How to Buy a Time-Share

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How to Buy a Time-Share. If you can't afford the luxury of a second or vacation home, a time-share may be the next best thing! A time-share is a long-term vacation purchase that gives you the right to use a vacation home for a specified period each year.

Shop before you buy. Take advantage of promotional offers by developers that allow you to visit resorts with inexpensive or free "try-out" vacations.

Evaluate the appeal of the time-share location based on your lifestyle and recreational preferences.

Question current owners about their satisfaction with their time-sharing arrangements.

Learn about maintenance fees associated with the time-share unit. Maintenance fees (usually several hundred dollars per year) should cover the costs of cleaning, landscaping, maintenance, taxes, utilities and other necessities.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider purchasing a time-share in a particular resort only if you intend to visit the area on a regular basis.
  • Find out if you can exchange your time-share week for a week in another resort (known as an "external exchange") or for a different week in your "home" resort (an "internal exchange"). Some of the largest timeshare companies, such as Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II), maintain Web sites with time-share properties that can be exchanged on a weekly basis.
  • See if your time-share company allows you to "bank" unused time-share weeks to use at a later time.
  • Find out if you can rent out your time-share week. Many owners rent out their time-share properties for a rental amount that can equal twice the amount of their maintenance fees.
  • Consider purchasing a time-share directly from other owners rather than purchasing from a resort.
  • An average time-share costs $10,500 to own for one week every year for the rest of your life.
  • Never buy a time-share unit without seeing it.
  • Don't succumb to high-pressure sales tactics by developers, particularly if you're visiting a time-share unit on a trial basis.

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