Buying a Timeshare
Vacation ownership is one of the most highly regulated vacation products in today’s consumer marketplace. Here's what you need to know.
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.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Timeshare
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 future.
- 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).