What is a Timeshare? 9 Things to Know Before You Buy One

what is a timeshare

Sunset over timeshare development by water in Ventura California with modern homes and yachts boats

What is a timeshare, are timeshares worth it, and is one right for you?

These questions and more have probably crossed your mind if you’re thinking about a timeshare as a vacation option. It can seem overwhelming at times. You want to make the right choice and not get locked into something expensive that you don’t really want.

What you need to clear up your doubts is a handy guide to timeshare basics – and that’s what we’re here for. We’ll walk you through all the things you should know before you buy a timeshare, so you won’t make a decision you’ll later regret.

Keep reading to learn more!

What is a Timeshare?

A timeshare is a type of property that has divided use rights or ownership. Basically, a timeshare allows you to use the property for a vacation during a set period of time in the year. During the rest of the year, other people are using it for their allotted periods of time.

However, the way your timeshare works depends on the type of timeshare you get – let’s take a closer look at what those are.

1. Fixed Week

With a fixed week timeshare, you’ll own vacation rights to the same week every year. This allows for a predictable annual vacation, but can quickly get boring, since there’s no variety. You also won’t have any flexibility if something comes up during your vacation week.

However, one good thing about a fixed week timeshare is that you can trade or rent out your week if you want to. This works especially well if you have a property somewhere that’s really desirable, and your week is during a peak time of the year.

2. Floating

With a floating timeshare, you have a set period of time in the year, and you can reserve the week you choose out of that period. This gives you more flexibility as to when you use your timeshare. However, this system can also be competitive – a lot of people will be vying for the prime weeks.

3. Right-to-Use

In a right-to-use timeshare arrangement, you’re leasing the property for a set period of time each year, until your contract is up. However, the developer continues to own the property the whole time.

4. Points Club

The points club system is kind of like a floating timeshare. However, this kind of timeshare lets you vacation at a number of different locations, using points that you get when you buy into a property or buy points directly. The points are the “currency” you can use to buy timeshare time.

Again, there is some competition with this system – other people will be trying to get the most popular properties with their points, too. But this way, you do have some flexibility in terms of where you go each year.

What to Know Before You Buy a Timeshare

Is a timeshare right for you? Many people think the answer is yes, but change their mind later. Let’s take a look at what you should know before you make the investment in a timeshare.

1. Timeshares Use Serious Salespeople

The people who sell timeshares are there to make the sale, and they can make it hard for you to say no.

Timeshare presentations usually lure you in with a gift like a free restaurant trip of spa treatment for attending. Many people go into these presentations without actually intending to buy a timeshare – but they might walk away with a timeshare contract they didn’t really want.

Even people who do plan to buy a timeshare often get pressured into signing the contract before they’ve really weighed their options. Sometimes, these purchases can be canceled – contact a timeshare lawyer to find out if that’s the case for you. However, you have to move fast to get these contracts canceled.

2. You Have to Pay More Than the Mortgage

One reason many people regret timeshare purchases is that they didn’t realize how expensive the investment would be.

If you can’t pay the total cost of the timeshare up front, you’ll need a mortgage. But the mortgage isn’t the only thing you’ll have to pay. In the fine print of your contract, you’ll see that you might be paying property taxes, assessment fees, maintenance fees, and utilities. If you fail to make these payments, the developer might foreclose on your timeshare.

3. Timeshares Don’t Make Good Investments

If you’re hoping to invest in property, a timeshare isn’t a good way to do it. Not many people want to buy secondhand timeshares, so you’ll have a really hard time selling yours.

People who sell timeshares almost always end up selling for much less than they paid. They go down in value, rather than up.

4. You’ll Have to Avoid Resale Scams

It’s hard to sell timeshares once you buy them, but many people want to sell theirs. This has created the perfect environment for resale scams – if you do decide to sell, you’ll have to avoid the scammers.

These timeshare resale brokers will tell you that they have buyers lined up, and just need a fee to move forward. After you pay their large up-front fees, you’ll find out there was no buyer and your timeshare never got sold.

There are some genuine timeshare resellers who aren’t scammers. But they won’t charge big fees up front and won’t make absurd promises about the sale price you can get.

