How Timeshare Assessment Fees Are Different Than Maintenance Costs

How Timeshare Assessment Fees Are Different Than Maintenance Costs

Purchasing a timeshare can be an exciting time for those that have dreamed about vacationing every year. It’s easy for most to commit to a monthly agreement that seems to be cheaper than spending money on one-time vacation packages. But, they soon find out that additional expenses and fees easily push them outside of their budget while expectations typically don’t match the presentation. Aside from maintenance costs catching new property owners off guard, timeshare assessment fees can be maddening. Moreover, they can be devastating. Getting out of a timeshare may be desired, but the financial burden can handicap their ability to cancel the contract when they need to the most.

Unlike vacation rentals or travel deals, timeshare ownership leaves many feeling trapped. Once they sign the contract, they’re obligated to adhere to the terms they agreed to – even if the details weren’t ever made clear to them. As we’ve mentioned in other articles, far too many interested consumers are distracted by the value propositions of owning a timeshare and overlook the actualities that come with a purchase of this magnitude.

Know the Details Before Signing the Contract!

For whatever reason, timeshare sales presentations are so persuasive that many travelers don’t even research the opportunity before spending tens of thousands of dollars into the property. If they did, they’d quickly realize most timeshares have zero resale value. A large percentage of timeshare owners aren’t even aware that their financial commitment can drastically increase when repairs, damage or acquisitions occur. Misinformation is common in the timeshare industry. But, pointing fingers at unethical sales practices isn’t going to solve the problem.

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At VOC, we take pride in helping potential timeshare owners understand what they’re getting themselves into before making the purchase. Educating current owners on the terms of their contract also allows us to help them find the best way to cancel their timeshare for good. So, before you call the resort to complain about unexpected expenses, let’s discuss the major differences between timeshare assessment fees and maintenance costs. Knowing what to expect will help you better navigate the muddy waters of timeshare ownership.

What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

As we discussed in our previous article, timeshare maintenance fees are annual charges that go towards maintaining the resort and the operational costs of the property. If you’d like to see the resort invest more money in laundry services or to update the carpet, then the cost of these “upgrades” will eventually come out of timeshare owners’ pockets. For example, properties with excess greenery or golf courses use yearly timeshare maintenance fees to spread out landscaping costs. The amenities and elements of the resort that initially caught your eye during the presentation aren’t necessarily included in your mortgage.

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Unexpected Maintenance Fees Are Unpredictable.

What’s worse, is that these yearly fees fluctuate every year depending on what the timeshare claims as maintenance. There’s no questionnaire that goes out to property owners asking for their opinion or input on decisions about the premises. At the end of the day, they can basically bill their occupants for whatever they want. What’s more concerning is that yearly timeshare fees continue to rise. A 10-year mortgage for $20,000 can easily become a $30,000 expense when you factor in maintenance fees. Keep in mind, this isn’t even including your interest rate (15-19%) and unexpected timeshare assessment fees.

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What Happens When You Pay Off the Timeshare Contract?

Do you still think owning a timeshare is cheaper than your family vacation for four? What many don’t realize is that they’ll still be on the hook for maintenance fees once they’ve paid off their timeshare mortgage. Contracts don’t become expendable once payments are complete. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. As long as you’re under contract, you’re responsible for your share of property expenses. This is when a good number of timeshare owners begin thinking it might be a good idea to dump the timeshare altogether.

What Else Can Increase Maintenance Fees?

You’ll typically see a large increase in timeshare maintenance fees when an acquisition takes place. If the resort decides to transform the location into luxury suites, property owners are expected to quietly foot the bill. Similar to a new property management company gutting an apartment complex, the acquirer will say major changes need to take place in order for the resort to be profitable. In other words, they justify the increase with a few open ended promises.

Unfortunately, most don’t improve anything about the property and simply spread out acquisition costs through maintenance fees. A $500 increase for 100 rooms with 50% occupancy can generate them a quick $1.3 million in the first year. While maintenance fees can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, timeshare assessment fees can be substantial.

