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5 tips for selling your time share

Tread carefully: Scammers abound in the time share resale market. And don't expect to get back what you put into it.

By Stacy Johnson May 9, 2012 11:47AM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyLooking for a time share or vacation plan? You won't have a hard time finding one. 


The American Resort Development Association says that in 2010, the last year for which data are available, there were 197,700 time shares at 1,548 resorts, and 8.1 million "intervals" under ownership. An interval is usually defined as a week or two.

 

While getting into a time share will be easy, don't expect the same if you decide to get out. Time shares often plunge in value, and the resale business is riddled with scams. In the video below, Stacy Johnson has tips for selling your time share. Then read on for more. 

First, if you're thinking of buying a time share:

 

Skip the developers. You can buy a time share for a fraction of its initial value -- sometimes pennies on the dollar -- by buying through an owner rather than the development company. Use time share resale sites like The Timeshare User's Group and My Resort Network to connect with motivated sellers.


Pay cash. The interest rates on time share mortgage loans typically run higher than traditional mortgages -- between 12% and 18% on average, according to Professional Timeshare Services. But the main reason cash is king is resale value. Like a car, the vast majority of time shares depreciate in value. A big loan means you'll probably be upside down and unable to get out.


Understand the extra costs. In 2010, time share holders in the U.S. paid an average of $731 a year in maintenance fees, ARDA says. And don't forget travel: Plane tickets to and from your time share could add hundreds to the cost.
Don't buy with a plan to sell. Buy a time share only if you expect to hold onto it. It's unlikely you'll break even if you sell, and odds are good you may not be able to sell it at all. Read the Federal Trade Commission's "Time and Time Again: Buying and Selling Timeshares and Vacation Plans."


Now let's tackle selling your time share:


Image: Miami beach © Gary John Norman/Lifesize/Getty ImagesSell where you bought. 
Stacy suggests starting with the company you bought your time share from. Some time share companies have a resale program. Others may provide you with a list of interested buyers. But most won't help you at all. 


Sell to other owners. Ask the time share company who has the interval in your time share before and after you. Offer to sell your time to those owners. They may want to buy the time share from you to extend their stay.


Use a local broker. A licensed real-estate agent might sell your time share for you. However, according to the ARDA, a real-estate company may charge you a commission of 10% to 30%, higher than the commission for a home sale. 
 
Before you sign up, ask about the agent's marketing plan and experience. Don't pay commission to an agent who will only post an ad online -- you can do that yourself.


Sell online. You can sell your time share online yourself. Some websites specialize in reselling time shares, including:

Post a free classified ad on a local buying and selling site like Craigslist or the online classified section of the local newspaper where your time share is located. By posting an ad in the time share's location, you'll attract buyers interested in that area.


If you need to sell quickly, use an auction site like eBay. Starting an auction on eBay costs $70, including a $35 insertion fee and a $35 final value fee. The auction can run from one to 10 days. Here are some tips for writing that ad:

  • Find your selling point. Research other time shares and hotels in the area and find something your time share has that other vacation options don't. 
  • Price competitively. As Stacy said, time shares in the same resort can be nearly identical. Check local ads for other time shares for sale in your building and price yours lower. 
  • Time your sale. List your time share a month or two before the start of the vacation season, when the majority of potential buyers will be looking.
Watch out for scams. Time share resale scams are widespread, but scammers really start coming out of the woodwork during tough economic times. In 2009, the FTC received 819 complaints about time share resale. By 2011, that number was more than 5,000, according to USA Today.

Watch out for resale companies that offer to "take the time share off your hands" or want large sums of money upfront -- they're likely scams. Do your research before signing up. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if the company has complaints against it. Compare prices with other resale companies and get everything in writing -- including contract terms, marketing plans, refund policies and costs -- before you agree to anything.


Read "FTC warns consumers to exercise caution when selling a timeshare through a reseller."


Bottom line? If you want to buy a time share, make sure it's something you'll be able to use, enjoy and afford for life. And if it passes that test, don't buy it from a high-pressure on-site salesman. You'll find plenty of owners looking to get out and willing to sell cheap.


And if you're selling, tread carefully and keep your expectations low.


More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

 

9Comments
May 10, 2012 10:13AM
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Great information.  We have owned a timeshare for about 15 years and have loved every minute of it. Well worth what we paid. However, we are looking to sell because we are older now and retired. We are planning for what may lie ahead and with 5 children to divide our assets, the timeshare is difficult to work out between them. Our timeshare is not a fixed week and not a fixed resort. Ours is based on points which I don't know if they even sell them that way any longer.   We have gone to about 15 different resorts on vacation and none of them less than excellent.  We have been extremely happy with our purchase but look to sell to another lucky buyer.  The article was certainly helpfu!
May 9, 2012 12:42PM
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Excellent article with great information.

I own a timeshare and use it every year.  Even with maintenance fees I save money on each vacation and the accommodations  at each resort have been first class.  Doubt that I will sell it any time soon, but I went into it as a vacation plan and not an investment.  If you use it and keep it long enough, it is well worth it.
Jun 18, 2013 11:18AM
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Without a doubt,  is the best option to get rid of an unwanted timeshare. Once the timeshare contract is properly cancelled, there are no further financial obligations attached to the resort, which means:

No more calls
No more 
No more 
No more 

May 29, 2013 1:51PM
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I bought from a developer and would buy on the resale market next time. I don't think the resale timeshare market is dead but rather the developer market since so many are trying to sell for a fraction of the developer cost and it's basically the same thing.
May 10, 2013 4:08PM
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Unfortunately, there is virtually no resale market for timeshare anymore. The market has collapsed and the stark truth is most timeshare is worthless. Ebay is full of timeshare weeks unsold for only $1. The sellers would of course be quite happy to sell for eve less just to rid themselves of timeshare. These are good articles on how to use timeshares properly:

http://www.timesharescam.com/
Mar 24, 2014 6:32PM
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It is very important to take into consideration that time shares should never be considered as an investment, but only as a purchase. An investment means the possibility of financial growth and resale, and no one is likely with time shares. http://www.timesharescam.com/
Mar 13, 2014 4:44PM
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The timeshare industry keeps getting a bad reputation, and yet there are many people who still pay thousands of dollars for them. In fact,  are one of the top sellers in the hotel industry; however, that doesn’t make them a good purchase. http://www.timesharescam.com/
Oct 28, 2013 11:12AM
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Let’s face it; there are no easy ways when it comes to sell a timeshare, regardless of what some people can tell you. Actually one of the biggest  is that the units are very difficult to sell, not to say almost impossible. The main reason is because the supply greatly exceeds the demand. Statistically speaking, there are about 600 timeshare owners wanting to sell their properties for every prospective buyer in USA.

That along with the struggling economy and the terrible reputation that the timeshare industry has gained, represent the biggest difficulties when selling a timeshare. Also, do not get your hopes up for a big profit. Timeshares lose over 50% of their original purchase price at the moment the  is made and the contract is signed. 

May 8, 2013 12:26PM
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To be honest, it will be almost impossible to find a prospect buyer for your timeshare ownership because timeshare supply is much greater than the demand. Recent studier reveal that for every person who is interested in buyin a timeshare there are other 600 owners selling their units in the US. If you want to get rid of your timeshare fast and without further problems, tiemshare resales are not the best option for you. The best way to get out of a timeshare ownership and prevent yourself from future payments is by cancelling your original contract. Unlike timeshare resales, timeshare cancellation is a safe and efficient process: 
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