4 Things You Must Know Before You Buy a Timeshare

If you're thinking of buying a timeshare, there are 4 things you must know before you make that purchase. Timeshares are a good product, but unfortunately are often associated with questionable marketing practices that can create an atmosphere of ill-will. The good news is that over 7 million people own timeshares world-wide, and many more rent a timeshare for their vacation. So, if you are ready to become a timeshare owner, read on:
  1. Learn What a Timeshare is Exactly
    A timeshare is property, most often a condominium type unit, with shared ownership. It is in a resort generally in or near a popular vacation destination such as a beach, theme park or ski area. The resort maintains the property for all of its owners and each owner is charged an annual maintenance fee. If your timeshare purchase is a deeded contract, those fees will probably include your property taxes.

  2. A Timeshare is NOT an Investment
    You'll be way ahead of the sales pitch game if you understand up front that ownership of a timeshare is not investment in real estate. Timeshares do not appreciate like other real estate and should not be considered a money-making investment. Instead, it's better to look at the cost as an investment in vacation planning. Owning a timeshare allows you to pre-plan your vacation each year knowing exactly where and exactly when you'll be going. Think of it as not owning property but owning the right to use the property for a particular block of time.

  3. Beware Buying a Timeshare on Vacation
    Marketing professionals understand that you can be vulnerable to a sales pitch when you are on vacation. Relaxing away from your normal routine and the stress of daily life you can be susceptible to the idea of "owning" more easily. If you choose to attend a timeshare presentation while on vacation, promise yourself you will not sign on the dotted line until you are back home where you can think more clearly. Regardless of the pressure you might receive to Buy Now ("this incredible price is good only for today"). The resort will not turn down a sale at another time.

  4. Buying from the Developer vs. a Timeshare Resale
    When you attend a timeshare sales presentation you are being encouraged to buy a timeshare unit by a developer or a resort. Be aware that as much as 50% of the up-front cost of that timeshare goes toward covering their marketing costs, sales commissions, etc. When buying a timeshare resale you are saving most of that money by purchasing directly from the owner. Some timeshare owners may even sell the property at $0 and all you do is take over the monthly maintenance fees. If you are planning on attending a sales presentation, do some online research first and go in armed with numbers of what the cost of a timeshare re-sale unit in that resort would be.
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