I had quite the experience going to one of those Timeshare Promotions with the promise of a $40 American Express card, a trip for two to Las Vegas for 3 days and 2 nights (airfare and hotel included) or a trip for two to a cruise leaving a nearby port, plus either a $49,000 BMW, $1500 shopping spree, $500 cash, or a romantic getaway for 5 days and 4 nights for two.
While I chose to not purchase the Timeshare, in the process of doing my own research I found some really neat websites and resources for people looking to sell their timeshares and get out of their contracts, or people wishing to purchase or rent a timeshare at a fraction of the cost.
Considerations When Selling
Most timeshares come with maintenance fees that you need to pay each year, and if you are no longer using the property, then you are wasting money. Your best option is to sell your timeshare as resorts typically will not purchase them back from you. Unfortunately, most timeshares sell for 25-50% of the original price you paid for it. If you are still paying on your timeshare loan, you may not be able to pay off what you owe by selling, which means you will have to put money into the sale. If you cannot afford to sell the timeshare, Tug2 suggests trying to refinance to get a lower interest rate (for mortgage-type loans). For consumer timeshare loans, you may be able to sell without owing anything. In the meantime, you can list your timeshare week(s) to rent and recoup some of the maintenance fees. Another great idea offered by Tug2 is to donate your timeshare and take a tax deduction should it not make financial sense for you to sell it.
Finally, be wary of any sites that charge a large upfront fee in order to list or sell your timeshare. Any fees you incur upfront should be between $10-$50.
How to Sell a Timeshare
There are several auction sites where you can auction off your timeshare week. Bidshares has a free membership and is fee-free as well. EBay has become a popular place to sell timeshares; just be aware that you will have to pay a $70 fee to do so and other fees may apply. You can also hire a broker to sell your listing. Try finding a timeshare broker on Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association.
If you wish to make your own listing to sell your timeshare, make sure you competitively price your timeshare. Conduct pricing research by looking at listings on eBay timeshares or BidShares. Consider a contract with your buyer that includes all of the specific information involved with your timeshare, such as maintenance fees, the week(s) it includes, the selling price, deeds, etc. You will also have to involve your timeshare company so that the property title can properly be transferred (you will owe all maintenance fees until the title is transferred). In order to cover all of your bases, you may wish to use a timeshare closing service, such as Timeshare Transfer, Inc., or JRA Services, Inc., which will cost you approximately $350.
Timeshare Rentals and Resales
You are in luck: purchasing a timeshare resale from other owners will save you roughly up to 75% off of the costs if you were to purchase one through a timeshare presentation. While shopping around on any of the sites listed above, be aware that you will also be responsible for annual maintenance fees and add this into your total cost to see if it makes financial sense for you to purchase one.
Also, carefully look into all of the details of the timeshare you are purchasing. Is the timeshare linked with RCI, which allows you to exchange your timeshare week for one in hundreds of different countries? This could add considerable value to you.
Once you find a timeshare that you want, it is in your best interest to have a contract with the seller. The contract should specify all of the details of your timeshare. You may also wish to have an escrow account involved for a smooth transfer of funds, deed, and title.
Timeshares have a bad rap, earning the timeshare scam name, for reasons such as the way they are sold, the exorbitant upfront cost, the maintenance costs, etc. But if you could purchase one at a severe discount, it may make financial sense for you and your family, if a vacation home isn’t what you are looking for. And for those of you stuck with a timeshare contract that you purchased for full price, there are ways to unload your property or at least produce a little rental income in the meantime.
Does anyone own a timeshare? What are the pros and cons for you and your family?