Several decades ago a developer purchased property and built several multi-unit condos that he couldn’t sell and the timeshare concept was born. He could divide each condo into 52 one-week segments and sell each week for whatever the market would pay.
Several decades later, the timeshare model now has millions of owners and has evolved into a points-and-exchange program because the developers soon found out that most did not want to go every year at the same time to the same location.
For a fee you can bank your week and go on another week to some of the most exotic places in the world. Sounds like a dream come true!
Unfortunately this dream has become a nightmare for many timeshare owners. How could that be true? Let’s look at the process. You receive a free weekend offer at a resort if you will only take a two-hour tour of the property. You are than offered a “special price” that is only good for today that is 30 percent, 40 percent or even 50 percent off their normal price.
You are shown all the exotic places you can exchange your timeshare week for, at only a small fee, depending on availability. So what could possibly go wrong?
• PURCHASE PRICE You are most often buying a divided form of ownership to your one week. You will own it forever unless you can sell. You were also probably made promises that are worthless unless you get it in writing. Getting out can be a legal nightmare and expensive.
• MAINTENANCE FEES This is where you are at their mercy. I once owned a timeshare where the fees were $600 a year. Today they are $350 per month or $4,200 per year. These fees are a pro-rata share of whatever they can charge.
• SPECIAL ASSESSMENT If they want to upgrade the property they can do it with a special assessment and charge you your share. If the furniture needs replacing in your unit they will do so and can bill you for your pro-rata share.
Over the years I have met and talked with many timeshare owners. Most want to know how to get out and only a few were happy with their timeshare purchase.
On the Local Scene
The SUPER EIGHT MOTEL, Glenwood Drive at I-20, West Monroe, has sold for $2,250,000. This 99-room hotel, located next to Walmart, sold for $22,727 per room.