Monday, January 24, 2005

Timeshares: Do's and Don'ts

Timeshares ain't what they used to be -- they're better. A whopping 85 percent of 3-million U.S. owners are satisfied with their purchases, according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA).

Here are smart buying tips from the Wall Street Journal's Julie Bennett:

Do accept free vacations at resort destinations -- the fastest way to learn about an area -- but leave checkbook and credit cards home so you don't make an impulse buy that you'll be sorry about later.

Visit the resort area you like during the season you prefer.

If you are interested in a hot spot, buy the best unit you can find during prime season, in a high-demand area. For instance: love Costa Del Sol? Buy Florida -- It will make swapping easier.

Be aware of extra costs. Examples: annual maintenance fees (they average $385, but some owners fees are $1,000 or more).... special assessments (new roof, new appliances etc.)

Don't forget membership in clubs that arrange exchanges. They run about $85 a year, and trades require payments of an additional $150, if you can get them.

Check out TUG -- that's the valuable Timeshare Users Group.

Got your own tips? Post 'em here.

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