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AMA: Judi Kozlowski talks timeshare resales

Q: What is a timeshare?

Timesharing or vacation ownership is a term that describes a method of use and ownership of a particular property. It normally allows you to use the property for a certain period each year. You pay an initial investment for the timeshare, and then you will pay a maintenance fee each year for the upkeep of the timeshare.

Q: What are maintenance fees?

Maintenance fees are the costs to operate the resort. This fee is divided among all resort owners. A portion of the maintenance fee is used to build up reserves to pay for non-recurring costs like furniture and appliances. Reserves are also set up to cover other capital costs incurred due to physical deterioration. When a developer is still selling in a resort, the fees may be subsidized and are subject to increase after the homeowner association takes over. Some states regulate how much is kept in reserve for future spending.

Q: How much are maintenance fees?

Maintenance fees will vary from $900 to $3000. They vary from resort to resort depending on factors like location, size of unit, and amenities. Occasionally, special assessments are charged to handle specific problems at a resort that have not been funded.

Q: What is a point system?

The point system allows you to break up your vacationing into 3-4 day vacations, enabling better use of your week, especially in the off-season. Every resort with a points system has a different program, and you should check with your resale specialist about the differences. RCI Points are different from the points described above.

Q: What is the difference between a leased property and a deeded property?

A leased property is a right to use and will expire in a certain number of years, ranging from 20 to 99. It's crucial to verify transferability for a right-to-use property. A deeded property means you have a deed for life, and your heirs will inherit the property.

Q: What is an exchange?

An exchange involves depositing your week with an exchange and then requesting a week to use in place of the deposited one. The exchange company does not have to find someone to use your week before giving you an exchange. It's important to deposit your week early for more negotiating power. Each exchange company has slightly different rules, and there's a fee for exchanging your week.

Q: Why are prices so low on the timeshare resale market?

There are a couple of reasons for this. When you purchase from the developer, you are paying marketing fees, generally around 50% of the sales price. Resale prices are lower because buyers have already enjoyed the benefits of the timeshare for a few years, benefiting from use but not financially. Prices are based on supply and demand, and in large resorts with several thousand owners, there will generally be a number of timeshares on the market, keeping prices lower.

Q: What sizes of accommodation are available?

Timeshare accommodations are quite varied, ranging from as small as a hotel room to as large as a 4-bedroom unit.

Q: Does my Timeshare give me access to anything more than just my unit?

There are many benefits when you buy a timeshare. A daily schedule of on-site sporting, recreational, and social activities is usually available for both adults and children. Many resorts offer swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, horseback riding, skiing, and numerous other amenities, often all on-site. Most timeshare resorts are staffed with well-trained hospitality professionals whose sole duty is to make your vacation as fun and stress-free as possible.


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