Timeshares can be appealing. After all, who wouldn’t want to own a vacation property that they can visit year after year? Unfortunately, timeshares are often not a good value, despite the initial allure according to financial advisors.
The high costs of timeshares, including annual maintenance fees, can quickly add up. In addition, many timeshare contracts come with a lot of restrictions. As a result, timeshares can often end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
Another downside of timeshares is the lack of flexibility. With a large number of independent timeshares, you’re usually locked into visiting the same property at the same time each year. If your plans change or you want to visit a different location, you may have to pay additional fees for exchanging your timeshare for another time and place. Points based programs are use only and while more flexible, you essentially have a membership to a club of pre-paid vacations.
And finally, timeshares can be difficult to sell. If you decide you no longer want your timeshare, you may have to pay high upfront fees to a resale company to market your timeshare interest. And even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find a buyer for your timeshare.
Making Sense of Timeshares
In a recent article, Marc Freedman, CEO of Freedman Financial and Host of the Radio Show: Dollars & Sense writes, “In figuring the cost of a timeshare, those annual fees are what really get you. The timeshare company has to tell you upfront what the fees are at the time you buy. Yet you have no control over what the fees may be in five or ten years. The only thing you can count on is that they will increase.”
Let’s also consider a previously published Finn Law Group analysis in which we spoke with Lisa Ann Schreier, the “Timeshare Crusader,” about the significance of knowing exactly what you’re buying when it comes to a timeshare and the various maintenance fees that come along with ownership.
Schreier recommended always getting “full and complete” answers about current maintenance fees, the “five (5) year history of those fees, and the presence and purpose of any and all special assessments before even considering a timeshare resort purchase.”
If you’re not sure what to anticipate in terms of costs when purchasing a timeshare, it can be all too easy to get caught off guard and in a negative way. However, performing some research ahead of time might help you potentially avoid some of those problems. Timeshares are sold in many different forms based on the needs of various lifestyles.
The Summer Vacation Allure
In a short clip from Freedman’s blog, he also attempted to balance his reasoning about Summer Vacations & the Allure of Timeshares
“When it comes to timeshares, that is the bottom line. If the lifestyle that’s on sale truly fits you, and you believe it will continue to fit for the long term, then it’s possible that a timeshare may make sense.”
For most people, however, a timeshare is too expensive even if someone gives you one. The annual fees alone will keep it from being a good value. Paying for a hotel stay costs less in the long run, and you can enjoy relaxing vacations with no long-term commitments.
Timeshares can be a great way to enjoy vacations year after year, but they often come with high costs and lots of restrictions. Do your homework before making any decisions, and be sure to understand the use, benefits, costs, and restrictions involved.
This article is for informational purposes and shares the opinions of professionals that may or may not be the opinion of Finn Law Group and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney if you feel your rights may have been violated. Only an attorney can provide you direct advice on your individual matter.
Led by timeshare attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm dedicated to timeshare related matters. Follow us on Twitter.