Trip Coach: May 8, 2007
Lisa Ann Schreier, author of Surviving A Timeshare Presentation, answered your questions about timeshares.
Lisa Ann Schreier: Hi. Thanks so much for joining me here today and for the great questions...let's get started!
Bakersfield, CA: Which company offers the best timeshare for a family?
Lisa Ann Schreier: Hard to say really. I stay away from using the word "best" because I don't really think it exists. I'd advise you to first figure out if you want to return to a home resort more often, or trade to different places more often.
Jacksonville, Illinois: WE have a timeshare in Branson, Missouri that we do not use. Our children do not want it. How do we dispose of it without paying a fee up front to a company that does not help except take the money?
Thank you in advance for taking my question.
Lisa Ann Schreier: First of all, never pay upfront to list a timeshare with a company that is going to claim to sell it. I would first advise you to renting out your timeshare in Branson and make some money for a few years. Then, you can sell your timeshare through word-of-mouth, or even online, and even if you take a "loss" on the timeshare, you will have made money by renting it for a few years!
Succasunna, NJ: I "inherited" a week of timeshare after my mother's passing; in the four years i've had it, I have yet to get any request i've submitted; it doesn't seem worth the yearly fees at this point. How difficult is it to sell/get rid of it? I own an rci redweek in new mexico, but it is unlikely i'll ever go there; my family enjoys the beach more. but we've requested colorado, north carolina, south carolina all to no avail at this point. It's been very frustrating.
Lisa Ann Schreier: Hmmm...its hard to understand why you haven't been able to trade or exchange this timeshare without having more knowledge of exactly what you own. If your home resort is still on RCI Weeks, there is a way of maximizing your trading potential for not a lot of money. And since you inherited the week, it may be useful to look into this. If you would like, e-mail me and I can help you through this. New Mexico should not be a difficult resort to trade. :-)
Sierra Vista, AZ: Tell me what timeshare program you think is best. And also, how do you get these sign up bonuses I hear people taking about?
Lisa Ann Schreier: I get asked this a lot! There is no timeshare program that is best for everyone. What is best for you may be a total waste of money for me. Never let a salesperson talk you into something that is not for you. For instance, if you are in Hilton Head you will be told that Hilton Head is "best" and it may not be for you. It is best to get a timeshare consultant on your side...again, if you e-mail me, I'll be able to point you in the right direction.
Sign up bonuses or incentives are quite commonplace whenever you purchase on the day of your "visit" to the timeshare itself. Don't confuse bonuses or incentives as a legitimate reason to purchase though! There are plenty of bonuses for people who own timeshare that don't require another purchase.
Sarasota, Florida: Are there any reliable companies who can sell my timeshare without a large initial upfront fee?
Lisa Ann Schreier: There is a publication out of New Jersey called "TimeSharing Today." I am not part of that publication at all, but they have a very large subscriber base and many clients have told me that advertising their timeshare for rent or for sale there has proven to be quite good. There will be an advertising fee of course, but don't get that confused with a "listing" fee, which more often than not is throwing money out the window.
San Antonio, Texas: How do you ensure that maintenance fees won't skyrocket? I'm not worried about the chost of a timeshare so much as the fees that can go up.
Lisa Ann Schreier: Great question. Maintenance fees SHOULD go up every now and then, or else the value of your property will soon be going down. You want to ask what the fees are today, what they were 1 or 2 years ago and what they were 5 or 6 years ago to get an idea. Also, you want to know what, if any, the "cap" is...can the resort raise the fees at will with no cap? Also, you want to make certain that you will be a member of the HOA (Homeowners Association) and that you have an active vote in what goes on at the resort.
If you are not getting full answers to your questions about the fees, don't buy at that particular resort. Resorts should be very open about the history of their fees.
If you do purchase, stay active in what goes on at the resort!