These days, everyone is aware of timeshares. While they might be synonymous with presentations and pushy sales pitches, timeshares can be an affordable way to get some vacation time on the books.
With the increase in timeshare sales, the expansion of timeshare resales has gone up, too. Timeshare sales by owner can reduce the cost for buyers, giving people the opportunity to vacation at an especially steep discount. Timeshare resales can be a boon for the buyer, but as a seller, it may be a bad idea to list your portion of the property yourself.
Maybe you’re considering selling your timeshare. If so, there’s a lot to be aware of before attempting to unload your share on the internet or elsewhere. For one, there’s no timeshare resale market. Secondly, there’s a huge risk of getting scammed. Keep reading for a look at why you should never sell your timeshare without first consulting with a lawyer.
Why You Might Want to Sell Your Timeshare
The allure of the timeshare is undeniable. Instead of buying a whole vacation home, you purchase 1/50th of the place. This way, you get to use the property for that week you have off, and you’re not paying for the time that you don’t spend there.
In theory, it’s great — and millions of people have bought into it. But, over time, the fees start piling up. There are maintenance fees, and they keep climbing. After a while, maybe you’re not able to travel much, or you want to spend your vacation in a new place instead of the old one.
Whatever the reason, selling your timeshare on the market might seem like a way to get out of a contract that feels relentless.
Let’s take a look at some of the challenges posed by trying to offload a timeshare:
Selling a Timeshare Isn’t At All Like Selling Traditional Real Estate
Just because you sold your house by owner doesn’t mean you can do the same with a timeshare property. First of all, timeshare laws vary depending on the state or country in which they are located. Second, you’re selling a fraction of a piece of property — so while you might be raring to go with the paperwork, the resort or governing association might not recognize the new owner.
Additionally, when you’re selling a timeshare, you must compete with a number of others who are selling literally the exact same thing. We’re not talking multiple two-bedroom units, we’re talking multiple two-bedroom units with the same layout, same decor, same amenities.
The other part of this is location. If you happen to have a timeshare in Hawaii, Disneyland or some kind of exotic locale, you’ll probably find more buyers are interested in taking over your arrangement.
Unfortunately, sellers with timeshares by a lake in New Hampshire or Minnesota might not be able to drum up the same amount of interest, no matter how beautiful the view.
Be Wary of Scams
Unfortunately, because there’s not much of a market for reselling timeshares, there are a lot of people out there trying to take advantage of those trying to sell.
Fraudulent Third-Party Resellers
There are a number of third-party companies that will promise to help you find a buyer, but there’s a catch. How this works is scammers target potential timeshare sellers saying they have a buyer ready or promise to sell your timeshare in short order.
The service will ask you to pay an upfront fee — typically via wire transfer. The fee justified by the scammer who says it’s used to cover closing costs, maintenance fees, taxes, or other costs linked to the sale. And, usually, when you send that money, the seller disappears without having made the sale. You’re out hundreds or thousands of dollars and still have an unwanted timeshare to deal with.
My recommendation to timeshare owners is, never send money to someone you don’t know. Get everything in writing and do not pay until there is proof that the sale has been made.
This type of scam is so widespread that the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning, telling sellers to avoid services that require an upfront payment. Red flags include unsolicited calls or emails from a third-party seller and the promise that you’ll turn a profit.
A slightly less common type of timeshare scam is the donation scam. In this case, there are companies preying on timeshare owners so eager to get out of their timeshare that they’ll give it away.
Unfortunately, this process tends to cost thousands of dollars in fees–in exchange for an eventual tax write-off. The companies involved in this scam advertise a large charitable donation write-off based on the property value, but this amount is usually overblown. Many timeshares in saturated markets might not be worth anything at all.
This is Not a Seller’s Market
In some cases, the resort will be able to help you with the resale process, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be able to make a sale. While there are legitimate timeshare resellers out there, and buyers who will take them, you likely aren’t going to get your money back.
Don’t Sell Your Timeshare Without a Lawyer
If you do decide to sell your timeshare, it’s important to keep your expectations in check.
As you can see, selling a timeshare is nowhere near as easy as buying one. There are so many scams and Craigslist listings and shady deals out there, that no one should try to offload an unwanted vacation share on their own.
My Timeshare Attorney can help with all matters related to your timeshare. Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation, and we’ll come up with a plan.
With all the payments, fees, and headaches that come with timeshares, it’s no small wonder that consumers wish to get rid of them.
