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Tips For Purchasing Your First Timeshare Property

January 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 109

The Basics

Buying real estate is what you do when you want to own a property. As owner, the property is for your sole usage - it is yours to use when and as you see fit. Timeshare real estate operates under the same basic principle, except you are a part of a group ownership instead of the sole owner, and you are entitled to use the property at a pre-scheduled, specified time each year. For example, if you purchase a 2/52 share of a property, you are entitled to use it for 2 weeks of the year (52 weeks); if you purchase a 1/12 share you are entitled to one month of the year, etc.Essentially, you're buying property a week at a time.

The Costs

Timeshare prices are subject to many relevant factors (such as location, demand, size, market fluctuation, etc.) much like any regular piece of real estate. Many times, purchase price for a timeshare can be significantly lower if the timeshare is used as opposed to new. The initial purchase price is not the only cost associated with the purchase - all timeshare resorts charge maintenance fees; these fees are generally due on an annual basis and are meant to assist in maintaining the taxes, utilities and upkeep of the property. The maintenance fees are due whether you use your allotted time or not, and are usually not locked in and can fluctuate from year to year (*some companies offer limits on future increases).

One cost any timeshare buyer must consider is the cost of travelling to and from your vacation location. It is generally wise to include these costs in the purchase price so you'll have a clearer understanding of the actual cost of usage per year.

Locating a Timeshare

First things first, you've got to have an idea of where you want to go. Make up a list of all the destinations that are appealing to you and search for timeshare resorts and properties in those locations; along with this, it is generally a good idea to seek out timeshare user groups, forums and any other place where likeminded people are posting their experiences as this is a very effective way to find out honest, first hand user information; for example, if you were interested in user experiences with Diamond Resorts International you can sign-up for their forum to get first hand user information. Another great source of information is to contact timeshare resellers. Once you've settled on some potential locations, contact the company and ask for a copy of a contract or intent to purchase documentation so you can read and understand it before agreeing to anything or signing anything. It is at this time that any questions you may have can be answered; it is also a good opportunity to seek clarity regarding maintenance fees and any other associated fees that may not be mentioned in the initial information.

If you were looking to purchase a house or car, you would be asking many questions and seeking information and clarity every step of the way - a timeshare purchase is really no different and as such you should not approach it any differently. Not sure about how something in the contract is worded? Ask. Don't quite understand the terms of the agreement? Ask. Unsure about maintenance fees? Ask!

Using your Timeshare

You've chosen a location, done your due diligence and investigated and examined additional information, and are satisfied with the reviews you've read and are ready to buy in. Is there anything left to consider at this point? Yes, there is.

Many timeshares offer flexibility and points programs - these are designed to open additional options for you.

A flex system will allow you the ability to use your allotted time at more than one location - great for those who do not want to visit the same location every year. Flex programs operate on a seasonal basis, that is, you purchase a share for use during a particular season instead of a specified date. This provides a window of time in which to schedule your vacation time each year. You may need to book your time well in advance of using it, especially if you want to vacation during peak times.

A point system is what enables a buyer to alter their plans from year to year. Each share owner has a number of purchased points that can be used for different types of accommodations at different times of the year; if you want a small suite at non-peak times it may cost you much less points than if you desire a large suite at the most favorable time of the year. As with the flex system, early booking is generally a good idea to avoid missing out.

What to Expect

Staying at timeshare is not too dissimilar from staying at any regular vacation resort; you arrive, unpack and enjoy your vacation! There are, however, a few things a first timer should be aware of. The biggest surprise for most newbies comes when they make the discovery that, unlike staying at a hotel, timeshares do not (*usually) have any daily housekeeping services. For many timeshare owners this is actually preferred - would you want somebody knocking on your door every morning and interrupting you? For a first timer who has grown accustomed to years of maid service at hotels they've stayed at, this lack of housekeeping can be quite a shock.

If you are staying at your timeshare for at least 7 nights a weekly pick-up service will take care of your towels and trash with a simple pick-up/drop-off. If you are an absolute stickler for daily upkeep, the service can usually be provided for a fee - ask about this option during the preliminary stages of purchase so there are no unexpected surprises!

At most timeshares you will be provided with ample kitchen supplies - a full range of appliances, and the necessary utensils, cookware and dishes so that you can cook and eat as you would at home (*food is not supplied). Many timeshares also stock cleaning supplies and associated amenities; most anything you might require during your week long stay will be available to you. As a rule, it is generally a good idea upon arrival to check the cupboards and closets and make sure that anything you may think you'll need is on hand, and if not, take care of it right away so as to avoid surprises later on.

Laundry facilities are another important point. Depending on the size of the timeshare you're staying at, laundry facilities may be included - a general rule of thumb is that timeshares with more than one room will have laundry, one room or less (i.e. - a studio apartment) will usually not have laundry facilities.

Activities are always available onsite, depending on the nature of the time share, there may be activities allotted for children and seniors also. These activities are usually more geared towards those who do not wish to travel off-site during their stay. You are of course free to go anywhere and experience any activities you wish in the local vicinity. Some timeshares also offer tours of the local area and points of interest for a fee - great for those who wish to see local surroundings but do not want to deal with renting a vehicle. Many resorts simply strive to be as self-contained as possible; for example, the Orange Lake Resort in Orlando offers multiple restaurants, live entertainment and their own golf course! If you know you'll want to venture off-site during your stay, ensure that you initially choose a timeshare location that will provide interesting options for you.

Jamie Matzke is a representative of Diamond Resorts International! For more information about becoming a timeshare owner or renting one of our beautiful vacation properties, visit us online today!

Source: EzineArticles
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Maintenance Fees


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