5. You Can’t Deduct Timeshare Resale Losses on Your Taxes

When you sell a timeshare, you’re almost sure to take a loss. However, the vast majority of the time, you can’t deduct those losses on your tax return, making the financial pain even worse.

Are Timeshares Worth It?

If you’re deciding whether or not to buy a timeshare, it’s a good idea to step back and seriously consider the value you’re getting. Knowing what is a timeshare isn’t enough; you also need to know all the pros and cons of having one.

Buying a timeshare is easy – selling one is hard. Read the fine print and think about whether other vacation options would suit your lifestyle better. Some people love their timeshares, but there are a lot of cons to consider, too.

Do you have a timeshare contract that you’re struggling to get out of? Then you need a timeshare attorney. Contact us – we can help.

Are Timeshares Worth It? Your Complete Guide

are timeshares worth itDid you know that more than 9.1 million Americans own a timeshare?

In recent years, timeshare ownership has exploded into an $8 billion industry. Once associated with seniors playing shuffleboard, the average timeshare owner now is 39 years old with children under 18.

With so many people buying into timeshares, you might be asking yourself: Is timeshare a good deal? Are timeshares worth the money?

In this post, we’ll take an unbiased view as we examine the pros and cons of timeshare ownership.

Are timeshares worth it? Read on to find out!

How Do Timeshares Work?

First of all, let’s make sure you understand exactly what a timeshare is and how the concept works.

There are two main types of timeshare properties: deeded and undeeded.

The vast majority of timeshares in the US are deeded timeshares. You are essentially “buying” the property–but you only get to use it for a specified time period each year.

Like other forms of real estate, you can sell or rent your timeshare to someone else, or leave it in your will.

If you purchase a timeshare outside the US, it will most likely be an undeeded timeshare. You’re not actually “buying” the property–it’s more like signing a rental agreement.

In return, you get a license or membership to use the property for a specific amount of time every year.

From here, it gets a little more complicated. You may have the option of purchasing a fixed week (the same week every year) or a floating week (which can be used any time).

Many non-deeded timeshare companies (or “vacation clubs”) operate on a points-based system. You, the owner, buy a specific amount of points that you can redeem at many different destinations.

Now that you know how a timeshare works, let’s examine some pros and cons of buying one.

Pros of Owning a Timeshare

So far, this is probably sounding pretty good, right? A beautiful condo on the beach, the peace of mind knowing where you’ll take your family vacation each year…

Yes, for certain people, there are some pros to buying a timeshare.

Do you enjoy visiting the same place year after year? Do you have your favorite beach and favorite restaurants in your favorite town? If you buy a timeshare, you can visit your favorite place every year.

What if you know you’ll be taking your annual vacation the same week every year? A timeshare could save you the headache of booking hotels (or the heartache of discovering they’re all sold out).

If you have kids or enjoy traveling with friends, a timeshare is also great because it’s typically a lot larger than a hotel room. Most timeshare properties offer two or more bedrooms, a full kitchen, and laundry facilities.

For large groups or families, the comfort and convenience may be well worth the price tag.

Cons of Owning a Timeshare

Because we promised an unbiased perspective, let’s now consider some negative aspects of timeshare ownership.

Do you enjoy traveling to different places each year? Do you hate the idea of being locked into a pre-set week for your annual vacation?

If you answered yes to either question, a timeshare probably isn’t the best idea.

The same goes for singles or couples traveling without kids. If it’s just you (or you and your significant other), do you really need a three-bedroom condo with three full bathrooms? You may find all that extra space just goes to waste–but you’re still paying for it.

Dollars and Cents

Speaking of payments, a timeshare will usually end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for. No matter how friendly your salesperson at the pitch, chances are that there are plenty of hidden fees they’re not telling you about.

For starters, you have to pay property taxes. And no, you can’t write them off.

Then there are the property’s annual maintenance fees. These could run anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the property.

What if the property needs a new roof or suffers damage from a hurricane or water intrusion? Yes, you’re expected to cover your share of those costs too.

That’s what happened in 2012 to the timeshare owners of The Point Resort in Kauai. They were billed a staggering $5,893–each–to cover the costs of water damage.

