Lisa has complied her most asked questions about timeshare for Senior.com readers: Answering Vital Timeshare Questions
What is timeshare?
In the most basic terms, timeshare is buying and owning your vacation accommodations, as opposed to renting a hotel room, resort room or vacation home. The difference between timeshare and whole ownership of a vacation or second home is that you only purchase and own the amount of time that you plan on using each year. Answering Vital Timeshare Questions
How do I buy a timeshare?
Timeshares can be purchased on the primary market, i.e. from the developer, or on the secondary market from an existing owner. Developer sales are generally onsite at the resort, while secondary market sales can occur online between consumers, via a licensed broker, or in some cases through the developer.
Can I sell my timeshare?
In most cases, the legal answer is “yes.” Although the value of the timeshare maybe far less than what you originally paid (see below) and some timeshares sell easier and faster than others. Timeshares can be sold if you no longer want/use it.
Why is the resale value of my timeshare so much less than what I paid for it?
Timeshares purchased on the primary market, e.g. from the developer, include the cost of building plus the cost to sell plus the profit margin, just as with any other product. Combine that with the fact that there are millions of timeshare units for sale on the secondary market and the fact that many developers are restricting the rights and benefits to secondary market purchasers, the value of most timeshare is considerably lower than most owners realize. It is simply supply vs. demand vs. benefit.
Is timeshare a real estate investment?
The short answer is NO. Even if a timeshare is backed by physical real estates (and many timeshares are not), a timeshare should not be thought of as a real estate investment as a house, condo or other types of general real estate may be. A timeshare can be thought of as an investment in your future vacations. You pay upfront now so that you can have vacations later.
What is the difference between timeshare weeks and timeshare points?
Timeshare weeks are the standard and are the simplest to understand and use. Owners have the right to use 8 days 7 nights, consecutively per year, at a home resort or at an affiliated resort. Point systems vary from developer to developer and from exchange company to exchange company, but all operate under the same premise; owners use their points as the currency to make accommodations and other reservations.
Can I donate my timeshare to a charity?
No charity will accept a timeshare due to the ongoing annual fees involved. If you receive a call from anyone saying otherwise, promptly hang up and report it to the National Timeshare Owners Association Helpline at 1-844-ASK-NTOA.
What happens if I stop paying my annual maintenance fees?
As mentioned above, timeshare ownership carries with it benefits and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to pay your share of the annual maintenance fees levied by the resort. Failure to pay these fees may result in losing your ownership rights and in many cases lead to a foreclosure, which can have a significant negative affect on your credit and your ability to purchase a major item or even obtain employment in the future.
Is a timeshare the same as a vacation or travel club?
No. While vacation and travel clubs differ, they are both are distinct from timeshare in that a vacation or travel club involve a membership vs. ownership rights. If you are considering a purchase of a timeshare, vacation club or travel club and are unsure of the differences, do not proceed until you are clear on the differences.
I just received a call saying that someone wants to buy my timeshare…what should I do?
Hang up and report the call to the NTOA Help Line at 1-844-ASK-NTOA. The NTOA has not found a single instance of a legitimate company that cold calls consumers with ready buyers. If you wish to sell or rent your timeshare, the NTOA has vetted a list of organizations listed on our resource page.
Lisa Ann Schreier has been involved in the timeshare community since 1998. After cutting her teeth as a timeshare salesperson and manager at a number of Orlando area resorts, she grew increasingly frustrated with the antiquated marketing and high pressure sales techniques that were (and sadly still are) the norm in the industry. Seeking to be a catalyst for positive change, she wrote ‘Surviving A Timeshare Presentation…Confessions From The Sales Table’ and ‘Timeshare Vacations For Dummies.’ She is a frequent contributor to major media outlets and a sought after speaker at consumer advocacy groups. In addition to her articles at Senior.com, she is the lead timeshare advocate at Elliott.org. Her ‘tell it like it is’ blog about timeshare issues is a source of solid information and continues to alert consumers to the myriad of less than reputable companies and practices.View All Articles