Buying a Timeshare

Vacation ownership is one of the most highly regulated vacation products in today’s consumer marketplace. Individual state timeshare laws govern the purchase process from a developer. These laws usually address such issues as financial requirements for the developer, rescission rights, disclosures about the resort for consumers, and provisions for resort management. Be careful when purchasing a vacation product that sounds like a timeshare, but isn’t registered as one under state timeshare laws or when purchasing a resale. When contemplating a timeshare purchase, consider the following. 

  • Buy because you plan to use your timeshare in the future. Consider your purchase as an investment in future vacations. It is not a real estate or other type of financial investment.
  • Choose a vacation that fits your lifestyle. Think carefully about what you value most in a vacation and travel experience, then explore the wide variety of vacation ownership products and options available. Choose those which will best suit your family’s needs today and into the future.
  • Visit a timeshare resort on your next vacation, or rent a unit to experience the quality accommodations and recreational amenities. While you’re there, talk to existing owners about their experiences. Many development companies also offer mini-vacations (also referred to as “mini-vacs” or “sampler” programs), which may provide discounted options for a stay at the resort.
  • Read all documents carefully and understand what type of product you are being offered. Ask for a clear explanation of the terminology and purchase terms, such as “fee simple” (a real estate interest) or “right-to-use” plan (no real estate interest).
  • Ask if the resort is a member of ARDA. Member companies of ARDA agree to adhere to the ARDA Code of Ethics.
  • Look for signs of good property management, such as well-maintained facilities and resort amenities, good housekeeping, and friendly service. Take a look at the resort’s annual budget, which is usually available through the property’s Home Owners Association (HOA).


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