A timeshare can give you the freedom of a vacation without the full commitment of purchasing a home away from home.
However, a timeshare can be a costly option for you, especially if you are unprepared.
Timeshares come with maintenance fees that are used for upkeep of your timeshare unit. The fees are also used for upkeep and general management of the timeshare's resort. This is a vague and real maintenance fees may entail more than you imagined.
It is important to understand these fees, what they are, what they mean for your ownership. You also need to know what to do if the fees you are charged need disputing.
This simple guide will help you understand your timeshare maintenance fees and the real cost of ownership.
Timeshare Maintenance Fees: What Are They?
The fees that come with your timeshare can vary depending on the resort that you use. However, there are basic maintenance fees you can expect, no matter the company.
Here is what you may be paying for:
Your timeshare will need upkeep during the off season or when it isn't in use. This may include minor repairs, cleaning and even exterminating services. Your fees cover this upkeep year-round.
Fees will cover landscaping year round for upkeep of the property. This includes mowing the lawn, pruning the plants or watering of the grounds on site.
Just because you are not using your timeshare at all times, the utilities will still need to be paid to some extent. Your fees will cover the utilities for your timeshare when not in use.
Some of your maintenance fees may be kept in a separate account for upgrades to your timeshare.
This may include furniture, utility upgrades, and other building upgrades. This is kept separate to ensure you are prepared to meet this necessity with the funds available.
There may be other timeshare maintenance fees associated with your timeshare as set by your timeshare company or resort.
It is important to check with your timeshare to see what they are charging and how much they are charging you. You can ask for an itemized statement as well when your maintenance fees are due. You should keep these for your records to watch for increases and decreases.
How Much Can Maintenance Fees Be?
If you are currently an owner of a timeshare, you should already be aware of the maintenance fees you are being charged.
However, you may not understand that these can increase and decrease over time. If you are looking into purchasing, timeshare maintenance fees depend on a few factors.
Amenities differ between timeshares. If you have purchased a timeshare with fewer amenities, your maintenance fees may be less. If you have purchased a high-end timeshare with many amenities, it will be the opposite.
The location of your timeshare has a huge impact on your maintenance fees. Is your timeshare located on a huge lot with a large yard? Or, perhaps your timeshare is located in a luxurious part of town. Your maintenance fees will reflect the location you are in.
Do you own a timeshare condo? Or do you own a timeshare located within a resort hotel? The type of your timeshare will have a direct impact on your fees.
With all of this in mind, the cost of your maintenance fees can run from a few hundred up to thousands. It depends on what type of timeshare you own. It is best to check with your current timeshare or potential timeshare to get a list of your maintenance fees.
Even with a timeshare with seemingly low fees, these fees can increase over time. Contrary to popular belief, maintenance fees are not "locked in" or kept the same over time.
Your timeshare resort or company may choose to have a cap on the fees or may not, depending on their needs and type or resort. Most resorts do not have a cap on the amount that the fees can increase over time.
As a timeshare owner, you must protect yourself from a potentially dangerous situation when it comes to maintenance fees.
If you have received a bill for maintenance fees that you do not understand or may seem a bit "off" you should look into the fees.
You can always ask your timeshare resort or company for a detailed summary of your fees and what type of increase you can expect. It is your right to know how these fees are billed and why.
If you wish to dispute your fees, you can follow these steps:
1) Ask for a written or printed ledger of the fees and what they are associated with.
This includes all fees you will be paying throughout the year. You can submit a letter to your resort to have the proof for you to keep.
2) Remind your resort that you have the right to ask for this information if trouble should arise.
3) If the information is not given or refused, you can take legal action against your resort.
There are ways to cancel your timeshare if the need should arise. You may wish to cancel due to high fees that you cannot pay, or a resort that refuses to give you information about your fees. Whatever the case, legal action is available to you.
A timeshare can be a good investment for someone who is prepared for the fees that can be accrued over time. It is important to understand the fees before you purchase and during and know exactly what you are paying for each year.
It is important to remember that fees can increase each year, depending on the type, location, and upkeep of the property that you own.
You should also know how to dispute timeshare maintenance fees if the need should arise.
PMG can help you take action if you wish to cancel your timeshare or get answers regarding fees. PMG can also help you become aware of the real cost of ownership before purchasing and the cost of the timeshare ownership.