Timeshare Trap

Timeshares are one of the worst investments you can make. This journal is to inform people who are thinking about purchasing a timeshare not to do so and help those trying to get rid of their timeshare.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Time Share: The Basics

The thought of owning a vacation home may sound appealing, but the year-round responsibility — and expense — that come with it may not. Purchasing a timeshare or vacation plan may be an alternative. If you consider a timeshare or vacation plan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says it’s a good idea to do some homework.

The Basics

Two basic vacation ownership options are available: timeshares and vacation interval plans. You should know that the value of these options is in their use as vacation destinations, not as investments. Because so many timeshares and vacation interval plans are available, the resale value of yours is apt to be a good deal lower than what you paid. Both a timeshare and a vacation interval plan require you to pay an initial purchase price and periodic maintenance fees. The initial purchase price may be made all at once or over time; periodic maintenance fees are likely to increase every year.

Deeded Timeshare Ownership: In a timeshare, you either own your vacation unit for the rest of your life, for the number of years spelled out in your purchase contract, or until you sell it. Your interest is legally considered real property. You purchase the right to use a specific unit at a specific time every year, and you may rent, sell, exchange, or bequeath your specific timeshare unit. You and the other timeshare owners collectively own the resort.

Unless you’ve bought the timeshare outright for cash, you are responsible for paying the monthly mortgage. Regardless of how you bought the timeshare, you also are responsible for paying an annual maintenance fee; property taxes may be extra. Owners share in the use and upkeep of the units and of the common grounds of the resort property. A homeowners’ association usually handles management of the resort. Timeshare owners elect officers and control the expenses, the upkeep of the resort property, and the selection of the resort management company.

“Right to Use” Vacation Interval Option In this option, a developer owns the resort, which is made up of condominiums or units. Each condo or unit is divided into “intervals” — either by weeks or the equivalent in points. You purchase the right to use an interval at the resort for a specific number of years — typically between 10 and 50 years. The interest you own is legally considered personal property. The specific unit you use at the resort may not be the same each year. In addition to the price for the right to use an interval, you pay an annual maintenance fee that is likely to increase each year.

Within the “right to use” option several plans can affect your ability to use a unit:

Fixed or Floating Time In a fixed time option, you purchase the unit for use during a specific week of the year. In a floating time option, you use the unit within a certain season of the year, reserving the time you want in advance; confirmation typically is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fractional Ownership: Rather than an annual week, you buy a large share of vacation ownership time, usually up to 26 weeks.

Biennial Ownership: You use a resort unit every other year.

Lockoff or Lockout: You occupy a portion of the unit and offer the remaining space for rental or exchange. These units typically have two to three bedrooms and baths.

Points-Based Vacation Plans: You purchase a certain number of points, and exchange them for the right to use an interval at one or more resorts. In a points-based vacation plan (sometimes called a vacation club), the number of points you need to use an interval varies according to the length of the stay, size of the unit, location of the resort, and when you want to use it.

Courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission

Monday, April 23, 2007

Offered A Timeshare? Run As Fast As You Can

That is pretty good advice to remember and does a good job of summing up our feelings on the subject. This one paragraph sums up the facts pretty well:

The world is filled with remorseful timeshare buyers. As a testament, timeshares can be bought on the Internet for pennies on the dollar. There are more people trying to unload timeshares than there are trying to buy the units. The imbalance gives you an idea of the real value of timeshares.

You can read the entire article here

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Time Share Downside Over Time

Things change, especially over years. That is one of the biggest drawbacks of a time share. While you think you may visit the same place every year, the reality is that time will likely change that as this person found out:

About 16 years ago, I purchased a one-week time-share in Kissimmee, Fla., near Disney World. About three weeks after I bought it, I heard you on the radio and called in to your program to ask your thoughts on a time-share purchase. You said, "You don't listen to my program much, do you? A time-share is a bad deal -- get out of it." Well, it was too late then, but the first 10 years were mostly OK. However, now the maintenance fees are a whopping $824 per year. Ouch! I have been contacted by at least eight time-share resellers, and they all want an up-front fee to attempt to sell it, claiming they have an excited buyer. Well, that isn't going to happen. I will never pay an up-front fee. So while I was at the time-share in January 2007, I spoke with the front desk to arrange a meeting with the manager to discuss the resort repurchasing it; he wouldn't even speak to me, let alone make an appointment. Further, he had the receptionist tell me they would offer $1,500, take it or leave it. I told them they were out of their minds. My son is now 16, and I doubt we will return to this Disney area again.

Read the rest of the article