Shopping for a timeshare? Take your time

Learn the limits of your property rights, and the ongoing costs.

Gail Bebee 10 March, 2017 | 6:00PM
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The sales pitch is attractive: Buy this timeshare and enjoy future vacations with superior accommodation, wonderful recreational facilities, no cleaning and no maintenance worries. Spend less than the cost of a fully owned vacation home. At your option, exchange your vacation time for a holiday at any of thousands of other resorts throughout the world.

It sounds wonderful, especially if you are in vacation mode. However, before you grab that free margarita and sign the sales contract, there is homework to do.

Mastering industry jargon is a good place to start. First, a simple definition: a timeshare or vacation ownership is a furnished vacation property shared by multiple owners. Worldwide, there are about 5,400 timeshare resorts in 120 countries. The United States is the country with the most resorts -- 29% of the total. Resort developers and operators range from small private companies to major hospitality chains such as Marriott, Disney and Wyndham.

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About Author

Gail Bebee

Gail Bebee  Gail Bebee is an independent personal finance speaker, teacher and the author of No Hype--The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money. She can be reached at gbebee@gailbebee.com; her website is www.gailbebee.com.

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