Owning a timeshare may be the perfect way for seniors to enjoy vacation destinations all across the world. That said, it’s important to be wary of potential pitfalls that may cause seniors to pay more than they should. To help seniors ease into their golden years, below are 3 tips to help secure a timeshare that fits their needs as affordably as possible.
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Understand Your Ownership’s Responsibilities and Limitations
In most cases when you buy a timeshare in the U.S., you’ll get what’s called a “timeshare state” which allows you to rent, sell, exchange, and pass down to heirs your share of the property. However, outside of the U.S., you are usually only provided with “timeshare licenses” or “memberships”. These allow you to use the property for only as long as the contract permits and typically enforce other restrictions. Seniors should also know that signing a contract for a timeshare outside the U.S. means that you are not protected by U.S. laws.
More specifically, the types of timeshares available to seniors include:
- Timeshare ownerships: Timeshare ownerships allow travelers to purchase one week of access per year. Timeshares are designed so that each unit has about 52 individual owners, each with access to the unit annually.
- Fractional ownerships: Companies that sell fractional ownerships make units available to owners anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks per year. These properties are often more upscale than standard timeshare properties. Owners can choose how much stake they want in a property, whether that’s for 1/26 of a property or 1/13.
- Variety of ownership plans: Some companies have properties that sell both timeshares and fractional ownerships and thus attract a broader base of clientele with different wants and needs.
Additionally, it’s worth noting if you’re buying an unfinished timeshare, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that money be placed in an escrow account registered to a local bank until the property is completed, and be sure to include a “non-performance” clause in the sales contract. This is to help protect you in the case that the timeshare developer goes bankrupt or defaults before the property and unit are finished. Finally, like any other owned property, you have to pay required maintenance fees and property taxes each year. Otherwise, the timeshare company has the ability to foreclose the property.