Has your timeshare started to feel like a burden? Or are you scared it might? As a company that has canceled thousands of timeshare contracts, we’ve worked with a lot of regretful timeshare owners who felt like their timeshares became something they wanted to escape instead of a great yearly escape.
Of course, it didn’t usually start out that way. Sometimes our customers initially felt a timeshare would be a great way to spend time with their family. Sometimes they felt it was going to be a smart long-term financial investment… but by the time they reach out to us, they tell us that their timeshare has become a burden and they want out.
In this blog, we’ll review the various ways we’ve been told that timeshares have become a burden for our customers, how to prevent it from becoming one, and what to do if it already has.
How a Timeshare Can Feel Like a Burden to Our Customers
With more than 10 years of experience, Timeshare Freedom Group has helped more than 15,650 satisfied customers to date. This means that we’ve heard a lot of stories from customers across the country on the various ways they feel their timeshare has become a burden. Here are some of the top reasons that we’ve heard, directly from our customers.
- They’re Not Using Their Timeshare
We hear from our customers that one of the primary motivating factors for getting a timeshare in the first place was to spend more time with family. They felt that if they spent money on a timeshare, it would force them to use it. However, sadly, this didn’t end up being the case. It was hard for everyone to be free on the exact week that their timeshare was available between school and work schedules. This got even harder when trying to coordinate schedules for any extended family as well. They thought a simple solution would be to reach out to their timeshare resort to try to switch weeks, but a lot of our customers were met with unavailability roadblocks or change fees. In addition, once the pandemic happened, a lot of people were unable to use their timeshare due to safety/health concerns, travel restrictions, and closures. In the end, a lot of our customers ended up using their timeshare far less than they thought they would. Some years they didn’t even use their timeshare, but the monthly mortgage fees and annual maintenance fees kept coming.
- They Don’t Travel As Much
Another reason our customers say their timeshare has become a burden is that they simply don’t travel as much anymore. We hear this more often with some of our retired or senior customers. Perhaps they used their timeshare decades ago when their children were young, but now that their children are grown and out of the house, the timeshare may sit unused most years and they feel like they have outgrown their need for it. Additionally, sometimes certain health issues make it harder to travel than it used to be and a timeshare just simply doesn’t fit into their lifestyle anymore. The result is a timeshare owner paying for something they don’t end up using, oftentimes while on a strict retirement budget.
- Increased Fees
When our customers first purchase their timeshare, they typically think it is well within their budget. However, they often don’t realize that their maintenance fees can increase every year. Maintenance fees are typically contractually obligated and can increase by approximately 6-10% every year. Therefore, what initially feels like a comfortable fee to our customers can start to feel out of budget in time.
Let’s dive a little deeper with an example. Let’s hypothetically say that John buys a timeshare and his first annual maintenance fee is $1000. With a 10% increase, that means that next year his maintenance fee could be as high as $1100, the following year $1210, the next year $1331, and so on. If we fast forward, it means that in ten years John’s annual maintenance fees could be $2357.95 and in twenty years they could be $6115.91. When looking at the math, it becomes easier to see how a timeshare can start to become an unexpected financial strain in time.
While twenty years may feel like a long way off, timeshare contracts are typically written ‘in perpetuity.’ In layman’s terms, this means that you are contractually obliged to pay maintenance fees for the entirety of your life and whoever inherits your timeshare after you pass will be required as well.
In addition to annual maintenance fees, timeshare owners are often required to pay special assessment fees as well. Special assessment fees can be charged to timeshare owners at any time and are used to help offset any unforeseen expenses. For example, perhaps the timeshare resort needed a new roof that year or got damaged in a weather event. Special assessment fees are on top of maintenance fees, can be very hard to predict, and are mandatory.
Between rising maintenance fees and surprise special assessment fees, our customers often feel like their timeshare has become a financial burden to their family, and they don’t want that financial burden to be passed on to their beneficiaries.
Whenever a prospective customer has their initial free consult with us, we do a full cost analysis of what a timeshare is predicted to cost them throughout their entire life. The actual lifetime cost of a timeshare is often a surprise to our prospects. What they think is a $20K – $50K timeshare may actually cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lifetime. Here’s how:
• Mortgage Rates: Timeshares typically have a high interest mortgage. The average is 14% and the rates can get as high as 20%. For perspective, that can be 2-3 times higher than typical home mortgage interest rates.
• Maintenance Fees: As mentioned above, timeshare maintenance fees increase by around 6-10% year after year. This means that what may start out as a $1000 per year fee could turn into an annual fee of around $6000 after twenty years of timeshare ownership. Timeshare owners are required to pay maintenance fees for their entire life, even after the mortgage is paid off.
• Special Assessment Fees: These fees are written into most contracts for any unforeseen costs, such as weather events, new roofs, or any other unplanned circumstances. This means that at any point throughout their lifetime, a timeshare owner can be charged an unexpected fee of hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Once our customers start to understand how much their timeshare is truly costing them in the long run, they start to think about all the other ways they could spend that money – whether it’s on a vacation that isn’t limited to specific availability, investments, tuition, residential real estate, and more. This realization is when a timeshare may start to feel like a financial burden to our customers.
- Lifestyle Changes
Another way that a timeshare can start to feel like a burden to our customers is when they are going through a big life transition. Maybe their timeshare felt affordable and fit their lifestyle, but then something changed. Maybe they got divorced, lost their job, had a big health scare with lots of medical bills, or had to adjust their expenses after retirement. Whatever the reason, the timeshare doesn’t fit into their lifestyle anymore and the monthly and/or yearly expenses are feeling like a burden now.
