Owning a timeshare is supposed to be a dream, right? The idea is that you vacation every year and relax in the luxury of your own property, enjoying the fruits of your labor without a care in the world. So what causes a timeshare nightmare? And more importantly, how can you avoid your dream keeping you up all night?
While there are indeed many valid testimonies about timeshare nightmares, the most important thing to bear in mind is that the majority of them could have been avoided by taking into account the following advice.
Perhaps the first point to remember is to always opt for a long standing timeshare company with plenty of experience. That way you are able to avoid the out and out scammers who pose as legitimate timeshare companies yet are really out to take your money. Don’t forget that timeshare as a concept is not a scam, but like anything in life, there are often con men out there waiting to take advantage of people who don’t do their homework. Established companies have a reputation to protect and the success of their business is a result of great timeshare products – they really don’t need to scam, the properties sell themselves.
Secondly, think carefully about what you want and how you like to vacation. Timeshares can be an excellent option if you like to know where you are going and want stress-free vacations. Also, take into consideration the destination where your property is based, is it somewhere you want to visit regularly? Are the cost of plane tickets reasonable and is there a direct flight? If you are someone who has an irregular job schedule or likes to travel last minute, a timeshare purchase just might not be for you.
Make sure you know what you are buying. There are various schemes, from fixed week, pre-planned programs to points systems where you can travel to different locations. Purchase what suits you and there is little risk that your timeshare will turn into a nightmare.
Maintenance fees can also be a source of owners’ discontent, particularly with smaller or emerging companies. When the topic of maintenance fees arises during your purchase, check with your operator at the time of sale if the timeshare plan will equal or exceed inflation, that way you get a better idea of what you will be expected to pay and can decide if it is an investment that you can afford Some companies also have a fee cap.
Finally, if you decide to sell your timeshare, do so with a licensed broker or agent and avoid using a company that charges upfront for listing the property. The other option is to try and swap your unit for another destination or every upgrade with your current operator.