Keeping it Real in real estate
Beware of the real estate ‘timeshare’ scam By ODEST T. RILEY, Contributing Writer With the economy picking up and the real estate market booming again, a lot of scams and fraudsters are out there hustling people with dreams of
Beware of the real estate ‘timeshare’ scam
By ODEST T. RILEY, Contributing Writer
With the economy picking up and the real estate market booming again, a lot of scams and fraudsters are out there hustling people with dreams of home ownership and vacation getaways. And the number one culprit is usually timeshares.
With the invention of the Internet and travel sites like Kayak.com and Hotel.com, a lot of what made timeshares so amazing in the 80s and 90s no longer exist, because you can essentially travel the world with your family more cheaply than its costs to buy a timeshare.
Timeshare companies realizing this trend have changed the sales pitch from world travel to, “Wouldn’t you like to own a vacation home like all the other rich people in the world?” Sounds great at first, but they don’t explain all the drawbacks and fees associated with owning your two weeks in a luxury hotel anywhere in the world.
Timeshares themselves are not fraudulent or illegal, however, I wanted to talk about the people in the industry and the tactics they use to separate good working class people from their hard earned money.
The “bait-and-switch” is the most common tactic you will deal with in the world of timeshare mania. While visiting a fair or carnival you will pass a booth offering free flights to Hawaii, Dodger tickets and a gift card for a meal at your favorite restaurant. All you have to do is sit through an hour presentation with no obligation to buy.
What they don’t tell you is, one hour almost always last two hours, and that when you’re finished doing your tour, you will be taken to a table and essentially beaten into submission by a tag team of salespeople coming over and telling you why you need to buy today or miss out on the deal of a lifetime.
The problem with all of this is once you have bought the timeshare you only have a 72-hour right of rescission to cancel the contract and get your money back. Unlike buying a car where you do the research before going in and are prepared to either buy or walk. Most people are blindsided by the timeshare hard sell because they went in looking for free goodies and ended up with a $23,000 weekend getaway to Las Vegas, that ruin your credit if you don’t pay.
Remember, nothing in America is free. So, the next time you decide to become a vacation rental owner, ask yourself — would you really spend that much money on a trip to Hawaii or Las Vegas?
As always at WLM Financial we are here to assist you with all of your real estate and mortgage needs—from buying and selling to refinancing your home, we can help you along. Our goal is to teach people how to get in the position to be financially free. With a little hard work and endurance, you can get there.
Odest T. Riley, Jr., is a licensed real estate agent and president of WLM Financial in Inglewood. Reach him at (310) 905-7421, by e-mail: odest@wlmfinancial, or by snail mail, 111 N. La Brea Ave., No. 406-B, Inglewood, CA 90301.