Rather than booking a hotel room, some vacationers plan their destination based on the location of their timeshare. A timeshare is a unit in a vacation property that you purchase the right to use each year.
Each year, you pay for the right to use the timeshare, regardless of whether or not you take a vacation.
Depending on your contract, you may own the timeshare for a specified number of years or for the rest of your life. Some contracts allow you to trade your timeshare so you can visit a variety of destinations.
The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips before you buy a timeshare:
- Be careful of high pressure sales tactics and incentives. Some resorts give you a free night’s stay at their resort or other special offers if you agree to listen to a presentation. Sales personnel at the vacation property may create a sense of urgency or tell you the deal is temporary.
- Take time to consider the costs and do some research. Remember this is buying real property, like your home.
- Ask questions about the property. Talk to current timeshare owners, and investigate complaints with the state’s attorney general and Better Business Bureau.
- Review the contract away from the property, and have the contracts reviewed by someone who is familiar with contracts and real estate law.
- Make sure the written contract includes any verbal promises and benefits.
- Consider the total cost of the timeshare, including the mortgage, interest, property taxes, and maintenance fees, which typically increase every year.
- Ask about your ability to cancel the contract. Most states allow you to cancel the contract within a certain time period. This may be spelled out in the contract. If you decide to cancel the contract, do it in writing, via certified mail and return receipt.