How to Choose a Timeshare: Everything You Need to Know

Are you trying to choose a timeshare?

You’re in the right place! We’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Buying a timeshare can be a life-changing choice. It’s a great way to get more vacation time without breaking the bank. And this article will make it easy to find the perfect timeshare for your needs.

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about timeshares. We’ll show you how they work, and the different types available. We’ll also help you figure out if buying a timeshare is the right for your budget.

So what are you waiting for? Start reading now to learn all about timeshares!

What Are the Options for Timeshares?

Before you choose a timeshare, you should fully understand how they operate. If you didn’t already know, a timeshare is a form of real estate ownership. A person buys the right to use a property for a specific amount of time each year.

Timeshares are usually divided into seasons, with a specific week during each season allocated to each owner. Owners may have to plan their vacations well in advance.

To choose your season, think about the benefits each time of year brings to the table. For instance, the Fall season has all sorts of benefits, and it’s a time of year that’s great for sports fans!

Extended Time

If an owner wants to use the property for longer than the allotted time, they may pay an additional fee. For the best reservation experience, you’ll want to find a timeshare that has a reputation for exceeding the owner’s expectations. They should go above and beyond to make the reservation process easy.

After talking to the resort to find out how they handle reservations, do a little bit of undercover research, reach out to current members, or read online reviews. Find out how easy it is to reserve a unit within your allotted season and outside of it.

Timeshare Systems to Consider

Do you want a flexible timeshare plan? Then you might want to consider a points-based system.

With a point system, you earn or purchase points that can be used to reserve time at the property. This gives you more flexibility since you can use your points whenever you want, as long as they are available.

Fixed Week System

The other option is a fixed week system, it’s more like traditional timeshare ownership. With this system, you own a specific week each year that is yours to use at the property. If you can’t make it to your reserved week, you may be able to trade it for another week or use it as credit towards a future stay.

Exchange Programs

Most timeshares come with access to an exchange program. Timeshare exchange companies allow you to trade your week for a stay at another property.

Exchanges can be a great way to explore new destinations without spending extra money. However, not all properties participate in every exchange program, so be sure to do your research before buying a timeshare. 

Managing Your Timeshare Expenses

Do you know anything about managing your timeshare expenses? Since timeshares are typically marketed as a way to afford vacationing in popular destinations, the upfront fees, and maintenance or membership fees can be expensive. In addition, the resale value of timeshares is often low, so owners may not be able to recover their initial investment if they decide to sell.

What does it really cost to buy a timeshare? First, there’s the full purchasing price. And if you’re not careful, there can be a lot of extra costs associated with buying and owning a timeshare.

You’ll likely have to pay closing costs for starters, which can amount to several thousand dollars. There are also annual fees, ranging from $50 to $1,000, depending on the resort.

Then there are the costs associated with maintaining and using your timeshare.  You can use this free budget calculator to help you decide if a timeshare is something you can afford. 

Maintenance Fee

Be prepared to budget for the maintenance fee as well. This fee pays for things like the upkeep of the property and staff salaries, so it’s important to factor it into your overall decision. Generally, the higher the maintenance fee, the better the property will be maintained.

However, you also need to consider how often you’ll use the timeshare. If you’re only going to use it a few times a year, you might not want to pay a high maintenance fee.

Annual Taxes and Assessments

You’ll also need to pay annual taxes on your timeshare. These taxes go toward things like maintaining public areas and providing security. The amount you pay will vary depending on your state and the property you own.

When you’re looking at potential timeshares, be sure to budget for all of these additional costs. It’s essential to understand what you’re getting yourself into and the potential risks. If you can afford the costs and are comfortable with the risks, a timeshare may be an excellent investment for you.

Assessment Fees

Sometimes timeshares will charge you an assessment fee to cover the costs of special assessments that may come up. For example, if the property needs a new roof, the timeshare may charge all owners an assessment fee to cover the cost. This fee can vary from resort to resort, so ask about it before you buy.

What Is the Cancellation Policy?

Before choosing a timeshare, make sure you understand how the cancellation policy works. The cancellation policy for a timeshare can vary depending on the company you bought it from.

However, in most cases, you will be able to cancel your timeshare within a certain number of days after buying it, usually seven or 14 days. If you do not cancel within this timeframe, you may not be able to get a refund.

You will also likely have to pay a cancellation fee, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Make sure you know the cancellation policy and costs before even trying to buy a timeshare. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a contract you don’t want.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you may not be able to cancel your timeshare if you have already started using it. So, if you’re thinking about canceling, make sure you do so before using it.

If you have any questions about the cancellation policy, don’t hesitate to contact the company that sold you the timeshare. They should be able to answer any questions you have.

Unit Size and Common Timeshare Amenities

You’ll also want to know all the details about the unit you’re considering buying. For instance, how big is it and what’s the location like? If you’re looking for a unit that sleeps 6 people, but the one you’re interested in only sleeps 4, it might not be the best fit.

Find out what features and amenities your room will have too. For example, will there be a full-sized kitchen or just a microwave and refrigerator? Knowing these things ahead of time can help you avoid any surprises after you’ve already bought your timeshare.

Along with the kitchen features, inquire about the bathrooms. Will the bathrooms join or will each unit have its own? If you’re not a fan of sharing bathrooms, you’ll want to ensure that the unit you choose has its own.

It’s also important to ask about the resort itself. What are the swimming pools like, and is there a fitness center on-site? These are all critical things to consider when making your decision.

Unit Placement Within Building

Some resorts have clustered units, while others spread the units out. If you’re not keen on being near other people, ask about this before signing anything.

Some people prefer the hustle and bustle of being close to other guests, while others want more privacy. It’s important to know where your unit will sit in the building so you can have the best experience possible!

Views From the Unit

What kind of view can you expect from the unit?

Is the view of the ocean, the mountains, or another resort? If you’re looking for a particular view, ask the resort staff ahead of time.

Some resorts have better views than others, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Views can also change depending on the time of year, so be sure to ask about this too

As with any purchase, it’s essential to do your research before buying a timeshare unit. By asking the right questions, you can be sure that you’re getting the unit that’s perfect for you and your family

Choose a Timeshare You Love

Timeshares can be a fun investment and a great way to have a vacation spot all your own. Just make sure you know all of the costs upfront before you choose a timeshare.

What will be the deciding factor for you when viewing timeshare units? If you desire flexibility, remember to look for a points-based system. That way, you can switch around your vacation spot and week at your leisure.

Of course, if you need a little more advice before choosing, we’d love to help. Just read another one of our posts!