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12 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Timeshare

Have you ever attended a free information session on a timeshare? If you have, you know there can be a lot of pressure to buy. Don’t rush in – use these 12 questions to help you decide if a timeshare is right for you.

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1. What Does It Include?

Typically you’re allowed a specific amount of time each year. Some timeshares include other perks such as airfare, car rentals or food. Be sure to check out exactly what you’re getting and get a confirmation in writing. 


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2. What Dates Are You Getting?

Some timeshares give you fixed dates while others use a floating-week system. If it’s fixed, check if you can switch them occasionally according to your availability. If it’s a floating deal, check how far ahead you can reserve to be sure you get to use it when you want.

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3. Same Time, Same Place?

This style of vacation doesn’t suit everyone. If you prefer to travel around, or like to be flexible, find out if you can trade dates or swap with other locations. 

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4. What Do Others Think?

Find out what others who are sharing with space with you think of it. Are they happy with the location? Do they like the surroundings? Do they enjoy the lifestyle? What would they change about it or what are their dislikes?

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5. What Will It Really Cost?

It’s important to consider what other costs might exist, and not just the obvious things such as maintenance and purchase or leasing fees, but what extras might exist? Consider travel costs, taxes, closing costs and commissions.

Tip: Shop around and see what other units are selling for. If a lot of places are for sale at the same complex, it could be a red flag.

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6. How Does It Compare?

Comparing your potential location with others on the market will help determine if it’s a good deal. When you stay at a hotel or resort, you won’t have any costs if you don’t travel. With a timeshare, you’ll pay much the same costs each year whether you use it or not.

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7. Does The Five-Year Cost Make Sense?

Some experts suggest you look at what you have spent on vacations over the past five years to estimate furture costs.

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8. Are There Other Forms of Value?

For example, even if you don’t save money, would you have a better vacation staying in a spacious, 2-bedroom villa in a quality resort compared to a hotel room?

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9. What’s The Resale Value?

Some locations have major tourist attractions nearbym while others features special amenities, like world-class golfing or skiing. These attractions could aid a sale in the future so be sure to do your research in this area before making the purchase.

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10. Is The Company Reputable?

Check online and with the Better Business Bureau where the company is based to get some feedback on the company. Some buyers feel more comfortable if there’s a major name behind a property.

Tip: Ask for references from other timeshare owners. Check blogs and lists to learn from other buyers.


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11. Do I Need A Deed?

Experts say that a deed can offer more security. It also offers more of a guarantee that you’ll get something back if the property goes under. Conversely, most certificates of use merely offer the right to use a property, almost like joining a club. If the property goes out of business, chances are your money goes with it.


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12. What If I Change My Mind?

As always, read the fine print. Most timeshares offer a cooling off period, which allows you to back out of your contract and still get your money back should you change your mind.

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