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Yet Another Scandal Brewing In The Timeshare Industry

The concept seems like a good one.  Instead of renting a hotel room on vacation, buy one week of time at a plush resort.  You own your week and in most cases even get a deed.   You can even leave your week of ownership in your Will to your children.  If it appreciates enough in value, you may even decide to sell it.  It is called timeshare, and I know the sales pitch very well since I live in Central Florida (considered the heart of the timeshare industry worldwide).


Today, most people know that timeshare properties do not increase in value.  In fact, most of the time you would be lucky to get 25 cents on the dollar if you tried to sell.  After paying $15,000 to $20,000 for one week ownership and the annual maintenance fees, you are most likely not really saving money vs. the cost of a hotel room either.  

What To Do If You Own A Timeshare You Don't Want

If you purchased a timeshare on a payment plan, you can't simply stop making the payments or you will end up in default on a mortgage and that will appear on your credit report.  You will also face the risk of being sued for the unpaid balance anyway.

Many people make a second mistake in their timeshare journey by paying someone to attempt to sell it for them.  Timeshare listing companies are charging people upfront fees ranging from $500 to $1,000 to 'list' a timeshare for sale.  The sales pitch is almost always by phone from an out of state telemarketer.  Being totally disillusioned with your circumstances and simply wanting to divest yourself of your ownership, you pay a listing fee.  You are not alone as millions of timeshare owners do the same thing each and every year.

Orlando Timeshare Firm Raided By SWAT Team

It may be tantamount to taking a hammer to an ant, but the Orlando Police Department sent in a SWAT team last week and held dozens of telemarketers at gun point while they removed thousands of documents from a timeshare resale firm.  Since January, 20 such raids have taken place.  The problem is that after charging a listing fee these firms have almost no success in actually selling timeshare properties.   Timeshares don't sell because the value is pennies on the dollar compared to the price that people originally paid.  Most people will not lower the price to the true market value and consequently don't attract any buyers.  The reason the resale fee scam works so well is that there is no shortage of people trying to rid themselves of their timeshares.  These people will gladly pay a few hundreds of dollars once they are persuaded that this will be their ticket out of the timeshare game.

While you may not be happy to read this,  your best option is to use your timeshare and get what value you can from it.  If you don't want to use your week, rent it out.  Many timeshares units are 2 and 3 bedrooms with a kitchen and are part of a top shelf resort property.  The mistake many people make is comparing a timeshare to a hotel room.  I have heard many people say that the $500 annual maintenance fee is the same cost as renting a hotel room for a week.  This is really not a reasonable assessment (and you won't find many nice hotels in this price range anyway).  The cost to rent a similar property for a week would likely be more along the lines of $1,500 or more.  You can also trade your week for a week at another resort, or in some case you can save your week to be used another year.  OK, this is not a sales pitch to buy a timeshare but simply a perspective on how to make the most of the decision you have already made.


Why I Am Considering Purchasing A Timeshare Resale

In my view, the primary problem with the timeshare concept is the upfront cost.  Since there are so many people that want to dump their timeshare properties, you can buy them for pennies on the dollar.  In fact, eBay has tons of listings starting with opening bids of less than $100.  I am seriously considering spending about $500 -$1,000 to purchase one to two weeks of timeshare for our family.  This will give me a chance to pay a few hundred dollars per year in maintenance fees to be able to enjoy a five star resort that would likely cost me 3 to 4 times this amount.  One of my friends purchased a resale timeshare and enjoys two weeks of vacation each year with his family by trading his unit for top resort locations throughout the country. All he pays are his annual maintenance fees of just a few hundred dollars. 


If you own a timeshare you most likely will not be able to sell it for anywhere near what you paid for it.  Unless you are willing to accept 10 to 20 cents on the dollar, you are likely throwing your money away by paying a listing fee in an attempt to sell.  Your best move is to use your timeshare and get your value out of it.

Helping you make the most of God's money!

James L. Paris
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