At the start, you may think you’ve snagged a great deal. A brand-new timeshare for just $10,000 does sound like a steal. Better yet, if you buy one used, that $1,500 asking price might appear to denote a lifetime of vacations from that point forward, all of which will cost you virtually nothing.
Not so fast. If you think you’ll be getting off that easily, it’s time to think again. That attractive initial purchase price is just one of the many costs with which you’re going to have to deal. You’ll soon be hit with additional fees, and you’d better be ready to pay them.
What That Bargain Timeshare Really Costs
In the clear majority of cases, the timeshare owner will find him or herself responsible for paying:
- Maintenance fees. That timeshare you thought you purchased on the cheap is not about to take care of itself. The timeshare association will handle the landscaping and repairs. It will keep the place pest-free. It will maintain the gym, the pool, the golf course, the clubhouse and all the other amenities, but it will not pay these costs itself. All timeshare owners must cover them instead by paying an annual maintenance fee. This will normally amount to hundreds of dollars. The amount is likely to rise over time, and you’ll have to pay this fee every year regardless of whether you’ve even been using the place.
- Special assessments. As the property deteriorates, the timeshare association will need to make major improvements for which their property insurance is not responsible. To cover the cost of that new roof, pool or tennis court, it will hit its timeshare owners with a special assessment, and you and the others will have to pay your share regardless of whether you ever use the new gym or swim in the sparkling new pool.
- Utility costs. It is common for timeshare properties to charge you for utility costs. The various associations will differ in the ways they choose to do this, but most will send you a bill to cover the actual amount of heat or electricity you have used during your stay in the timeshare.
- Property taxes. Referred to as assessments in the aggregate, the timeshare association will normally levy these taxes in accordance with the time you spend in the timeshare. Some associations go a step further, imposing a timeshare tax for each night of your stay.
- Assessment liens. You may be current in your mortgage payments. You may have even paid your timeshare off completely, but this does not mean you are free and clear. If you fail to pay your assessments, the timeshare association may sue you for the amount you owe. In most cases, however, it will automatically attach a lien to your timeshare in the amount of the unpaid assessment plus interest and other accrued charges.
Every one of these fees is significant. If you fail to pay them in a timely manner, the timeshare association may not hesitate to foreclose.
Recouping Some of Your Timeshare Expense
It is sometimes possible to recover a portion of your timeshare costs at tax time, but only under a limited set of circumstances. For example, consider your maintenance fees. If you rent the timeshare, you may succeed in treating these as a deduction. Unfortunately, if you own the timeshare outright or are paying it off with a secured loan, this is no longer an option.
On the other hand, you might be able to take a tax deduction for:
- Your property taxes, but only if the management company agrees to bill you for them separately.
- Rental use if a third party pays you money to use your timeshare.
- The interest rates on a secured loan.
These strategies may help to lower your timeshare costs, but they won’t do it by much.
Getting Rid of a Timeshare Legally
As the costs mount up, it may not be long before you decide that timeshare ownership is not all that you expected it to be. When you start to feel that the money it is costing you could serve a better purpose, you may have only one question to ask: How can I get myself out of this?
At O’Grady Law Group, we focus on helping clients unload their timeshares. Since the market for timeshare resales is nearly nonexistent, we will bend our efforts toward securing for you a timeshare cancellation by all legal means at our disposal. Don’t suffer under the timeshare burden longer than you must. Contact O’Grady Law Group today and let us get started securing the timeshare freedom you want so badly but may be starting to think you’d never be able to have.