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Do I Need to Tour Before Buying a Timeshare?

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Posted on July 19, 2023

Buying a timeshare can be a significant decision for your future vacations, and like any major decision, it should be approached with care and diligence. A common question that prospective timeshare buyers often ask is whether they need to tour the resort before making the purchase. It is generally a wise decision to do so, however, this decision isn't solely a matter of 'yes' or 'no.' There are several reasons to consider.

Areas to Consider Before Touring a Timeshare Resort

Firstly, it's important to remember that to buy a timeshare isn't just a real estate purchase. You're not just buying a piece of property; you're buying into a vacation lifestyle. Thus, it's crucial to ensure that the resort fits your personal preferences, vacation style, and the needs of anyone else who'll be using the timeshare, such as family or friends.

Photos and descriptions can only communicate so much, and they can sometimes paint an overly flattering picture. Visiting the resort allows you to experience it firsthand, giving you a far more realistic understanding of what you're purchasing.

When you tour a resort, you can see the type and quality of accommodations available to you. You'll have the chance to explore the floor plans, assess the comfort and quality of the furniture, observe the view, and note the general condition of the buildings.

You can also get a feel for the staff's friendliness and professionalism, the quality of the on-site services, and the overall atmosphere of the resort.

You can also take note of the maintenance and cleanliness of the common areas, such as pools, fitness centers, restaurants, and lounges. These areas reflect the overall management of the resort and can significantly impact your vacation experience.

Moreover, the availability and condition of amenities such as spa services, golf courses, or water sport rentals could also be an essential factor for you.

Is the Location Right For You?

Another key aspect to consider is the resort's specific location and its surroundings. While you can do some research online about nearby attractions, amenities, and the general vibe of the area, there's nothing quite like experiencing it for yourself. You can explore the local community, try out restaurants, visit tourist attractions, and get a firsthand feel for the local culture.

There are further aspects that you could judge during a physical tour. For example, you could assess the noise levels in and around the property. If you're looking for peace and tranquility, a resort located next to a busy street or a noisy bar might not be ideal. Experiencing the noise levels for yourself is far more reliable than trusting a description or review.

Meet Other Timeshare Owners

Touring the resort also gives you the chance to speak with other timeshare owners. This can provide invaluable insights, as these individuals can share their experiences and possibly highlight any issues or concerns you should be aware of.

They may also provide you with information about how the resort handles maintenance, dispute resolution, and other important factors that could affect your decision.

Moreover, it provides an opportunity to view the demographics of the other guests. You may want to ensure the resort attracts like-minded vacationers, such as families, retirees, or adventure seekers, so your holidays align with your preferences.

Assess Any Customer Service and Accessibility Issues

couple with luggage arriving to tour a timeshare resort

Not only does a tour allow you to research the quality of the property itself, it also gives you a direct experience of the resort's customer service. The responsiveness of the staff, the check-in process, the efficiency of services, these are all vital aspects that could impact your overall experience every time you visit.

If you have specific requirements due to medical conditions or disabilities, touring the resort gives you the chance to evaluate if these needs can be adequately met. This can range from dietary options at the resort's restaurant to accessibility features in the accommodations and facilities.

Don’t Fall for High Pressure Sales Tactics

It's also important to be aware of the potential downsides to touring a resort before buying a timeshare. Timeshare presentations are known for being high-pressure sales situations, and you might find yourself agreeing to terms you're not entirely comfortable with because of the high-stress environment.

It's crucial to remain firm and to remember that you're under no obligation to buy, regardless of any pressure tactics the salespeople may use.

Sometimes timeshare companies offer incentives for you to take a tour, such as discounted accommodation or complimentary activities. These can provide a low-cost way to experience the resort and its surroundings while considering your decision.

Such incentives typically require you to take a tour of the resort, but don’t allow a supposed 90-minute tour to stretch into a four-hour stress test while the sales staff push to close a sale.

Always Keep Resales in Mind

Because the timeshare prices at the resort are marked up as much as 60 percent to cover marketing costs and sales commissions, it is vital to know the resale price of a timeshare at the resort before taking any tour.

Even if the sales staff start to drop the price to make a sale, it will still be higher than a price negotiated with an existing owner on the timeshare resale market.

While touring a resort can be an important step in deciding to buy a timeshare, it's not the only step you should take. It's also important to thoroughly research the timeshare company and the specifics of the contract, including maintenance fees and any other obligations you'll be taking on.

In some locations, touring the resort may not be feasible due to distance or other constraints. If this is the case, consider virtual tours or immersive experiences that can give you a sense of the resort, although they can't fully replace an in-person visit.

So, Should I Tour Before Buying a Timeshare?

While it's not essential to tour a resort before buying a timeshare, if you have never been to the resort before it's certainly recommended. It gives you a more comprehensive understanding of what you're buying into and allows you to make an informed decision based on your personal experience rather than relying solely on secondhand information.

Remember to couple the tour with thorough research and due diligence, and don't allow yourself to be pressured into making a purchase until you're entirely confident that it's the right decision for you.

Regardless of the potential benefits, approach these tours with a critical eye and do not let the excitement cloud your judgement. Keep your financial considerations and long-term vacation plans in mind. Also, remember that a timeshare is a commitment, and the decision should not be rushed.

If you cannot tour the resort in person, utilize all available resources like online reviews, virtual tours, or feedback from current timeshare owners to make an informed decision.

What If I’ve Already Been to the Resort and Want to Buy?

Many potential timeshare buyers hold their ground during a timeshare sales presentation and come back to the resale market to find a deal – saving thousands of dollars in the process.

If you have already experienced your favorite resort and are looking to buy a timeshare, use the search bar at the top of the page to enter in the name of the resort. Click onto the page link that the system suggests, then you’ll see the timeshares for sale for that resort. Just make an inquiry or an offer on the one you want to explore and begin the negotiation with the owner.

If you need more information about how to find the right timeshare for you, give our Customer Care team a call on 800-640-6886 or email us here and we’ll have a team member respond as soon as possible.


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Steve Luba - Chief Communications Officer


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