A timeshare is a residential property in which vacationers can purchase partial ownership, entitling them to use of the property during a set period of the year. Timeshare vacations can be an excellent investment for people who enjoy vacationing in the same spot each year, but they do come with potential risks. Before investing in timeshare vacations, buyers should be aware of any potential hidden fees or liability to the property.
Typically, timeshare properties are condominiums, apartments, or cabins offered at popular destinations. For people who do not wish to deal with finding and booking hotels and prefer a sense of comfort and familiarity while on vacation, owning a timeshare property can considerable ease the stress of vacation planning. Most timeshares sell packages that give buyers one to two weeks in the property either for a set number of years or permanently.
One major factor to consider before taking timeshare vacations is the flexibility of travel dates. Many timeshare schemes set the dates of residence at purchase, meaning that the buyer must vacation during a time chosen by the timeshare company. Other timeshares allow a flexible schedule that sets vacation dates at the beginning of each calendar year based on buyer requests. In both cases, buyers will need to have a reasonably flexible workplace that will allow them to set vacation time well in advance.
Most timeshare properties require owners to contribute toward maintenance and upkeep of the property. This can include money for furnishings, maid service, and condo or property fees. Buyers must be sure to read the fine print of all timeshare agreements with extreme care; in many cases, the upfront fee represents only a fraction of what will be paid in annual dues and fees. Consider having a trusted real estate agent or lawyer examine the agreement before settling on timeshare vacations.
Although comfort and reliability are important factors in timeshare vacations, many properties allow renters to switch vacations with other timeshare owners in different locations. If a buyer owns a timeshare on a tropical island, for instance, he may decide to swap his vacation week for one in a snowy mountain chalet timeshare. Be aware that renting or swapping timeshares can increase liability for timeshare owners. In many cases, the owner is still responsible for the maintenance and any damages to his original property.
Timeshare vacations can be a great deal, but can also be terrible scams with hidden fees, requirements, and constant pestering by timeshare company employees. Some companies may require potential buyers to sit through various presentations on properties that give misleading or downright false information about price, unit condition, and legal liability. Timeshare salespeople tend to work on commission and are considered by many to be extremely pushy and manipulative. It is wise to take time to read over any agreements before signing, regardless of the pressure put on by salespeople. If they are unwilling to give a buyer adequate time to read over contracts, it may be because they have something to hide.