5 things to think about before buying a timeshare

Owning a timeshare can be a dream come true, but there are things you need to consider in order to avoid the potential pitfalls of timeshare ownership.

Every year, thousands of people purchase a timeshare – and it’s easy to understand the appeal. After all, you get to own your own little piece of paradise and enjoy regular holidays with family and friends.

However, with a growing prevalence of unfair contracts, hidden costs and timeshare scams, the dream doesn’t always match up to reality, and many owners end up frustrated and disappointed.

If you’re considering joining the timeshare community, there are some things you should know before you sign on the dotted line.

A long-term commitment

The first thing you need to consider is that purchasing a timeshare is a long-term commitment. Many timeshare contracts tie you in to the property for decades – and even for life in some cases – and these contracts can be difficult and costly to escape from if you change your mind. What’s more, timeshares are notoriously tricky to sell-on, so you could end up paying for a property that you no longer want. The upshot is, if you’re not in it for the long haul, you might want to consider alternatives to a timeshare.

Do your homework

Given the long-term financial commitment of a timeshare, it’s important to do your homework before signing any contracts. With a timeshare, you will usually be returning to the same destination each year, so you need to make sure that you’re happy with the resort and its surrounding area. Do some research into what amenities and facilities are available, what the weather is like, how busy it gets at different times of the year, and what the cost of living is. It’s also worth looking up reviews from other holidaymakers and, if possible, visiting the resort to experience it for yourself.

Beware the hard sell

Timeshare companies are notorious for employing hard-sell tactics, so this is something you need to keep in mind before you begin your search for a holiday property. Sales teams have a number of tactics up their sleeves, from overblown claims and ‘time-limited’ special offers to bombarding you with information. But don’t be pressured into making an impulse decision. Instead, take a few days to do your research, read through the contract carefully, and consider whether it is the right decision for you.

Set a realistic budget

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of purchasing a timeshare, and you could end up stretching your finances further than is comfortable. To avoid this situation, it’s important to set a realistic budget at the very start, and do your best to stick to it. As well as the cost of buying the property, you will also need to take into account a variety of additional costs, such as taxes, closing fees, and ongoing maintenance and community fees. And don’t forget to take into account the cost of flights out to your timeshare every year.

Consult a legal professional

The process of buying a timeshare can be full of potential pitfalls, so we would always recommend seeking advice from a solicitor that specialises in this area. A legal professional will be able to guide you through the process and review your contract to help you identify any potential issues, enabling you to make an informed decision and find a timeshare that’s right for you.