Explaining Special Timeshare Assessment Fees

Unlike maintenance costs, timeshare assessment fees are not annual expenses that you can anticipate (or save up for) every year. In most cases, these unexpected fees are sent out to timeshare owners after a natural disaster or extensive damage occurs to the property. Hurricanes, wildfires and volcanic eruptions have led to several recent lawsuits regarding timeshare assessment fees.

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Instead of rolling out damage control or resort improvements over an extended period of time, most timeshare companies give their owners a few months to pay them hefty sums of money. Unless you’re up to date with everything going on at the resort, you’ll more than likely get blindsided by timeshare assessment fees. Some vacation owners are forced to hand over the deed to the property due to their inability to pay the fee on time. Losing the timeshare can be a punch to the gut, but dealing with collection agencies and a damaged credit score can be even more devastating. Failure to pay timeshare maintenance fees and assessment costs can even result in a foreclosure if you’re not careful.

What Can Impact Assessment Fees?

With an increasing number of owners legally cancelling their contracts or defaulting on payments, timeshare assessment charges have been used as damage control. When there is less money coming in, the resort needs to make up for the difference. The costs that timeshare companies deem “billable” isn’t going to change when there are less timeshare owners in the building. It simply costs every remaining owner more money to keep their share. At the end of the day, the resort’s board of directors has total control over what they charge their timeshare owners for. 

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Are Timeshare Assessment Fees Related to Maintenance Costs?

Similar to maintenance fees, people under contract really have no choice but to pony up the cash for timeshare assessment costs. The only time the two charges are related is when “special” assessment fees are issued because the revenue from maintenance fees wasn’t an ample amount. Whether fees are considered “required” upgrades (like a new pool during the offseason or improved telecommunications) or uncovered costs, timeshare companies will find a way to distribute the expense. Unfortunately, they have every right to do so.

Why Legal Timeshare Cancellation Makes Sense

By ignoring contract details during signing, many timeshare owners end up being held hostage by their agreement. Fees can end up doubling or even tripling their anticipated annual expense. This makes it easy to understand why ownership turnover is so high. A timeshare sold for $20,000 can realistically cost consumers $40,000+ over 10 years. Not everyone has this kind of money laying around. Either way, the timeshare profits at the consumer’s expense. Although some scams are obvious enough to lead to class action lawsuits, not all timeshare owners are presented with ample relief options.

Once disgruntled owners start to consider timeshare cancellation, hundreds of predatory agencies and con artists await their desperation. Attempting to find an affordable solutions more than likely puts them even further in debt. What seemed to be a small investment towards a great time can become a headache with no end in sight. Although many are stubborn about the purchase, a good number know what they have to do.

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How to Get Rid of Timeshare Fees Altogether.

Whether your timeshare contract is paid off or you still own a mortgage, unexpected fees can be a nuisance. Most of our clients decide to finally get rid of timeshare obligations when the value of ownership doesn’t add up to the cost. Maintenance and assessment fees getting out of hand makes it easy to look for relief. The problem is, many wait until they’re in the hole financially to take action. It makes it very difficult for them to do anything at all. Walking away from these fees can also make matters much worse.

This is why we provide eligible timeshare owners payment options for our services, like $0 down and 0% financing. At VOC, instead of preying on desperation and over promising, we actually take the time to understand your situation. Paying for a timeshare cancellation service after spending thousands to own the timeshare may sound crazy, but the long term benefit is evident. In order to eliminate the fees associated with owning a timeshare, it’s important that you realize time is not on your side. The longer you put off getting out of the agreement, the more fees you’ll experience over time. Money saved is money earned when it comes to getting out of a timeshare.

