In previous articles we have investigated various aspects of timeshare ownership and the one subject that clearly causes most distress amongst owners is the annual maintenance fee. The fact that it rises every year is one of the greatest concerns, when this is coupled with the fact that timeshares are a notorious example of an easy-in/difficult-out contract anxieties start to manifest themselves. 

Staying with maintenance fees, some of you may have read articles on this site where we try to look at the hard cold cash facts. Let’s take a look at the scenario of an owned apartment versus timeshare. We would be the first to acknowledge that one of the primary motivations to purchase a timeshare was to “own” a slice of sunshine. For many the ability to own a complete property was simply not affordable so timeshare was the next best thing. For the purpose of this article we will compare ongoing ownership costs of a two bedroom apartment on a well maintained urbanisation with pool, restaurant, play areas etc. to the similar facilities at a timeshare resort.

Crunching some numbers

A two bed apartment in Mijas Costa may be carry a €1500 annual community fee, this fee covers gardening, pool maintenance, external cleaning and external building maintenance. Utilities may cost €1500 per year, taxes maybe €500, weekly cleaning would cost maybe €1000 per year. Add say €500 for general maintenance. That is around €5000 per year. Now imagine as the owner you decide to create your own mini timeshare resort. You sell 50 weeks of usage, allowing two weeks for reparations and renovations. As pointed out above it costs €5,000 approx. to maintain each year, so if you divide that by the 50 owners, each owner would pay circa €100pa for the “maintenance” of their one week holiday. 

Turning to the timeshare resort, a similar apartment that is timeshared for say 50 weeks a year will be charging an average of €1000 per week maintenance fee, this brings in €50,000 which is ten times the true approximate cost of maintaining an owned apartment. Yes there are extra costs at a timeshare resort like reception, sales staff and back office but do those extra costs really equate to €45,000 per year per apartment?  

More numbers

So having established that owning your own holiday property may not be affordable, using the above analogy what would it cost? Having researched property for sale on the Costa Del Sol you would find a plentiful supply of apartments on the market at very reasonable prices. Below we found for example a really nice apartment on a popular urbanisation for around £150,000, see recent advertisement below:

So using our hypothetical example of timesharing out our own apartment… if our group of 50 “owners” purchased this apartment, each would have to pay £3,059 for their one week of “timeshare”

Turning to the timeshare resort, the cost to buy a similar week of timeshare is around £15,000. Multiply that by 50 and that equates to a staggering £750,000!! This must pose some serious questions.

  1. How does a timeshare resort justify £750,000 for a similar apartment?
  2. How can you buy a similar apartment for £150,000?
  3. How can you run a complete apartment for one year for about £5,000?
  4. Why does it cost £50,000 to run an equivalent apartment at a timeshare resort?

Wow, someone is raking in serious money in the timeshare industry.

One other significant point is that if you actually owned a property there would be a resale value, should you wish to sell it at some stage in the future. With timeshare there really is no actual resale value. Where owners exit (through non-payment of fees or other exits) their weeks are sold over again and the resort rakes in more money from the apartment. To add insult to injury, many resorts will either not allow an exit or in certain circumstances charge considerable sums to cancel the ownership.

Reality

As we stated earlier, owning a property outright is probably not a reality and the figures we have quoted are really only to shame the timeshare industry. for what is blatant racketeering. At least Dick Turpin had the courtesy to wear a mask before he robbed people! Timeshare is sold on financial logic but once you crunch the numbers there really is no financial logic at all in fact it is clearly illogical! 

It’s only a holiday after all!

Our holidays are of great importance to us, something to get us away from the drudge of everyday life but it is important to remember that timeshare is only a holiday. All you have actually paid for is the “use of time”. It is not an asset, it has no intrinsic value save really nice holidays, at a price! Timeshare is in the cold light of day is an expensive liability.

A quick trip to booking.com reveals that you can get exactly the same type of holiday for a very similar price and with no initial outlay, use once throw away, unlike the rock around your neck that is timeshare.

Furthermore, booking holidays through online platforms, instead of owning a timeshare, have additional benefits… firstly, not only is there no initial outlay but also there is no commitment to pay maintenance fees every year (it’s a pay as you go option) and secondly, if your holiday gets cancelled (for example due to COVID-19) your money is normally refunded whereas maintenance fees are not.

If you are thinking of buying a timeshare don’t think twice, think ten times and then ten times more. If you own a timeshare already maybe it’s time for a rethink……It’s only a (very expensive) holiday… after all! 


Posted on: June 8, 2020

For more information regarding this article or assistance in any other timeshare related issues please contact the TCA on 0203 519 3808 or email: info@TimeshareConsumerAssociation.org.uk

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