Is a time-share a good deal or a rip-off? Find out in this Howcast video.
Step 1: Examine your motives Examine your motives for wanting a time-share. If you’re looking for a vacation spot that you can return to year after year—or trade for spots in other locations—this is for you. If you’re looking for a good investment, try something else.
Step 2: Examine your options Examine your options carefully. When you buy a time-share you can buy a fixed time in a fixed place; a floating arrangement, where the dates you use your time-share are flexible; or an arrangement where you can choose between different locations and times using points.
Step 3: Consider hotel time-shares If you buy a time-share affiliated with a large hotel chain, you know you’ll be getting a certain level of elegance, cleanliness, and reliability. This is almost like having an annual pre-paid hotel room.
TIP: Hotel time-shares also provide you with a large number of people to trade with and are often easier to sell, if you decide to do so.
Step 4: Talk with a salesperson If you’re visiting a hotel that has a time-share program, there’s often a time-share salesperson in the lobby. Hear what they have to say, but never buy without thinking about it for a day or two.
Step 5: Consider condominium time-shares If you aren’t interested in a share in a hotel chain, look at condominium time-shares with large networks. Again, this will provide you with a certain amount of reliability, as well as a larger group of people to trade with.
Step 6: Know the facts Know the facts before accepting a free vacation offer from a time-share company. Read the fine print: they will probably have age and income requirements; there might be an advance deposit that isn’t refundable under certain circumstances; and there might be hidden fees.
TIP: It’s always wise to see your time-share before buy it.
Step 7: Check blackouts Know what the policy on blackout dates is. Some time-shares will only be available to you at certain times of the year, so if you’re looking to vacation during a particular holiday, you’ll want to confirm that it will be possible before buying.
Step 8: Call the BBB Whether you’re planning to buy or planning to take a 'free vacation,' always call the local Better Business Bureau to see what sort of information they have about the time-share company.
Step 9: Read time-share laws Before buying, request a copy of local time-share laws from the resort, or from the local government. Make sure you understand them.
Step 10: Consider a time-share resale Consider buying a time-share resale from an owner. It’s usually a much cheaper option.
TIP: If you buy a resale, chances are you’ll have to pay in cash.
Step 11: Take the plunge If you’ve done all of your homework and have found the place for you, go ahead and take the time-share plunge. Bon voyage!
FACT: The first time-share surfaced in the 1960s—it was a ski resort in the French Alps.