Financial • 3 minute read
Getting Rid Of Your Timeshare
By Kristina James
Published by Ruby
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It seemed like a good idea at the time.
You wanted a place for a week or two of vacation every year. You decided on a timeshare so you could guarantee time at the property, invest in real estate, and share the cost of ownership with others.
What could go wrong?
Research at the University of Central Florida found 85 percent of all timeshare buyers regret the decision in part due to rising maintenance fees, other incidental costs, and extreme difficulty in reselling the property.
The timeshare business is an almost $10-billion-dollar industry. The model works because new timeshares are constantly coming on the market. But steady development of shiny new units can leave owners of older timeshares in the lurch when it’s time to sell.
Let’s see what your options might be.
The Timeshare User’s Group (TUG) is a website recommended by financial experts as a source for information on all things timeshare. Visit them at https://tug2.com.
Here’s what TUG users, who are all timeshare owners like yourself, recommend when you want to get out from under a timeshare.
Don’t believe any company that promises it can sell your timeshare and then asks for fees upfront. It may promise it has buyers waiting in the wings and the cost to you is a small deposit that’s refundable. Shenanigans!
Set your financial expectations low.
Establish a reasonable resale price, realizing that most timeshares resell for only up to 15 percent of the price originally paid by the owner.
To fix a price, check to see what other weeks like yours are selling for. For a $15 membership to TUG you can check its sales history database and look for comparable properties that have successfully sold.
Advertise your listing.
You can post your ad on TUG’s Timeshare Marketplace as well as on E-Bay, craigslist, Facebook’s Marketplace section, or physically in a newsletter or bulletin board at your timeshare’s location.
When the inevitable cold calls come from companies promising you they can make a quick sale on your behalf for a fee, see the first suggestion. Especially run like the wind from companies that advertise on television or the radio.
Pay off the loan before you sell if you can.
This will make your property more attractive. If you can’t repay the loan outright, consider refinancing at a lower interest rate to pay off the higher interest timeshare loan. If neither option is possible, think about renting your timeshare to help pay down the mortgage debt.
What if none of the above works? After all, the first piece of advice you’ll get from financial experts about selling a timeshare is not to buy one in the first place. But that’s poking the bandage.
You have several options.
1. Ask the resort to take it back.
Some resorts have programs that will allow timeshare owners to relinquish their share.
2. Walk away.
It’s an unpalatable option, but for older people who can no longer use the timeshare and don’t care if their credit score plummets, it’s an idea.
3. Return to the possibility of renting it.
At least you’ll be able to defray your costs and pay down the loan amount more quickly.
Timeshare Users Group advises that, if you have patience, put in the required work to get your timeshare on the market, and are reasonable in the small payback you’ll get from selling it, you can be successful.
And then you can buy a bottle of Cava or Prosecco (because it’s less expensive than Champagne) and toast the fact that “what seemed like a good idea at the time” is now over.