Timeshares certainly seem like a fantastic idea. A guaranteed holiday every year in a luxury resort somewhere where the sun shines a lot more than it does here in England.It’s a pretty attractive proposition, and it’s easy to see why so many people want to buy into timeshare schemes.
So are timeshares all they’re cracked up to be?
What are they?
Timeshares basically allow you to own a certain property for a certain period of the year, usually a week and other people will ‘own’ and live in the property for the remaining weeks.There are numerous different variations depending on the ownership agreement, for example under some agreements you will have the same week every year, and in others, you will have a ‘floating week’ agreement.
There are also ‘vacation club’ agreements where you are given a ‘points’ allowance which can be used across a range of resorts, or can be banked for a better resort.
How much do they cost?
Timeshare prices can vary quite wildly, based on a number of factors such as how big the property is, where it is, the type of agreement and the period in which you are purchasing it (obviously the summer months are more expensive etc.).Check out some of the properties on Worldwide Timeshare Hypermarket to get an idea of how much this kind of properties cost.
So what’s the catch?
It can be easy to get caught up in the timeshare dream, so why does it have such a murky reputation?One of the reasons is its questionable sales tactics and presentations. There is a lot of pressure on buyers to sign an agreement at these presentations, with salespeople often offering supposed special deals which will only be applicable on the day.
While timeshare presentations are very high-pressure environments, it’s important that even if you do want to go through with it, take some time away from the presentation to think through the agreement and make sure that it is what you want.The other big issue with timeshares is that they are notoriously difficult to get out of. For many, the idea of spending their holiday in the same place every year is a bit repetitive, and while many timeshare agreements promise to allow you to trade weeks in other resorts, this often isn’t so straightforward.
Finally, the fees and charges are a big problem many timeshare owners face. There’s the standard monthly payment, although there are also annual maintenance fees which can really add up.You are also liable to charge a large one-off ‘assessment fee’, for things such as renovations or repairs (this is especially a concern if your property is in a hurricane zone such as the Caribbean).
Thinking long-term Even if you decide that a timeshare is a good option for you, it’s important to give some thought to the future.While this destination may be right for you now, will it be when you’re five, ten or more years older?As we’ve pointed out, it can be quite difficult to get out of a timeshare agreement once you’ve signed up, and even if you choose to stop going to your property, you’ll still be liable to pay all the charges and fees.
Can I sell it on?
It’s very important to note that while a normal property may increase in value after you buy it, allowing you to sell it on for a profit, this is not the case with timeshares.There are so many timeshare properties on the market, and new builds are far more likely to sell than used properties, so there is little to no chance that you’re going to be able to sell your timeshare on for a profit.
If you do wish to try and sell your timeshare, though, there are specialist organisations such as the Timeshare Consumer Association who will help you try and exit your timeshare contract.
As with any big decision, we recommend that you very carefully consider signing up for a timeshare agreement.
They undoubtedly will come at a cost, both upfront and recurring, but you are guaranteed a fantastic holiday destination year in year out.
The most important thing is that you ask plenty of questions and know exactly what you’re signing up for and at what cost.