"With the goal of providing unbiased information for consumers, Strauss does a decent job of revealing the real costs, the advantages and the drawbacks to owning a timeshare. His overall theme can be summed up in this sentence on page 52, following a discussion on timeshare presentations: If in doubt " walk away. Then, if the thought of owning a timeshare still appeals to you, join the growing band of owners who buy privately or from a resale company.Â?
After providing an overview of the different types of timeshares, Strauss launches into a chapter that will take the wind out of the sails (er, make that sales) of most timeshare sales pitches with his chapters Economics Behind the ConceptÂ? and the Exchange TrapÂ?. Of particular interest is his break even analysis, followed by these words: In summary, a timeshare purchase becomes profitable after 14 to 16 years, but you end up spending more money than youve saved, and the chances to recover it are infinitesimal.Â?
So, is Strauss always this negative? No. His concern is genuinely to protect the buyers interests. And he does. Two whole chapters are devoted to consumer protection and timeshare scams. The appendixes (going from A to I), offer an immense compilation of timeshare books, Web sites, and links plus samples of contracts (including one that upgrades a traditional week timeshare to the points system), resources, timeshare FAQs and more.
Strausss pet peeves are the developer-offered financing rates on timeshare loans and maintenance fees. And I quote: Looking to buy a timeshare? Brace yourself for lofty interest rates, a 30% down payment and really quick depreciation.Â? And he backs it up with facts from the American Resort Development Association whose study showed that a little more than half of the developers who responded charged interest at 13% to 15% over the course of four to eight years.
But, Strauss also shows ways to get around the developer-offered financing. Maintenance fees, however, are another story, which according to Strauss, are growing uncontrollably faster than the rate of inflation. His advice here is to look for reasonable maintenance fees, which, at the time of purchase, would represent 3 to 5% of the purchase price. But his best advice seems to circle back to buying used timeshares, which costing up to 70% less than the original price, save buyers enough to cover maintenance fees for more than a decade,Â? concludes the author.
by a Book Depository customer