Buying Timeshares IndigoGuide Timeshares

Buying Timeshares First Time Buyers

Buying timeshare can be a big step, especially for first time buyers. It is advisable not to go for the first offer you come across. Take the time to look around and find out what is available and what you might want from a timeshare vacation. Don't feel pressured into signing anything until you've had an opportunity to Remember, you are not under any obligation to buy, even if you do get a free lunch. It is very much a buyer's market so you don't need to worry too much about missing out on a fantastic deal, there will always be others. It also means you are in a position to negotiate lower prices.

New or resale units?

Timeshares can be purchased new from the developer or as a resale from homeowner associations, brokers or owners. Buying timeshares from the developer does mean you receive a new unit but you may be spending more than necessary. Up to 50 percent of the developers sale price reflects the sale marketing costs. A timeshare also loses between 60 and 90 percent of its retail value as soon as it is sold, so it may be worth looking for resales as these will be much cheaper.

Developers do, however, offer extras that you won't get with resales. These include bonus weeks or points that can be exchanged for hotel stays. First time buyers may not feel confident enough to purchase timeshare on resale and so buying from a developer may provide peace of mind. Even when buying from developers, prices can be negotiable so don't be afraid to offer a lower price.

Where to look

Resorts may know of owners wanting to sell their units. Ask if they would be willing to put out a notice of your interest to buy on their bulletin board. Resale brokers or agencies specializing in timeshares can be found in most poplar resort areas where there are a lot of timeshare projects.

The Internet is a good place to search because there are a large number of sites that deal with timeshare sales and information. Timeshare Users Group is a good place to go as they have consumer reviews, ratings, advice as well as classifieds. Newspapers and magazines often have online classified sections on their websites too. Online auctions sites such as e Bay and Yahoo are popular with owners wanting to sell their timeshares in a hurry. Online auctions can also be great place to find some very good timeshares for bargain prices.

Many people looking to sell their timeshare sometimes advertise in newspapers the resorts local paper and in many major newspapers too.

Deeded and right to use programs

Another thing to consider when buying timeshare is whether or not to get a deeded or right to use agreement. With a deeded program you actually own part of the property and are recorded as a fractional owner with local government agencies. You have the right to sell, rent or give away your deeded timeshare, it is yours. Right to use means you purchase the right to use the unit for a particular time period but you do not actually own it. You can sell your contract but the termination date remains the same. Deeded and right to use agreements can both operate with fixed or floating time programs.

Deeded agreements are generally considered to be more secure because once the developer has sold all the units, the buyers own the resort giving them control over management and other issues relating to their property. With right to use programs the developer is still the owner which means you do not have any control over management. If the resort closes down you may loose your timeshare without any compensation.

Fixed, floating and rotating weeks

The time you buy is known as a vacation interval and can be purchased as a fixed week, floating week or rotating week. With a fixed week you buy time for a specific week, usually in the same unit, every year. With a floating week you are entitled to reserve a week during a certain period of the year, such as spring or summer, but you must book in advance as these are subject to availability. Rotating weeks work on a set schedule where the usage week is changed over a certain number of years. This gives you the opportunity to use the unit during the most popular periods of the year.

Point systems

When you purchase a vacation club membership you receive a set number of points every year, according to the membership agreement. These points are then used as currency to purchase accommodation at participating resorts. The number of points you have will determine what size accommodation you will receive, the popularity of the resort you can stay at, which season and how many nights you can stay. Some point systems allow members to accumulate their points to be used on a larger unit or more popular destination if you do not wish to travel every year.

Vacation clubs

These are organizations that own a number of resorts in different locations. By becoming a club member you are entitled to reserve time at any of these resorts subject to what level of membership you purchase.

Other types of ownership include lockout units, split weeks and biennial ownership. Fractional ownership enables consumers to buy larger shares of between 5 and 26 weeks. Lockout units consist of units that can be split for use by two separate parties. Owners can occupy one section while renting or exchanging the other portion. Split weeks enable owners to split their week into to separate vacation intervals that can be taken at different times of the year. Biennial ownership simply means you own a timeshare every other year instead of every year. This works out cheaper as you are only paying for every other year.