As with other types of property, when you decide to sell your timeshare ownership, there are several ways to go about it. This is not a one-size-fits-all transaction, so the method you prefer to employ might be different from that of your best friend, Fred. The process of selling a vacation timeshare is not complicated, but there are a few things to be aware of in order not to fall for the common scams that exist (unfortunately) in the industry.
Your first order of business is collect documents and gather needed information. That includes the property deed and any other applicable paperwork like maintenance fee information. Next, call the resort your timeshare belongs to. Find out if there are any fees associated with the sale and whether or not the new owners would enjoy the same amenities as you have. Some companies operate a resale program that might get you a quick sale for possibly less money than on the open market. You’ll have to decide if you want to go that route.
There are several ways to go about actually finding a buyer for your timeshare. Here are a few:
Good Old-Fashioned Advertising: Take out ads in your area, the area where the timeshare is located, and maybe even magazines devoted to the topic like “Endless Vacations” or “Timesharing Today.”
Online Auction or Craigslist: For $50 you can create an auction on Ebay, which has a separate section devoted entirely to timeshares. Alternatively, you could list it on Craigslist for free.
Find a Real Estate Agent: Some real estate agents specialize in timeshares, or at least say they do (more on that later). It might cost a little more, but it could be worth it to you to have the whole thing handled by someone else. A licensed timeshare broker will charge anywhere from 10-30 percent to sell the thing.
No better source than the federal government warns those interested in selling their timeshare to stay away from any person or agency that asks for an upfront fee. Even if the market is “hot, hot, hot” and “buyers are overwhelming sellers,” take a step back and a deep breath. No legitimate operation requires money in order to get the ball rolling. Need evidence? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is prosecuting one timeshare operation to the tune of $15 million for asking up to $2,500 in return for services related to selling timeshares. Unfortunately for the timeshare owners, those services mainly consisted of talking about how close the sale was and asking for even more money to get the deal done.
The Bottom Line
Despite the dire warning above, there’s no need to be afraid to sell your timeshare. Ultimately, it’s just a real estate transaction. Go into the process with eyes wide open and brain fully engaged, and you should be fine. Just remember, no money goes out until money comes in.