How Long Does a Timeshare Contract Last?

One of the most common questions people ask about timeshare contracts is, “how long do they last?” When considering a timeshare purchase, it is important to understand the length of the contract—and your responsibilities to it throughout that time.

Since you generally only use a timeshare once a year, many first-time buyers assume that when you’re ready you can sell it or simply opt out. Many owners don’t realize what they are getting into or that it can be a lifelong commitment.

Determine What Type of Timeshare You Own:

The length and terms of your timeshare contract depends on what type of timeshare you have. Generally speaking, there are two types of timeshares: right-to-use properties and deeded properties. Right to use (RTU) timeshares give you exactly that: the right to use the property for a specific amount of time (usually a week) each year. Frequently, RTU timeshare contracts do have an expiration date. For example, you may buy into a timeshare that gives you the right to use that property for the second week in June each year for five years. After that five-year deadline, you may be able to renew your contract or opt out of the property. However, not all RTU timeshares necessarily have an expiration date, and some can be 99 years or more, so knowing the terms of your timeshare contract is very important.

Conversely, deeded properties are much different. In the cases of these timeshares, you actually own a portion of the unit and you have an actual deed and bill of sale. These properties are considered legal pieces of real estate, even though you do not own the property in its entirety, and much like a house, it comes with permanent ownership until you sell the property or transfer the deed to someone else.

Many owners have issues with these types of properties because they can often become expensive to keep, eventually becoming more expensive than taking a regular vacation to the same location. However, as a legally owned piece of property, the timeshare contract makes you (and you alone) responsible for all payments on the property. Just because you are unable to use a property at some point or are unable to afford its annual costs does not mean you are exempt for the responsibilities of the unit. You own it forever.

Determine Your Options:

For many people, owning a vacation property in their favorite location can be extremely exciting. However, timeshares are notorious for becoming a pain to get rid of when you no longer wish to use it. Often, people are pressured into signing contracts they can’t afford or don’t understand.

If you are considering buying a timeshare, it is important to stand your ground and get a good understanding of the terms of your contract before you agree, and if you smell something fishy, walk away. If you have already purchased a timeshare and were unaware of the terms of the agreement at the time you bought it, there may be ways for you to get out of your timeshare contract.

Every situation is different, but having an in-depth understanding of your timeshare can help you avoid issues down the road. For more information, call us at 1-855-781-0081 to speak with a timeshare specialist.

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