How Much Can My Timeshare Maintenance Fees Go Up Each Year?
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the trade association that represents the timeshare industry and developers, defines timeshare maintenance fees this way:
“A fee that timeshare owners are required to pay, usually on an annual basis, to cover the costs of running the resort, including daily management, upkeep, and improvements.”
What Determines Your Timeshare Fees?
Many timeshare owners often wonder, “How much can my timeshare maintenance fees increase annually?” This is a valid concern, especially for those who want to budget for their vacation expenses. According to the organization’s “Understanding Vacation Ownership” guide, it is highlighted that:
“The amount of the yearly maintenance fees typically depends on the size, location, and amenities of the resort and is paid by each owner in proportion to the amount of time and/or unit owned.”
To delve deeper into this, the size of the resort can significantly influence the maintenance fees. Larger resorts with expansive grounds may require more upkeep, leading to higher fees. The location plays a pivotal role too. Resorts in prime locations or popular tourist destinations might have steeper maintenance costs due to the high demand and cost of living in those areas.
Additionally, the amenities offered by the resort, such as swimming pools, gyms, and entertainment facilities, can also impact the fees. The more luxurious and numerous the amenities, the higher the maintenance costs might be. Lastly, the fees are distributed among the owners based on their ownership duration and the specific unit they own. And while this is an apt way of describing timeshare maintenance fees, which are part and parcel of timeshare ownership, it does not tell the complete story. This description, for instance, skirts around the industry’s open secret that…
Timeshare maintenance fees tend to trend upwards and increase year after year.
The data doesn’t lie. According to this “State of the Industry” report from 2013, printed in ARDA’s Developments publication, maintenance fees at timeshare resorts averaged $822 per interval annually in 2012, “up 5% from 2011.”
The State of the Timeshare Industry: United States Edition for 2015, meanwhile, saw this trend continuing; maintenance fees averaged $845 in 2013 and $880 in 2014, a 4% change.
Meanwhile, that definition neglects to inform consumers that, as per ARDA’s 2016 AIF Owner’s Study:
- 66% of consumers who wished to exit a timeshare wanted to do so because “the maintenance fees are too high”
- 46% of respondents noted that this was their “most important” reason for exiting
- That same report also reveals that maintenance fees are a major factor motivating timeshare owners who are “planning to sell;”
- 50% of consumers in that category planned to sell because they “no longer want to pay the membership fees,”
- 30% responded that they could no longer afford the timeshare maintenance fees.
Rising Trend in Timeshare Maintenance Fees: A Decade-Long Overview in the United States
As stated in the United States study conducted by ARDA in 2019, the average timeshare maintenance fee was estimated at $1,000 that year. However, this average fee witnessed an upward trend, climbing to $1,120 by 2021, and further escalating to $1,170 in 2022. This accounts for an estimated increase of approximately 42.34% in maintenance fees over the past decade.
Understanding the Costs of Timeshare Ownership
Timeshare ownership signifies a substantial investment, often entailing a diverse range of financial obligations. It’s crucial for those considering buying a timeshare to have a deep understanding of the various costs involved. This knowledge is essential as it can have a significant effect on the overall expenses tied to owning a timeshare and potentially on the overall satisfaction derived from the vacation property. Let’s look a little closer:
Initial Down Payment
The initial down payment is the upfront cost you pay when you decide to purchase a timeshare. This amount can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and luxury level of the timeshare property. It’s important to remember that this is just the beginning of your financial commitment.
If you finance your timeshare purchase, you’ll be making interest payments on your loan. The interest rate can depend on your credit score, the loan term, and the lender’s policies. Over time, these interest payments can add up to a significant amount, potentially making the timeshare much more expensive than the initial price.
Timeshare Maintenance Fees
Maintenance fees are recurring costs that you’ll need to pay to keep your timeshare in good condition. These fees typically cover the cost of repairs, renovations, and general upkeep of the property. They can increase over time due to inflation and increased costs of services.
Property Taxes Related to the Timeshare
Just like with any other real estate property, you’ll be responsible for paying property taxes on your timeshare. The amount of these taxes can vary based on the location and value of the property.
Special Assessments for the Timeshare
Special assessments are additional fees that can be charged to timeshare owners in case of unexpected expenses. For example, if a major repair or renovation is needed, or if the property is damaged in a natural disaster, the timeshare company may charge owners a special assessment to cover these costs.
Additional Costs and Fees
There may be other costs associated with timeshare ownership, such as transfer fees if you decide to sell your timeshare, or exchange fees if you want to swap your timeshare week with another location or time. It’s important to fully understand all potential costs before deciding to purchase a timeshare.
Lisa Ann Schreier, known as the “Timeshare Crusader” and the force behind Timeshare Insights, advises that one should always seek comprehensive and clear information about existing timeshare maintenance fees, a five-year history of these charges, and the existence and intent of any special assessments prior to even contemplating a timeshare resort.
Understanding the five-year history of timeshare maintenance fees is crucial when considering a vacation ownership purchase. This historical perspective provides valuable insights into how these fees have evolved over time.
Understanding Historical Trends in Timeshare Maintenance Fees for Future Budgeting and Assessment of Property Management
By examining the five-year history, you can gain a sense of the rate at which the timeshare maintenance fees have increased. This information is important because it allows you to anticipate future costs and budget accordingly. If the fees have been steadily rising over the past five years, it’s reasonable to expect that they will continue to do so.
Furthermore, a history of fluctuating or rapidly increasing fees could indicate instability or poor management of the timeshare property. This could potentially lead to more financial burdens in the future, such as higher maintenance costs or special assessments.
In essence, a thorough understanding of the past trends in timeshare maintenance fees can provide a clearer picture of the potential financial commitment involved in owning a vacation property.
Timeshare ownership is a long-term commitment that extends beyond the initial purchase. It’s not just about owning a piece of vacation property; it’s about understanding and preparing for the ongoing financial obligations that come with it.
Whether you’re contemplating entering the vacation ownership by purchasing a timeshare, or you’re exploring options to exit from a timeshare commitment, staying informed and vigilant is crucial. It’s essential to understand all the costs involved, from the initial down payment to the recurring timeshare maintenance fees and potential special assessments.
Remember, a timeshare is not just a one-time purchase, but a long-term purchase that requires careful consideration and planning. By staying informed about all aspects of timeshare ownership, you can make decisions that best suit your financial situation and vacation preferences.
This article is intended for informational purposes and as is not intended as legal advice. For specific information about your timeshare maintenance fees, seek the professional legal counsel of a timeshare attorney.
Led by Timeshare Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns. (855) FINN-LAW
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