Purchasing a Timeshare

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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In a timeshare purchase, the buyer can use the property, such as a chalet, studio, house, or apartment for a limited pre-planned time. This type or arrangement allows people to vacation in a beach bungalow in Maui, a ski cabin at Aspen, or other desirable place year after year. 

Types of Timeshares

The two main types of timeshares are deeded and non-deeded plans. In the deeded type of timeshare, the purchaser buys an ownership interest in a piece of real estate. In the non-deeded plan, he buys a lease, license, or club membership to use the property for a specific amount of time each year for a stated number of years. With both types, the cost of the unit is proportionate to the season and length of time desired. Obviously, a winter week in a warm climate is worth more than a summer week.

Considering a Timeshare Arrangement

Before entering this arrangement, the prospective buyer should consider whether a particular timeshare facility can be used regularly. Check if the properties have flexible use plans. If the timeshare plan has units in several locations, consider whether the club has a sufficient number of units to be used at the sites preferred. Also, it is advisable to look into any resale restrictions of the timeshare. Competitors and local real estate brokers may not want to include the timeshare unit in their listings.

A Cooling-Off Period

Review all the documents or have a consultation with an attorney familiar with timesharing. The contract may provide a “cooling-off” period to be able to cancel the contract and get a refund. That time can be used to reconsider the timeshare purchase. The majority of states where timeshares are located require such a “cooling-off” period. Without a cooling-off period, be sure all aspects of the purchase are thoroughly understood and all materials reviewed before signing this real estate agreement.

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