…More About Timeshare Ownership and the Challenges of Natural Disasters

…More About Timeshare Ownership and the Challenges of Natural Disasters

The legalities and your individual rights when you own a timeshare that is rendered unusable because of a catastrophic event will vary from state to state and from timeshare company to timeshare company. And for timeshare vacation property owned outside the United States, your rights, and your ability to enforce them, are often a case by case situation.

Even in the US, if your timeshare is damaged and unusable, you may simply be “out of luck.” You will, however, still be assessed your annual fees, taxes, and other recurring costs, just as if you had enjoyed seven wonderful days of sun and fun in your timeshare unit. If you are making payments on your timeshare, those payments will, of course, also be due. And if your timeshare resort finds it necessary to assess additional fees in order to repair the damages, you will be expected to pay your share of those fees, as well. Special repair fees may be assessed only on the owners of property at the specific resort damaged, or they may be prorated and distributed to all of the owners within the network of that timeshare company.

Another bit of bad news is that the length of time your timeshare is “out of commission” could be much longer than you might expect. A hurricane may be over in a few hours, but the damage it leaves behind can affect timeshare usage for months.

Following the 2004 hurricanes, which hit in August and September, over 60 timeshare resorts in the state of Florida alone were still unfit for occupancy in November. Others were unusable as much as a year later, and in the case of an unprecedented situation, like when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, your timeshare resort could be permanently obliterated.

Post-disaster repairs are not always as simple as bringing in a work crew and putting up a new roof and some drywall. When large geographic areas are affected at once, settlement time with overloaded insurance companies slows to a crawl. Building materials become scarce, and the laborers and craftsmen needed to repair the timeshare units wind up putting customers on waiting lists that can stretch months and months into the future.

Your timeshare resort has an insurance deductible on the property that is essentially like the deductible you probably have on your personal home. That deductible represents what is owed out of pocket by the property owner, or in the case of a timeshare, the property owners, plural. For timeshares built in areas that may be subject to hurricanes, expect the deductible to be as much as 7 or even 10 times higher for hurricane damages than it is for other types of devastation, like a fire, for example.

As much as my two consecutive blog postings of natural disaster “gloom and doom” may be enough to convince you that a timeshare is the last thing you need, the truth is, the odds of your vacation ever being seriously affected by a hurricane are pretty slim. If the abnormally severe hurricane seasons of recent years have made you cautious, then just don’t schedule your timeshare vacation for September.

While hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30 each year, 19 of the 31 most significant hurricanes in the past 100 years occurred in the month of September, with 9 others on the list happening in either late August or early October. Remember that not all of these hurricanes hit Florida. Several of the hurricanes on the historic worst list hit Texas, a quite a few hit the Carolina coast, and at least 3 on the list made landfall in New England.

And here is one last thought about timeshare ownership and natural disasters. The Real Estate Journal of the Wall Street Journal, www.realestatejournal.com, quoted Howard Nussbaum, who at that of the interview was president of ARDA, as saying, “some people might even consider buying timeshare in affected resorts, figuring that ‘they’ve just been refurbished with insurance money'”.

Just one more reason to buy timeshare resales.

Timeshare Industry is a Proven Contributor to State and Local Economies

Timeshare Industry is a Proven Contributor to State and Local Economies

The sale and rental of new timeshares and of timeshare resales benefits the economy both directly and indirectly.

Timeshares mean freedom to travel.

The American Resort Development Association, known as ARDA, recently released statistics on the economic effect of the timeshare industry in certain geographic regions. The study showed that the timeshare industry positively impacts regional, state and local economies in measurable ways. In fact, resale timeshares specifically are a significant and sometimes overlooked economic contributor within the industry.

The studies prepared for ARDA by PricewaterhouseCoopers and released by ARDA International Foundation, show that the Florida timeshare industry contributed $12.3 billion to that state’s economy in 2005, and the Nevada timeshare industry contributed $2.8 billion to the Nevada statewide economy during the same period. While many states in the US gain considerably from the presence of the timeshare industry, Nevada and Florida head the list, with California and South Carolina coming next in line.