If you think you are ready to legally cancel your timeshare contract we’d love to schedule a free consultation with you. Give us a call or fill out our form today to get the process started. We aren’t going to ask you for your credit card to simply answer your questions and have agents standing by to educate you on how our process works. There’s no need to worry about pressure sales or broken promises anymore. Take control of your situation, eliminate your timeshare assessment fees and become contract-free with VOC!

Apply For Our Timeshare Cancellation Services

The Reality of Timeshare Maintenance Fees

The Reality of Timeshare Maintenance Fees

In order to make an educated decision on purchasing a timeshare, understanding the fees associated with timeshare ownership is a must. The problem is, hundreds of thousands of consumers don’t. Like many great sales organizations in the travel industry, timeshare presentations intentionally leave out the details regarding fees and accessibility while distracting attendees with “what ifs” and “free” rewards. They know exactly how to tap into desires by using misleading benefits that persuade listeners into making long term agreements. Their goal is to get you excited about vacationing with them, not necessarily what can hinder your enjoyment. This leaves many feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of when their experience doesn’t match the presentation. Getting billed annually for timeshare maintenance fees and assessment costs (on top of their monthly expense) normally adds insult to injury.

But, before we dive into some of the bothersome details, let’s talk a little bit about what maintenance fees actually entail. Every property management company occurs management and maintenance costs that need to be paid for. If you look at the fine print, every timeshare contract includes a section detailing timeshare maintenance fees and assessment costs. Although this might bother some timeshare owners that assume this is accounted for in their payment plan, they don’t have to look far for an initial roadmap. Similar to residential mortgages, homeowners have additional expenses that they’re responsible for.

What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees Similar to?

The most relevant example of timeshare maintenance fees would be the HOA (Homeowners Association). If someone is considering buying a home in an HOA neighborhood, they’re required to pay the annual fee. At the same time, most home buyers understand that this type of cost isn’t included in the mortgage. Moreover, they tend to value an added expense that preserves the quality of the entire neighborhood they’re paying for. In other words, HOA fees are accepted and approved by the residents that choose to live there.

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What Does an HOA Entail?

Although the city may have some say in regulations, the subdivision is normally maintained according to the requirements of the community’s development team. The biggest contrasting factor is the simple fact that HOA residents are able to attend routine meetings and even play a role in what transpires with their funds. When it comes to assessing HOA costs, they normally derive from management salaries, community swimming pools, parks, landscape and other features. Payments are placed in an escrow account and used for routine maintenance, when repairs come up and during strategic developments for the residential community.

The Difference Between the Two

Timeshare companies validate maintenance fees by making similar claims. The thing is, they get to decide where money is spent and how much you pay them. Aside from the fee being quite larger than an HOA, they also hold the power (or right) to increase the maintenance costs at any time. When it comes to fee increases, there isn’t really much clarity behind why they’re charging you more and where it’s going to be spent.

Timeshare companies don’t need your input in order to deem something repairable – they just do it. They make it a point to remind you that you chose to purchase a share of their resort and it’s your responsibility to maintain their premises, that you signed up to enjoy. The biggest difference between HOA costs and timeshare maintenance fees is transparency. It’s hard to really know where your money is going.

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Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees Being Used?

What can be troublesome for most timeshare owners is the fact that some resorts aren’t properly staffed and the upkeep is unacceptable. Even if you feel like your experience is being hindered due to poor maintenance, they’ll point you to the contract. This causes many owners to complain about timeshare maintenance fees and demand that something be done. They feel like the money they’re spending isn’t matching their expectations.

Do you think resorts are interested in your opinion on financial planning when they’re cashing in? Do you think they’re going to do anything about your dissatisfaction when they know it’s nearly impossible for you to get out of a timeshare contract? It’s not their first rodeo. Timeshare owners have been caught off guard by maintenance fees for years. Unlike an HOA, the timeshare company isn’t held to a certain standard and has no obligation to provide anything outside of the bare minimum. Be careful when you complain because the resolution could end up including a hike in your fees.