Other Important Considerations

Unlike other forms of real estate, a timeshare depreciates in value as soon as you buy it. Although you’ll be promised in the sales pitch that you can easily sell it–and make your money back–this is rarely the case.

If you do decide to sell your timeshare down the road, it’s no easy task. In fact, you’ll probably need the help of a timeshare attorney to free yourself from the agreement.

If you’re considering a points-based system, keep in mind that booking or trading properties may not be as easy as it sounds. If you don’t want to travel to a particular place during a certain time of year, chances are the other timeshare owners feel the same way.

Another factor to consider is your current (and future) lifestyle. That timeshare on the ski slopes in Aspen may look great now, but what happens down the road when you have a baby care for? What if you suffer an injury that leaves you unable to ski?

That timeshare will still be there–and you’ll still be paying for it.

Are Timeshares Worth It?

So, what’s the takeaway? Are timeshares worth it?

The answer depends on your reason for buying. Like all major purchases, there are pros and cons of buying a timeshare.

As a financial investment, it’s likely to cost you more than you’ll ever make back–even if you do manage to sell it.

But if you want the peace of mind of returning to the same vacation spot year after year, a timeshare could be your best bet.

Do you have further questions about timeshares? Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with My Timeshare Attorney.

Alternately, you can use our online contact form to get in touch anytime, anywhere.

How to Make the Most of Your Timeshare Investment

timeshare investmentWith 54% of American workers failing to use their time off, Americans are just plain bad at taking a break. This figure includes plenty of people who’ve made the effort and spent the money on a timeshare investment.

Whether it’s work that catches up to you, a need to schedule vacations a year in advance, or not enough money, fewer workers than ever are taking vacations. Taking a break is important to your mind and your body. An increasing number of people will go on vacation and remain connected to their jobs via mobile devices the whole time.

Whether you’ve already invested or are thinking about making a timeshare investment, you need to make a plan to get the most out of it. Otherwise, you could be wasting money and your precious vacation time. Follow these tips to make sure you’re getting a bang for your buck.

1. Invest In Memories, Not For Returns

A timeshare is a great investment for a family that doesn’t want or can’t afford to purchase a vacation home. It’s a great way to have memories, host friends, and invite family for a getaway. If you’re thinking of your timeshare as a way to get a return on your investments, you might be disappointed.

The timeshare market isn’t a market that will appreciate in value. Timeshares are a great way to have a “home away from home” and to relax. They provide plenty of value to your life, just very little of it is measurable financial income.

If you buy into a great network, you’ll be able to be part of a timeshare exchange that allows you to go to different places, all for the same price.

2. Balance Your Budget

Timeshare maintenance fees can be a turnoff to some timeshare owners. In just the last 10 years, the average fee has doubled to around $1,000. On top of that, if you take advantage of a timeshare exchange, you might pay an additional fee.

If you’re paying $20,000 for your vacation time every year, you might not see any returns for a decade or more. Unless you really love your timeshare, this could be a little more than a drag.

If you buy from a developer, you’ll pay more than it could cost you to rent a hotel for the week. Buying secondhand from another owner could be more cost effective than buying a brand new contract.

An entire secondhand timeshare market exists online where you can buy a timeshare for next to nothing from someone who is trying to get rid of one. If someone feels buried under the costs of their timeshare investment, they’ll be glad to sign the responsibility over to you for free.

Hire a real estate agent to ensure that you ask all of the right questions before you write a check. You will likely have a certain kind of property in mind, so be clear with your agent so that they can point you in the right direction.

3. Love Your House And What Surrounds It

If you want to get the most out of your timeshare investment, you need to love the destination itself. Even a beautifully designed luxury building can be useless if you don’t have anything to do during the day. You need to ensure that your timeshare is located in an area that you like to spend time in.

Before you invest, make sure you spend a few days in the area where you plan to get your timeshare. Find a few places you enjoy eating, relaxing, and shopping. When you leave, you should feel like there’s more to see if you’re planning on spending a week or two there every year.

You should fall in love with the property as well. If you’re in a large complex, take a walk around the courtyard and meet some of the people living there. Make a few connections so that when you arrive for your vacation, you’ll have some people to show you around.

