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Timeshare Purchase Checklist!

Author: Corrine Walker

This article will apply to both buyers and sellers of Timeshares, as the information included will be important for both sides. This however will not be a "How to sell your Timeshare" article as that has already been written and contains the information relevant to sellers, so this is intended to assist someone looking to buy a Timeshare.

Information about the Timeshare Resort

Note: The answers to these questions should not be considered a dealbreaker (or vice versa) in many cases, it is just important for you to have the answers to these questions BEFORE you become an owner so you can make a proper educated decision on if this ownership is right for you!

Information about the Unit/Week being Purchased!

Information about how the Timeshare Exchanges!

  • What “color” is the week, as designated by the exchange company(its demand)? What are the divisions between different color assignments for weeks at the resort? How do those divisions compare with other weeks in the area?

  • Are there other seasonal designations implemented by the resort or resort group itself (e.g., High/Low season; Platinum/Gold/Silver, Peak/Non-Peak, etc.)? If so, where does this week fall? These designations are often used by floating week resorts and for internal exchanges within resort groups. They are important to know, since you can only reserve weeks within your season. Also, these designations will also help show when weeks of the same “color” have differing real trade power.

  • With what exchange companies is the resort affiliated?

  • How do you deposit your week with the exchange company? Do you do it yourself, or does the resort do it upon your request?

  • How far in advance can you deposit a week for exchanging? Do you need to prepay maintenance fees if you deposit a week early?

  • If you use the week to trade, can you reserve a specific week or does the resort assign you a week from the resorts bulk spacebanking inventory?

  • Is the resort part of group of resorts that offer internal trading or other preferences? Do owners receive any extra privileges or considerations if they exchange back into the resort?

  • If the resort is part of a group that offers trading privileges, what are the procedures and fees to make exchanges within the group? Can you make split week trades within the group (e.g., using part of your week at one resort, and the remainder at a second resort)?

  • What is the procedure to follow if you wish to make exchanges outside the group using an exchange company?

  • Is the resort included in an exchange company points system (such as RCI Points)? If so, how many points are assigned to the weeks that might be made available to you? If the resort is not in a points system, are points assignments available for any nearby resorts? This information is useful to help assess the real trade power of a given week.

  • If the resort is part of a points program, is the specific unit that you are buying part of the points system? If so, will the points membership transfer with the week ownership? What are the fees to transfer membership or to convert a unit to the points program if you should choose to do so? If you want to participate in the points program, get details in writing about the points program. Note that even if a resort is part of a points program, owners may have a choice of whether or not to join the points program?

  • What is the trade power of the week? Does the owner have a deposited week that can be used to assess the trade power? Can the owner provide information on previous exchanges made with the unit? Has the resort been included in any TUG trade tests (see trade test links in the Sightings Board, available to TUG members only)?

  • Does the week qualify for bonus weeks with any exchange companies? If so, does the exchange company give the bonus week in return for depositing a high demand week, or is this part of developer agreement? If it is part of a developer agreement, does the eligibility transfer to the new owner?

  • Are owners at this resort blocked from using their weeks to trade into other resorts in the area? If so, what resorts?

  • How much will it cost to add this resort to your account at the exchange company?

  • Are there any prohibitions or limitations on trading through independent exchange companies? Are there any specific procedures that must be followed if you deposit your week with an independent exchange company?

Purchase Agreement Details

  • What year does your usage begin? Are all fees current through the start of your usage year? Does the purchase include any banked or reserved weeks? What is the procedure for transferring those weeks to you?

  • How will title transfer be managed between the buyer and seller? Will an escrow be used? Who will pick the escrow company? Who will prepare the title transfer documents? Who is responsible for filing the transfer documents with the appropriate entities? What fees does the resort charge for changing ownership in their records? How will the closing costs be split between buyer and seller? What happens if the charges are higher than anticipated? Are there any special local government transfer fees or taxes.

  • For deeded properties, what type of deed will be used to transfer ownership (quit claim, warranty deed, grant deed, other)? How will you be sure that the seller is providing clear title?

  • How long will it take to close and complete the transfer of ownership? Are the rights to use any weeks in jeopardy if closing is delayed? What will be done to ensure that the buyer will receive usage if closing is delayed (e.g., arranging rental; depositing the week with an exchange company and transferring the deposit to the buyer; reducing the sales price)?

  • Is the seller also including the exchange company membership in the sale? (including any existing banked weeks/points already deposited)

  • Does the agreement include provisions to allow you to verify information about the unit and the resort with the resort management? (Be aware that some resorts will not release this type of information without written permission of the owner. Since it may take some time to get this permission, you should obtain this permission as soon in the buying process that you can.) Are there provisions to modify or cancel the sale if the information does not check out? If you cancel the sale, what happens to any deposits that may have been made?

The Final Word about buying a Timeshare!

We hope this article helps you maximize your vacation dollar, and ensures your Timeshare Purchase is smooth and you get exactly what you wanted! Note that many sellers may not be able to answer these questions to your satisfaction, not because they dont want to, but many simply may have never known in the first place! for situations like that please post to our Online Timeshare Owner Forums to get help and answers for resort, developer, or exchange specific questions you are still researching! With tens of thousands of other Timeshare owners just like you, no question goes unanswered!

View and discuss this article here on the free TUG Timeshare owner Discussion forums!

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