Timeshares are often referred to as vacation ownerships. The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) defines timeshares as the joint ownership of resort property. With nearly 7 million households owning timeshare property, it is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas in the travel industry.

Advocates claim that this type of ownership enables vacationers to travel with comfortable accommodations without the hassle of property upkeep. The investment is often minimal and many timeshare owners enjoy the flexibility of having a ready-to-use property for their vacations. While timeshares are affordable and flexible for most people, those considering this purchase should understand any implications of this ownership.

If you have ever been on a resort vacation, you have probably been solicited to attend a timeshare presentation. Guests of these presentations are often showered with gifts of airline tickets, free meals or other appealing offerings. Remember that the purpose of this is to lure you in so that an aggressive and motivated salesperson can attempt to sell you a timeshare property. Be carefully to thoughtfully consider your purchase and do not cave in to an emotional or impulse purchase. In some states such as Florida, consumers have a 3-day window to cancel their timeshare purchase; in other states you may not have this option.

Most states provide consumer protection in the timeshare business. The salesperson should be honest and upfront about pricing and any fine print. Some experts recommend waiting until after the presentation to make a decision to give yourself time to make a sound and informed decision. You should be well informed of the property, timeshare fees, maintenance fees and other expenses involved. Some buyers have purchased timeshares without fully knowing what they were getting. In cases like this, buyers often end up unhappy and contractually bound to the purchase.