What You Should Know About Timeshares

What You Should Know About Timeshares
  • Opening Intro -

    A timeshare describes jointly owned property that is typically used as a vacation home and allows the owners to use it at certain times of the year.

    Timeshares rose in importance in the 1970s and have been part of the US vacation fabric since then.


Before you buy into a timeshare there are several things you must know about them.

Aggressive Marketing is Normal

If you have not been aggressively marketed to in the past, then a timeshare marketing event may surprise you. You may be invited to a resort with a free two-night stay offered. You get that stay only after listening to the sales pitch.

That pitch will use a variety of high pressure tactics to convince you to sign on. If you are going to the presentation solely to get the free gift, then prepare yourself to withstand a barrage of appeals. Otherwise, you may find yourself owing a timeshare you never expected to buy.

Do Your Homework

Before going to a presentation and even before agreeing to show up, you should learn everything you can about the destination. That means finding out how many properties are available, the type of properties, and the developer’s history.

People share their experiences about timeshares openly. You can find out if there are negative reports with the Better Business Bureau, but a search engine investigation will usually uncover details that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Presentation

Typically, presentations last for one to one and one-half hours. At least that is what you will be told. Some simply last longer and you may feel under assault the entire time. These tactics are used to wear you down and to commit you to sign.

Listen carefully to the claims that are made and be prepared to question anything you do not understand or do not believe. Those claims may include assertions that your timeshare is a good investment. If it is, then ask for proof that people that should their shares made a profit.

Your Costs

What appeals to many people about timeshares is the cost for visiting a location. Stay in a hotel room at a prime spot and your daily expenses could easily run you upwards of $300. That’s $2,100 per week or $4,200 for two weeks.

The time share may come in for less than the hotel stay, but there are other fees that can quickly add up. These include your share of the mortgage, maintenance costs, taxes and your purchase cost.

Other Considerations

You may get a timeshare and be assigned two weeks during the year. Rarely are those weeks back to back and sometimes all you will get is off season availability. Thus, you may find yourself wanting to rent out the timeshare when you are not using it.

Pay special attention to the time share contract and avoid oral promises. If you are still not certain about the language as written, consulting an attorney would be wise. Familiarize yourself with the state’s timeshare cancellation rules and be mindful that foreclosure can take place if you are late with your payments.

See AlsoSurging Property Taxes Contribute to Timeshare Foreclosures


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".