Timeshare Maintenance Fees: What They Are and What They Mean for Your Finances
Timeshares are a popular purchase for travelers who want to have a vacation home for a few weeks every year without having to purchase an entire property. In 2017, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) reported that sales of timeshares increased close to four percent over 2016 in volume while occupancy was over 81 percent.
While timeshares are popular, they are not ideal for everyone. Not all buyers understand the total costs and commitment involved in timeshares, with maintenance fees being one area of confusion. Timeshare maintenance fees can add to the cost of a timeshare and will increase with time. With many owners wondering how to get out of timeshare maintenance fees and others trying to get out of timeshares entirely, it is crucial you understand timeshares fully before purchasing.
What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?
Most timeshares charge annual maintenance fees, which are split among the owners and are meant to cover the everyday costs of maintaining the property. The fees can vary widely and typically cover a range of services, including staffing, landscaping, utilities, upgrades and more. Maintenance fees may also include costs such as taxes, insurance, refurbishments, improvements and more. Owners pay these fees to the management company to cover the expenses they incur operating the property.
Different properties come with different fees, and they range from several hundred dollars a year to a few thousand dollars. The average timeshare maintenance fees were $980 per year in 2017. The costs you pay will depend on many factors, including the branding and exclusivity of the timeshare, the location, the size of your timeshare and amenities.
If you’re considering buying a timeshare, one of your first questions should be, “How much are timeshare maintenance fees?” You need to understand how much the fees will be and whether they make sense for you. Find out whether you will be charged annually, monthly or on another schedule. In general, you will also want to consider how frequently you plan to visit the property since maintenance fees are generally charged whether you use your timeshare or not. This means even if you do not use your timeshare one year, you will still be responsible for fees, which can make your timeshare less valuable than you initially believed.
Keep in mind timeshare maintenance fees are only part of the costs. If you finance a timeshare, you are also paying interest on your purchase. In addition, most timeshares charge weekly exchange fees if you want to swap your timeshare for a unit elsewhere. These fees can be $200 or more. Always look at the total costs to determine whether a timeshare is right for you. Ask the management company for a copy of documents showing how much maintenance fees have risen in the past five years to get a sense of how much they may change in the future.
If you have already purchased a timeshare and are just noticing maintenance fees, you will want to take a careful look at how much the fees are and what they mean for the affordability of your purchase. Consider how much they have been increasing and how these costs impact your ability to enjoy your timeshare. If high maintenance costs have made your timeshare unaffordable, you may wish to contact a timeshare cancellation company for a consultation to discuss your situation.
Can Timeshare Maintenance Fees Go Up?
Timeshare maintenance fees do increase with time. Also, the older a property gets, the more expensive maintenance may become, which may also impact how fees are calculated. ARDA reports timeshare maintenance fees often increase faster than inflation, which means they might even double within five years. Very few timeshares place a cap on timeshare fees, so keep in mind they can increase faster than you might expect.
Timeshare fees tend to increase over time, but the way they increase can come as a surprise to owners. When a developer is in charge and in the early stages during marketing and opening a timeshare or resort, fees may increase slowly to attract buyers. Once a certain number of people have bought into the property, the developer hands management over to a homeowners association (HOA). Then fees may jump more rapidly because there is no longer any incentive to attract buyers. Unfortunately, this can mislead consumers who initially see relatively low fees or see fees rising only incrementally in the first few years a timeshare or resort is available. It can be an unpleasant surprise to find the costs of your timeshare suddenly growing.
In addition to timeshare maintenance fee increases, you need to consider Special Assessments. HOA board of directors can vote on Special Assessments and levy them at any time, making them a surprise for timeshare owners. Often, HOAs levy Special Assessments due to unexpected costs related to maintenance and similar expenses. For example, if a natural disaster damages a property, HOAs can vote to levy Special Assessments to pay for any repairs not covered by insurance. These costs are in addition to regular maintenance fees.
When buying a timeshare, read any written information carefully to determine how maintenance fees are levied and whether there are any caps in place. Determine the right of the HOA to levy Special Assessments. Could you afford your timeshare if you suddenly got a bill for hundreds of dollars extra to pay for a Special Assessment or increased maintenance costs? These costs can make staying in a hotel a better choice than buying a timeshare in some cases.
If you already have a timeshare, you may feel powerless if you are suddenly faced with growing maintenance fees, especially if the costs seem to inflate significantly each year. When those fees are making your timeshare a burden instead of a vacation you want, you might want to see what options you have to reduce the fees or get out of your timeshare entirely.
What These Increases Mean for Timeshare Owners
Do timeshare maintenance fees go up? Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, the impact of these fees might affect the affordability of your purchase. When you purchase a timeshare, you agree to pay timeshare fees for as long as you own the timeshare, and this means you will be charged more and more as the fees increase. If you budgeted to spend a specific amount on your timeshare, you might find you are significantly over budget in just a few years.