Las Vegas Timeshare Vacation

Timeshares positively impact the economy through the sale of new and resale timeshares, job opportunities created by the industry, direct and indirect expenditures of timeshare vacationers, and revenues realized through local property taxes. Every time someone buys a timeshare resale, two positive things happen. First, a new owner takes possession of the timeshare unit, begins to use it, and feeds money back into the economy where it is located. But secondly, a person who no longer wants or needs that particular timeshare is relieved of the on-going cost of vacation property ownership and is freed-up to put his or her money into something else, including even new timeshares.

Wildfires Could Impact Your Timeshare Vacation

Wildfires Could Impact Your Timeshare Vacation

Stay on top of highway closings if your timeshare vacation involves highway travel.

Hazy Summer Days May Be In Store for Timeshare Vacations

With drought conditions in much of the southeast US, wildfires have been a serious problem this spring. Already, roughly a half million acres in Florida and Georgia have burned during some of the worse wildfires in many years.

If your timeshare vacation plans include destinations in states affected by the fires, and you are traveling by automobile, stay alert for intermittent road closings that may interfere with your travel. Not only have some smaller state roads been closed, sometimes for periods of up to one day at a time, but major interstates have also been affected. In south Florida, smoke and limited visibility has repeatedly closed parts of Alligator Alley, the section of Interstate 75 that crosses the Everglades from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples. And on several occasions in recent weeks, portions of Interstates 75 and 10, near the Georgia-Florida border, have been closed for extended periods, sometimes shutting down both north and southbound interstate traffic and east-west interstate traffic at the same time. The St. Petersburg Times quoted Florida Transportation Department spokesperson, Pamela Griffiths, as saying, “As dry as Florida is, the wildfire situation changes every half-hour.”

Even if your timeshare vacation plans do not take you into the areas directly affected by the fires, smoke and diminished air quality can affect outdoor activities, especially for children, the elderly, and anyone with allergies, asthma, or other types of breathing problems. Shifting wind conditions and the large land area involved in some of the wildfires have resulted in poor air quality, sometimes hundreds of miles (and several states away) from the actual blaze.

Most states now offer the “511” system for providing up-to-the-minute information about travel conditions. While people know to call “911” in case of emergencies, many people are just beginning to learn about “511”. Dialing 511 is a free phone call from most phones; however, some cell phone providers may charge you for the call. Each state or municipality maintains its own 511 service, so features vary depending on your location, but in general, a phone call to 511 gives you information on road closings, traffic conditions, accidents, driving times, and alternate routes.

Another helpful resource to call is the timeshare resort or timeshare company where you are headed. Ask them about road situations and air quality in the local area, and for any advice on the best roads for getting there.

Timeshares are New at the Zoo

Timeshares are New at the Zoo

Disney will be offering timeshares at Animal Kingdom.

Walt Disney Vacation World in Orlando, Florida will soon be adding 458 new timeshare units to its Animal Kingdom Park. The timeshares will include new construction and renovated accommodations in part of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This means that members of the Disney Vacation Club will soon have a brand new option for timesharing.

The African themed décor of the new property will offer guests views of the open savannah-like area where animals roam freely in ways that replicate their natural habitats. Some of the timeshare units will be available as early as Fall 2007, with a full project completion date set for Spring 2009.

With the inclusion of the new vacation ownership venue at Animal Kingdom, members of the Disney Vacation Club will have their choice of eight Disney-branded timeshare properties. Disney Vacation Club timeshares include the beachside resort at Vero Beach, Florida; the golf and tennis resort at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; and the five other Orlando Magic Kingdom properties: Saratoga Spring Resort and Spa at Downtown Disney; the Old Key West Resort; the Villas at Wilderness Lodge; the Disney Beach Club Villas; and the Boardwalk Villas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urR9_UWyCJ8

Members can also exchange their points for vacations at resorts in other Disney parks, including Disneyland in California and Disney Paris, as well as exchanging through Interval International for more than 300 affiliate locations worldwide. Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney park and covers more than 500 acres.