Americans love to travel. Many of us, particularly those with families and two incomes, are attracted to the idea of vacation ownership. Of course, even families with significant resources can find it difficult to scrape together the money for this dream.
Many have turned to vacation clubs and timeshare properties as a way to make it happen. Rather than buying their own vacation homes, timeshare customers share a property with other people. This “shared ownership” compromise is meant to reduce costs and stresses of vacation home ownership in exchange for freedom and flexibility.
While this arrangement may seem nice at first, the reduced freedom and constantly increasing maintenance fees cost can grow tiresome and result in a heavy financial burden.
This article will take a look at how to sell a timeshare and relieve yourself of the burden. Selling, deeding back, and renting are all strategies that you can use. Hiring an attorney and taking legal action may also be necessary. As an established, experienced timeshare exit company, Centerstone Group can help you take a look at your options.
Selling timeshares is big business. According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), timeshares are a $10.5 billion industry, and 9.9 million American households own timeshares or related products.
If you are one of those people, you may have come to see that timeshare ownership is not all it is cracked up to be. ARDA, a timeshare trade association, reports that nearly 90% of timeshare owners are happy with their purchases. Non-ARDA sources, however, tell a very different story. Forbes reported in 2020 that nearly 85% of timeshare owners regret the purchase.
The chances are good, then, that you also regret your timeshare purchase, and you want a way out. In that case, there’s good news and bad news. While you may be able to rid yourself of maintenance fees and a mortgage, you may lose some or all of the money you spent in the process.
Here are your options if you’re ready to get out of your timeshare.
When determining how to sell a timeshare or otherwise dispose of it, the first step is finding out exactly what you have. While this may sound too obvious to mention, it’s really not. Timeshares are located all over the world, and there are different laws applying to their ownership in every jurisdiction. Those laws, as well as the contract you signed, determine what you have.
Selling a timeshare in the best possible way isn’t as simple as just hanging out a “for sale” sign. First, you have to understand what you are selling. Then, get a professional who can help you understand your options. Finally, work with that professional to consider whether a deed-back or similar transaction may be the best choice for getting rid of your timeshare.
It is possible that you own some sort of property interest in your timeshare. If that is the case, you will most likely have a deed detailing that interest. If you don’t have a copy on hand, then don’t panic.
Most jurisdictions in the United States (and many in other countries) have an office where deeds are publicly available. For example, in Las Vegas, the Clark County Recorder’s Office has a website where you can search for and obtain copies of publicly recorded documents.
Determining what the deed says is important because, depending on the location of the timeshare and what you agreed to in the contract, the deed may not even be in your name. A trust company or other entity may actually be on the recorded document. In that case, selling your interest will be more complicated and may require analysis of your contract.
Centerstone Group has the resources to help you through timeshare transfers even in complicated cases. If you find that the deeded interest for your property is confusing, Centerstone Group can help you to understand what is going on and how to sell your timeshare.
Most of us know a real estate agent who can help with selling property. In the case of a timeshare resale, there are legal and transactional nuances that not all Realtors are experienced in handling.
This is where Realtors come in. You will want to use a seasoned real estate professional with experience in the timeshare resale market. They should also have the ability to find you a willing, informed buyer who is able to close.
When finding a Realtor, be very careful to stay away from so-called “timeshare resale companies.” These companies often seek out timeshare owners with promises of guaranteed buyers, and they ask for upfront fees rather than getting paid from the proceeds of a sale. These companies are a scam. Never pay an upfront fee for listing or selling a timeshare product.
Experienced Realtors can also help you to appropriately gauge the fair market value of your timeshare. The company that sold you the timeshare unit may not be forthcoming or honest about values or pricing. Someone that makes a living from timeshare resales will have a better idea and much more incentive to be honest with you about the appropriate sale price.
Though it may be tempting to use a modern tool like Craigslist or eBay to sell your timeshare, this is a mistake. Websites like these don’t give resellers the experience or level of professional review afforded by a real estate agent or timeshare exit company. If you run into a legal problem or a snag in the resale process, you will be on your own.
If your name is on the recorded deed for your timeshare and your contract allows it, you might be allowed to deed your timeshare interest back to the resort where the unit is located. In a nutshell, this means that you or the company would prepare a new deed where you simply give your interest back to the resort, and you would have no further obligations under the contract.
A deed back is usually accomplished via a quitclaim deed, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or similar instrument. While it is possible that you can be compensated for signing over the property this way, it is highly unlikely.
Deed-back provisions are extremely rare. If a timeshare contract has a deed-back provision at all, a timeshare company will likely put up a huge fight to stop you from using it. And if you do succeed in forcing the issue, it is highly unlikely that they would compensate you for giving up your timeshare.
Keep in mind, even if your contract allows a deed back, you will not be able to take this option if you still have a mortgage on your timeshare. This is because your timeshare company that gave you a mortgage has your interest as collateral to ensure that you have repaid your loan. In the case of a mortgage, then, you will need to find another option.
Maybe you can’t sell your timeshare due to a mortgage. Or you don’t want to eat the cost associated with a deed back. If you need to defray the costs for a limited time while you pay off a mortgage or figure something else out, you may want to consider renting your timeshare.
The main difference between selling and leasing is that, when leasing, you are still under the obligation of the contract. A lease would simply allow you to pass on the costs of maintenance fees and mortgage payments to a tenant for a set period of time. If it is allowed under your contract, a lease can offer a short-term fix for your money issues.
If you decide to go this route, you should still obtain a Realtor. In this case, make sure that your Realtor has specific experience in timeshare rentals.
A word of caution: You may also need a lawyer. Lease contracts are complicated and require careful attention from professionals who understand timeshares and the unique issues that come along with them.
Because you will ultimately still be responsible for the maintenance fees and other costs associated with the timeshare, a lease is less desirable than a sale. It can, however, make sense if you are not ready to part with your timeshare just yet or if there is no resale market for your timeshare.
Nobody relishes the thought of getting involved in a legal dispute with a timeshare company. In some cases, though, it may be necessary. Timeshare companies work very hard to get people to sign contracts. Once the contracts are signed, they will make it as hard as possible to escape. Sometimes, you may have no option but to fight.
Timeshare companies would like you to believe that once you have signed the contract, there is no more discussion. That’s not true. The law does not allow certain kinds of contracts, like unconscionable (i.e., abusive and one-sided) agreements.
Contracts drafted in one state, under one set of laws, may be illegal scams in another jurisdiction. In that case, it is possible that either part or all of the timeshare contract could be judged void by a court. In order to reach that kind of result, though, you need good legal representation.
And, if your lawyer is experienced in timeshare transactions, you may not even have to go to court. Using the threat of a lawsuit as leverage, an attorney may be able to negotiate a better deal for you outside of the terms of the contract.
Even if you’re doing quite well financially, you can’t afford to spend money on maintenance fees or mortgage payments for a timeshare that you don’t want or don’t use. Many timeshare contracts are predatory and riddled with traps for the unwary. Selling your timeshare, or otherwise getting out of it, won’t be easy. But it is worth taking the time and energy to do it.
Getting out of a timeshare contract can be difficult and time-consuming. It can also be perilous, filled with legal tricks and traps. You need a trusted partner who can help you navigate the process while doing everything possible to minimize your financial and emotional stress.
If you need to get out of your contract legally and ethically, Centerstone Group is here to help you. With over 30 years of experience in the field and a great rating from the Better Business Bureau, Centerstone Group is a trustworthy, experienced partner that can help you get out of a bad situation. Reach out today for a free consultation.