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Questions to Ask Before Buying a Timeshare

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Posted on April 10, 2023

Tips from Timeshare Owners About the Best Questions to Ask

Timeshares have long been a popular choice for vacationers who want to have a guaranteed vacation spot every year. However, buying a timeshare can be a complex decision that requires careful consideration. There are many factors to consider before making such a significant decision, and asking the right questions is crucial to understanding the full scope of enjoying your timeshare.

Here are some essential questions to ask before buying a timeshare:

What are the upfront costs?

If you are buying through a resort, almost all timeshare companies require a significant upfront fee to secure your ownership so it's important to understand what those costs are before committing. Be sure to know the questions to ask at a timeshare presentation about any deposits, down payments, or other upfront costs associated with purchasing a timeshare.

The upfront costs of buying on the resale market are significantly discounted, as much as 60 percent compared to resort prices, because there are no resort sales commissions or marketing costs baked into the timeshare price. Most timeshare resales don’t incur financing, so there wouldn’t be a down payment but there would be a deposit to be paid by the buyer as well as closing costs.

What are the total costs of ownership?

Before buying a timeshare, it's essential to understand the total costs involved in ownership. In addition to the purchase price, there are annual maintenance fees to consider, which include items such as property taxes and the cost of upkeep of the resort. These costs can add up quickly, so it's crucial to factor them into your budget when deciding if a timeshare is right for you.

What are the benefits of owning a timeshare?

Owning a timeshare comes with certain advantages, such as a guaranteed vacation spot each year and the ability to exchange your timeshare for other locations. It's important to know what these benefits are and how they fit into your vacation plans. Especially when buying timeshare points, since points can expand vacation options beyond your resort and even allow for multiple, shorter stay getaways compared to a full week of vacation time.

What are the potential downsides of owning a timeshare?

While owning a timeshare can be great, there are also potential drawbacks to consider. For example, if your lifestyle changes and you're no longer able to vacation during the timeshare's designated week, you may need to sell or rent out the unit. It's essential to consider all potential drawbacks and weigh them against the benefits before making a decision.

Can you afford the continuing costs?

As mentioned earlier, there are ongoing costs related to timeshare ownership, so consider whether you can afford these costs over the long term, especially if your financial situation changes. Cost such as annual maintenance fees rise nearly every year, but so do hotel costs so it is more a question of whether you can afford to take an annual vacation rather than an issue about the specific timeshare ownership.

How does timeshare exchange work?

One of the true benefits of having a timeshare is the ability to exchange your unit for a resort stay at other locations around the world. However, it's essential to understand how the exchange system works and what fees are associated with it.

Some timeshare companies have their own exchange programs, while others partner with external exchange companies such as RCI or Interval International. Others like 7Across, are exchange services open to owners regardless of resort affiliation.

Owners would deposit the use of their timeshare into the exchange company system and choose a different resort of corresponding rating according to the company’s rating system. There are upgraded levels of membership but all exchanges incur a fee, so it is important to ask since some owners just use their exchange benefits without even staying in their resort.

How flexible is the timeshare's reservation system?

Different timeshare companies have different booking systems, so one of the important timeshare questions to ask is how flexible their systems are. Some timeshares may allow you to reserve your week at any time during the year, while others may have strict reservation windows. This is an extremely important area for points owners, since booking windows vary depending on whether your points are deeded to a specific resort.

What are the timeshare's occupancy rules?

Some timeshares have occupancy rules that restrict how many people can stay in the unit or the ages of the guests, such as setting a minimum age that someone can book a stay without parental supervision. It's important to know these rules before purchasing a timeshare to ensure they align with your vacation plans.

What amenities does the timeshare offer?

Timeshares often come with a range of amenities, such as swimming pools, health spas, bars, restaurants, waterparks, children’s programs and fitness centers. When developing a list of timeshare questions to ask, find out what amenities are included and whether they meet your vacation needs.

What is the timeshare's rental policy?

If you are not able to use your timeshare in a given year, you may want to rent it out. However, not all timeshare ownership contracts allow for rentals, and those that do may have restrictions on how often you can rent out your unit. It's essential to understand the rental policy before purchasing a timeshare.

What is the cancellation policy?

Before committing to a timeshare, make sure you have all of the details of the cancellation policy. Buying a timeshare through the resort or timeshare company comes with a cooling off period, which is usually 3-10 days from the date of purchase. The cancellation window, otherwise known as the recission period, is different according to laws of the state in which the contract is signed, so it's essential to know how much time you have to cancel your contract and whether there are any fees associated with cancellation.

What happens if you want to sell your timeshare?

If your lifestyle changes and you are no longer able to use your timeshare, you will want to sell it. However, understand that you may not be able to recoup your initial purchase price since timeshares are a lifestyle investment and not a financial investment. It's essential to understand the potential resale value of your timeshare and the process to sell a timeshare.

Know What Questions to Ask When Buying a Timeshare

Buying a timeshare can be a big decision, and it's crucial to know the questions to ask before buying a timeshare. Understanding the total costs of ownership, the benefits, exchange and cancellation policies, resale options, and rental opportunities is important so you can enjoy the full experience of timeshare ownership. With this information, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision about whether a timeshare is right for you.

The staff at BuyaTimeshare.com is committed to working with sellers to help them sell their timeshare and answer the questions buyers may have before taking the next step. You can always call us on 800-640-6886 to get the answers you need.

Ready to buy? Browse timeshares for sale here.


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Steve Luba - Chief Communications Officer


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