No arguments here – we all love vacations! Short, long weekends or day trips are a welcome break from the daily grind.
But planning holidays, working out the details, arranging the right facilities, and deciding where and when can be a serious threat to your peace of mind.
This is where the concept of “timeshare” comes in as a boon to the harried holiday-maker.
Most timeshares offer superior facilities and amenities than traditional hotel stays, AirBnB’s, or homestays. You have a choice of exotic locales with affiliated networks worldwide. You’re guaranteed a quality vacation sans the hassle of wasting time and resources browsing the Net for one.
These aspects tempted more than 9 million households in the US to grab a piece of the timeshare pie.
But it’s not all fun and games in the timeshare sector. Buyer’s remorse is hitting owners hard today. A study conducted in 2018 found that this industry, worth upwards of $14 billion annually worldwide, stretching across 120 countries, has more than its fair share of problems.
Research before you sign up
Most common among these are difficulties in selling your share, high maintenance/usage fees, non-flexible nature, and the contracts riddled with hidden clauses. The present generation of owners is now seniors who find it difficult to travel and top it all. The industry is now prey to unscrupulous “timeshare exit” companies who promise to help you get out of the contract but renege.
The courts have had to step in several cases. One that comes to mind is the BlueGreen Vacations Resort lawsuit, where buyers claimed that the company sold timeshares under false pretenses.
Before you sign on the dotted line, keep a few important things in mind.
Weigh The Pros and Cons Carefully
- It Is Not An Investment:Some financial experts go so far as to call them wealth traps. Timeshares may not fetch you significant resale value. A glance through eBay reveals timeshares available for as low as $1! Maintenance/usage fees are not inflation-proof. When your heirs inherit it, they’re obliged to continue making payments.
- Know The Costs: Apart from the initial purchase cost, you’ll have closing costs, maintenance/usage fees, repair charges, incidental charges for general repairs, etc. Your contract stipulates that you pay on time or face litigation, and foreclosure can affect your credit ratings.
- Take Your Time: Do your research, compare features, facilities, costs, and your own limitations of time, health, and travel. Attend a few tours and presentations, browse the secondary market but make sure you buy from a licensed, reputable real-estate agent/firm.
- Pressure Tactics: Well-entrenched psychological, manipulative, and pressure tactics are often used by aggressive timeshare salespersons. Resist the temptation to buy on impulse or while on vacation. A time-tested formula is used to reel you in, and you won’t know what hit you till you’ve signed the check.
- Schedules: You may think that the beach/mountain/river-side is available at the other end of a phone call when you buy timeshares. But your contract tells you clearly that you’re either on a fixed or floating schedule. With fixed schedules, you may not always be free at that time.
A Last Word
While it may be too late for some, there are many steps you can take to minimize or avoid risk while purchasing a timeshare.