Tips for Buying or Selling a Timeshare

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The summer months are right around the corner, and families considering a timeshare for their vacation are starting their search, so the Better Business Bureau has decided to help them get a better idea of the costs and fees involved.

In lieu of hotel accommodations or summer rentals, many vacationers consider buying a stake in a timeshare, which allows them to use fully furnished accommodations, usually in weekly increments, for a fraction of the cost of owning a second vacation home.

While timeshares are considered attractive alternatives for folks who can’t afford the big expenses of a second house, the BBB warns that they certainly are not as cheap as a hotel would be.  According to the BBB, there are maintenance fees and property taxes listed in the fine print on every timeshare and consumers should inquire about them before committing to the purchase.

For people considering buying or selling a timeshare, here are some of the BBB’s tips:

Research the location and reputation of the timeshare.

Timeshares are notoriously associated with various scams so anyone in the market for one will want to do business with a reputable company in their location of choice. The BBB suggests researching the company and desired vacation spot before you buy and says consumers should be doubly cautious if they are looking to buy a timeshare outside of the U.S., since international companies are not subject to the same rules that those in the states are. The BBB Business Reviews website is a good place to start.

Find a reputable realtor if you want to sell.

Similarly, you should do your due diligence before selling your stake in a timeshare. The BBB suggests that those looking for a timeshare reseller find out where the representative’s company is located and in which states it does business. Additionally, they should ask if the salespeople are licensed to sell real estate where the timeshare is located and then verify it with that state’s licensing board.

“You’ll also want to know if the company charges a commission, if it handles the entire closing and provides escrow services,” the BBB says, adding that when a reseller charges an upfront fee, it should be considered a red flag.

Read and understand the contract before you sign.

Consumers should always read the fine print before signing on the dotted line since many companies have strict cancellation policies and fees associated with backing out of a purchase. The BBB suggests getting a trusted real estate expert to read the contract before you sign to ensure that you are getting a fair deal.

Always cancel in writing.

If you were to decide to back out of your purchase, the BBB, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s suggestion, says that it’s best to send a letter through certified mail with a return receipt request so there is formal documentation of the cancellation.

Is it already too late to back out of your timeshare purchase? MainStreet has some suggestions for how you can get out of the deal!

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