Required Reading: The Timeshare Resort Public Offering Statement
Let me paint a picture that is a snapshot of nearly every resort purchase experience. You’re on vacation, you show up for a presentation, at the end of two hours you reluctantly say yes, and two hours after that you rushed to sign paperwork because the kids are ready to go and you’re late for dinner. Somewhere in those final minutes you were handed a package, likely copies and owner information…or better yet, the helpful sales rep offered to mail them to you so you wouldn’t have to lug them around all week, pack them in your car, or god forbid take them on a plane. What a nice guy or gal!!! Have I got your attention?
Little do you know that the clock is ticking on your rescission period, probably 5, maybe 10 days later, it will expire and you are seemingly stuck with everything you signed, whether you read it or not. For those of you who chose “mail”, well that sales rep was really helping himself, preventing you (most likely illegally) from the very document all state and regulatory agencies agree you must have ~ The Public Offering Statement.
So what exactly is a public offering statement and why should you read it?
Simply put, the public offering statement is a very detailed history of the project. It is the legal document required that sets forth owner rights of the ownership base, the resort management company, the developer, how units are to be sold, and various other details that outline your recent purchase. But if I had to put my thumb on the one piece of information included in the Public offering most purchasers never read and all sales rep never tell you, I’d thumb Maintenance Fees, with a big fat heavy thumb.
In that document you will find the budget of every year your development has been in place, from the cable bill, to the insurance premiums, to the water bill, to the … tada … maintenance fees. In fairness to the industry, maintenance fees every once in a while go down, however that is usually a small adjustment that followed 2-3 years of steep increases. Look within and you’ll find budgets, years after years of budgets, and all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision.
The #1 complaint resort developers get from owners that have owned for more than 2 years is “If I had known the maintenance fees would go up this much, I never would have purchased!” That’s a classic fool me once paragon. But please, don’t get fooled twice. Every bit of information you need is in your hands while you are in the rescission period. Please take the time to read your public offering, within rescission, the next time you purchase.