However, getting rid of your timeshare is no easy task.
Getting rid of your timeshare can be done by defaulting on your contract, giving it away, or selling it.
Defaulting on your timeshare is not the most ideal, but in certain situations, it can be an option of last resort.
Selling your timeshare or getting rid of it are the most viable options for getting rid of your timeshares.
Whether you’re selling it, giving it away, or defaulting on it, it’s important to be informed about your options.
Continue reading to learn how to get rid of a timeshare!
Selling Your Timeshare
This is often the first choice for timeshare owners who are looking for how to get rid of a timeshare.
However, it is important to mention that getting rid of a timeshare by selling it can be a difficult task.
The resale timeshare market is a difficult one to navigate. Some people selling their timeshares have listed their properties for as little as $1.
They’ve even offered to pay all closing costs and fees for the buyer.
Contrary to what the company told you when they sold you the timeshare, the market is not that lucrative for private sellers.
Many resorts offer the advice of using an “approved” resale company for those who wish to get rid of their timeshare by selling it.
Resale companies will act much like a real estate agent, they will list the timeshare for you and assist with the paperwork and anything else involved in selling it.
However, it is important to note that these companies will charge fees for listing the property on top of closing fees for when it sells.
The best way to resell your timeshare is to study the market and at a time of high demand, sell your timeshare for a low price.
Maybe not as low as $1 but still low enough to entice a buyer into buying your timeshare.
Listing your timeshare in the classifieds, eBay, and Craigslist, are good ways to ensure your listing gets the most exposure and the best chance of being sold.
Should you run into issues in actually selling your timeshare, there is always the option of giving it away.
Giving Away/Donating Your Timeshare
Giving away or donating your timeshare can be quite the viable option when you wish to get rid of it without too much fuss.
There are a number of charities who are willing to accept timeshares as donations.
However, there are still a few things to be cautious about.
Before giving away the timeshare, and especially before donating, it’s best to be sure the charity or person taking it over is willing and able to make any payments left on it.
If your timeshare is paid off, meaning you now own it, be sure the interested parties are willing to pay the annual upkeep fees.
Most charities have funds and budgets set aside for the fees associated with timeshares, but it is always wise to check. Especially with a smaller charity which may not know about the annual upkeep fees.
Even when you own the timeshare there are still fees attached to it that have to be paid. These fees can rise at an average rate of around 5% per year.
This can often lend itself to the reasons for wanting to get rid of the timeshare, as well as making it difficult to get rid of.
Be sure whoever is taking over the timeshare is aware of all that entails especially if they are a family member or close friend.
Defaulting on Your Timeshare
When all else has failed, and as a last resort, you can simply stop making payments and walk away, allowing your timeshare to go into default.
This is the riskiest of options since there is no way to know how the resort will react to the default.
They could aggressively go after you by using collection agencies and techniques to ensure they receive their money.
Another option for the resort, especially for those with a tight budget, is to simply take the timeshare back and attempt to resell it themselves.
There are other consequences to consider besides collections agencies, there is the damage to your credit score, as well as the possibility of being sued and taken to small claims court for the full amount owed and the company’s legal fees.
Negative information can appear on your credit report for as long as seven years before finally dropping off your report.
Defaulting on your timeshare can also result in painful foreclosure proceedings and fees.
Defaulting on your timeshare should be an absolute last resort when looking into how to get rid of a timeshare.
Choosing How to Get Rid of a Timeshare
Deciding you want to get rid of your timeshare can be an easy decision. However, actually getting rid of it is where the difficulty comes in.
Whether you plan to sell it, give it away or donate it, or simply walk away and risk defaulting, it helps to be informed about your options and what each entails.
Even armed with all the knowledge available on how to get rid of a timeshare, it’s not unusual or even worrisome to be overwhelmed by it all.
Should you find yourself wishing to unburden yourself of a timeshare and overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. Or if you feel trapped like there is no way out.
Contact us today for a free consultation on the best options for how to get rid of a timeshare!
“Free 7 days vacation for attending our short presentation!”
You went to a vacation timeshare presentation with the intent of listening politely and walking out with nice dinner or free hotel stay. You ended up signing a timeshare purchase contract even though you had no intent to buy a timeshare when you first strolled into the meeting.
If you purchased a timeshare and you need to cancel the deal, what can you do? It’s a legal contract!
Do you want to get out from under your timeshare obligation? You’ll need a lawyer.
Read on to learn more about Florida timeshare cancellation law and how to legally cancel a timeshare contract.
