What do I Need to Know Before I Buy a Timeshare?

The decision to buy a timeshare should not be taken lightly. A timeshare is a partial ownership in a piece of property for a particular time of year. Although having a guaranteed place to vacation every year may be enjoyable, there are some factors that potential buyers should consider first. The ability to finance, trade, sell, and rent the timeshare property are among the chief considerations before the leap is made to buy a timeshare.

Typically, it all begins with a telephone call inviting a potential customer to listen to a particular resort's informational speech on purchasing a timeshare. They may lure the buyers into their offices or onto the resort property with prizes, such as flat screen televisions and restaurant gift certificates. Once there, the potential customers listen to a speech on the value of timeshares and the beauty of that particular piece of property. Next, a sales person sits down to speak one-on-one with the potential buyer.

Buying a timeshare is usually made relatively affordable. The company is usually able to offer creative financing opportunities for interested buyers, creating monthly or even weekly payments to make the deal happen. Before saying "yes," potential customers should consider whether the financing options are truly fair and whether they really do want to buy a timeshare. Sometimes it is easy to get pressured by the sales person and wrapped up in the idea of taking a vacation every year.

One of the things that many people like about a timeshare is the ability to trade the property with other timeshare owners at other resorts at different times of year. Consequently, before making the decision to buy a timeshare, it is important to ask to see the catalog of related-properties. The catalog will list all the properties that can be traded for the one the potential customer is considering buying.

Potential buyers must remember that even though a particular property is listed in the catalog, there may not be another timeshare owner who wants to trade their property during a particular week. For example, a particular resort in Florida may not have any timeshares available during the second week of March, but there may be plenty of property available for trade during the second week of July at the same resort. In addition, there may not be a catalog at all. If no catalog is available, it buyer may be locked into returning to the same property year after year.

Next, the timeshare sales person may indicate that timeshares are easy to sell. The reality is that they can be quite difficult to sell, especially if the area becomes less inviting. For example, a timeshare for a Florida condominium may be a great idea, until a hurricane hits the condominium and tears the roof off. In that case, the timeshare owner, who is a property owner, may be responsible for paying for a portion of a new roof. As a result, it may be extremely difficult to sell that timeshare, particular if the area is prone to hurricanes.

Lastly, it is important to check into the legal agreement between the timeshare resort and the property owner. Sometimes the agreements are quite specific as to whether the property can be rented. If renting is not allowable, then it may not be a good idea to buy a timeshare, especially if the potential buyer believes there will be some years where she will not use the timeshare at all.


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