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Consumer alert!We are not involved in resales & anyone contacting people on behalf of timeshareAdvisor is doing so illegally.

What to Know When Purchasing a Timeshare

When purchasing from the developer, it’s implied you have “clear title”, although it is always good to ask. Clear title is simply a legal term meaning that there is no money owed to anyone and that the person or organization selling you the timeshare has the right to sell it to you. In addition to the questions you need to ask yourself to determine if timeshare is right for you, there are a number of questions you should get full answers to before purchasing. Remember that there are more than 6,000 resorts worldwide and at any given time, literally millions of intervals for sale on both the primary and secondary market. Many choices are available to the consumer.

Here is a “starter list” of questions to ask and get full answers to:

  1. Do you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract?
  2. What are the current maintenance fees?
  3. What is the five year history of those fees? You may want to think twice before buying at a resort that has a history of increasing fees, especially if the resort does not have a history of improvements and upgrades.
  4. Are there any special assessments and if so, what are they and what are they used for?
  5. Is the HOA (Home Owners Association) under developer control or owner control? It is advisable if the individual owners of the resort have control of the HOA or at the very least, a say in the decisions that are being made regarding the management of the resort.
  6. How much of the resort is already sold out? The salesperson or the sales manager SHOULD know and communicate this. If they don’t know this, then you should be suspect of buying at that resort. Also, it is good to know what the future plans of the resort are, such as are there plans to build additional buildings?
  7. Does control of the HOA change at any point based on how sold out the resort is?
  8. What is the current maintenance fee delinquency rate among owners? If the delinquency rate is over 10% it could be a sign that maintenance fees would be more likely to increase over time to offset the impact of the delinquencies.

If you are purchasing on the resale market, there are a number of additional questions that need to be asked including:

  • Why is the timeshare being sold? Is it due to the personal circumstances of the current owner (financial hardship, health issues, etc.) or are there problems at the development itself?
  • Are all fees and assessment up to date? If not, you could be liable for them and you should know upfront any “hidden” costs.
  • Are there any weeks or points “banked” that you will not get access to?
  • Does the resort or the exchange company put restrictions and/or limitations on usage when the timeshare is purchased on the secondary market? If so, do you fully understand those restrictions/limitations and are you okay with them?
  • Does the resort have and exercise Right of First Refusal?

Informed consumers who have gone through these necessary questions and fully understand what they are purchasing are typically pleased owners.

Tips for Avoiding Resale Scams

While buying a timeshare on the secondary or resale market is for the most part a safe and considerably a less costly way of experiencing timeshare, selling your timeshare when you no longer want it needs to be approached with caution. The secondary market for selling timeshare is largely unregulated and where consumers will encounter 90%of scammers and timeshare problems. For some of the timeshare industry scams, check out http://tug2.net/timeshare_advice/timeshare_scams_revealed.html.

Currently, there are a number of well-intended timeshare related organizations that are just now starting to come to grips with these issues and are beginning to offer consumers some guidelines. Some of these guidelines include dealing with licensed real estate brokers only and consequently, the payment of advance fees, which can be commonly called commission, advertising, listing fees, etc.

Keep these important tips in mind if and when you want to sell your timeshare:

  • DO NOT do business with any company or individual that contacts you. A reputable resale company or organization WILL NOT “cold call”, spam you via e-mail or direct mail.
  • ALWAYS maintain control of the situation. Don’t let anyone force you into a buying a timeshare.
  • Neither your resort or exchange company, nor any other reputable exchange company will contact you to gauge your selling interest.
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