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While I was on my past vacation in Vegas, I was pulled aside by an agent at our resort that offered me a 3-night 4 day stay if I were to attend and sit in on a tour hosted by a time travel club.

Like many others this has happened to, I used the opportunity to gain a free vacation plus some perks and ended up learning more about travel shares and planned vacations than I had not known before. In fact, during the high energy presentation, I had built up a general interest in how timeshares operated and began to wonder if it was a good investment to consider.

I mean, I really can’t afford that dream house in Maui but what’s stopping me from owning a timeshare where I can enjoy residency one or two weeks out of the year with the bonus of being able to swap that location to another beautiful destination. To me, the travel club made it clear as day if I wanted to enjoy a yearly vacation it may very well just make sense to buy a timeshare outright.

Now I had it set in the back of my mind I was just going to listen and do whatever I needed to do to receive my free gifts, but I couldn’t help to wonder how many people would actually take the leap into buying a shared property and if It is something I should really consider. I questioned myself, “Are times shares really a good thing or should people avoid being in them all together?” I really had a hard time answering that question because there are both pros and cons into signing a contractual agreement.

Now a timeshare is a way for a number of people to share ownership of a property, usually a vacation property such as a condominium unit within a resort area. There are different types of models used in the industry and I’m gladly going to go over a few popular variations so you can understand a little better where I am coming from. I believe the deeded contract is the most prominent of all models, the contract usually divides the use of the resort into week-long increments and are sold as real property, meaning that owners may use for the week, rent it, give it away, leave it to heirs, or sell the week to another prospective buyer. In a deeded contract the owner is liable for an equal portion of the real estate taxes, which is usually collected with condominium maintenance fees.

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The deeded contract seems legitimate and collectively a good choice for a long-term investment. On the contrary, the right-to-use contract may not prove to be substantial as the policy states that a purchaser has the right to use the property in accordance with the contract, but at some point, the contract ends and all rights revert to the property owner. You can use it for a specific number of years then it terminates itself and also runs the risk of losing the right to use if the current owner sells the property. The tour I had attended offered a popular program recently formed from these two models and was presented as a variant form of real estate-based timeshare, called the points program.

timeshare villa rentalThe points program is proven to be highly flexible and may be used in different increments for vacation stays in a variety of accommodations from studios to three-bedroom villas. The point program annually gives the purchasing owner a number of points that is equal to the level of ownership that could be used to make travel arrangements within a resort group that could be used for different vacations each year. It made a lot of sense and didn’t seem like a bad decision if they were going to offer a good price. The points purchased could roll over, they lasted until they were used, they could be shared with family, it really sounded like a good plan.

It was projected through the timeshare developer/agent that the pricing compared to staying at hotels in the long term would be lower to me as a timeshare owner. Then I started thinking about being a hotel guest and how it compares. As a hotel guest, I don’t have a monthly vacation mortgage payment, an upfront cost, a fixed schedule, any maintenance fees, or preset vacation locations.

In fact, timeshare costs and accompanying maintenance and exchange fees, are rising faster than hotel rates in some areas. I ultimately snapped out of being hyped up to fantasize about going on my dream vacation and to take my chances to see the world. I had to remind myself I can live it out by carefully budgeting and planning the details ahead of time and I didn’t need to buy credits to do so.

I chose to politely decline my offer and it wasn’t easy, those tours are meant to sell you a deal on the spot. If you have the chance to take a tour, DO it the tour could be worth it and you never know what you might learn.

Just remember It is wise when considering buying a timeshare to make sure to DO all the research you can, get the numbers on buy-in costs, maintenance fees, and everything else you are expected to pay and DON’T let salesman pressure you into signing, only DO so because you absolutely love the idea of owning it!

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