Buying a Time Share: Consider All of the Hidden Costs & Fees

Is buying a time share a good idea? It depends. As with any large purchase, there's a lot to consider. Below are some things to think about before you sign up. 

What to watch out for when buying a time share.

The Sales Pitch

While staying at a resort, you might be enticed into attending a time-share presentation. You may even be offered a gift for attending the session or an incentive to buy now rather than later.

Plan to be involved with your salesperson for a few hours.

During that time, he or she will promote positive aspects of your future vacations, as well as what's important to you -- amenities at the resort, stress-free time with your family or the ability to become part of the vacation club so that you can trade your time and visit other resorts.

Costs and Fees with Time Shares Vary

Before you get swept away in your vacation dream, consider the costs and avoid an expensive nightmare. These include:

  • The upfront purchase price to buy your week
  • Additional finance and transaction charges
  • Travel costs to get there each year
  • Annual maintenance fees, which tend to rise a little each year
  • Property taxes (which might not be included in your maintenance fees)
  • Fees to bank/trade your week
  • Special assessment charges for larger projects at the resort
  • Currency fluctuations if you buy in another country
  • Cost of selling your time share if you want to get rid of it. Is there a strong resale market, or will you have to sell it for a small fraction of what you paid for it?

Think About Your Yearly Vacation Plans

Crunch the numbers carefully, and average them out for a weekly vacation over 10 or 15 years. Compared with what you're spending now, is this what you want to spend each year for your vacation?

Also think about your family and if your needs will change in the future. The great thing about buying a time share week is that you know where you'll be spending your holiday. And the bad thing about buying a time share week is that you know where you'll be spending your holiday. 

As with any large purchase, let the numbers do the talking. Ignore the hype and sales pitch, and if you've just signed a contract, find out what your window is to cancel it at no cost.

The Bottom Line

A time share might be the right opportunity for you, so consider all of the costs and fees and decide if you can truly afford it.