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Timeshares: Have You Got All the Facts?

Sep 04, 2018

Many people wish to own a vacation home. A vacation home allows people to comfortably live like they would at home somewhere more exotic. It’s a chance to get away from it all without giving up all the comforts that many people have come to rely on. However it’s rarely practical. Vacation homes can be expensive to purchase and a hassle to maintain. There’s another options however.

Many people have instead chosen to invest in a timeshare. Timeshares allow you access to a vacation home or condo every year for a specific set of time. This can be as much or as little as a person wants, but typically is 1 to 2 weeks. However, there’s a lot of questions about timeshares. Some people think they are a scam and to be avoided. Others don’t understand about maintenance fees. What follows is many of the commonly asked questions about timeshares along with some answers.

1. What Exactly is a Timeshare?

A: Technically the term is applied to a condominium that is owned in parts by various groups. Typically these condominiums are run and maintained by resorts, either at their resort property, or in a specific area elsewhere within a city or region. A timeshare is ownership of a specific condo for a specific length of time.

2. Who is In Charge of Maintenance?

A: The resort that offers the timeshare program will be responsible for conducting all maintenance and upgrades on the property. However, this does mean that the owners of the timeshare have to pay annual maintenance fees. Since it is split between all the different owner, it should normally be quite manageable. These fees also pay for modernization and improvements to the facilities so that they can look great for years to come.

3. Who Do I Buy a Timeshare From?

A: There are two ways that a timeshare will typically be sold. The first is by resorts. This is often the most expensive way, however it can also be the way to get the most modern timeshares. The second method is by buying one from someone who has previously bought their timeshare. They may be selling for a number of different reasons, whether they can no longer afford maintenance fees, or wish to travel more to other regions. There are real estate agents and websites dedicated to “resale” timeshares.

4. Why not Just Get a Hotel?

A: Timeshares offer a completely different experience from a hotel. Hotels are often in very touristy areas that can be packed full of people. A timeshare offers you the comfort of a condominium in whatever area you wish. It’s an opportunity to truly embrace and enjoy the culture of the destination you own your vacation in.

5. What Kind of Amenities Are Included?

A: When staying at a timeshare, there’s typically far more included than at a hotel. Simple items like cooking and washing appliances ensure that people are always in their comfort zone and have the flexibility to spend their vacation however they want. Contrast this to a hotel, which may offer some luxurious items, but oftentimes is lacking when it comes to kitchens and restrooms. Timeshares typically offer much more room as well, allowing a group of people to spread out and decompress after a long day sightseeing.

6. Are There Risks With Timeshares?

A: Like any real estate investment, there are some risks when purchasing a timeshare. The biggest risk comes from an inability to retain the investment and resale value of the timeshare. If a resort is poorly run, then maintenance fees can balloon. In turn, this will vastly drive down the value of the timeshare if you choose to resell it. This can happen from less scrupulous resort projects, which are just looking to make a quick buck off the initial investment.

7. Do I Always Have to Go at the Same Time Each Year?

A: There are different types of timeshare ownership. The most common is known as fixed week ownership. These timeshares are the same week every year. The dates may vary slightly based on the calendar. The second and third type are similar. They are floating week ownership and flex week ownership. With these kinds of timeshares, the owners will book the week they wish to go. Floating week is any time throughout the year, while flex week ownership is a smaller range (say, May-June) or by season. This can become difficult as timeshares may quickly book up during the primetime weeks, so they need to be chosen well in advance.