4. Rent Out Your Timeshare

While owning a timeshare can be appealing, you could be paying a lot of money for space you don’t get to use that often. If you’ve booked out a week and realize you won’t be able to make it, consider renting it out.

With the rise of Airbnb and other short-term rental websites, you should be able to easily recoup your costs. Have some friends or neighbors nearby who can help you out in case of any emergencies.

Check with local regulations and your own contract to ensure you’re not violating anything that you’ve signed. You might be able to make some extra money on the side if you decide you’ll be vacationing somewhere else this year. You could also make this process easier on yourself by announcing your rental to friends, neighbors, family, and colleagues.

Renting out to someone who you already know comes with fewer headaches than renting it out to a stranger.

5. Buy Outright If Possible

If you want to make money with your vacation space and can’t find the perfect timeshare investment, perhaps you should consider buying a property.

While this is more like opening up your own timeshare company, renting it out short-term will be based more on your own rules. If you make enough money, you might be able to hire someone locally to take care of the space while you’re away.

Many foreign countries now report that much of the new investment in real estate comes from people who are buying vacation properties.

A Timeshare Investment Is An Investment In Yourself

You work hard all year round so that you can enjoy your time off. Finding the perfect timeshare situation goes hand in hand with getting the most out of it. If you can find a place that feels like a second home, you might start finding ways to work remotely and extend your stay.

If you’re looking for other ways to get the most from a timeshare, contact us for more tips.

Things to Consider Before You Attend a Timeshare Presentation

timeshare presentation

Attending a timeshare presentation is a great way to get free stuff. All you have to do is listen to their 90-minute presentation and say no to the timeshare. Easy peasy, right?

Well, kind of.

The timeshare industry is a big one generating revenues over $8.6 billion a year. The whole reason a company does a timeshare presentation is to get people to buy. The salespeople are under extreme pressure to make sales.

They are very good at what they do and have no qualms about using strong tactics. Here are a few things to consider before going to an infamous timeshare presentation. If you do it right you might make it through without losing your life savings.

Be Wary

Be on your guard about everything. Don’t sign anything without thoroughly reading it first. Don’t accept any gifts without understanding the terms and conditions.

Oftentimes you receive a free or discounted vacation for listening to the spiel. They will use that against you as they try to coerce you into buying.

Accepting the gift doesn’t legally require you to buy anything. But they’ll sure make it sound like it morally does.

Negotiate Your Gifts, First

That being said, make sure that any gifts you do receive are worth it. You will be giving these people several hours of your time. And you will have to withstand a lot of pressure throughout the process.

The value of the gift needs to be worth what you will be going through. Sometimes they offer stuff like luggage or cameras. To be honest, that probably isn’t worth the onslaught that you will face.

Understand the Pressure

The pressure to buy is intense. The salespeople have a long list of tactics to convince you that their timeshare is an awesome deal.

These include but are not limited to

  • Guilting you for what you’ve already accepted
  • Putting a time limit on special offers
  • Arguing with your objections
  • Keeping you for longer than the allotted time
  • Not disclosing cancellation information
  • Outright lying about the investment value/actual ownership costs
  • Teaming up against you

Take a moment and look through a few online message boards and you’ll see. There is story after story of someone not intending to buy and being pressured into it. Timeshare salespeople are scary good at what they do.

Don’t Bring Money to the Timeshare Presentation

Don’t bring your checkbook and don’t bring extra credit cards. Most of the time they will require you to bring at least one major credit card. Pick one that has very little available balance on it to ensure you can’t use it.

Don’t get cocky and think you can withstand their tactics on your own. Make it less stressful for yourself. If you don’t have the money in hand, you can’t buy on the spot.

Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have

The only thing worse than buying a timeshare is buying it with money you don’t have. Salespeople will offer you all sort of amazing financing deals.

They want to help you buy on the spot. That way you can take advantage of whatever deal they’re offering. They’re only trying to help.

That’s how they’ll present it, at least. But if you stop to think about it, you would have two large, ongoing financial obligations. You’ll have to keep paying the maintenance fees and all the interest on the buy-in.

Imagine what would happen if you lost your job? You can’t even sell it for a reasonable amount to get out from under it. Which brings us to our next point.

Know the Resale Value

Do a little research and know the resale value of that company’s timeshares before you go. This can help you in a couple ways.