Cancel a Timeshare Contract Quickly
By the end of a presentation, you felt worn down by the high-pressure sales pitch. You wanted out so badly that you signed a timeshare purchase contract even though you had no intent to buy a timeshare a few hours earlier.
Timeshare buyers in Florida have the right to cancel (rescind) their contract until midnight of the tenth calendar day following the execution date or the day on which the purchaser received the last of all required documents, whichever occurs later. The seller cannot ask or require you to give up this right.
All money paid must be returned to the buyer if the proper cancellation procedure is followed in the time allotted.
Send a Cancellation Letter
The cancellation must be in writing and is effective at the time of postmark or transmission delivered by postal service or telegraph. Otherwise, your written notice is effective the date it is delivered to the timeshare developer’s place of business by the delivery service.
A lawyer can make sure the cancellation letter includes certain legally required information, like the date of the purchase and a legal description of the timeshare, as well as make sure the letter is properly delivered in accordance with Florida law.
What Happens After the Tenth Day?
Once the rescission period passes without cancellation, you have to sell your timeshare to recover your money rather than get a refund. In a few situations, however, an attorney can help you cancel a timeshare contract even after the cancellation period has expired.
Laws exist to defend you against deceptive and unfair business practices. With consumer protection laws, you have the right to dispute the contract due to breach or consumer rights violations. The law says that if unfair or deceptive practices were used for financial gain, you should receive a fair settlement of your warranted claims.
What About Resale?
If you must sell your timeshare rather than get a refund, you have certain rights. Under Florida law, “Resale Service Providers” are required to disclose in writing the fees and costs relating to advertising, listing, or sale of a timeshare interest.
Things a Resale Service Provider CAN’T do:
- Misrepresent a pre-existing interest in your timeshare
- Mislead you as to the success rate of their sales
- Provide brokerage or direct sale services
- Collect any payment or engage in any resale advertising activities until you deliver a signed written agreement for the services.
Things a Resale Service Provider MUST do:
- Provide the advertising agreement in writing
- Honor a cancellation request made within 7 days following a signed agreement to list with them
- Fully refund to a timeshare owner within 20 days of a valid cancellation request.
- Print in bold type no smaller than 12-point font a full disclosure statement, in the space, immediately preceding the timeshare owner’s signature.
Resale can be quite costly. It is almost always better to seek legal termination of your timeshare contract with an attorney.
Cancel a Timeshare Contract With an Attorney
A business contract is considered a binding legal document. However, it does not mean that it is absolute and final. Timeshare companies often encourage (or even push) the false information that a timeshare contract is final and unbreakable after signing.
Under Florida and US law, you may cancel a timeshare contract for a variety of reasons, including fraud or deceptive sales practices. Seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you decide you want to cancel a timeshare contract. There is a specific timeline for each possible action.
Were You Provided Honest Disclosures?
Consumer Protection Laws require the seller to provide full disclosure of all terms, conditions, and full disclosure prior to executing a financial commitment.
Do you recall these points?
- Timeshares are not real property
- The owner of the real property is the developer, not you
- The developer can legally charge you fees above and beyond the maintenance fees without your permission
- Upon your death, your heirs, successors, and assigns inherit all financial and legal obligations under contract
An experienced timeshare attorney can tell you how to legally get out of a timeshare contract. Especially if you suspect fraudulent or dishonest selling practices, contact an attorney for help, even after the cancellation period has expired.
Still Think You Are Stuck?
The people who sold you your timeshare might have said that the contract is forever binding and cannot be canceled after the tenth day. Even if there is a clause “in perpetuity” supposedly binding you and your heirs to the contract forever, including binding your heirs and successors to inherit all financial obligations–there is still a way out.
An attorney specializing in timeshare cancellation law can help you exit your timeshare contract in a legal manner. Don’t believe timeshare companies that spread the fake information of “no cancellation” after the tenth day because it isn’t true.
The law allows a timeshare contract to be terminated if deceptive, unfair, or fraudulent sales tactics were used to sell it. The right lawyer can advise you on the choices available to you in canceling your contract.
Time is very important in timeshare cancelations, so seek an attorney’s help as soon as possible. A lawyer can guide you through the proper legal procedure and ultimately save you money by severing the contract.
There is a brief cancellation period of ten days to cancel your contract without much fuss, but a good attorney can help you exit legally even after that date passes. More questions or comments on this article? Please schedule an appointment to talk to us.