Tips on Buying a Timeshare Resale
Have you ever bought an inexpensive car only to find that upkeep and dissatisfaction made it more expensive than if you had just bought a better one in the first place? The same is true in timeshares. The "satisfaction quotient" of a timeshare will actually be determined by your buying the right one in the first place. This is true whether buying a developer's timeshare or a resale. The only difference is that you will buy the resale for one third to one half the price. Consider the following attributes when purchasing: The Location. Is it in a demand area? Can you walk to shops, restaurants and other off-site amenities? Does it have major attractions close by? The property on the beach is better than the property a block back.
Some resorts feature solitude and a "get away" location with great views of the wilderness. What will suit your lifestyle and desires? The Design. Was the project a motel conversion or purpose built? Some motel conversions are excellent. Others result in turning a substandard motel into a substandard timeshare. Is the property a mix of Studio, One and Two Bedroom units? Is it attractive and well laid out or just a box? The more attractive the physical layout of the property and the unit floorplans, the better.
The Management. First and foremost: Are the units clean? Look for dust, non-working windows, squeaking doors, seedy landscaping, etc. The better maintained the property, the higher the value. Does the appearance please you? The Fiscal Stability. This is harder to find because it is not visible. Ask for a copy of the Owner's Association budget or financial statements. If this is out of your area of expertise, ask the Owners around the pool. Have there been a lot of special assessments? If there is a professional Property Manager (a CPM or RRP), ask them. Is the project "living beyond its means"? Look for the reserve study. When will the property need a new roof and will the money be in the bank to pay for it? Another non-technical way is to review the last few minutes of the Board of Directors meetings.
The Unit Size. As a general rule, the people who buy the larger units are the happiest. The ability to bring friends and family along on a vacation is not to be overlooked. Two bedroom units offer this possibility. In other cases you may not want this possibility to exist so a smaller unit will be the best selection. Think it over not only for the present, but also for the future. Young singles have bought studio units. They don't work so well after the marriage and the third child. The Season. Buy the high season if that is what you wish to consistently use.
If the summertime is high season and you are a schoolteacher who can only vacation then, you should go ahead, bite the bullet and buy that season, even though it may be at a premium price. If you have school age children the same applies. Sometimes, the reverse is true. For example, we have many Owners of Southern California beachfront resorts who live in the east and Midwest and have specifically purchased the "off season" because it gets them out of the cold. It works perfectly for them. The Price. This is last on purpose. You are looking at buying a lifetime possession. If you get the wrong one, the dissatisfaction will be present long after you have forgotten what you paid for it. At current resale prices, I don't think there is any way to lose.
Resale timeshares are like antique furniture. They will either hold their value or increase with time. Look at resales as though they will not really cost you money, they will save it. The worst that will happen is that you will have a lifetime of incredible vacations and at the end you will sell it and get all or most of your money back. The longer you own, the better it will be because alternate accommodations (hotels) will only cost more in time due to inflation. The best units in the best season in the best projects have held their value best. Currently, resale prices are generally half of the original developer sale price. In some cases it may be less and in some more. To assure yourself of not paying more than you have to, shop around.