Friday, September 3, 2010

A Word of Warning

A word or two to potential timeshare owners about maintenance fees.

The average annual fees for a timeshare are in the $575 a year range. I've also advised people that if the fees are substantially higher or lower than the current average, that should be a red flag, or at the very least, a reason to start asking some hard hitting questions.

I want to take a minute to talk about substantially LOWER than average fees and this would fall into the "if it seems to good to be true, it is" catagory. If the annual fees for a timeshare are around $200...consumers had better be asking some pointed questions; starting with "why?" Granted, most salespeople won't know the answer to this, but someone had better have some answers.

I've actually heard salespeople say "our maintenance fees are lower than anyone else's in the area so that you can own here and NEVER stay here, use it for trading!" as if that were going to solve anything.

How is the HOA being funded if the fees are so low? What is covered and not covered by the maintenance fees? Have you seen a budget? Is there a history of special assessments? How are shortfalls made up? Is the developer responsible?

Unfortunately for everyone concerned, maintenance fees are yet another way to try to pull a fast one over on unsuspecting owners. Sure, the resort with the $1,500 a year fee gets a lot of criticism, but people had better start paying attention to the resort with the $200 a year fee.

The bottom line remains...ask questions and if you don't get adaquate answers, run away, and run away fast.

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