Many of us have been invited to attend a brief presentation to explore the great opportunity to own a little piece of paradise. These offers often include free accommodations, travel, and use of amenities or other fantastic prizes. The properties offered are beautiful and offer a real getaway from our normal working day world, after all we are on vacation relaxed and all ready planning our next escape or adventure.
This now becomes the "Perfect Storm" for the sales professional to paint a glowing picture for you and your family to own a week or two to enjoy the resort lifestyle that you deserve for years to come at a very affordable price and unlimited possibilities to travel the world with their owners network. These opportunities are presented as great investments and hedges against travel inflation. Your investment can be sold, rented out and passed down to your heirs as part of your estate.
This can make even to the most skeptical of us suddenly think that this is the best opportunity ever devised.
By the time buyer's remorse sets in or when the first increase in maintenance fees arrive you may realize too late that you have entered into an ironclad contract that is not easily broken. The truth about timeshares is that they are rarely if ever resold at a profit. With the glut of people who want to rent their weeks out to defer some of the costs, locating willing and credible renters is not very likely either. Trading for time at other locations is never as easy as portrayed in the sales presentation and will almost always result in additional services fees and upgrade charges.
There are situations when vacation ownership may be a real advantage. If you know you are going to a specific location year after year at around the same time, if you travel with large family units that need larger accommodations, or if you just like to know you have the same place waiting for you each year. The peace of mind may be of a real value to you.
There are many variations of vacation ownership and some of them are Fixed Week Ownership, Floating Weeks, Rotating Weeks, Vacation Clubs and Ownership Points Programs just to name a few. Remember if you are considering any of these options do not make decisions in haste. The high pressure one-time only, must act today offers are a certain red flags. Read over any contract thoroughly or better yet have your attorney review before signing. There are thousands of locations and options to choose from so never be misled that you have to act today or the opportunity will be lost for ever.
If you ever want to sell your timeshare or vacation ownership never deal with a company that may contact you stating that they have qualified buyers wanting to buy your property but they are requesting an up front fees to handle the transaction. Too many people have been taken in and have sent money and never heard from the buyer again. It may be best to contact the resort directly they may have a resale company they are working with. Check resellers out with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney generals office in their state, and the Federal Trade Commission before you send money or sign contracts.
The Internet has countless sites regarding timeshare resellers stick with reputable sites, (www.redweek.com) or Timeshare Users Group tug2.net would be a good places to start.
Gary Johnson is Senior Outreach Program Manager for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. He can be reached at 651-695-2424 or 1-800-646-6222.