Don’t let the words “vacation ownership” fool you: it’s still a timeshare.
Let’s face it. The timeshare industry has a reputation for high-pressure sales tactics, misleading claims, and flat-out fraud. So, many consumers have learned to just say no. And in response, the timeshare industry has rebranded timeshares as vacation ownerships, vacation clubs, and more. If you’re afraid of a timeshare but are considering vacation ownership, you’re about to fall into the timeshare trap. Here’s what you need to know.
Vacation ownership is the euphemism the vacation industry uses to describe all types of timeshares, vacation clubs, and other products. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It kind of makes you think of owning a vacation home. Unfortunately, it’s not at all like owning a vacation home. And in some types of vacation ownership, you don’t own anything at all. So, what types of vacation ownership are out there?
Deeded ownership is what most people think of when they think of timeshares. You purchase the deed to a specific unit at a specific resort for a specific week each year. Each unit typically has 52 owners, one for each week of the year. These contracts are typically in perpetuity. That means they last forever and can be passed onto your heirs. And of course, deeded timeshares come with annual maintenance fees whether you stay there or not.
Right to Use
Right to Use (RTU) timeshares are like deeded timeshares in that they are tied to a specific unit for a specific week. However, in this scenario, the resort retains the deed itself and you only purchase the right to use the property during your week. RTU timeshares are common outside of the US in countries that prohibit foreigners from owning property. RTU contracts often have a specific term and at the end, the property goes back to the developer. And once again, RTU owners must pay maintenance fees.
Points based vacation ownership is becoming more and more popular. This type of timeshare gives the owner a set number of points that can be used for vacations. Points based timeshare owners usually have a home resort but can use their points at any resort in the company. This type of timeshare is more flexible than a deeded timeshare. You can stay at a variety of resorts any time of the year. However, you have no guarantees about availability. And as you might have guessed, there are maintenance fees to pay, based on your home resort.
Vacation clubs are the latest innovation in vacation “ownership.” Unfortunately, you don’t own anything as a member of a vacation club. Instead, you buy the right to make reservations for a variety of vacations at special rates. Click here for more on vacation clubs. Typically, you don’t pay maintenance fees on vacation clubs. But there are certainly other fees to pay.
No matter what they call it, vacation ownership comes with the same problems associated with timeshare ownership. These include constantly rising maintenance fees, binding contracts, and plummeting value. If you’re stuck in a vacation ownership that no longer works for you, give us a call for a free consultation. No matter what they call it, we are happy to help you get out.