First, the salesperson will often tell you that if it doesn’t work out you can always sell it later. Of course, the idea is that you would recoup what you put into it. The salesperson will either outright lie and tell you that, or at least let you assume it.

The second way it can help is to get you out of there faster. Find their resales on eBay and bring in a copy of some completed auctions. You might find that your 90-minute timeshare presentation suddenly gets a lot shorter.

Know the Investment Value

A classic timeshare salesperson tactic is to portray the timeshare as an investment. Do your research beforehand so you won’t fall for this trick.

An investment is something you put money into, expecting to get more money out of in the future. You will never get more money out of a timeshare. Check out the real costs of a timeshare using this handy calculator.

You pay a huge buy-in up front. Then you pay hefty maintenance fees every year afterward. Plus, you can only sell it at a loss. There’s no gain in there for you, except maybe a couple of really expensive vacations.

Don’t Act Interested

Whatever you do while you’re at the timeshare presentation, don’t act interested. If you ask questions or appear engaged, they will take that as a sign they can make the sale. They won’t let you go until they do.

Enjoy Your Discounted Vacation

If you survive the timeshare presentation with your savings intact, enjoy! You deserve some rest and relaxation after the onslaught you endured.

Some people work the timeshare system against these companies. They figure out how to survive the timeshare presentation. Then they start calling up companies asking what discounts or free gifts they offer.

If you can stomach it, this can be a way to save big on your vacations. But you’ll need nerves of steel and no qualms about working the system.

What if You Didn’t Survive…

What do you do if you didn’t survive a timeshare presentation? Now you’re full of buyer’s remorse but don’t know how to get rid of it.

Resale seems to be your only option. But you’ll take such a loss that it doesn’t seem like much of an option.

Don’t worry, you do have another option. One that involves getting back much of your “investment”. Contact us today to learn more.

8 Hidden Timeshare Costs Companies Don’t Want You to Know

hidden timeshare costs

There are over 1500 unique timeshare resort properties in the US alone. That makes it a nearly $9 billion industry.

For comparison, the music industry is only worth $7 billion.

The average person will pay around $20 thousand to buy in. But this initial investment is only a drop in the bucket. Very soon after that initial purchase, people learn the hidden timeshare costs that no one told them.

I’m here to share them with you. Whether you’re thinking of buying or having second thoughts, you need to know this.

Let’s explore the timeshare costs they don’t want you to know about.

1. Your Life

Does that sound overly dramatic? You’ll quickly see why. Buying a timeshare is often a lifetime commitment.

Once you’re in, it’s almost impossible to sell it to someone else. You’re competing with all of the new, unsold properties at the same resort and others.

Lose your job? Go through a divorce? Terrible diagnosis? It doesn’t matter. You’re responsible for whatever you agreed to in your contract.

Failure to meet these obligations could result in legal actions taken against you.

Now onto less dramatic, but still impactful hidden timeshare costs.

2. Your Freedom

Want to go to Disneyland this year? How about Venice? Did you always want to visit Dubai?

As they say: Variety is the spice of life.

But not for you. You have a timeshare. You already know where you’ll be going every year for the foreseeable future.

Even if you do have several resorts to choose from, your choices are very limited. The top destinations may require booking years in advance.

And they may not tell you up front that you’ll pay yet another fee to exchange units.

One of the hidden timeshare costs is playing vacation deja vu for the rest of your life.

The resorts know that people hate monotony. They’ll try to sell you upgrades every chance they get.

3. The Not So Hidden Hidden Costs

When you own a timeshare, you’ll probably be told up front that you’re responsible for annual ownership and maintenance fees.

It seems all transparent. You’ve got this. You know exactly what you’re in for.

But do you?

These fees are due whether you use the property or not. If the property goes into decline, they may go up. Depending on your contract, they could go up a lot.

And, they usually don’t cover the big stuff. Does the resort need a new parking lot, roof or lobby? They’ll send you the bill.

4. A Hefty Tax Bill

When you buy your timeshare, you’re savvy enough to ask probing questions.

Is this all I’m responsible for? Are there any hidden timeshare costs I should know about?

They may look you straight in the eye and say that’s it.

