How to Select a Timeshare: Everything You Need to Know

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Want to make the most of your next vacation? Jumping into the $8.1 billion timeshare industry might be a smart move. With almost 10 million U.S. households owning some type of timeshare product, it’s safe to say that these vacation rentals have gotten popular.

Of course, if you’ve never bought one of these properties before, figuring out how to select a timeshare can be tough. Wading through timeshare ownership guidelines, amenities, prices, and scheduling options can feel impossible.

If you’re not sure where to turn, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know before buying a timeshare.

Pick the Right Location

Before you decide on anything else, it’s a good idea to narrow down the area in which you’ll search for a timeshare. This area will depend on your vacation preferences.

Some timeshare owners like to select a property close to where they live. This makes it easy to rent or gift it to friends or family members who visit, and it also allows you to reserve the use of local timeshare resort amenities like arcade rooms, pools, and more.

Another popular option is to select a property in the area where you like to travel often. If you find yourself returning to the same beach every summer, for example, getting a timeshare in the area is a great way to cut down on the costs of a hotel.

Last, you might want to buy a timeshare in a popular area, which can make your property easy to trade, rent, or sell. Areas near the beach, mountain skiing, and large cities are all great options.

Consider the Scheduling

When it comes to your options for timeshare scheduling, you’ll need to think about how you like to travel. There are two main scheduling options you can choose from:

Fixed Schedule

Some timeshares offer a fixed schedule, which locks you into an inflexible visitation period each year. If you choose to visit during the week before Christmas, for example, that’s the only week you’ll be able visit your timeshare every year in the future.

Floating Schedule

If your chosen timeshare has a floating schedule, you’ll get to pick which weeks you want to visit each year. This means you can visit in the winter of one year and the summer of the next if that’s what works with your family’s schedule. As you probably expect, this option is always better for anyone who prefers added flexibility in their travels.

Choose the Right Type of Ownership

Note that different types of timeshares will have different types of ownership, which you’ll need to consider as you weigh your options. Most often, you can choose between deeded ownership and right-to-use ownership.

With deeded ownership, you own the timeshare forever. You can sell it, rent it, give it to a loved one, or let a loved one inherit it upon your passing.

With right-to-use ownership, you only own the property for the period of time listed in your contract. Once that period ends, you can either renew the contract or give up your right to use the timeshare.

There’s no right or wrong ownership style; your choice depends on how often you see yourself traveling and your personal preferences.

Find the Right Price

For most vacationers, comparing timeshare costs will be the most crucial part of the buying process. Sit down and work out what you can afford to spend before you get too invested in high-end properties!

Understanding the Total Cost

To understand the total cost, you’ll want to tally up the property cost, closing costs, maintenance and housekeeping fees, and property taxes. With some properties, you may also have to pay special assessment fees to cover repairs from severe weather like hurricanes.

Saving Money on Your Timeshare

If you’re hoping to save money on your timeshare, you might not want to buy directly from a resort. Instead, buying a timeshare resale from an existing owner can get you a great price.

Depending on where you’re buying, you can look at places like eBay or various online timeshare marketplaces. Certain areas or property types may have their own dedicated websites, such as those for Disney Vacation Club resales. To learn more, click here.

Consider the Amenities and Atmosphere

Finding the right timeshare is about more than owning a property in the right location. While you’re on vacation, you’ll want to feel at home—which is where the right amenities and atmosphere come in.

Some timeshare owners can’t imagine buying a property without a pool or fitness room, while others prefer a business room to work on the go. Game rooms, movie rentals, playgrounds, sports courts, and live entertainment may be options as well. Don’t forget about in-unit amenities you may want, such as a fireplace, a washer and dryer, or a DVD player.

The overall atmosphere of the property is important as well. Some timeshares have a wealth of kid-friendly options that parents will love, while others cater to older travelers, business travelers, and other groups.

To get a feel for the timeshare you’re considering, make sure to do your research. Many timeshares also offer the chance at a sample stay for interested buyers, which allows you to try it before you buy it.

Select a Timeshare That Works for You

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong type of timeshare. The best way to select a timeshare is to figure out which one works best for your own travel preferences! With a little effort, you’ll have no trouble finding a property that fits your budget and your vacation style.

Looking for more lifestyle tips? Be sure to take a look at our other posts for helpful guides like this one.

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