If you are considering the purchase of a timeshare, knowing what you are getting into is vital. There are rules about its usage, and as long as you understand exactly what you are "buying," it could be a great idea. Read on to learn more about timeshares and how to protect yourself from mistakes.
What makes a piece of real estate a timeshare?
Timeshares have been around for many years now, and they offer a way for people to own a vacation property in an affordable manner. Usually, you are actually purchasing a certain amount of time at a given location. You can use that unit during that time, rent it out to someone else, or just leave it empty. These units are often located in desirable, but expensive, vacation areas such as on the coast or in the mountains. Other people that own their piece of the timeshare use the unit when you are not using it. There is no long-term limit to how long you keep your timeshare; it's usually yours for life until you sell it.
Expenses to expect
As with any property that sees a lot of coming and going, cleaning and maintenance is an ongoing concern. These expenses, it should be noted, are not part of your mortgage payment, but are separate costs. If the unit is located in some type of resort, you can expect to also pay a resort fee to own a timeshare. These fees cover pool maintenance, parking lots and parking garages, security, maid service, and more.
Is timeshare ownership for you?
Do some research to determine if it's a good deal before plunking down your money. Take a look at how much you might spend to stay in the area without the timeshare and compare it your cost. You also need to do some snooping around to check the reputation of the timeshare and its governing body. Try these measures:
1. Talk to some local real estate agents about your concerns.
2. Check with the state's Attorney General for any complaints.
3. Read property reviews from guests on travel sites.
4. Speak with current owners about their experience with the timeshare.
Read the fine print and the not-so-fine print
Your sales contract contains the details of your purchase, and having a real estate attorney give it a going-over is good idea. Many contracts have a "cooling off" period where you can change your mind, but do your work ahead of time before you sign on the line and become an owner for good.
A timeshare could be the best possible way for you and your family to have a convenient getaway, or it could be a huge mistake. Do your research and don't make a move without speaking to your realtor for help.