The Revenue From Timeshare Maintenance Fees

When analyzing timeshare maintenance fees, it’s easy to understand how they can be used to build a new pool or repair one. It’s easy to understand that the landscape needs to be maintained and employees need to feed their families. It’s understandable that an emergency plumber is needed when the entire building is backed up or the hot water isn’t working. It’s even more understandable when renovations are required to improve guest safety. New bedding, upholstery, appliances, furniture, cleaning supplies, kitchenware and the little mints at the front desk cost money. We get that. But, does the amount charged align with the amount needed?

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Timeshare owners should be less worried about what their fees go towards and more concerned with how much of their money is actually being used. Although timeshare maintenance fees have increased since Statistica completed their report, the average fee per interval for a U.S. vacation timeshare (in a beach resort) was $860. Looking back to 2012, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) reported that the average cost for maintenance was $660.

How Much Do Timeshares Make on Maintenance Fees?

In order to create some simple math, let’s aim low and assume each resort charges every timeshare owner $500 per year for maintenance. According to the ARDA, the average timeshare consists of 131 units. This gives the timeshare 6,681 weeks to sell, while 1 week per year is dedicated to maintenance of the unit. If they’re able to fill 50% of these weeks with a timeshare owner (3,340), they could potentially cash in on $1.7 million annually. How much do you think it costs to manage and maintain the resort? One can’t help but wonder how much is being pocketed by the resort.

Instead of getting upset that $350 was added to your yearly maintenance fees for a pool renovation without your consent, realize the timeshare just deposited upwards of $1,192,100! I hope the pool now has a diving board and an option to swim with dolphins. Many timeshare owners are currently experiencing annual fee increases due to acquisitions. In some cases, maintenance fees are tripling even though nothing is being done to the resort. They’re simply covering the acquisition costs so they can get out of the red faster. Once you sign the dotted line, there isn’t much you can do to put a halt to the greed behind the timeshare industry.

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Understanding the revenue focus of timeshare companies is normally enough for unhappy timeshare owners with unwanted properties to get rid of the contract altogether. Just remember, if you can’t sell the timeshare, you’re still going to be on the hook for monthly payments. Once you’ve made the decision to get out, make sure you’re allocating a reliable option.

The Long Term Cost of Owning a Timeshare

As aforementioned, most people buy into the whole timeshare ownership mantra without really considering the details. Timeshare companies know how to persuade people into believing that $250/month is ideal – Especially when vacations for a family of 4 have an average cost of $4,580 ($382 monthly cost per year).

The problem is, the $22,000 purchase price quickly turns into $40,000 after 10 years with 15-19% interest (most rates are higher than 17%). Not to mention the annual timeshare maintenance fees! The limited-time-offer that once seemed promising can eventually turn into lifelong regret and a lot of debt. These situations cause many people to make irrational decisions. When timeshare owners become desperate to find a worthwhile solution, they’re often bombarded with pressure sales pointed towards upgrade options. This is the last thing they need to do. 

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Owning a timeshare can be devastating when you aren’t aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Even when you pay off the contract, you’re still on the hook for timeshare maintenance fees for life. Many people wonder what happens if they simply stop paying for the fees. Unless you’re prepared to battle additional fees and a foreclosure-type-situation, we wouldn’t recommend it. What’s worse is that many timeshare owners seek relief only to be scammed. This only adds salt to the open wound that has yet to heal.

It’s hard to overcome the scars or financial ruin of timeshare ownership – but it can be done. If you’re struggling to keep up with payments or you’re tired of being held hostage by your contract, we’d love to help. We understand how resorts and predatory agencies take advantage of vulnerability and we take pride in providing a permanent solution that makes sense. Every single one of our clients have successfully gotten rid of their timeshare. Stop wondering if someone can help you eliminate your maintenance fees. Our ability to cancel timeshare contracts is unmatched in the industry and we stand by our promise.

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