Toll Free: 877-624-6889

Intl: (407) 917-8432

How Do Timeshare Exits Work?

Blog Image

Posted on April 14, 2023

Learn What a Responsible Timeshare Exit Should Look Like

The term timeshare exit has become a popular catch phrase of the timeshare industry as owners look to transition out of their ownership. In general, a timeshare exit is any way an owner can transition out of their timeshare and relinquish their ownership responsibilities and obligations. So, how do timeshare exits work and are there reputable companies to work with to enact a responsible exit from your ownership?

Over the last few years, the “exit” label has morphed into a catch-all phrase for owners looking to sell their timeshare, deed them back, give them back or look for their resort to buy them back.

We’ll take a look at each of each of these areas and explain what is a timeshare exit company, how do timeshare exit companies work and some of the red flags to watch out for when looking for a safe and reliable way to move on from your timeshare.

How Do Timeshare Exits Work?

We touched on the primary areas above, but there is also the issue of how timeshare exit companies work, which can be different from the avenues supported by the industry that are traditionally available to owners. We’ll look at exit company tactics later but below are the main ways that timeshare exits work:

Selling Your Timeshare

Selling a timeshare is the most beneficial way for an owner to move on from their timeshare, simply because they can make some money from their ownership, recoup some of their initial costs and bring a new owner into the resort program.

When you sell your timeshare, the transfer of ownership takes place during the closing process, similar to what happens during a real estate transaction. You are notified once the transition is finalized and the proceeds from the sale are on their way. Finding a way to sell is the tricky part, but we’ll discuss that when looking at reputable company tactics. 

Deeding Back, or Giving Back Timeshares

For owners who are looking to basically give back their timeshares with nothing to show for it, doing so may be a way to initiate a timeshare exit. If you have a deeded ownership, your resort or management company may have a way for you to hand it back, while points owners may be able to give them back through the ownership trust.

However, there are restrictions and no guarantees that you will be able to relinquish your ownership. Ownerships must be free of any mortgages or liens and all annual fees must be paid in full. Even then it is at the discretion of the resort whether to accept your ownership.

It is a much better idea to put your timeshare up for sale first with a company that does not charge upfront fees to see if you can get some money back before looking at this last resort option.

Buy Back Timeshares

In some cases, mainly with larger hospitality-branded resorts, the resort or company may have a buyback program in place. Outright buy backs are rare and usually come in the form of a resort’s right-of-first-refusal program where they can step in as a buyer to purchase a timeshare before you can sell to another party. In this case, a buyer must already be in place and the resort may step in to buy it back during the approval process. So, an owner would usually need to be working with a resale company to get that buyer lined up in the first place.

What is a Timeshare Exit Company?

timeshare exit company sign

A timeshare exit company is a firm that promises to get an owner out of their timeshare contract. They are third-party companies and often employ former timeshare employees who know the industry and promise to use their services to help the owner separate from their timeshare.

However, resorts and timeshare companies have refused to work with these companies because of what they believe are unethical and predatory tactics that can harm the owners and resorts in the process. 

How Do Timeshare Exit Companies Work?

Often using the services of legal teams, timeshare exit companies work by promising to get the owner out of their ownership with no ongoing obligations to the resort or management company. This service may be pitched with a money back guarantee, but always involves a substantial upfront fee from the owner.

Exit companies spend large amounts of money advertising their services to draw in owners, then conducting consultations where they assess the ownership and establish an upfront fee to use their services.

Exit fees can range from $4,000 to more than $10,000 to be paid in advance before any work takes place.

Once an owner agrees to work with an exit company, the company attempts to contact the resort or timeshare company on behalf of the owner, to find a way out of the contract. They claim to have lawyers who can comb through their documents looking for potential loopholes that could help get them out of their contract.

What to Watch Out For in the Timeshare Exit Process

confusion like a maze in the timeshare exit process

Maneuvers used by exit companies that can cost owners time, money or more often include:

  • Money Back Guarantees – these guarantees are not often honored by the company, leaving the owner out of pocket with nothing to show for their efforts. In some cases the courts have ruled that timeshare exit companies must honor such guarantees, which has led them to file for bankruptcy, as in the Florida case of American Resource Management Group. In the case of Timeshare Exit Team, the Attorney General from the State of Washington investigated their company and fined them for “deceptive” business practices to the point that they are no longer in business.
  • Contacting the Resort – exit companies claim they have some sort of inside track to contact the resort on an owners’ behalf. Keep in mind that an owner can do the same thing themselves without the need to pay huge upfront fees. Because a resort wants to engage the owner, and most resorts have refused contact from exit companies, an owner has a better chance to plead their case themselves.
  • Non-payment of Annual Maintenance Fees – exit companies are known to advise owners to stop paying their fees to resorts in order to bring them to the negotiating table. Since the resorts ultimately are the ones who can approve an exit, getting a resort offside in this way is a questionable tactic at best. At worst, it can lead to your account being referred to a collection agency, taking a hit to your credit report and possibly landing you in foreclosure.
  • Use of Power of Attorney – signing over your power of attorney to an exit company to act on your behalf can have unintended consequences, since the owner is ultimately responsible for the timeshare. Some exit companies are known to have taken ownerships and disposed of them through so-called “Viking ship” tactics that are detrimental to the resorts and the other owners who share in the cost of running the resort. Owners may also find out later that they still legally own the timeshare, even after paying the exit company to transfer the ownership.

Tactics Used by Reputable Brokerage Companies

successful timeshare exit tactics leading to happy customers

Owners wondering how do timeshare exits work can contact a licensed timeshare broker such as Timeshare Broker Associates for a no-cost consultation. Companies like TBA and other licensed brokerage firms operate using time-tested timeshare sales methods that are endorsed as best-practices by the industry: 

  • No Upfront Fees – the vast majority of brokers work on commission like traditional real estate companies, so no upfront fees are taken from sellers. Agents are paid after a sale is closed.
  • Listing Agreements in Writing – written listing agreements spell out exactly what responsibilities are involved, with most agreements written according to state real estate regulations.
  • Marketing Strategies – reputable timeshare resale firms should be able to explain how they find buyers for timeshares, whether it is through online marketing tactics or leveraging a network of brokers from across the country.
  • Regulatory Oversight – Brokers are licensed under state real estate law, so business practices are accountable to the state in which they operate or are licensed, as many brokers are licensed in multiple states.
  • Using Legitimate Closing Companies – some exit companies use so-called transfer companies that operate with questionable business practices such as those “Viking ship” maneuvers mentioned above. Reputable timeshare brokers have working relationships with legitimate closing companies that make sure a sale is consummated properly.
  • Working Directly with Resorts – companies such as TBA have solid working relationships with resorts, not adversarial ones. TBA is a Featured Reseller for Wyndham Vacation Ownership, WorldMark, Capital Vacations and others, which streamlines the sales process.

Let Timeshare Broker Associates help you make a responsible exit from your timeshare.


Author Pic
Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer

Steve manages the public relations and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective Magazine, he provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. 

A contributor for industry publications such as Resort Trades and Developments Magazine, Steve Luba has 36 years of experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives. 

Follow Steve on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for his latest articles, or sign up to subscribe to our blog and have it delivered straight to your inbox.