Timeshare maintenance fees are yearly fees that you pay to keep your resort running, and in good shape for the year. We frequently get questions about the high costs and the ever- rising amounts we pay every year. We thought it might be helpful to take a look at some of the issues that come to light when we think about those maintenance fees.
First what do those fees include? They cover many of the following: utilities, phone, cable, new furnishings, property taxes, insurance, timeshare maintenance, cleaning, upkeep of the resort, and the staff salaries necessary to run the resort. Usually they include a portion for capital expenditures, improvements, and emergencies that might come up. One timeshare we own sets aside a number of units to be updated every year and the money to do that comes from the maintenance fee.
The maintenance fee is usually a good thing, because it is a set cost to keep your resort up to the standard that you expect. The fee does go up, but usually at the rate of inflation, which is to be expected. This is much better than if you had to pay everything for the upkeep on a need basis. It is a fixed amount and part of your vacation costs.
How are the fees set? Timeshares have an elected Board of directors or a developer might have set up a special group that meets on regular basis. They set a yearly budget which then determines your maintenance fees. A well run resort tries hard to keep costs in line which can keep those fees at a reasonable level. By paying yearly fee you do not have to worry about the upkeep of the resort.
When buying a timeshare either resale or through the developer, make sure you check on the yearly maintenance fee. You should be asking: What does it cover? How is it set? What has been the rate of increase over the past several years? And when is it due?
The rate for maintenance fees can differ greatly from timeshare to timeshare. In some cases you get what you pay for, but in others it might be poor management. That why you need to be proactive before you purchase. We did sell one of our timeshares because we felt that the fees were too high for what we were getting.
We have heard some criticism about the fact that the fees go up every year or that the fees are more than what it would take to stay in a hotel. These are things you need to think about before buying a timeshare. Keep in mind that the costs of hotel stays are going up every year as well. Think about what you are getting in accommodations at a timeshare over a hotel. You might read our post about “Timeshare Value”.
Some timeshares charge the same maintenance fee per unit at the resort while others might charge differently depending on the unit size and the time of the year you own. So, again, do your homework in order to get the biggest bang for your bucks. Points resorts usually charge so much a point for maintenance fees. If you trade your points for off season or a smaller unit you would get more nights for your maintenance fees.
We love timesharing and think that the maintenance fees are part of our costs of going on great trips in great places with friends and family.