Timeshare 101 – Everything You Should Know
What is a Timeshare
A timeshare is a program in which people share a property’s use by dividing the cost among themselves for the right to use the property for specific periods.
Example: You purchase a timeshare for $20000 (you can make monthly payments). This guarantees you one week every year for the rest of your life at a resort property of your choice.
$20,970 cost / 103 months = $2,443 per year for 8.6 years Hey, that sounds too good to be true, sign me up! But what is the real cost of ownership?
In this article, Timeshare 101 – everything you should know about getting out of a timeshare is right here.
But Wait There’s More
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. There are just two things to consider about timeshares:
- The type of contract —points versus weeks
- The type of ownership—how it works for booking your vacations
Timeshare vs. Vacation Club
Vacation Club is the new ‘younger’ phrase for Timeshare. The contract wording and binding legalities for both are basically the same. Let’s look at the slight differences with each option.
- Club “members” pay an upfront fee for points, plus they can buy additional points that can be redeemed for different vacation locations yearly.
- Timeshare “owners” pay an upfront fee + mortgage payments to use a specific resort yearly. The mortgage is eventually paid off.
*Yearly maintenance fees still apply to both options for the rest of your life.
Vacation Club Pros & Cons
- Offers more flexibility than timeshares.
- The number of points you can buy is capped unless you upgrade. More on that later.
- You get the same type of vacation year after year.
- The developer can increase or add new fees whenever they’d like, and they will.
- Developers are overselling resorts making getting a reservation exceedingly tricky.
Navigating the world of Vacation Club points is maddening. Points can be acquired from buying into a specific property or by purchasing points from the Vacation Club after becoming a member. These points are used as currency, and time slots at the property are reserved on a first-come basis.
Marriott’s Points Exchange Program looks like this for one of its locations.
Studio Sun- Thurs = 850 points
1 Bedroom Sun-Thurs = 1,250 points
2 Bedroom Sun – Thurs = 1,725 points
3 Bedroom Sun – Thurs = 2,225 points
You can also convert Marriott Points into Marriott Rewards at a ratio of 1:32. But only within the Marriott’s Explorer Collection, not the Bonvoy Collection. So, you’d need to beat that ratio for it to be a good deal. Are you confused yet?
Timeshare Pros & Cons
- Free gifts in exchange for sitting through a 5-hour high-pressure sales pitch during your vacation. (the promise of a 90-minute presentation is a lure to get you in the room)
- Are you considering a fixed-week timeshare? You’ll need to be willing to commit to the Bahamas the first week of February every year, for example.
- A floating timeshare means the owner can reserve whichever week of the year they’d like. Yes, it’s more freedom than the fixed week version, but getting the exact time you want in the precise place you want may be difficult, if not impossible. Savvy owners snap up many of the prime periods within the first 10 minutes of release.
- With a right-to-use timeshare, the buyer leases the property for a given amount of time each year for a set amount of years. However, the developer keeps ownership of the property.
Fees, Fees, Fees
- You may be told that you’ll only pay say, a $550 Maintenance Fee. Read the fine print. Over the years, that fee could increase to over 170%. And that’s for life.
- If you want to exchange your weeks or points through RCI (the largest timeshare exchange company on the planet) with resorts in their arsenal, you will pay an Exchange Fee to go outside your timeshare company’s resorts.
- Some resorts now only have housekeeping before and after you leave. If you want an extra cleaning service, you may have to pay a Cleaning Fee. This fee is at the discretion of the individual resort.
- Some resorts charge a Resort Fee upon check-in.
The Selling Game
Purchasing a timeshare is often an emotional and impulsive decision. Even if you think you could never fall prey to such a scam, don’t be sure. Before you even arrive, the resort staff has its objective. To get you to purchase or upgrade your Timeshare.
From the colors on the wall to the free buffet lunch where you eat with your new “best friend,” the timeshare sales rep, to the way, the tables are grouped. Just close enough to hear the buzz but far away enough, so you don’t listen to others’ rebuttals. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
In every timeshare sales presentation, the salespeople begin by asking you to add up the cost of your previous vacations, including flights, hotels, activities, and food. Then, they’ll compare that cost to the cost of owning a timeshare for the year and will try to convince you that buying a timeshare is cheaper.
