Timeshare Owners’ Blog Examines Timeshare Resales After Katrina

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Jason Tremblay, CEO of Sell My Timeshare Now, says timeshare buyers donÂ?t realize there are hidden costs to buying damaged property at bargain prices.

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Most feel that Katrina has been the latest installment in what is clearly an abnormally destructive hurricane season. Clearly, many people are having second thoughts about owning property in an area vulnerable to hurricanes, even if these areas are prime resort destinations.

"In the wake of the biggest disaster in recent memory, the timeshare industry confronts challenges, but also affords timeshare resale opportunities," says Jason Tremblay, who writes the Timeshare Owners’ Blog. He also offers this practical advice to timeshare buyers in a post entitled Time Share Resales after Katrina, "If you think you can save money by buying damaged property at bargain prices, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you sign a contract!"

Tremblay says, "Four days after hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, the situation along the Gulf Coast of the United States is particularly dire. The city of New Orleans may never recover fully from this disaster. The long-term economic implications are still being calculated, and widespread repercussions are already being felt. Most shocking of all is the loss of human life on such a massive scale, and the horrifying ordeals faced by those still trying to survive in this city. Anyone reading this is encouraged to help relief efforts by any means necessary."

The Timeshare Owner’s Blog reported last week that Marriott International Inc. was arguably the first hotel company to respond to this tragedy. Marriott had temporarily shut down about 20 hotels in Louisiana and Alabama. Marriott properties in affected areas reported no serious structural damage.

Since last week, Marriott International Inc. has chartered a convoy of buses with armed guards to extricate 2,500 people who sought shelter in its New Orleans hotels. Marriott also recently announced that they are waiving all cancellation fees at affected hotels between now and October 1, and its 15 properties in New Orleans will remain closed until local authorities advise they may reopen. As of press time, Marriott will not accept reservations for those properties.

The Hyatt Regency, which sustained large-scale damages from Katrina’s winds, is closed until further notice. Though 500 guest units were damaged, the hotel experienced no flooding. Hyatt predicts that this hotel will reopen on April 1 of next year. Cancellation fees at affected Hyatt hotels have been waived until March 31, 2006.

Katrina has affected all aspects of the lodging and hospitality industry, and the timeshare sector is certainly no different. Says Tremblay, "Most feel that Katrina has been the latest installment in what is clearly an abnormally destructive hurricane season. Clearly, many people are having second thoughts about owning property in an area vulnerable to hurricanes, even if these areas are prime resort destinations."

Immediately following a major hurricane, most affected areas will enter into a period of aggressive redevelopment. If this area is a proven resort location, like the Gulf Coast, this is especially true. In the days following a hurricane, resort properties are quick to assess the damage and almost inevitably plan dramatic renovations and upgrades. In effect, hurricane repairs can often mean upgraded amenities and renovations, but consequently, higher maintenance fees and special hurricane assessments.

Says Tremblay, "Immediately after a major hurricane strikes a high-demand resort area, the timeshare resale market typically sees a dramatic influx of timeshares for sale. If these units are located in a resort damaged by a large storm, the timeshares in question cannot be assumed to be structurally sound. Timeshare owners often advertise storm-damaged properties for as little as $50.00/week. Sometimes owners can be less than forthcoming about the condition that their properties are in, so due diligence is a must when purchasing a timeshare resale under these circumstances.

"Buying timeshare resales at a storm-damaged resort facility is largely contingent upon whether or not the resort plans on redeveloping the property. The idea is to buy a unit at a minimal cost while demand is still low; obtaining it before timeshare sale prices rise."

Readers are invited to consider that some resorts are still undergoing extensive repairs after the record 2004 hurricane season, which caused widespread damages in many parts of Florida. Though timeshare buyers see opportunities in bargain-priced timeshares, many rush into a purchase without considering the long-term side effects.

Mr. Tremblay continues, "What many people don't realize is that hidden costs can materialize out of thin air. Rising property taxes are a likely consequence of a natural disaster. The maintenance fees at the new resort will be higher than they were previously, and the resort company may even assess special fees to cover hurricane damages. Typically, a special hurricane assessment can cost owners $800.00 - $1200.00. Still, if a timeshare cost $50.00 initially, the average timeshare owner can absorb the rising costs and still save thousands of dollars off the original price asked by the resort for the unit in question, just by buying a timeshare resale at minimal cost."

In conclusion, Mr. Tremblay suggests that potential timeshare buyers use caution. "In this manner, many timeshare buyers try to take advantage of the opportunities on the resale market. If you plan on buying damaged property at bargain prices, make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you sign a contract!"

When he’s not writing the Timeshare Owners’ Blog, Jason Tremblay is the CEO of Sell My Timeshare Now, which is the global leader in timeshare resales.

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