An educated consumer is a better consumer. Get an “A” in timeshare ownership with our handy guide.
Before school starts, it’s always good to review (everything). Since timeshares are such a complex subject, consumers like you have even more homework than ever. Whether you’re considering timeshare ownership, looking to maximize your timeshare experience or want to get out of your timeshare contract, you’ve come to the right place.
Buying a Timeshare
Sales presentations are the entry point to timeshare ownership for many consumers. However, these presentations are known for their high-pressure tactics and misleading pitches. Before you attend a sales presentation, consider these tips:
- Be ready for their tactics. Read up on them here.
- Don’t take the first offer. There’s always a lower one waiting!
- Get everything in writing.
- Read the contract BEFORE you sign.
- Bring your own snacks! Presentations can go on and on. Don’t make a big financial decision on an empty stomach.
- Once you’ve signed your contract, you have a window of time during which you can cancel your contract for any reason. This rescission period varies by state. For a full listing by states, click here.
Maintenance Fees & Special Assessments
Don’t be fooled into thinking that once your timeshare is paid off that you’re just getting a “free” vacation house. Timeshare ownership comes with constant maintenance fees. These fees cover the general upkeep and maintenance of the property and the resort. In 2017, the average annual maintenance fees were $980. Fees tend to increase over time and are your responsibility whether you use your property that year or not.
Sometimes a resort or HOA may levy a special assessment for its timeshare owners. Such assessments are typically a result of damage or a natural disaster. These special assessments can be very costly and are also unpredictable. But you still have to pay them.
Keep these lessons in mind:
- Don’t fall behind on your payments. Your resort can send you to collections, which damages your credit.
- If you do fall behind on your payments, you may not be able to use your timeshare until they are paid.
- Talk to your resort BEFORE you fall behind. They may have options or payment plans that can help.
Selling Your Timeshare
If you’ve outgrown timeshare ownership, you may consider selling your timeshare. Many people find that over time, timeshares no longer fit into their lives or budget. Whether this is because of health issues or changing financial circumstances, selling your timeshare can be an option. However, it’s not likely to be a money-maker for you. In fact, most timeshares sell at prices well below what the owner initially paid. Timeshares are notoriously sold on eBay for $1. And for good reason. A timeshare is not a financial investment. In fact, when you consider maintenance fees and special assessments, many consider their timeshares to be obligations.
If you decide to sell, don’t forget these key lessons:
- Be ready to sell for less than you paid. You won’t recoup your money but you will be free of your timeshare.
- Talk to your resort before you sell to make sure you’re compliant with all of their policies.
- Do NOT fall for a resale scam. If anyone contacts you with a “buyer” for your timeshare if you pay an upfront fee, hang up.
If you are ready to end your timeshare ownership and are unable to sell, timeshare cancellation may be your best choice. Timeshare cancellation is the process of getting out of your contract. Unfortunately, your resort doesn’t want to let you go. But a timeshare cancellation partner may be able to help you.
When looking for a partner, seek the following:
- A free, transparent consultation
- Money-back guarantee
- A commitment to customer service—not a commitment to a resort!
- High marks from the Business Consumer Alliance
- Good reviews on Google