The older we get, the more everything seems to cost, from living expenses, insurance payments, and even the monthly mortgage or rental payment on a vacation property. If you are in the timeshare vacation ownership industry, you may see that many of these "additional" costs are everywhere! And often come out of nowhere. Every week, you get a new invoice for some maintenance fee you don't remember being a part of the original assessment costs. And yet, the prices just continue to increase year after year.
Maintenance fees are integral to the timeshare industry's financial manipulation tactics. Unlike a standard rental property like an apartment or rental home, timeshares often lack the benefits of having onsite maintenance that comes at no extra cost. Like an amenities bill (water or electricity), maintenance fees get tacked on during the standard billing period. These "service charges" are often said to cover the upkeep and preservation of the property.
Unfortunately, as a timeshare owner, there is no real way of ensuring your maintenance fees will stabilize. Some individuals may have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to upkeep their vacation homes. As maintenance fees continue to rise, there is only one guarantee: the cost of owning your timeshare will only become more expensive as time passes.
Increased annual payments and thousands of dollars of debt are just a few of the many problems that timeshare owners face today. What once was a shining light for future vacations at a once favorite vacation spot is now a reminder of financial ruin. What was once a fantastic vacation experience is now a financial nightmare!
There is no set number for how much maintenance fees will cost you. Often, variables such as the resort location, travel times, inclement weather in the area, standard amenities, upkeep, pool cleaning, or even necessities like air conditioning can affect the price of annual maintenance fees.
The takeaway is that timeshare maintenance fees will likely increase every year. Your timeshare floor plan, how often it rains, gets windy, or even the inflation rate can cause these fees to rise unexpectedly. Without a proper management company working alongside timeshare owners or setting up laws to regulate the rate at which maintenance fees can increase, there is no way to protect timeshare owners from rising costs over time.
However, if you're lucky, you may scrape by only paying a few hundred dollars each year. Unfortunately, that just is only true for some timeshare owners.
Maintenance fees can vary significantly depending on the timeshare company, resort location, and product you purchase. Alas, the average calculations are often scaled based on two factors:
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is a timeshare industry trade group that aims to estimate the average cost of these fees through their annual "State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry" studies.
According to their 2019 address, the average maintenance fee for a timeshare interval was $1,000. The average maintenance fee for a timeshare in 2018 was $1,000 per interval. This amount varies depending on the size of the unit, with smaller units averaging $640 per interval and larger units averaging $1,290 per interval. These figures showed increases of about 2% since the year before.
Considering that maintenance fees have increased year after year since the first timeshares hit the scene in the 1960s, it is likely to continue. It is often challenging for timeshare owners to forecast just how high their payments will be in a specific year, but one thing they can predict is that they will increase, and for many, it's a rude awakening.
When you sign a timeshare agreement, you must know what you are agreeing to. It's tough to plan financially for a cost that's hard to predict when it comes around every year. Before officially signing any documents that make you an owner, there is one thing you can do: ask the sales representative of that particular resort for a copy of last year's maintenance costs for other owners. That could give you an idea of what kind of fee to expect.
Failing to make a payment or missing a payment on maintenance fees could increase your timeshare debt and be detrimental to future finances. In some cases, when defaulting on a monthly payment, the timeshare resort and management (resort developer or a homeowners association) may revoke a grace period and demand payment immediately. If not, they may hire a collection agency and seek repayment. If that occurs, your credit score could be affected.
Another factor in play here is your interest rate on your timeshare mortgage. It could spike your due amount, making it nearly impossible to pay off anytime soon. Something else to think about is if you can't manage your maintenance fees, another owner might have to pick up the tab. In some cases, at lesser and cheaper resorts, the owners have reserves and will sometimes cover the fees for you if you are in a financial situation where you can't cover them. While this is rare, it could happen if you're fortunate enough.
When timeshare owners pay these rising maintenance fees, the funds usually go toward preserving and servicing the facilities on the property. That means the money could be used to resort developments, utilities, amenities, or regular upkeep like landscaping.
Most customers usually want to see what their money is going towards. Some resorts will itemize your maintenance fees, showing exactly why they're charging you a certain amount and what it will fix or help around the property. However, this is only sometimes the case. Many timeshare owners will get a total amount due and never know where their money is going.
No matter how your bill gets presented to you, the general cost of your fee will go towards all of these items.
In all reality, you have to make the best decision for the future of your vacations. A timeshare is a long-term commitment; it's not planning a short holiday weekend vacation.
Maintenance fees should be fully considered when you sign on to purchase a timeshare. These fees can cost you a lot of money over time, and if you aren't ready for them to increase each year, it can be a substantial financial burden.
Be sure to read the paperwork before signing up for timeshare ownership and go over the details of maintenance fees, like when they will be due and how much they could increase every year. It's never fun to go on vacation and have attractions or amenities closed or not in operation, and that's why they have these in the first place. Sometimes, though, the amount due by owners doesn't seem realistic. Do your homework, and you'll be in the clear.
Wesley Financial Group, LLC* (WFG) is a timeshare cancellation company assisting buyers who get deceived into purchasing. As a pioneer in this industry, WFG's history of success speaks for itself. With more than a decade of experience, this reputable company has accounted for over 16,000 timeshare agreement cancellations.
Consult with a WFG representative if you or someone you know experienced deceptive sales tactics and were misled into a timeshare purchase. This company's timeshare exit services may help achieve financial freedom.