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Buying Timeshares: What You Need to Know

August 28, 2018 | By Louis Tully

We could all use a vacation every once in a while, and timeshares seem to be the perfect fit for those planning to escape to paradise annually like clockwork. Though timeshares have seen a lot of growth and popularity over the years, there’s still some strings attached that might make you reconsider investing in an out-of-town retreat property. If you’ve ever needed an installment loan to bounce back from a financial emergency, you may want to consider the following factors before investing in a timeshare property.

Different Types of Timeshares

Timeshares and how they work vary depending on what kind you buy into. Some timeshares, for example, offer a certain period of time to which you could stay at the property. Generally, it’s the same week every year. You’ll have that week locked in no matter what, so you can plan your vacation without worrying about booking a place in time. Other timeshares, however, may allow you the freedom to reserve your place at any time of year, but the problem here is you may find yourself competing for available weeks with other shareholders. No matter what timeshare you invest in, you won’t have complete freedom to go there whenever you want. There are rules to follow since you’re sharing with others.

Looking at Cost

According to this year’s State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry report, the average price point for a timeshare property is well over $20,000. To some, that’s a bill that’s well worth paying to have your own private vacation home waiting for you year after year. But for others, $20,000 just isn’t worth the privacy. If you think about it, timeshares can be a good deal for those who are already vacationing several times a year in the first place. If you’re used to putting up cash for week-long hotel stays year after year, that cost can get overbearingly high down the road. These individuals may benefit from the one-time cost for a permeant place to vacation for years to come. But let’s face it, this doesn’t describe the majority. Most of us would rather find a cheaper way to relax.

Beware of Fees

It’s always important to keep in mind the other costs that come with owning a timeshare. Maintenance fees alone average $980, not to mention other fees (depending on location) such as transfer fees, recording fees and even assessment fees in the case when major repairs need to be done. All of this could easily add up to thousands of dollars on top of what you already paid. You may also be required to pay part of the property taxes too since you would be part owner of the property. Consider these extra expenses before acting on a timeshare purchase.

Avoid the Scams

As always, anytime you’re considering a big purchase like this, it’s wise to be cautious. Hidden scams are everywhere and timeshare scams in particular are very common. Several companies may promise a timeshare that sounds too good to be true – and more often than not, they are. Before investing in a timeshare property, do your homework. Research the company you’re interested in buying from and check their customer reviews. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start your research. Take your time and always consider alternative options. You never know what better offers you’ll find.

Overall, if you’re struggling financially in this period of your life, it may be wise to hold off on such a big purchase altogether; at least for now. But don’t stress! There are always more affordable ways to find the rest and relaxation you crave.