Spending a week's vacation at the same location every year can seem like a great idea when a timeshare is pitched in the middle of a relaxing getaway. However, many find that the idea becomes less attractive once the bills start coming in, or otherwise decide that owning a timeshare isn't for them. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of owning a timeshare is that reselling it for anywhere close to what you paid for the property can be a challenge.
Ways to Sell
Your methods for selling the timeshare property vary depending on where it is located and what the property management company offers. Some high-end companies, like Marriott or Hilton, offer to broker a resale, though fees can be high. Generally, however, management companies are more eager to sell new properties than to spend their time and energy on resales.
Listing with a licensed real estate broker can be an effective solution. Not all real estate brokers handle timeshares, but licensed resellers employ real estate agents on staff and can help in all aspects of preparing and listing the property for sale. Check with the Better Business Bureau to confirm that the reseller is on the level and doesn't have complaints for breaking promises to previous sellers about its capabilities. Be prepared to pay higher fees than you would for an ordinary property, with commissions ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the sale price, according to information posted on the Resort Owner's Coalition website.
Positive word of mouth from others who have used a particular real estate broker or licensed reseller can be invaluable in finding an effective agent. Regardless of how you come up with a list of options, check with each potential reseller to make sure its agents are licensed to sell real estate in your area.
Advertising the Property
Much like any product, some well-written and strategically placed advertising can drum up interest in your timeshare. Some property management companies HOAs allow you to advertise in their newsletter or magazine. Online advertising options include eBay and Craigslist, in addition to specialty websites geared specifically towards timeshares. Include what sets your timeshare apart from others that may be advertised on the same site -- if your Orlando timeshare is particularly close to the area's theme parks or has a world-class golf course on the property, for example, that information can set it apart from the other area timeshares that may be on the resale market at the same time.
One possible customer for your timeshare may be whoever has the rights to it the week before or the week after you do. Check and see if the person is eager to extend his vacation an extra week by acquiring your timeshare. The developer or property management company may be able to provide that information.
Using a reseller can seem like an attractive option, particularly if the representative claims the local market is hot and he has a buyer willing and eager to buy the property. However, the Federal Trade Commission warns that these often are scams where the seller provides money in advance for a sale that never materializes. Never pay upfront fees -- if the purported reseller demands them, it's probably a scam. Contact your state Attorney General, your local Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission if you become the victim of such a scam.
Right of Rescission
If you just bought the property and have major regrets after sleeping on it, you may be able to get out of the deal -- but only if you act fast. Most states have a rescission period of somewhere between 3 and 10 days that allows you to back out of a timeshare deal you just signed. If it isn't required by state law, ask that such a period be included in your contract. To cancel the contract, you'll generally need to make your intentions known in writing and return the keys. In return, your money will be returned, though you still may be on the hook for some nonrefundable fees. Don't expect the management company to make that easy, however -- and send your decision by certified mail with a return receipt requested to confirm that you're off the hook.