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5 Important Questions To Ask Before You Buy That Timeshare

Apr 24, 2008
During my extensive research into the Timeshare industry, I have drilled down to the most crucial five questions that every consumer must ask before making the decision to buy or not buy a timeshare.

1. Are you comfortable paying an average cost of $12,000 for one week a year vacation?

This question is critical when it comes down to cost averaging that timeshare contract that looks so inviting. While the specific resort or timeshare company may verbally tell you that it is simple to change weeks or exchange resorts, the wording in the contract and not what the sales person tells you is what the company will follow. Ask the salesperson to point out in the contract the specific area about changing weeks or exchanging resorts.

2. What maintenance fees are you required to pay yearly?

These fees are usually buried in the contract or rolled up into the nice neat total at the end of the contract. Make sure that every item is called out separately on the contract. Fees for timeshares can cover a multitude of items such as housekeeping, taxes, utilities and other costs of owning a property.

3. Are you comfortable with Blackout Dates or buying specific weeks?

Do you prefer to have the ability to travel when you want to or are you okay with only vacationing during certain weeks of the year. This is critically important in double income families for the sake of syncing up your schedules. Certain properties or companies may require you to lock into a certain week and there will be extra costs involved if you want to change weeks at some point in the future. Again this information is buried inside the contract. Make sure you read the contract in it's entirety.

4. Do the monthly payments fit comfortably in your budget?

Think of timeshares as a credit line for your vacations. Whatever amount you are financing, let's say $10,000 for ease of calculation. For financing purposes the interest rate on this contract is 15 percent, financed over 10 years gives you a nice payment of $161.33. However, that $10000 just cost you $9359 in finance charges. This is a hidden cost that you should factor in your decision.

5. What flexibility is allowed in the contract for changing weeks or resorts?

This is critical especially when planning your future vacations. Are you bound contractually to go to the same resort? Are there costs involved in exchanging to another resort? All of this information should be neatly tucked into the contract. Whatever you do, do not take the salespersons word on any of these questions and refer back to the contract and highlight the section that addresses each of these questions.

Do not allow yourself to be pressured into signing a contract that you have not had the time to review completely. This can create nothing but problems for you and your bank account.

Timeshares can be a great deal in the right circumstances.
About the Author
Scott Taylor writes extensively on multiple subjects including travel and credit cards. His sites are TopResortTravel.com and InsideBankcards.com
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