Except here’s the thing: you still have to pay for flights, food, and activities in a timeshare! Those costs do not go away. Sneaky!
And don’t think you’ll only ever have to sit through a timeshare sales pitch once. Oh no, my friend, every year during your vacation, you’ll go to a room where the sharks will be waiting with the newer, better, more fantastic timeshare sales pitch.
And just like that, the smooth-talking sales rep will start to “make sense,” and you’ll end up forking over another $5000 down payment for premium status that promises an exclusive benefit.
How to cancel your timeshare may be the question that keeps you up at night. Canceling your timeshare will be a relief in contrast to the stressful regret of forking over your life savings to a scam.
Say you’ve dreamed of a Hawaiian vacation your whole life. You’re in luck! Your Vacation Club has a gorgeous place in Kapalua on the island of Maui. You currently have 2,225 points through Diamond Resorts, but you’ll need 73,000 points for a standard room for a week’s stay in Kapalua. You call and ask the Vacation Club to explain the exchange rate (dollars to points) and then pay out of pocket for the points needed.
But when you try booking your Hawaiian vacation, you find out that you’ll have to wait 8-10 years to get a room in Hawaii. Yes, I’m serious. Since it’s the most coveted place on the globe, it’s next to impossible to book even for vetted timeshare owners. Once people are lucky enough to have a week in Maui every year, they do not let that go in their lifetime. So the rest of us wait.
Unfortunately, this is commonplace. Finding the place you want to go with the right amount of points to get there is a frustrating chess game.
You’ve changed your mind. So how can your contract be canceled without hurting your credit? Linx Legal will assess your unique situation and formulate an exit plan that will work for you.
NOTE: If you get just one takeaway from this article, it’s this: You can book your Hawaiian vacation, or any vacation, anytime you want on the internet or through a travel agent for a fraction of the cost of timeshare ownership. Non-ownership = freedom. Timeshare ownership = trapped.
How Much is My Timeshare Worth
Because timeshares lose their value immediately upon purchase, it’s far less than you’ve just paid. No timeshares hold their original retail value. Not even the biggest in the world, Wyndham– and many fall to zero, or can’t even be given away.
This is why, many timeshare owners rent out their units on secondary markets like RedWeek, Armed Forces Vacation Club, and VRBO, because the resale value of timeshares is so low. Even Ebay has some great deal on these same timeshares. Some Weeks will consistently have no resale value at all because of the time of year plus destination. They can only be given away; many others are sold for $1 on eBay.
The IRS doesn’t care about your lousy business deals. What a shocker! If you sell your Timeshare, it will most likely be at a loss. And the IRS will not let you claim a capital loss, as it would with other real estate investments. But after being fooled into buying a costly timeshare and all the headaches that go with it, the cancellation process with Linx Legal will be a breeze.
Is a Timeshare Exit Company Right for Me
State laws offer new buyer protection to cancel their timeshare contract anywhere from between 3 to 15 days, depending on the state in which you bought your Timeshare or Vacation Club. But if you’ve owned a Timeshare for longer, you still have options. Do your research. Hiring the right timeshare cancellation company to fit your specific situation is critical.
1. Has the company been around for at least ten years?
2. Is there a history of positive reviews with the Better Business Bureau?
3. Do they offer a guarantee? How do they back up that promise?
4. Are they willing to talk with you for a free, no-pressure consultation to answer all your questions up front?
5. Will they explain to me step-by-step how to get rid of my timeshare contract and not just take my money?
There is a timeshare exit company you can trust. Linx Legal has been helping people get out of their unwanted timeshares for more than ten years. The BBB rates us an A+ in client ethics and success rates, with 98% of clients getting out of their timeshares. We treat our clients like family, and it shows in our client letters. Linx Legal’s money-back guarantee is top-notch. If we cannot get you out of your timeshare contract, you pay nothing.
Contact Linx Legal to talk with a customer advocate who will listen to your story and explain how the timeshare exit process works. Call toll-free at 1-800-604-3989 or text CXL to 484848.