Is that timeshare you bought back when times were good now starting to drain your finances? Or have you come to realize that your timeshare purchase was an unwise move, from an investment standpoint?
Either way, if you own a timeshare that you want to get rid of, rest assured that you don’t have to be stuck with that vacation property for life.
Here are some strategies to unload or manage a timeshare you no longer want or simply can’t afford.
Double-Check Your Contract
As a first step, be sure to familiarize yourself with your purchase agreement, as it may allow you to sell your timeshare to someone else.
The key is to find out whether you have a deeded timeshare or a leased timeshare property. With a deeded timeshare, you’re the exclusive owner forever; while with a leased timeshare you are only the owner for a set number of years. If your contract specifies that it’s a deeded timeshare, you do have the right to sell your timeshare to someone else. If you have a leased timeshare, you may have to keep paying your annual fees until the lease expires.
Either way, until you actually complete a sale of a timeshare property, it’s your responsibility to remain up to date with your annual maintenance payments and any taxes or fees the resort imposes.
Submit a buyback or deedback offer to the property management company
Some timeshare companies will also buy back a property you’ve purchased – as long as it’s in their financial interests to do so. A lot of this depends on how much demand there is for the unit you’ve bought or the overall level of interest in that resort’s facilities.
While you’re not likely to get anywhere near the price you originally paid, it’s still a good idea to see if the company you bought from is interested in buying back your timeshare.
If the annual fees on the property are the reason you want to dump a timeshare, explain that to the property management company. Even if they won’t buy it outright, the property management company may allow you to deed back your timeshare to the organization. With a “timeshare deedback,” you basically agree to give your timeshare back to the resort – and then you’re off the hook for any future payments on it.
Advertise With a Reputable Organization
Many vacation-marketing companies will charge you an upfront fee to sell your timeshare. That’s a money-drainer waiting to happen. Never pay an advance fee to anyone who promises to unload your vacation timeshare. The individual or company could make away with your money and do absolutely nothing. And that happens way more often than you might think.
One reputable, consumer-oriented organization you can trust to help you advertise and sell your timeshare is called the Timeshare Users Group, or TUG. They are known to be the first and largest timeshare owner network. When you visit their web site you find numerous articles, tips and advice on everything related to timeshare ownership including buying, renting and selling your timeshare.
TUG will even let you advertise your timeshare (for rent or sale) on their free classifieds section called “Timeshare Marketplace.” Additionally, TUG allows members see a sales history database, so you can glean up-to-date information on timeshare sales and properly price your timeshare.
Try an Auction Site
Another option for doing away with an unwanted timeshare is to try sell it on ebay or even Craigslist. There are both individuals and companies selling their timeshares on ebay. In fact, my husband purchased three properties in what is known as the “timeshare aftermarket” on eBay. Two of the properties were purchased from eBay “power sellers,” and the last one from an individual owner. If you sell your timeshare to a third party, just be sure to find out what fees your home resort will charge to transfer ownership of your property from you to the buyer.
Consider renting it out
If all else fails, and a sale doesn’t go through, try renting your timeshare. Check with the company you bought your timeshare from to inquire about renting the unit out when you don’t want it or can’t use it. In many cases, the vacation timeshare company has a time separate rental division – apart from its sales department – to handle rentals exclusively. They may charge you a fee, but it will probably be worth it. After all, the rental fees you derive may be enough to cover the annual maintenance fees you must pay on the timeshare.
“Ask The Money Coach” is a syndicated column written by personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, co-founder of the free financial advice blog, AskTheMoneyCoach.com. Follow Lynnette on Twitter at @themoneycoach.