As Northwest Ohio digs out from the “Polar Vortex”, many residents may be dreaming of traveling to a warm weather destination. Some may even contemplate purchasing
a timeshare interest in a resort area condominium. If you are considering such an “investment”, I encourage you to do your homework first.
A timeshare is a form of ownership the grants the right to use a certain property for a period of time on an annual basis. The interest can be a “deeded interest” or a “non-deeded interest” (“right to use”). Some timeshare arrangements may allow an owner to use the same week or two on an annual basis. Other arrangements may allow the owner to choose a week during a range of dates or rotate the available dates to allow all owners to have a chance to stay during more desirable or peak times.
Many individuals are satisfied with their timeshare arrangements and cite various advantages. Those advantages may include:
- Establishing a known vacation venue for a limited investment
- Freedom from maintenance worries when compared with maintenance of a vacation home
- Potential to swap weeks or points with another resort location.
The experiences of clients that I have talked with are generally not so pleasant. Several times throughout the year I meet with frustrated clients who are tired of ongoing fees and the inability to sell their interest as their lives have changed. Some disadvantages include:
- The diminishing value of a timeshare and inability to recoup investment
- Maintenance fees continue to escalate
- Timeshares are difficult to finance
- Timeshare company not delivering on promises
- Inability to market, sell, give away or give back timeshare.
I encourage anyone interested in a timeshare to do their homework in advance. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check out the company you are dealing with in advance. You can also check out the Ohio Attorney General’s website for general information as well as an informative article on timeshares, or the AG’s office for the state the timeshare company is located in for valuable information. Nationally known financial advisor, Dave Ramsey also has an article on his website titled “The Truth About Timeshares”. His opinion is similar to mine on this topic and he outlines why timeshares are not a good investment.
Finally, the best advice I can give to you is that you do not purchase a timeshare on a whim. Many timeshare salespersons are trained to sell and to use high pressure tactics to close the deal. Understand your rights. In Ohio, you have a three (3) day right to rescind the purchase contract for a timeshare. Florida law provides for a ten (10) day right of rescission. Once the time passes, it may be very difficult to get out of the transaction.
(If you have had a good or bad experience with a timeshare, I encourage you to add to this post. It is from the sharing of information that all of us can learn.)