1. Don’t believe everything you hear. That goes from Uncle Mark telling you that timeshare doesn’t work because he was never able to trade to go anywhere else (perhaps because he owned in Kansas?) to the salesperson telling you that you’ll always be able to trade at anytime, for any place. Location is key. If you want to trade or exchange into different locations, especially high-demand locales like Hilton Head in the summer, the French Alps in the winter, etc., you need to own in an high-demand, year-round area like Las Vegas or Orlando.
2. Avoid anyone, especially a salesperson or a sales manager who uses the words free, perfect, always, and/or never. Generally speaking, if things seem too good to be true, they are.
3. Do your homework ahead of time. Have some general ideas about timeshare and be truthful about how much you spend for vacation accommodations, such as:
- In 2006 the average cost of a 2-bedroom timeshare was $15,500.
- Most, if not all timeshare resorts allow you to exchange or trade off to another member resort.
- Location is KEY in determining how “good” any particular timeshare is … unless you are purchasing point-based timeshare, where location no longer factors into trading power at all.
- Go back 2 or 3 years and determine how much you spend for your vacation rooms and include the hidden room tax
4. Keep an open mind. If you are going to go to one of those timeshare presentations for the gift (dinner, cash, theme park tickets, etc.) or just because you are required to go in order to receive the discounted hotel room, then do yourself a favor and at least go in with an open mind and let the salesperson do his/her job. On the other hand, if you have already determined that timeshare is not for you, for whatever reason, then why would you want to waste your valuable vacation time by listening to something you don’t want? After 2 or 3 presentations, you should be able to determine if timeshare is a good idea for you. If so, then purchase one. If not, then just stop wasting your time!
5. Don’t purchase any type of timeshare as a real estate investment. Even if the timeshare is deeded, it should not be considered a financial investment, but an investment in your future vacations. If you buy a timeshare today for $15,000, use it for the next 20 years and sell it for only $7,500 (half of what you paid for it), ask yourself how much you’ll be able to get for your hotel/motel receipts over the same 20-year period.
6. Don’t assume anything. Many timeshares are deeded in perpetuity. Many are not. Many timeshares operate on a “points-based” system. Often, those points are not inflation proof. Always ask questions and don’t be afraid to say “no” if the product doesn’t suit your needs or wants.
7. Don’t cave in to high-pressure sales techniques. A high-pressure sales person or sales manager is high pressure for one or two of two reasons: Ignorant or they don’t believe in their own product. Don’t confuse high pressure though with the fact that in all cases, you will be asked to purchase on the spot. Focus on these points:
- Do you understand the product?
- Do you like the product and/or the particular resort?
- If you had it, would you use it? Meaning do you plan or intend to spend that amount of money “anyway” on vacations? (Note the word “plan.” You can’t predict the future of course, but you can and should plan.)
- Focus on the long-term. In the short-term, you will not be saving any money.
- Compare apples to apples when talking about cost and value. You may not be saving money even in the long term, but are you having a better vacation staying in a spacious 2-bedroom villa in a quality resort compared to a 400 square foot hotel room?
As told by Lisa Ann Schreier from Timeshare Insights. Schreier is also the author of two books on timeshare, including “Surviving A Timeshare Presentation … Confessions From The Sales Table” and “Timeshare Vacations For Dummies”.