How to sell your vacation timeshare

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Learn the steps you need to take to sell your vacation timeshare—from pricing to promoting your sale—and how to protect yourself along the way.

Whether you’re looking to free up some cash or no longer use it, selling your vacation timeshare can be a stressful and sometimes difficult task. But it can be done if you’re willing to follow the four “be’s”—be prepared, be realistic, be flexible and beware.

Be prepared

Before you put your timeshare up for sale, you need to make sure you have done your homework and have all your paperwork in order. Check with your resort to determine any restrictions or fees that could affect your sale. And gather up:

  • The name, address and phone number of your resort
  • The deed and membership agreement
  • The financing agreement
  • Information about your membership
  • The exchange company affiliation if you have one
  • The amount and due date of your maintenance fee
  • The amount of real estate taxes if billed separately

Then, determine in advance how you will want to proceed once you have a buyer. Will you get an attorney to help you through the closing process? If the cost is prohibitive, consider using a low-cost timeshare closing service such as Timeshare Transfer, which holds the deed and money until all necessary documents are received. Or, if you decide to go it on your own, you can download a Resale Document Kit from Timesharing Today that includes instructions, forms, loan documents and more.

Be realistic

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Timeshares rarely ever sell for what you paid for them. Most sell for only 30 percent to 50 percent of the price you paid to the developer. In order to get the most out of your timeshare, you’re going to need to have an idea of what it is worth to a potential buyer. To do this, ask your resort about recent sales prices, check out timeshare sales and information sites such as the Timeshare Users Group, look at timeshare listings on eBay and check county records where your timeshare is located.

When looking at these resources, be sure to look at vacation timeshares that are comparable to yours in terms of your membership details, your amenities and your location.

Be flexible

You may need to try alternative ideas to get the value out of your vacation timeshare:

  • Consider that you might have to pay off your timeshare loan (if you still have one). Few potential buyers will want to take over your loan payments.>
  • Consider listing it on an auction site such as eBay—just be sure to set a reserve price if there’s a certain amount you want or need to get from your timeshare.
  • Consider those around you. Other timeshare owners at your resort with a timeshare before or after you may be interested in purchasing yours to increase their time.
  • Consider exchanging your timeshare for another. This won’t give you cash but could expand your vacation options.
  • Consider donating your timeshare and claiming a tax deduction for it.

Beware of scams when listing your vacation timeshare

There are several ways you can list your timeshare for sale. Advertise in local newspapers; at your resort; through low-cost websites such as Timeshare Users Group, Redweek or TransAction Realty; or through other classified online sites such as craigslist.

You can also choose to list with a timeshare resale company. But beware of scams and fees. Before agreeing to anything with a reseller, check into the following:

  • Contact the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located to find out if there are any complaints on file about the reseller.
  • Find out if the reseller’s agents are licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located.
  • Ask about fees and pricing as well as how the reseller will advertise your timeshare.
  • Ask for all information pertaining to the reseller’s services and compensation in writing.
  • Find out if you can rent or sell your timeshare while the reseller is trying to sell it.
  • Determine the length or term of the contract with the reseller to sell your timeshare.
  • Never pay any upfront fees, whether they are called appraisal fees, marketing fees, advertising fees or any other type of fee.

This article contains general information. Individual financial situations are unique; please, consult your financial advisor or tax attorney before utilizing any of the information contained in this article.

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Source: Federal Trade Commission, MSN Money, Timeshare Users Group, Bluegreen Communities
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