Buying a Timeshare
Vacation ownership is one of the most highly regulated vacation products in today’s consumer marketplace.
Individual state timeshare laws govern the purchase process from a
developer. These laws usually address such issues as financial
requirements for the developer, rescission rights, disclosures about the
resort for consumers, and provisions for resort management. Be careful
when purchasing a vacation product that sounds like a timeshare, but
isn’t registered as one under state timeshare laws or when purchasing a resale. When contemplating a timeshare purchase, consider the following.
- Buy because you plan to use your timeshare in the future. Consider
your purchase as an investment in future vacations. It is not a real
estate or other type of financial investment.
- Choose a vacation that fits your lifestyle. Think carefully about
what you value most in a vacation and travel experience, then explore
the wide variety of vacation ownership products and options available.
Choose those which will best suit your family’s needs today and into the
- Visit a timeshare resort on your next vacation, or rent a unit to
experience the quality accommodations and recreational amenities. While
you’re there, talk to existing owners about their experiences. Many
development companies also offer mini-vacations (also referred to as
“mini-vacs” or “sampler” programs), which may provide discounted options
for a stay at the resort.
- Read all documents carefully and understand what type of product you
are being offered. Ask for a clear explanation of the terminology and
purchase terms, such as “fee simple” (a real estate interest) or
“right-to-use” plan (no real estate interest).
- Ask if the resort is a member of ARDA. Member companies of ARDA agree to adhere to the ARDA Code of Ethics.
- Look for signs of good property management, such as well-maintained
facilities and resort amenities, good housekeeping, and friendly
service. Take a look at the resort’s annual budget, which is usually
available through the property’s Home Owners Association (HOA).