Rising timeshare fees is a particular concern right now, with the increase of short-term rentals and other market disrupters. Some people find it is more affordable to rent short-term than to own a timeshare and keep paying the fees. Run side-by-side comparisons to understand how much a timeshare might cost when compared to short-term rentals and other vacation properties. Will a timeshare still make sense for you as the costs grow?
Over time, timeshare maintenance fees play a significant role in how happy individuals are with their timeshares. Most owners seeking to exit a timeshare want out because of high maintenance fees. Many say they cannot afford the costs any longer, pushing them to sell. It can be a painful financial lesson to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a timeshare and then continue to pay ever-greater increments of fees every month or year.
Keep in mind that getting out of timeshare maintenance fees is not simple, either. If your timeshare no longer makes sense because it costs more than a short-term rental or hotel room in the same area or you no longer use the timeshare, you may have a hard time selling. Buyers may not be eager to take on a property where the fees will become their responsibility.
You may be tempted to stop paying your timeshare fees because you disagree with the increases, but that can make your situation even more challenging. If you stop paying fees, the developer or HOA can pursue collection and even foreclosure action against you, which can mean significant legal fees and damage to your credit score. Unfortunately, this situation can make individuals with timeshares feel stuck — they are obligated to keep paying, but at the same time, they may see few options for getting out of the timeshare.
Even if you’ve budgeted for increasing fees, they can become a burden if your needs change. Over time, a timeshare may no longer be feasible. Whether a family has a new child or unexpected medical challenges, traveling may not always be an option. Yet, even if you cannot use your timeshare, you will still be responsible for maintenance fees. It can be frustrating to continue to pay for something you can no longer use or want to use, especially as those costs grow.
For many timeshare owners, these fees are a burden with significant financial impact. Some people even end up borrowing to pay maintenance costs, paying even more through interest, or generally struggle to afford them. Obviously, this is not the “care-free” vacation experience marketers promote to timeshare buyers. No one should have to worry about paying for essentials because their timeshare cost increases to hundreds of dollars more than they expected, yet this is an unfortunate reality for some.
The rising costs of maintenance fees can place such a burden on timeshare buyers that they can eventually make poor choices. Sometimes people become so frantic to get rid of an ever-more-expensive timeshare that they sell at a substantial loss. In other cases, predatory companies promise to help these individuals “resell” their timeshare for tens of thousands of dollars, often charging a large upfront fee. When the timeshare fails to sell, the company keeps the fee while the purchasers are still left with the high maintenance fees of their timeshare. Law firms and attorneys, too, sometimes charge individuals thousands of dollars to attempt to get out of a timeshare, with mixed results. Many owners end up in foreclosure or with a burden they cannot get rid of.
EZ Exit Now has been advocating against such abuses in the industry for years, and we are especially concerned about the many seniors who purchase timeshares and become vulnerable to predatory practices because their budget can no longer accommodate the rising maintenance costs. Our Christian and veteran-supportive company helps individuals who may have been misled during the purchasing process exit their timeshare. If you have been the victim of a predatory timeshare, consult with our caring and professional team.
Why Contact Us for Timeshare Cancellation Services?
If your maintenance fees keep rising and it no longer makes any sense to keep your timeshare, contact EZ Exit Now. We can help you understand whether you qualify for our services. If you have a valid claim that the timeshare was negligent in the promises made during the purchase process, EZ Exit Now may be able to help you avoid the rising burden of timeshare maintenance fees by helping you exit your timeshare. If you qualify, you can exit once and for all, allowing you to avoid the further burden of fees.
There are no blacklisted properties or properties we will not take, so we may be able to help you with your timeshare struggles no matter what kind of property you have.
Best of all, EZ Exit Now understands getting out of a timeshare is stressful. Perhaps you’ve already been losing money on maintenance fees or because your timeshare has been sitting empty. We meet with you individually, and we follow through, even if it means we lose money. We are that serious about getting you out of a disadvantageous timeshare.
We are also dedicated to helping the larger community through donations and volunteer work. We hire veterans, we volunteer with Infragard (FBI), and we take part in the See Say Something Campaign through DHL. Often, people come to us because they feel taken advantage of by their timeshare, and we work to rebuild their trust with quality customer service, a commitment to the community and our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. With us, you can be sure you’re in good hands.
If you want to exit your timeshare, contact us for a free consultation. It makes sense to learn about all your options before you make any decisions. For years, EZ Exit Now has been working tirelessly to help individuals like you avoid dishonest and predatory practices in the timeshare industry, and with us, you can be assured of an honest response.
In many cases, properties are canceled with the average being eight to 16 months. We also offer a veterans’ discount. As the nations’ leading timeshare exit company, EZ Exit Now is the right choice if you want to get out of your timeshare now.