Then you get your tax bill. As a property owner, you’ re responsible for the annual property taxes. You can’t write these off.

A timeshare broker doesn’t have much to do with these hidden costs. It might simply slip their mind.

But you could owe a thousand or more in property tax each year in addition to the costs you knew about.

This timeshare is looking like less and less of a bargain all the time.

5. Real Estate Fees

When you buy a timeshare, you’ll pay the same kinds of real estate fees you pay when you buy a house. There’s an assessment fee, an appraisal fee, a transfer fee and so on.

The resort may even find some clever finder’s fees or other fees to tack on there. These fees should be in your final documents. But they are often hidden until you are already excited and well into the buying process.

These hidden timeshare costs can really bite into the value of your timeshare. But there’s more.

6. More Real Estate Fees

Let’s say that you find a buyer for your share down the road. You may be thinking that you’ll get at least most of your money back.

But when you add up real estate agent fees and concessions you have to make to sell the timeshare, you really end up paying these fees or more twice.

And if you do sell it, this doesn’t get you out of any back fees you may have acquired during ownership.

7. Travel Fees

Okay. You already knew that the resort wasn’t going to pay for your plane tickets to the resort every year. But these are hidden timeshare costs that almost always slip the buyer’s mind.

In order to enjoy your timeshare, you’ll need to pay for you and your family to travel there.

If fuel costs go up and you can’t afford to travel, you’re stuck with a terrible choice.

Either don’t use the timeshare that you’re paying thousands for each year. Or go into debt to travel there.

When you consider other options like waiting until fuel prices go down or taking a close to home vacation that year, you’re wasting a ton of money.

8. Depreciation

You buy into this great resort. You see all kinds of entertainment venues and restaurants going up around it. What a great investment?

Think again.

Timeshares rarely, if ever, go up in value. In fact, plan to take a mighty loss on it when you sell it.

We’re not even taking all of your annual fees into account. That’s a loss out of the gate.

If you paid 20 thousand for it, expect 10 or less. Yes, really? When you add up all of the hidden timeshare costs you no longer have to pay, you’ll actually be relieved to dump it.

But There’s Good News About Hidden Timeshare Costs

It’s possible to get this burden off your back. You may be ready to dump the timeshare and you don’t care what you lose. But wait!

You may have options.

I can help you better understand what those are. The timeshare may have been misrepresented. Perhaps, they told you it was an investment or that your annual fees were fixed.

Don’t suffer under a timeshare anymore. Learn about your options. Set up a free consultation today.

Why It’s Always A Bad Idea to Sell Your Timeshare

sell your timeshareThese 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.

Donation Scams

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.

A Lawyer’s Guide: How to Get Rid of a Timeshare

how to get rid of a timeshare

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!

Why You Need a Lawyer to Cancel Timeshare Contract

cancel timeshare contract

“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.

What You Need To Know If You Want To Cancel A Timeshare Contract

cancel a timeshare contractDo you have a timeshare contract you no longer want to be party to?

Timeshares seem like a great deal, until they’re not. The upfront fees can be as much as $19,000, plus annual maintenance fees. Not a small amount by any means.

Many people sign up for a timeshare while on vacation, then realize it’s a costly mistake. They are generally a bad choice in the long run. And if you hold on to a timeshare you don’t want, it will cause unnecessary expense and become a headache.

If you find yourself owning a timeshare after coming home from a vacation there may still be a way to get out of your timeshare. Keep reading, because you’re about to find out how you may be able to have your timeshare contract canceled.

Give Your Timeshare Back to the Resort

First things first, this is going to be a painful process getting out of your timeshare and you are going to lose money, in fact, it may even cost you more money to rid of your timeshare.

Contact the resort and see if they will take back. However, understand this is rare and they are not obligated to take back the timeshare because you changed your mind. However, trying to sell your timeshare is almost always a bad idea. Why? There is no resale value, you can find them everyday on Ebay(R) for $1.00, yes that’s one dollar. People sell them just to get out of the lifetime of annual maintenance fees.

In order for them to consider your offer, you need be in good standing and the unit should be paid off. You may be able to do a “deed back”, which means signing the deed or interest over to the resort. It’s most likely you won’t get any money for it and you may have to pay a fee to transfer.

