Special Assessment Watch: The Truth in Real Time

Maintenance fees and special assessments are no joke. They add up… fast! These fees increase annually whether you use your timeshare or not, and they have become so expensive that many people are now reconsidering their timeshare ownership. While some owners only pay a couple hundred dollars per year, some families have reported paying as much as $3,00 dollars or more for the supposed “upkeep” of their property!

These are the kinds of financial figures that scare most people away from entering a timeshare contract, but people are usually unaware of just how ridiculous these fees can get until it’s too late. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine precisely what your annual fees will look like if you buy a timeshare. Until now.

Special Assessment Watch

In 2011, a new independent website was created to help track the total dollar amount of maintenance fees and special assessments collected in the United States annually. The site is called the Timeshare Special Assessment Alert Network and can be accessed at specialassessmentnetwork.com. The proposed mission statement of the site is to “notify timeshare owners of special assessments and maintenance fees in real time as we receive them.”

As of today, December 11th, the website’s “Year to Date Total Fees Collected” meter (which is continually rolling upward like an odometer) reads $46,500,000 with three weeks left to go in the year. This is a figure made all the more shocking by the fact that only a small percentage of timeshare owners have actually reported their fees to the site. The total numbers are estimated to be well over $1 billion. To put that figure in perspective, the gross domestic product of Liberia barely topped the billion dollar mark last year!

Site Features

Below the staggering national collection meter, visitors can view the most recently posted maintenance fees and special assessments for various resorts, along with where they are located. These figures are submitted by objective, unsolicited timeshare owners who are trying to spread awareness relating to the timeshare crisis. In fact, Special Assessment Watch validates the neutrality of their mission by including flattering photos of the resorts and a brief write-up describing some of the perks of each development.

The site is extremely user-friendly and offers interactive menus to help you determine what resorts are charging what fees. At the top of the page, you can scroll through a comprehensive list (there are literally hundreds!) of timeshare developments to find the resort that you’re looking for. Once you’ve discovered the resort you’re curious about, you can examine the most recent maintenance fees, special assessments, or both. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like many owners have been contributing their special assessment figures yet, but the site is still new and thus far, many people focus solely on their exorbitant maintenance fees.

Below this list, the visitor has the opportunity to share their annual fees with the site and a curious public. To do so, simply enter the name of your timeshare resort, and the name of the city and state in which the resort is located. Below these informational boxes, there’s a drop-down box for you to choose whether you want to submit information regarding your maintenance fees or your special assessment fees, the amount, and the date you submitted the information.

Finally, near the bottom right corner of the homepage, visitors can quickly access the most expensive resorts in terms of special assessments and maintenance fees. Marriot and Wyndham developments dominate the top of this list. Granted, these resorts are absolutely beautiful and are located in prime vacation locales, but the fees reported are jaw-dropping.

Finally!

From what I can tell, this is the first third-party site of its kind. Special Assessment Watch maintains an honest, objective approach to one of the more critical issues in the timeshare industry today. They do so in the hopes that the site will, “Help educate the helpless” and “prevent someone from making an uneducated decision.”

Special Assessment Watch is doing potential and current timeshare owners a valuable service by making them fully aware of the current fees at hundreds of different resorts. If only the rest of the timeshare industry would follow their lead by operating with more straight-forward transparency, perhaps the current timeshare crisis wouldn’t exist. At Newton Group Transfers, we applaud their efforts to educate potential timeshare owners, and we intend to continue to follow our core values of leadership, honesty, and integrity to inform everyone of potential alternative options.

Please visit us online or call (877) 354-4321 for a free consultation and to begin the process of transitioning you and your family into a new financial lifestyle.

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