- Inheritance Concerns
If you aren’t already aware, a timeshare owner’s financial responsibilities are passed onto their beneficiaries, whether it’s their children or someone else mentioned in their will. This means that these beneficiaries will be financially responsible for the monthly mortgage fees if the timeshare is not paid off yet. In addition, they will be responsible for all of the neverending annual maintenance and special assessment fees.
When a lot of our customers find this out, they can become very concerned that their timeshare will become a financial burden to their children or other loved ones. In addition, when beneficiaries understand the financial implications of what they are inheriting, they can also begin to see the timeshare as a financial burden instead of as a gift.
- They Were Given a Timeshare
Another example we’ve seen of how a timeshare can start to feel like a burden to our customers is when they have been given a timeshare. It might seem counterintuitive. After all, timeshares are relatively expensive, and at first, it can feel like a very generous gift. However, once the recipient understands they are responsible for annual maintenance fees (often for thousands of dollars) and surprise special assessment fees, they may begin to view their timeshare differently. In fact, it can be hard to give timeshares away or donate them to charities for this reason.
- Discount Vacation Options
If a timeshare owner has owned their timeshare for a long time – before discount travel and hotel overstock websites existed – owning a timeshare may have seemed like a convenient and affordable way to travel consistently. However, the internet has revolutionized the travel industry, and these days, vacation, airfare, and lodging sites are widespread. The internet has made it a lot easier to find affordable and convenient travel options, some of which can be severely discounted. When our customers start crunching the numbers and realize how much more expensive their timeshare vacations can be compared to other available options in the marketplace now, they can start to rethink their decision. This is when our customers begin to see their timeshare as restrictive and more expensive than it used to feel.
- They Feel Mislead
One additional reason our customers say that their timeshare has become a burden is that they felt misled into buying one. Sometimes our customers were told that it would be easy to book a vacation, but then their timeshare never seems to be available when they try. We’ve also heard stories of our customers discovering hefty fees to use the weeks that their family is available. Sometimes they were told buying a timeshare would be a real estate investment, but when they tried to rent their timeshare, they realized the market was too saturated to make any of their money back. Sometimes they were told that a timeshare would be a good investment for their family, but when they tried to sell, they realized that they really bought the “right to use” a timeshare rather than traditional property ownership. In addition, a lot of our customers didn’t realize that purchasing a timeshare would leave their children with a contractually obligated financial responsibility year after year. Even if their mortgage was paid off, the annual maintenance fees could be thousands of dollars each year and could increase by around 6-10% each year. This wasn’t what they felt they were told when they signed up, and they begin to think of their timeshare as a big mistake instead of an escape.
What to Do About It
Now that you know the most common reasons why our customers feel their timeshare has become a burden, what can you do about it? Here are our top three tips on how to prevent your timeshare from feeling like a financial burden… or what to do if it is already feeling like one.
- Research Before You Buy
If you haven’t purchased a timeshare yet, but are thinking about it, make sure to do your research before your buy. That way you can make a truly informed decision to decide if purchasing a timeshare fits your lifestyle and personal situation. Make sure to read your contract thoroughly, so you understand exactly what you are signing and to make sure that everything that you discussed in person is also in writing. In particular, pay attention to your financial obligations, so you can see if you are contractually obligated to pay any surprise or unforeseen charges and if your maintenance fees can increase year after year. If there is anything you don’t understand in the contract, we recommend having a lawyer look over the contract, so you can get a legal expert’s opinion and advice on any obligations and implications. In addition, talk to your children or other beneficiaries to see if a timeshare is something they would want to inherit since your beneficiaries can be financially implicated in your decision as well. As mentioned above, timeshare maintenance and special assessment fees can be inherited, even if your mortgage is paid off. Lastly, try to connect with other owners of your specific timeshare resort, so you can get firsthand stories of their experiences. With all the information in front of you, you can then make a fully informed decision on what is best for you and your family, and what the timeshare will accurately cost you.
- Cancel Within Your Rescission Period
What if you just purchased a timeshare and want out? All timeshare contracts are supposed to have a rescission period. A rescission period is a short window of time when you can change your mind about a timeshare and are legally able to cancel your contract. Rescission periods vary by location according to local laws, but are typically just a small window of a few days.
Even though rescission periods are a legal requirement, some of our customers have told us of experiences where they weren’t able to get ahold of their timeshare resort in time to be able to cancel their timeshare within their rescission period. In these cases, our best recommendation is to reach out to timeshare elimination consultants, so that they can negotiate and communicate with your timeshare resort on your behalf to legally cancel your contract.
- Cancel Your Timeshare Contract
If you’ve already bought your timeshare and are past your rescission period, how do you get rid of a timeshare legally? The easy way to get out of your timeshare is by working with a reputable timeshare cancellation company. In the simplest terms, timeshare cancellation companies negotiate with your timeshare resort to legally and permanently get you out of your timeshare contract. How do you choose the best timeshare exit company to work with? We’ve posted an in-depth blog here that reviews timeshare exit strategies and how to find the best cancellation company for you and your family.
If your timeshare has started to feel like a burden or if you want to prevent it from feeling like one, Timeshare Freedom Group is here to help. During a free consultation, we’ll match you with a timeshare consultation expert who will review your specific situation and walk you through the best timeshare cancellation options for you. There is no obligation to purchase and we stand by our cancellation service with a 100% money back guarantee. You can reach out to us here or call us at 1-866-668-6872. Your timeshare doesn’t have to feel like a burden anymore.