Posted on July 14, 2020
Selling a timeshare can be a strange and intimidating world for those who don’t quite understand how the system works. But fear not, as there are ways to help you navigate the system and reach a successful conclusion.
One thing all timeshare owners understand is that the time eventually comes when you need to sell your timeshare. No matter how much you love that beach, ski slope or theme park, there will be a day when you know that it’s time to sell.
Maybe you want to give it to a family member? Chances are that they won’t want to take on the commitment; unless perhaps your children have loved it so much growing up that they can see using it for their own families. Most of the time when owners get to the point where they can’t, or don’t want to, use their timeshare, they just want to give it up and get some money out of it.
Finances often come into play, especially if the owner is older and living on a fixed income. Many just don’t vacation like they used to and don’t want to pay the annual fees anymore. These are real issues, but it is important not to view your timeshare ownership in the same way that you would view vacation home ownership.
A timeshare is not a financial investment, no matter what the salesman at the resort may have said. You can usually sell a vacation home and get your money back with some increase in value. With timeshare, it’s just not going to happen unless you own in one of a handful of resorts where the location and recurring demand create a market for higher than normal resale values.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things to consider:
1) What’s It Worth?
Ah, the $64,000 question. For you millennials that don’t get that reference, Google it. The first area to establish is that you are not going to get back what you paid for it, unless you own in one of the 1-2% of resorts that have high resale values. Not even all Disney Vacation Club members get all their money back, and Disney timeshares have some of the highest resale values on the planet.
To understand this better, look at your timeshare more in terms such as a car purchase. You walk into a showroom and buy a new car, where a percentage of that purchase price goes to the sales commission and marketing costs invested by the dealer to get you into that showroom in the first place. It works the same way with timeshare. As much as 50-60% of the new sale price of a timeshare is sales and marketing costs. Take that amount away from your sale price and that can be a decent starting point.
You’ll also want to do your homework to see what other sellers are asking for their timeshares. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples - looking at timeshares at the same resort that you own at with the same unit configuration, season, view aspect, location, etc. As you probably know by now, not all timeshares are created equal. One of the advantages of working with a licensed broker is that they can legally price properties and provide a solid starting point to price timeshares on the resale market.
2) Flee the Upfront Fees
Once you decide to sell and start looking for options, chances are you will be approached by someone asking for money to help you sell. So-called exit companies are famous for asking for thousands of dollars to get owners out of their ownership. The problem is that owners don’t get any money in return and, contrary to their marketing messages, there are no guarantees it will work. Some exit companies are even being investigated by state attorney generals for their tactics.
While there are certainly legitimate advertising companies that can help you advertise your timeshare for sale, if in doubt you will want to steer clear of paying upfront fees. Brokerage companies such as ours operate on a commission-only basis, meaning we don’t get paid until after a sale is closed.
3) Beware the Buyer Waiting
This is an old tactic of scammers to get money from sellers. A company claims they have a buyer waiting to buy your timeshare and all you have to do is pay some sort of transfer fee or legal fee to process the deal. Don’t fall for it.
4) No Cold Calls
Cold call marketing has been around nearly as long as the telephone. Some timeshare resellers have been known to buy lists of owner details so they can call owners to find out if they want to sell. If you have not initiated contact with a company or received a referral, such as a referral to us by Wyndham as a preferred reseller, then don’t bother with these companies.
5) Who Are the Buyers?
Most negotiations and transactions are done without you even speaking to or meeting the buyers. This isn’t like selling a house where the buyers walk through your place. If you decide to sell it yourself, you’ll most likely be negotiating anonymously until a deal is done. Then it’ll be turned over to a closing company to complete the sale. If you use a licensed agent such as our TBA agents, they’ll do all the negotiating and legwork for you. Understand that the most important thing is finding a buyer, however that happens.
6) Get it All in Writing
Too many promises are made in the timeshare world, especially when it comes to resales. Don’t take someone’s word for it – get it in writing. If you are advertising, get the agreement in writing. If you work with a licensed agent, they will provide the proper paperwork according to the regulatory framework of the state in which they are located.
7) Guaranteed Time of Sale
Is there such a thing? The simple answer is no. Any company guaranteeing that they can sell your timeshare in a certain timeframe for a certain amount is just after your money. And there are definitely no guarantees that the exit companies can get you out of your timeshare. Market forces dictate the potential sale of a timeshare, just like any other product.
8) An Actual Business Location
When researching a timeshare resale business to use, find out as much as you can about them. If they cannot establish a physical place of business with a legitimate phone number and history of finding buyers, then don’t go there. Some resale scammers have been known to use post office boxes and throw-away cell phones to do business, since these are often not able to be traced. Stay away from them.
9) Protect Your Personal Info
In these days of data breeches, protecting your personal information is more important than ever. You don’t want to give your credit card information over the phone to anyone. If possible, use secure methods such as DocuSign-type technology through links sent from reputable operators to secure contract details. Always question the need for anyone to know your information.
10) If in Doubt, Work with a Professional
In some cases you may be able to handle the sale of a personal item yourself. Got a couch or a jacket you need to sell – there are plenty of places to post it online for sale. With a timeshare, this can be a much more awkward process since most timeshares are considered real estate and fall under state real estate regulations. Even with some points programs, since points can be deeded to a specific resort.
Timeshare brokers such as ours hire agents who are licensed under existing real estate law in the states in which they operate. This gives us the ability to assess the market value of timeshares in order to specifically price properties.
In this way, the principle is similar to the sale of a home. Some owners are confident enough to initiate and handle the process from start to finish. Others would rather use a professional agent to handle it for them.
If you need help selling a timeshare, give us a call on 877-624-6889. The phone call and the advice are free.