Approach the condo association and find out if the resort is open to your offer. Whatever you do, don’t stop paying maintenance fees as it will damage your credit and lead to foreclosure. Then you won’t have a property, and you’ll still be liable for the fees.

Check the Law on Rescission in Your State

There is a legal way to cancel a timeshare contract that can work if you act in time. When you sign the document, it is a legal and valid contract. This means it’s covered by normal contract law.

“Rescinding” basically means the act of you canceling your obligations under the contract. The time period you have to rescind will be stated in the contract, and you can check your state’s laws as well.

Usually, this period is between three to fifteen days. If you were pressured into signing up for a timeshare a few days ago and regret it, the time to act is now.

Cancel a Timeshare Contract in Writing

In order to go ahead with the cancellation, you must do it in a certain way. The standard method to cancel a timeshare contract is to send your decision in writing.

For detailed instructions, you must look at your contract’s cancellation policy. It will usually specify that the cancellation letter includes certain things. Some of these might include the purchase date, your personal information, and a timeshare description.

It’s vital that your letter includes a clear intention to cancel. You don’t need to state a reason for your cancellation. But it’s good form to include a request for a confirmation that your letter was received.

It’s not a good idea to call, as the salesperson will usually try to persuade you not to cancel. If you do call the company, be sure to speak to a manager. Definitely don’t speak to the same salespeople who sold you the timeshare in the first place!

Delivering the Cancellation

The method of delivery is extremely important for the timeshare cancellation to be effective. It will be specified in your timeshare contract and can range from hand delivery to certified mail.

If you don’t follow the instructions exactly, it’s possible your rescission could be rejected. Be sure to make copies of the letter before you send it. Also, make copies of your agreement and any other relevant documents if you send the originals. Be sure to mail it certified return receipt.

Refinance the Timeshare Loan

Sometimes the timeshare itself isn’t the problem, the loan you took out for it is. You can keep your timeshare by refinancing your loan so that you don’t have to cancel a timeshare contract.

It’s not mandatory to stick with the rate the timeshare developer gave you. While you will need a good credit record, this option can shave a lot off your repayments.

Shop around for the best options. Once you have moved your loan to another lender, this opens up possibilities. You can then look into getting rid of your timeshare because you don’t have a high mortgage to pay.

What to Do If the Cancellation Period Has Passed

What should you do if you can’t cancel a timeshare contract?

In this case, selling the timeshare is the easiest option. Sadly, a timeshare isn’t like a normal property. It doesn’t increase in value year by year.

Even if you sell it at a loss, however, you will have gotten out of a costly contract. Your best bet is can contact a licensed firm that specializes in timeshare matters. You can also look for a buyer yourself by posting an ad on the internet, however SELLER BEWARE! This is laden with scams and most people lose money pursuing this path, again the sad fact is there is no resale value for the majority of all timeshares.

Another choice you can make is to donate the timeshare to a charity.

A local charity can sell the use your week at an auction to raise money. If you get a bigger organization, they can even take over the payments. The great thing about donating is that you can get a tax deduction to offset the money you’ve spent on the timeshare. This is far more difficult to do than it appears.

Get a Lawyer to Cancel a Timeshare Contract

While there are some steps you can take to cancel a timeshare contract yourself, in most instances, you will need professional help. Or your time to cancel may have passed and you need to find other options. In a case like that, you should get in touch with a trusted timeshare attorney.

A lawyer may also be able to find a way to get you out of your contract even if the rescission period has passed.

Go ahead and contact us today, our consultation is free. The sooner you call, the sooner you can get out from under your costly timeshare.

Too Good To Be True: Hidden Timeshare Fees Create A Nightmare For Consumers

time share fees

Everyone loves the idea of having a dream vacation each year. Owning a place to run away to when you get the chance. It’s cheaper and easier than finding a hotel every year.

Many people choose to own a timeshare. They have fantasies of making incredible memories and taking amazing getaways.

This all seems wonderful until hit by the hidden fees.

Keep reading to learn more about timeshare fees.

Take Your Time, Know The Terms

There are four main types of timeshares. Each has their own terms and conditions. It is important to know everything you are agreeing to.

