For some, buying into a timeshare is an ideal method of locking down vacation time in an organized manner, with security and certainty far in advance, and reasonable prices. For others, the process becomes a nightmare of shady business practices, inflexibility, and unexpected costs. It’s up to you to make the decision yourself, but it pays to be well informed of the risks you are taking on by joining a timeshare program. Here are five of the biggest.
1. Unexpected costs
Maintenance fees are guaranteed to rise, sometimes dramatically. Your best hope of keeping them in check is insisting on some sort of cap in the contract. Even then, however, you can expect the annual increases to outpace inflation by a good margin. In addition, it is quite possible you will be blindsided by extra fees for changing dates, exchanging locations, or taking any other action.
The timeshare market is prime territory for scammers preying on individuals that have some disposable income and a poor understanding of the system. With insufficient regulatory oversight and a host of potential victims, scammers are able to turn hefty profits by convincing timeshare buyers and sellers to pay up-front fees and then disappearing. Do the due diligence on any timeshare realtor to make sure that they are licensed and have a good reputation online.
3. Unavailability and difficulty exchanging
Timeshare companies make a large point of advertising the flexibility afforded by their schemes. You are certain to be told by a representative that you will have the ability to trade your dates with others easily, use your points at other properties owned by the same company, and enjoy a general attitude of relaxation in how you approach the timing and location of your holiday. Don’t count on any of these things being true. Instead, expect black-out dates, unavailable alternative properties, an exchange limit, or having those you hope to trade with steered away to more “favorable” options.
4. Iron-clad contracts
Hoping to skip out on your commitment? Good luck. Timeshare companies make it as difficult as possible to back out of an agreement once it has been made. Your only hope in most cases is to enlist the aid of a professional company like Right Choice Transfer to help you break the bonds and transfer ownership to another party. Without them, you’re unlikely to get anywhere, and your timeshare will continue to drain your money.
Timeshare properties are notorious for losing a huge percentage of their value in a single resale. No matter how good the condition of the unit is and how promising the economic data is looking about the real estate market, there is almost no chance of turning a profit through resale. A more realistic expectation is that you will get back 50-75% of what you paid. Ouch.
All of this isn’t to say that timeshares are inherently bad—just inherently risky. You should be well aware of what you’re getting into, take your time in looking over any documents (and preferably do so with qualified assistance), and have realistic expectations. Follow this advice, and it could be a great move for you and your family. Fail to, and you stand to lose a lot of money and stress-free vacation time.