When purchasing a timeshare, you can buy directly from the developer or purchase on the resale market. Purchasing from the developer can have certain perks as opposed to resale but will almost definitely cost a lot more.
Purchasing from the developer or purchasing on the resale market is a lot like purchase a car. You can get a brand new car from the dealership or you can purchase a used vehicle on the private market.
Like cars, when you purchase from the resale market, you may not know exactly what you are buying or the "condition". When I say condition, I mean that you may not know if there is a loan associated with the timeshare, whether the maintenance fees are current or whether there are some back fees that will need to be collected.
Buying resale can definitely save a lot of money so it is an avenue for a lot of people. If purchasing resale, you need to obtain an estoppel letter from the resort.
An estoppel letter is confirmation from the resort that the person who you are dealing with actually owns the timeshare, the week and/or points associated with the week, maintenance fees and whether there are any liens or past due fees on the account.
When you obtain an estoppel letter, the resort states the specifics of what you are buying and essentially cannot later come after you for things that were not disclosed to you at purchase.
The estoppel letter is extremely important so that the buyer and seller known exactly what is being transferred and to prevent any unforeseen expenses that could be lurking.
I have stated before that timeshares have a bad reputation. One reason, among many, is that fraud is rampant in this industry. Many times, there are re-sellers who claim to sell you a certain timeshare and when you go to try to register with the resort, the buyers are in the unfortunate situation of finding out that they have been scammed.
An estoppel letter will not prevent all types of fraud but it is a critical document to obtain from the resort to verify ownership, fees, status of the account and other critical information.
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