Timeshare projects sure get bad press. Who hasn’t heard the complaining — overlong presentations, high pressure sales tactics, shabby units in far off places. Can it really be all that bad?
Are Timeshares Worth It?
Judging by experiences of some Ontario timeshare owners, they’re the expense that keeps on giving — the Energizer bunny of vacation choices.
While owners typically pay between $2,500 and $10,000 to buy a week to a month of annual vacation stays for life, fees for upkeep can quickly outstrip their investment.
Deeded Ownership is Forever
Some owners become lifers when they fail to check the fine print. It can lead to nasty surprises. Deeded timeshare units transfer to owners’ heirs after they die. That makes family members liable for contracts they didn’t sign.
5 signs you’re being manipulated – undue duress and contracts.
Living the Timeshare Life
A purple sunset breaks over the tidy, two-storey condos on the Carriage Hills and Carriage Ridge website. The Ore-Medonte, Horseshoe Valley playground is a “winter wonderland” of snow tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling adventures. Ziplining, open air music concerts, dining and shopping, warm summer days at Wasaga Beach. It all sounds so awesome. Know the facts before you buy.
What Happens If Your Timeshare Falters
And it is, members say. But for aging owners, the worry of passing on a financial burden loomed large, a November 2019 meeting of resort members heard. “Life circumstances have changed for people. Some people in the room were older and are now having to use walkers,” Ajax owner Laura Boyko told CTV News Toronto, before a 2021 receivership sale transferred ownership to Sunray Group.
The crux of the problem for former operator Wyndham Vacation Clubs was owners’ unpaid annual fees that forced the resort to operate at a deficit. Sunray Group will divide the larger lockoff units, and market the project as condos. Your rights when purchasing a timeshare.
Timeshares Can Be a Great Option
Do timeshares have value? Investors and promoters call timeshares a misunderstood vacation value.
Shared ownership keeps purchase and maintenance costs low compared to buying a condo or hotel room outright. The full-service, fully furnished suites frequently have enclosed pools and often restaurants, night clubs, or concierge services.
For busy families, a timeshare takes the guesswork out of travelling to unfamiliar locations and sight-unseen apartment-hotel complexes. Mortgage a lakeside lot instead of timeshare.
Location is Everything in GTA
Living Stone Golf Resort is a championship 18-hole golf course, spa retreat and marina rolled into one, complete with spectacular Georgian Bay vistas. The former Cranberry Resort has been a Collingwood staple for 40 years. Nearby Blue Mountain ski resort is only two short hours from Toronto’s big city buzz. No wonder timeshares are so popular.
Contracts for Every User
And that’s why timeshare contracts come in an array of types.
- Right to Use
Leasehold agreements for one to two weeks yearly for a set time period. Owners pay maintenance fees and special assessments if buildings need substantial repairs. The units can be rented, gifted, or sold. Rent your timeshare on Airbnb. Sell a timeshare on RedWeek.com.
- Fee Simple
Deeded agreements that give owners the right to use their unit at predetermined times each year. Like right to use units, owners have maintenance, special assessment and, unless they are included in annual dues, property taxes to pay.
- Point System (Vacation Club)
Timeshare points that can be used at owners leisure to travel between resorts, fly to faraway locations, go cruising, or enjoy vacation options of their choice.
It’s All in the Timing
Fixed week timeshares can be attractive if showing up at the same time and unit year after year appeals. Floating weeks let owners book a unit and week, if they’re available, during a defined time. If that’s too confining, rotating weeks allow the dates to be moved around (within limits). Points or vacation clubs offer the most freedom, but present a legal quandary if demand constantly exceeds capacity.
Banking Time and Space
Exchanging weeks with another resort owner can take the boredom out of making the trek to the same vacation spot every year. Units for exchange or rent can be listed on timeshare websites, through the resort that owns them, or using an exchange company, like well-known Resort Condominiums International (RCI).
Buying Timeshares On the Downswing
Buyers beware. Like a car, Moneysense warns the value of a brand new timeshare declines by half almost as soon as it’s sold. Resale units are generally better value for the investment. Lawyer’s fees and resort transfer costs add another $500 to $1,000 to the unit price. Then there are those annual maintenance fees, upwards of $300 to $2,000 per unit. As any condo owner knows, special assessments can come out of nowhere.
Purchasing Timeshares at Auction
Experienced owners recommend buying at auction to carve thousands off the price. Redweek.com, Ebay, or MyResortNetwork.com are popular auction sites. Only buy timeshares you will actually use, another benefit of staying local, Moneysense advises. In-demand weeks, like Easter or summer vacation, are optimum for rentals or resales.
Saving Money When You Buy
What is a good price for a timeshare in Ontario? If penny pinching is your goal, desperate owners sometimes sell their units for the price of those annual maintenance fees. Otherwise, $2,000 to $10,000 appears average.
Unit size, building amenities, and what weeks you purchase all affect timeshare prices. Buying a resale unit directly from the owner, choosing off season weeks in less popular areas, or finding a gently used unit a few blocks from the water or village can be a real find. You’ll make less from rentals, but it could be a good way to get your feet wet.
Remember to include the cost of buying the unit, legal fees, resort transfer fees, annual maintenance, joining exchange companies, and spacebanking fees in your calculations before deciding if investing in a timeshare is the right choice for you.
Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are
Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.
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Legal Advice Before You Close a Timeshare Deal
Close the deal on your timeshare purchase with confidence with advice from Axess Law Ontario real estate lawyers. Online video call appointments are available day or evening, 7 days a week, anywhere in Ontario. Dial toll-free to 1-877-552-9377 or 647-479-0118 in Toronto, or use our online booking form. You can talk to a licensed real estate lawyer in person at any of our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices.
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