Whether you have a fixed week timeshare or a points contract, reading the contract is vital. The small print is full of information you will want to know.

It can be difficult to say no when a salesperson is pressuring you. Especially if you are enjoying a weekend on the Timeshare company’s dime.

It’s crucial you take your time. Sales staff and contracts word information in favor of the business, not the buyer. You need to know what all the clauses of the contract are committing you to.

An informed buyer is less likely to face surprises of hidden timeshare fees. They can add up in a short period of time and be more expensive than expected if you don’t do your research.

Paying the Taxman

One common fee that surprises people is timeshare taxes. These are usually on a per night basis. Timeshare taxes often start at $20 a night and get higher depending on the location of the timeshare.

Annual hidden timeshare fees can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand. It’s always wise to have a timeshare attorney look at the contract and deal with the legal issues.

The resort can raise the associated fees each year. You’ll be responsible for paying them whether you use your timeshare or not.

Maintenance Timeshare Fees

There will always be annual maintenance fees for your timeshare. These can be due once a year or on a monthly schedule depending on the resort or company involved.

Maintenance fees are not fixed. You can end up having increased expenses if the resort does major renovations or repairs.

This fee pays for the maintenance of the property. It can change depending on where it’s located and who’s running it. The average annual maintenance fee for timeshares is approximately $660.

Properties can be reassessed at any time. If maintenance fees are not paid, your timeshare may go into foreclosure.

Utility Costs

Some mistakenly believe utilities are a part of maintenance fees but this is not true. The timeshare owner’s responsible for paying all utilities for the period of time they use it.

Real Estate Associated Timeshare Fees

When a timeshare is sold there will be real estate associated fees tacked onto the cost. Transfer fees, recording fees, and assessment fees may all be expected.

You will have to pay real estate associate fees when you buy or sell your timeshare. These fees can add up to thousands of dollars and should be noted in the initial contract.

Unexpected fees and rules associated with timeshares in foreign countries may arise.


It can be almost impossible to sell your timeshare once locked in. Many sellers end up doing so at a huge loss.

It is worth noting any losses in the sale of a timeshare are not eligible as a capital loss claim with the IRS.

Most states have opt-out clauses for timeshares. This allows for a buyer to change their mind for a short period of time after signing the contract.

In Florida, for example, buyers have 10 days to change their mind. The company must return their money within 20 days if a buyer changes their mind.

Travel Costs

You are responsible for all associated travel costs. These can add up in no time when the whole family is vacationing.

This should be a consideration when buying a timeshare. Flights, gas, rental cars and insurance all need to be budgeted in.

If the timeshare is outside of the country you may have added expenses. This includes passport fees, travel, health insurance, and meal allowances during travel days.

It is wise to consult a lawyer specializing in timeshare sales. This will ensure you are aware of all fees. They will advise you of any expenses you may not be expecting.

Time is Money

Last year a timeshare seemed like a great idea. This year things have changed. You can no longer use the timeshare because of health or financial reasons.

Now you want out of the contract but don’t know what to do.

The first thing to remember is that timeshares are not real estate investments. It is unlikely that you will make money on the sale. In fact, most often sellers take a loss on the sale.

You Want Out

After consulting a lawyer, you have a few options available to try and sell your timeshare.

Timeshare exchange systems allow owners to trade theirs for another of equal value. This will open options for places you can vacation. Most timeshares include the exchange program in their initial contract. The company will include the first year in the sale but owners pay for later years.

Many looking to get rid of their timeshare will hire a reseller. The FTC warns sellers to do research to ensure everything is legal and above board.

There can be many hidden costs associated with the sale of your timeshare as well. This is especially true when outsourcing the sale.

Thousands of scams get reported yearly and consumers are often warned to be vigilant. It is important to read the contract and be aware of all clauses, fees, and charges in the small print.

Any contracts for timeshares in foreign countries are not protected by US laws. It is important to consult a professional with expertise in timeshares and international contracts.

Isn’t a Life Sentence

Owning a timeshare doesn’t have to be a life sentence. If you consult a timeshare lawyer to discuss your options, it is possible to free yourself from the stress.

Check out our blog for more information on freeing yourself from your unwanted timeshare.