When we speak to our clients, many of them are already dissatisfied with their timeshare purchase, but most are also shocked at the difference between what they thought they were committing to (in terms of expense) versus the actual annual cost of owning a timeshare with timeshare fees. That difference can be so dramatic, you may ask yourself if you missed something important on the contract, in all that fine print.
If you have found yourself in the same situation, you aren’t alone. Every year we hear thousands of stories shared by our clients that confirm the complications of purchasing a timeshare. Language like “may increase” or “inflationary increase” are used to disguise what should be simply stated as “your costs are going to increase every year.” Of course, if they used that language, a large percentage of potential timeshare buyers might have second thoughts.
If the language and the sales presentation was an accurate representation of all the costs associated with buying and maintaining a timeshare membership, would you have signed your contract? Probably not. But how does that gap between what you expect to pay versus what you become obligated to pay over time, add up?
Cost of Principal Borrowing
If you have to finance your initial timeshare purchase (and most people do), what is the real cost of buying your vacation time? The pitch focuses on the cost of principal payments only, to keep the number as low as possible, and to prevent buyers from really adding up the first apparent monthly cost.
For example, let’s say your timeshare was $10,000 to purchase, for a period of ten years. Your sales representative may have equated that to roughly $84.00 per month. That sounds affordable right? Except that with interest, after ten years, you’ve really paid $12,104.00 (assuming a competitive interest rate of 3.92%), which is really $100.86 per month, when you factor cost of lending.
Average closing costs for a timeshare contract can vary by state from $300.00 to more than $800.00, which includes the transfer of timeshare ownership, legal costs and closing activity. These costs can rarely be ‘rolled in’ by your lender, as you are not purchasing a principal asset (such as owning a home), but rather the right to ‘use time’.
Timeshare closing costs may or may not include:
Preparation and registration of state tax forms required for the transfer of a timeshare property.
Execution of the deed to the Clerk of Court for record, and supplemental research or documents required, and delivery to the buyer and seller for signing.
Obtaining of the Estoppel Certificate, which is a disclosure from the resort or development company of outstanding fees, taxes, assessments, or other liabilities.
Title search, review and Title Insurance Policy.
Depending on who you hire or the services provided by other legal professionals, your closing costs can vary, and you are out of pocket for them.
Escalating Maintenance Fees
Bargain hunters seeking a cheap timeshare property are most frequently the victims of escalated maintenance fees. Did you know that unless there is a contract provision that clearly states that your maintenance and membership fees WILL NEVER increase, that it is at the discretion of the property management company or developer to increase them, citing increased cost of upkeep? That means that age related damage, community wear and tear and other variables can provide the best excuse in the world for collecting more money from you annually. Increases can average from 5% per year or more, are is entirely dependent on the age and condition of the resort or timeshare property.
When timeshare fees quickly escalate and become out of control, many consumers find themselves unable or unwilling to pay for their timeshare property. Unfortunately, having signed a legally binding contract, the timeshare developer can sue you for back fees, foreclose on the timeshare property or pursue both courses of action. In that event, not only could you face additional legal fees, but your credit rating can be impacted with the same effect as a mortgage foreclosure.
Before a small problem becomes a legal concern, call us for a free consultation. We are America’s original timeshare resolution team, helping thousands of families exit their timeshare contract without negatively impacting their credit score. In twelve months or less, we can help you put the cost, expense and experience of owning a timeshare behind you.