Time-Shares on Sale

You can skip the developer’s seductive pitch and get a juicy discount if you buy from a current owner.

(Image credit: AND-ONE)

The high-pressure sales pitches of time-share resorts promise all the fun of a vacation home without the cost and hassle of second-home ownership. But there are plenty of downsides, too. You must choose your destination and annual week carefully because you may be locked in. The opportunity to exchange your week depends on its desirability — an off-season week in Podunkville won’t get you Christmas in Maui. If the time-share you buy offers a choice of weeks or the chance to stay at another resort, it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. Plus, a time-share is guaranteed to depreciate. It could be hard to sell someday, and until you do, you’re on the hook for the annual maintenance fee and special assessments.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.