What you need to know before buying a timeshare
If you’re considering buying a timeshare, it’s important to seek legal advice and weigh up the pros and cons before signing on the dotted line.
Purchasing a timeshare may seem like a great opportunity – after all, who wouldn’t love to own a piece of paradise that they can visit each year. However, timeshares are not without their drawbacks, and if you’re considering buying a timeshare, it’s important to take the time to fully understand what’s involved.
These are some of the things you should consider before signing on the dotted line.
Great for families
Most timeshare properties come with multiple bedrooms, making them a great choice for families or groups of friends who like to holiday together. With the space reserved for the same time each year, it’s an easy way to spend regular quality time with your loved ones. What’s more, splitting a timeshare with friends or family makes it more cost-effective, meaning you can holiday in a vacation that you might not be able to afford alone.
Going on holiday is fun, but actually organising the holiday is often far less enjoyable. Finding accommodation and activities for your time away can be time consuming and stressful, particularly if you go somewhere new each time. With a timeshare, you have a ready-made vacation each year. Your accommodation is already reserved and waiting for you and, as you will be visiting the same place each year, you’ll soon become familiar with the amenities and activities on offer.
Can be cost-effective
If you like to visit the same place year on year, buying a timeshare is one of the most cost-effective ways to enjoy holidays on a regular basis. While you will have to shell out more cash upfront for a timeshare, when you consider the costs of booking holiday accommodation, it could actually end up saving you money in the longer term. What’s more, you also have the option of subletting your timeshare – so as long as you ensure the rental covers your mortgage and additional fees, you could even end up making a profit.
One thing you need to be especially wary of when it comes to timeshare contracts, is that many of them come with hidden costs. Alongside routine maintenance, tax, and utilities, many owners also find themselves hit for other expenses such as special assessment fees, which are used to cover repairs, upgrades to the property, and anything else the resort deems necessary. And those maintenance fees we just mentioned? Be prepared to see them rise each year – potentially by more than 12%!
Another problem with timeshares is that many of them tie you in to extremely long contracts – for life in many cases. These ‘in perpetuity’ contracts mean that you’re stuck with your timeshare even if you decide it’s no longer right for you, and the clause means that the property can be passed on to your family– whether they want it or not!
Timeshare contracts come in two different forms – fixed week contracts, whereby you are allocated a set time period at the property each year, and floating week contracts, which enable you to book a week of your choice within a set time frame. With a fixed week contract, if the dates you’re allocated are unsuitable for you, you either have to rent it out or considered it a lost cost for that year. Floating week contracts appear to offer more flexibility but, in reality, the more popular dates soon get booked up, and many owners report difficulties in being able to find and book suitable dates for their annual holiday.
Depreciation in value
Many salespeople present purchasing a timeshare as an investment opportunity – but this is disingenuous. In fact, timeshares significantly depreciate in value over time. What’s more, supply of timeshare properties far outstrips demand, which means that you could find it difficult to find a buyer (and a good price) when you decide it’s time to move on.
If you’re considering buying a timeshare, you need to weigh up the pros and cons and decide what’s right for you. But before making that decision, it’s always best to get advice from timeshare solicitors to ensure the contract on offer is fair, reasonable, and won’t throw up any nasty surprises further down the line.