Timeshares are some of the greatest ways to own a vacation home, but also sources of the greatest headaches in contract law. A majority of the time individuals will sign timeshare agreements without reading the terms and conditions of the contract. These contracts can be difficult to understand and can lead to frustration when what someone signs for is not exactly what they are getting. Here are some tips to avoid the headaches of a timeshare agreement.
What is a Timeshare?
Timeshares come in various forms the most common of which is a Deeded Timeshare Ownership. In a Deeded Timeshare the vacation unit is owned either for the rest of the individual’s life, a number of years set in the contract, or until the unit is sold by the individual who owns it. Aside from this typical kind of timeshare there is also the Right to Use Vacation Interval Option. This method of vacation timeshare is less common as the unit that is used is on a resort owned by a developer. The units on the resort are then parceled out by intervals. This means that various owners can share the same unit but at different times of the year. This method is less common because of the restrictions on when the unit can be used, and the costs associated with the upkeep of the unit and maintenance fees for the resort. Additionally, rather than holding the “timeshare” as real property the unit is held as personal property, which affords less protection to the owner than if it were real property.
What to look for before signing a Timeshare Agreement?
First, figure out what kind of timeshare unit it is, whether it is a traditional deeded timeshare or a right to use vacation interval option. After establishing which of the two kinds of timeshare the unit is calculate the total cost of the timeshare or vacation plan. There are costs that are not always advertised when getting sold a timeshare that should be considered before ever signing a contract. Such as the mortgage, travel costs, annual maintenance fees, taxes, closing costs, broker commissions, and other miscellaneous charges that may make the difference between actually getting the timeshare and another kind of vacation property. Always keep in mind that maintenance fees and taxes will increase on an annual basis and should be calculated into the decision to purchase the timeshare.
Also consider looking into the developer of the timeshare and whether it has a good reputation for its timeshares. Read reviews on the place and units before making a lifelong decision. Do not act on impulse or pressure from sales agents, it is always better to review the paperwork and the if the benefits outweigh the costs before putting pen to paper.
Are you stuck with a Timeshare after signing a contract?
Getting out of a timeshare contract is difficult and often times complex if at all possible. However, there are ways to “get out” of the contract without really having to go through a legal battle. There are options available to those who own timeshares such as renting it out rather than actually using it, selling it on the resale market if the desire is to be rid of it altogether. One can even gift it to a friend or family member if they are willing to just take the loss on the money spent on it thus far and just be rid of the obligation. Although it is not always as simple as may seem. The best way to handle a timeshare and moving past it is to review the terms of conditions before signing the agreement, but should you already be in one discuss the agreement with a lawyer and discuss what the best option would be.