Minimizing the Risks of Timeshares
The proliferation of timeshares as holiday getaways has been a profound and worldwide movement. Despite the ongoing difficulties in the global economy, many choose to purchase a stake in timeshares as a supposedly economic method of securing convenient and inexpensive future holidays. What they often don’t understand are the myriad of costs, risks, and bureaucratic obstacles that they are in for. Timeshares do pay off for some, but these people are generally a minority.
The first thing to consider when approaching the industry is the reputation of the seller. Are you dealing with a licensed broker? If an individual is, they should be able to produce an ID card demonstrating such. Don’t trust anyone without one. Is there more to the company than a professional-looking website? Do research through forums and other avenues to find out. The American Resort Development Association and the Better Business Bureau both offer extensive searchable databases that can be of use here. If you’ve established that the organization selling the timeshare is legitimate, you can move on to the next step.
Your contract is an incredibly important document. Too many people are tricked each year by oral promises, wide generalizations, and non-binding documents. It is of the utmost importance that you agree on all of the terms related to the sale—mortgage amount, maintenance fees and their outlook for the future (you can count on them rising annually, but will they be capped at some point?), ability to transfer weeks to other properties owned by the same company, ability to trade dates with other timeshare owners, management commitments, and so on. There are many details that go into crafting these contracts, and without a firm understanding of them you are likely to be incredibly disappointed in the end result. Take your time and don’t feel pressured into signing immediately—it is far better to bring the documents home with you, review them closely with others, and maybe even consult a real estate or other lawyer.
If you’ve already signed and find that the costs and inconveniences are more than you anticipated, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in this situation with few options for escaping their contracts, and steadily lose money in a nightmarish trap. Others find success with companies like Right Choice Transfer that offer professional help in transferring timeshares. You’re likely better off avoiding timeshares in the first place, but they can definitely help you if it’s too late.
Unless you have a great deal of financial and time commitment flexibility, timeshares can easily end up more of a headache than a boon to your holiday plans. Make sure that you are well-educated about the risks and benefits before committing to anything, and always be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.