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Calculating the True Cost of a Timeshare 

The concept of vacation ownership has long been pitched as a financially sensible choice for frequent travelers. The idea is that owning a timeshare provides a functional real estate interest, allowing you to escape the recurring cost of hotel rooms and indulge in your own piece of paradise. However, the reality of the timeshare industry rarely lives up to these promises. In truth, timeshare ownership comes with numerous expenses and fees that often make it more of a financial burden than a sound investment.

This article, presented by Timeshare Compliance, seeks to shed light on the true cost of owning a timeshare by delving into the various expenses associated with it, from the initial purchase and mortgage to taxes, maintenance fees, and hidden charges. Being well-informed is crucial to avoid falling prey to the tactics employed by timeshare companies during sales presentations, where the full extent of costs is typically glossed over. 

What is the cost of a timeshare?


The most apparent expense is the upfront payment made to the developer for the timeshare interest. Depending on the type of timeshare, whether deeded or points-based, prices can vary significantly. Let’s assume a hypothetical purchase price of $30,000 with a $3,000 down payment, leaving a $27,000 mortgage. Unlike home mortgages, timeshare loan interest rates can be exorbitantly high, often reaching 20%. Taking a more common rate of 15.9% for ten years, the total cost over that period would amount to $54,072.51, with interest constituting nearly as much as the principal.


Annual Timeshare Maintenance Fees

Maintenance fees are another major cost that cannot be overlooked. Research from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) shows that annual maintenance fees range from around $640 to $1,300, depending on the size and location of the timeshare. Let’s assume an annual fee of $1,000 for our example, which can significantly increase over time due to inflation. At an inflation rate of 8.5% per year, the total maintenance fees paid over ten years would be $17,096, and a staggering $53,489 over twenty years.


Timeshare Property Taxes, Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees, and Special Assessments   

Owning a timeshare also involves additional legal taxes, HOA fees, and special assessments that must be paid to avoid foreclosure. For our purposes, we’ll assume $500 in property taxes per year, totaling $5,000 after ten years and $10,000 after twenty years. Annual HOA fees are typically around $400, which comes to $4,000 after a decade and $8,000 after twenty years. Special assessments, which may arise unexpectedly for repairs or renovations, are harder to predict. In this case, let’s assume $500 every ten years, adding up to $1,000 over twenty years.

Fees for Using, Reserving, and Exchanging Your Timeshare  

Hidden fees can pile up when attempting to utilize your timeshare. Reservation fees, typically around $50 per stay, can amount to $500 over ten years and $1,000 over twenty years if you make one five-night stay annually. Lending your timeshare to friends incurs additional costs, as guest certificates cost $100 each. Lending three times per decade would accumulate $300 in ten years and $600 in twenty years. Joining a timeshare exchange company adds approximately $65 per year, leading to $650 over ten years and $1,300 over twenty years. Reservation fees for using exchange companies can add up to $2,700 over ten years and $5,400 over twenty years if you book one seven-day stay annually.

Total Cost of a Timeshare  

After adding up all these expenses, the total cost of a $30,000 timeshare unit over ten years would be $84,818.51. Assuming you use all seven nights of your timeshare annually, you would be spending approximately $1,211.69 per night. Even if you used all nights over twenty years, an almost impossible scenario, the average price per night would still be a steep $906.15.

In light of these figures, it’s evident why many timeshare owners seek to exit their contracts. Timeshare Compliance offers solutions for legal and ethical timeshare exits, providing relief to owners burdened by the escalating costs. As an A+-rated company with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Timeshare Compliance has assisted countless satisfied customers in finding the right exit strategy. If you own a timeshare and want to end the financial drain, reach out to Timeshare Compliance for a free consultation and case evaluation. 



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Developer misrepresentation is not uncommon.  We can help you terminate your timeshare contract if you legitimately feel as though you were taken advantage of by your timeshare developer.

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    Rich Folk