherit it one day!”. Great, just what I wanted! My mom explained the program to me, I did a lot of research, and it actually might not be the worst deal of the century for them. For them that is.

I’ve been on a good number of timeshare previews (simply for the amazing hotel package offer), I have never once been tempted to purchase a timeshare. But I do understand how they work in general – although I have limited knowledge of RCI in particular. For me, a timeshare is not worth it at all. I am able to chase good hotel deals. I am able to accrue a ton of points and miles. And with a daughter starting Kindergarten next year, I unfortunately will not have a ton of flexibility for when I can take family trips. And with two young kids, last minute travel just isn’t in the cards for me – right now at least.

My parents, on the other hand, have their own businesses and will most likely be retired in the near future. They have a ton of flexibility. They can go somewhere almost whenever they want, even with a few days notice. And they are also able to plan a year in advance. They don’t particularly care where they go and are open to new places as long as the price is right. And this will definitely put the fire under their a$$ to get them to travel more, which I am particularly happy about.

My parents still need a lot of hand holding with travel plans and I definitely serve as their personal travel agent. So if you have an RCI timeshare, I welcome any and all tips and tricks! What are some awesome properties you’d recommend? Beach destinations are definitely a big hit with my parents! When is the best time to do book?

So time will tell whether or not purchasing this timeshare was a good deal or not.

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  1. I own several investment properties that I rent out via luxury short-term rentals (Airbnb, VRBO, etc). I’ve looked at several time share type opportunities and at least for me they never made sense. I do have friends that are a part of Marriott time share and they seem to like it. They go back to the same place every year and on years they don’t they can use “points” to go to other places. But for me I can either use points to stay at other places, or more times than not, I just list my properties on and I swap one of my places for really high end places around the world.

    I’ve done over 50 home exchanges over the past decade and it works out well. I’d never get a timeshare. I hope it works out well for your parents.

    • Congratulations Earl. You got the system down. I also would never buy a time share because they can be impossible to get out of.

  2. Timeshares can be worthwhile. The trick is to buy a timeshare in a “high-value” destination. That’s a place with not many timeshares, where many people want to travel. Places like New York, San Francisco, London, etc. Then your timeshare can be traded for almost any other destination. The problem is that most people buy timeshares in Mexico, Hawaii, the south coast of Spain, etc., which have a lot of timeshares and not horribly high demand. So, their timeshare often does not trade for most places within the RCI system where you would want to go, and the ever-increasing annual fees cannot be escaped. This then makes them targets for the sham “escape your timeshare” organizations that promise to get you out, while charging you thousands of dollars, most of which don’t really do anything. And resale timeshares don’t have much value. You often see them listed for sale on ebay for a dollar.
    The one thing you don’t have to worry about is inheriting it. If you don’t accept it, then you do not get on the hook for the fees, and you don’t have to take it.

    • @Steve – they bought guy in cape cod where there aren’t a ton of timeshare properties. And is a peak time during the summer. They never plan on using it in the cape since they own a house there and just interested to use it for trading.

      • Go on the resale website especially TUG2. See what units like your parents are selling for. If it’s way less they should rescind.

        Rare a timeshare imho retail price is worth it. That’s why they are so much lower third party.

  3. So sorry that your parents got the timeshare. It can be great in the beginning, but the annual fees will never stop and they will increase as time goes by.
    If your parents ever reach a stage where they don’t want to or can’t travel so much, that is when the annual fees can start getting painful. And good luck trying to get out of the timeshare, the internet is filled with millions of horror stories of people trying to get out of their time share. Also, just because RC is managing a timeshare today does not mean they will manage it for eternity. Also, in due time the building will get old – guess who is going to pay to refurbish/remodel/or rebuild the building?

  4. First i’ve heard of RCI owning timeshare resorts. They are best known for being a clearinghouse for owners wanting to exchange a week. Did they purchase from the developer (unfortunate in my opinion) or on the secondary market (much better pricing). My favorite site for renting or purchasing the weeks of owners is

  5. I’m a probate attorney in Florida. The cost to be probate a Timeshare and pass it to the heirs in Florida is cost prohibitive for most families. It is also an expensive tax nightmare if the timeshare was purchased with financing and your parents want out of it before paying it off. If your parents leave it to you in the estate and you don’t want it, your own credit may also take a hit if you deed it back to the timeshare company.

    I’ve handled all three situations and seen more than my fair share of problems to know that they are bad investments for the “average” person.

    How else do you think they can afford to give away all of those perks with the free preview weekends?

    • @Jeff – thanks for the info! They bought it out right so no financing. So when someone inherits it is, can the person who receives it chose not to take it on?

  6. A few things:

    Check out Timeshare Users Group ( to see if they got a good deal on their purchase. If not and it’s not too late to rescind the purchase, please have them do so.

    Also, RCI is an exchange company that many timeshares are affiliated with. It’s my understanding that they don’t sell timeshares directly.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    • @K Johnson – thanks for the info! Yes, you are correct, they bought at a timeshare property that is affiliated with RCI.

  7. My aunt and uncle tried to sell their RIC timeshare for a long time–at least a few years, I think–and eventually had to pay someone to take it off their hands. There are annual fees, even if you’ve bought it outright, and the fees became too expensive for them. It was painful for them to have to pay someone to take something they had put so much money into.

  8. My wife and I purchased our timeshare in 2009 and never looked back. We have been using it at least twice a year and even for family members. What makes this so good is that the hobby we are in just gives us great deals on our airfare. If you are retired or very flexible you can get great deals under 30 days notice. RCI discounts the price on a lot of properties under 30 days. I have spent hours on end figuring the ins and outs of using our points and couldn’t be happier. We have stayed at quite a few different resorts but still like ours the best. If they need any advice I would be happy to talk to them. The problem with timeshares is that people either don’t use them or spend the time to figure it all out.

  9. You usually have 72 hours to cancel your purchase. Make sure that you do it in person or certified mail. I researched 1 property on Maui and 1 on Kauai and purchased both on ebay. Five years later I sold both timeshares within a week on ebay. Join TUG2 to learn all about properties that you may want to own. Loved going to Pono Kai & Kahana Beach Resort but decided to move to Florida,

  10. Im very happy being a timeshare owner. Im in the points system with HICV at their top level and can travel to any of their 26 resorts and if I want trade into RCI. My family can vacation numerous times a year and I can rent the half my points to cover maintenance fees. Other then the initial cost of purchasing I have been traveling cost free for the past few years.

  11. I own with Wyndham which gives me access to RCI. I don’t use them as much as I should. However, right now, it is serving me well since I had to shut off my water to the house due to a burst pipe. I now have a place to shower, do laundry, and, of course, the two numbers. I don’t own there but the Wyndham is just a couple of miles from my home and surprisingly they have availability for a couple of weeks in a row. A great use of my points with my only out of pocket expense being the parking which I may get reimbursed from my homeowners insurance.

    I don’t have to use my hotel points or search for a laundry mat or eat out every night.

    I have stayed at great RCI timeshares in Australia and Spain and many Wyndhams around the U.S.A.

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