If you’re considering joining one of the 9 million timeshare owners across the United States, congratulations! Buying a timeshare property can be a lucrative vacation investment you and your family may enjoy for generations to come. With a timeshare, you will be able to travel to the world.
Whether you prefer to visit the same beachside resort year after year or explore a new country and culture, timeshare properties can make that happen. But what do you need to know in order to buy a timeshare?
What does the process of buying a timeshare entail? And, are all timeshares the same? Read on to learn everything you need to know before making this big investment and commitment.
What Is a Timeshare?
Before investing in a timeshare, it is important to have a basic understanding of this type of vacation rental and ownership. Timeshares are types of partial, limited, or fractional ownership. That means buyers purchase a timeshare at a set initial cost.
In exchange, they receive partial ownership of the property. That typically allows for set periods per year where owners use the timeshare rental or property for vacation. While each timeshare policy differs, most owners receive one week per year.
While the buy-in may be high, buyers receive a guaranteed vacation spot for the rest of their lives or until they decide to trade or sell the timeshare. If you want to know more about this process, you can learn about a timeshare deed.
Types of Timeshares
Have you ever questioned, should I buy a timeshare? You should also ask yourself what type of timeshare you should purchase. In order to make the best purchase and investment, you need to understand the timeshare availabilities and differences in the market.
Chain or Branded Timeshares
Many of the world’s largest hotel chains offer timeshare options through branded resort properties across the globe. Timeshare buyers could benefit from these properties because they are dependable hotel brands and chains they know and can trust. This historic legacy allows buyers to feel more confident in their investments.
Buyers also have a more extensive list of properties to choose from. So, whether you prefer beachside vacations or city properties, chain timeshares offer the variety for any travel style.
If you prefer smaller and independently owned properties, individual timeshares may be the way to go. These types of timeshares are perfect for buyers who prefer routine and like returning to the same property year after year. Individually owned properties may be standard hotel rooms, villas, or furnished apartments with kitchens.
Fixed Week or Floating Week Options
Regardless of which type of timeshare you purchase, owners typically have access to one-week usage allotments. That means per calendar year or per travel period, you can visit and stay in your timeshare for 7 nights. A fixed week timeshare allows for one specific week per period.
So, for example, the first week in July would be your allotment. Floating week options allow buyers more flexibility. You may stay at your timeshare for one week in the summer or the following year, you may choose a winter period.
But, beware of specific stipulations or black-out periods. Timeshares tend to book up around hectic travel periods like the holidays or summer vacation. So if you have a more limiting travel schedule, make sure the date allotment works for your needs.
All timeshares, in some capacity, are examples of fractional ownership. This is the basic structure of timeshare selling and buying that allows you to own a part or piece of a vacation rental.
With that partial ownership, you have access to the resort or property and all amenities during your specific time period. And remember, that access lasts the duration of your life!
How to Buy a Timeshare
So, you are sold on the benefits of owning a timeshare and are ready to make the investment. But, you still may be wondering, how can I buy a timeshare? Let’s guide you through the purchasing process.
Research Timeshare Options
Now that you understand the different types of timeshares, you can start your research process. You can search for available timeshares online or visit your local travel agency and inquire in person. Many timeshare companies may want to set up an in-person meeting or speak over the phone.
This can take time and effort. Be sure to prepare for these meetings by outlining your questions ahead of time. Always ask for the agent’s name or contact information so you have a reference point to manage any follow-up calls or questions.
Consider Timeshare Resales
Resales are timeshares that an owner has decided to sell. Depending on the quality of the timeshare, you can snag a deal for less than an originally priced option. For budget buyers, a timeshare resale could be just the opportunity to get your foot in the door.
However, beware of sellers. Do your due diligence to ensure the property in question is legitimate and appears as advertised. Always consult the timeshare property to cross-check ownership and thoroughly review all contracts.
Select a Timeshare That Suits Your Interests and Schedule
When selecting a timeshare, you need to think about the present moment and future. After all, timeshares are often considered lifelong commitments. Of course, you may have the opportunity to trade or sell your timeshare purchase down the line.
But, consider this a long-term investment you wish to hold onto. The present purchasing decision and future changes should influence which timeshare you buy. For example, you may have teenagers who are in school right now.
But in a few years, they may be off in university or living on their own. Therefore, you won’t be beholden to their schedule or routine. In turn, you can choose a timeshare that offers fixed weeks throughout different months or even explore timeshares in unique locales like European cities or romantic islands.
Plan for the Future
Choose a timeshare that will suit your needs as time goes on. This will become your ultimate vacation destination for years to come, so choose wisely!
Consider your interests and vacation goals. For example, a large branded timeshare resort may offer more variety and activities. While an independently owned villa may be secluded and lack nightlife.
Review Timeshare Contract
Once you have settled on the timeshare of your dreams, thoroughly review the contract. If you struggle to understand certain clauses or have questions, you may benefit from hiring an attorney or legal professional to walk you through this process. Timeshares are lifelong commitments.
Your upfront sum pays for your future vacations. So it is important to understand your rights, accessibility to use the timeshare, and an exit plan in case you need to sell.
Before purchasing your contract, it is important to consider additional travel expenses. For example, what are the airplane fares or fuel costs you will incur to travel to your timeshare? Does the timeshare have a kitchen where you can cook and save money on meals?
Will you need to rent a car every time you visit the timeshare? These extras can drive up your trip budget.
Consider all of these additional expenses before purchasing a timeshare. This will save your wallet later down the line.
Make an Offer and Negotiate
Timeshare prices are not set in stone. Depending on the timeshare company, resale site, or seller, you can make an offer and negotiate to find the price you are comfortable with.
Do your research to gather property comparables and understand the average costs in the region. This will ensure you get the best deal possible and don’t overpay.
Sign and Purchase
If you feel confident in your timeshare decision and understand the contract, sign and purchase! It’s time to celebrate this milestone. Timeshares require a large upfront sum to cover the cost of the buy-in.
Whether you have these funds in the bank or need time to save, a significant sum of money may be due at the time of purchase. So, organize your funds accordingly.
Buy a Timeshare and Invest in Your Future
If you have said, I want to buy a timeshare, now may be the time. Consider this your ultimate guide to buying a timeshare the right way. Purchasing a timeshare can be a smart investment.
But, it is up to you to research, understand the property types and choose a timeshare to stand the test of time. The purchase process is seamless and straightforward if you are prepared. And when all the hard work is done, you can relax seaside and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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