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What Should I Consider Before Buying Timeshares?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2018
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Buying timeshares is incredibly easy in some respects and more challenging to do properly in others. In many instances people are buying the right to use a property for a specific time each year, and the market is literally flooded with timeshare sales. This should say something to people when they are considering buying timeshares. While many people love this way of prearranging a place to stay during vacations, others are anxious to get rid of any timeshares they purchased, and that suggests a high degree of dissatisfaction with purchase (in addition to things like financial need) that needs to be taken into account. It’s recommended that people think long and hard before they make a purchase of a timeshare.

Some things to consider include the actual vacation spot. While sometimes people can trade timeshare locations with others, it’s perhaps a good idea not to bank on timeshare exchanges when first buying rights to use property. If the location isn’t wonderful, or isn’t affordable to get to every year for that one week or more, why commit money and time to buying timeshares in that location? It may perhaps be better to bank the money and find a better location instead, or just use the money for vacation savings.

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Cost is obviously a factor when buying timeshares. People should do some looking here and not get pushed into a purchase with what are sometimes aggressive sales tactics. In fact, many people recommend that a buyer go through a normal real estate agent instead of buying directly from timeshare representatives. Real estate agents can investigate sales of used timeshares, which may be a lot cheaper, and they can verify if they have experience purchasing or selling timeshares, whether sales completely transfer full rights into the new owner’s hands. Some don’t, or sometimes a previous owner hasn’t paid maintenance fees and this could potentially void any contracts. Using an agent may also protect the buyer in case of problems occurring after the sale and open the way for a buyer to have his money returned.

Another thing that occasionally is left out of the equation when people are buying timeshares is how much maintenance fees will cost. These can be very pricey and might be in the nature of a monthly fee. While initially the purchase of a timeshare could seem inexpensive, people should judge costs based on these additional fees, and the travel costs to get to their timeshare location each year. If money is an issue, these numbers will generally suggest whether a timeshare represent savings or affordability.

Many timeshares are sold on the basis of potential economic benefit in the future, but most timeshares lose and don’t gain value. People may want to always consider this purchase not as a real estate investment. Instead it’s better to think of it as a vacation that is pre-planned and prepaid. Those wanting to cash in on real estate might want to look at more traditional sources like the purchase of homes in their town or a vacation home.

The last thing that should be considered is the actual quality of the timeshare. People should see the whole timeshare facility and sample units before they sign on the dotted line, and they should look at other nearby facilities to make comparisons. Pictures can be deceptive, and getting a firsthand look at several places makes more sense. Do be aware though, that offers to go on near free vacations while attending a seminar on buying timeshares is an often used marketing tool. Expect a fairly aggressive sales pitch when taking advantage of one of these “free” offers.

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