Own (Part of) Paradise

How-To
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If you do decide to buy a timeshare, check out several different properties in the areas you'd like to stay. You can always walk into a resort and ask to see prices, look at a unit, or speak to someone in sales. "The biggest misconception about timeshares is that you have to sit in one of these obnoxious two-, two-and-half-hour presentations," Schreier says.

You can also purchase a timeshare from an owner who's looking to sell. "There's a big resale market, and that's where the bargains are," says Jacobs, Timesharing Today's editor. The average price of a timeshare in 2004 was $15,789; on the resale market, the average drops down to $4,000, Jacobs says. Why the deep discount? Developers spend big bucks on marketing and promotions, which adds to the timeshare's price.

While it may look like a no-brainer to buy a resale timeshare, it's important to know what you're getting into. You may miss out on perks—think golf memberships and bonus days—typically only offered to first-time buyers. More than anything, you've got to figure out if the owner's selling a lemon or a prize vacation spot—which means, buying it sight unseen can be risky.

If you've done all this and still have buyer's remorse, state laws may ease your pain. Most states have a required rescission period, in which buyers can cancel a timeshare contract and get their deposit refunded. After that, the only way to get out is to resell.


Published: 1 Mar 2006 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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