What to Do Before Selling Your Timeshare

Have you every had one of these thoughts:

“My timeshare is costing me too much money.”
“I can’t use my timeshare right now.”
“I own more timeshare than I need.”

These are all initial thoughts that timeshare owners have right before they start exploring how to sell their timeshare. They start asking questions like “What’s my timeshare worth?” and start calculating how much money they have wrapped up in timeshare. It’s not uncommon for owners to jump straight to “I want to sell my timeshare” when they have one of these thoughts or concerns. This is a really great example of not knowing what options are out there.

Selling your timeshare can be a lengthy and complicated process, not to mention disappointing for some owners once they find out what timeshares are actually selling for on the resale market. We wanted to briefly outline the options available before having to sell the timeshare, as well as what should be done in preparation for selling your timeshare.

  1. Contact your timeshare company. The best place to start your research is right at the source. Talking to your timeshare, or visiting the online learning center most timeshare companies provide (typically through your online account for your timeshare). Most owners didn’t know they could take advantage of exchange programs, maintenance fee credits or extending the usage of your points/weeks directly through your online account. Club Wyndham owners for example can exchange points into RCI, use them for travel expenses, roll them over to next year and convert them into Maintenance Fees.
  2. Let friends and family use it. If your timeshare is going unused, why not see if your friends and family want to use it and of course if they want to use it maybe they would be willing to chip in for the expense as well. It’s important you add their name to the reservation and you might want to give them a heads up about any additional expenses like a security deposit on check-in or housekeeping expenses.
  3. Rent your timeshare. This is obviously our cup of tea, but for some reason this is an often overlooked option. This comes from a variety of factors including a lack of awareness, a lack of knowledge or the thought that it’s too hard. In reality it’s not rocket science, if you only own a week or two and want to do it yourself – it’s pretty straightforward (read our article “How to Rent Your Timeshare” for a how-to guide). If you have more than a week or two (or you own points), you would likely be better off using a service [like ours] as it can get complicated to do a large volume of rental or deal with variables like points and seasons. Renting your timeshare is the best bridge between a slow-down in your usage and actually selling your timeshare.

Now obviously this just scratches the surface and there are many variables depending on your timeshare and exact situation. But it’s important to know that you don’t have to jump straight from “I’m not using my timeshare” to “How do I sell my timeshare?”, as you have a lot of money invested in your timeshare. However, if you are at the point where you want to sell your timeshare, there a few prerequisites you should be aware of.

  • Must own it free a clear. Typically you cannot sell or otherwise transfer your timeshare deed if you still owe a mortgage on it. The only way this would be possible is if the proceeds from the sale can payoff the loan, the buyer is willing to take over the mortgage balance or you put the remaining balance on a credit card/line of credit (meaning you don’t owe it to the timeshare company directly anymore).
  • Maintenance fees must be current. The maintenance fees are your responsibility until you legally transfer the deed out of your name. If there is any outstanding balance the timeshare company will typically require it to be paid prior to transferring. Some companies may even require some maintenance fees to be paid in advance, check with your timeshare program or resort.
  • It must be deeded property. Some timeshares are not deeded, for example some travel clubs are just on a membership basis with an annual fee or some timeshares are land leases/right-to-use properties which means there could be some hurdles to transferring them. For these particular properties you will need to talk with your timeshare company for further assistance.

Lastly some general advice as you arrive at the conclusion that you are ready to sell your property:

  • Get your paperwork organized. It’s a good idea to start collecting any documents related to your timeshare and put them in one place as it’s not uncommon for brokerages and transfer companies to require copies of your deeds, contract numbers and maybe even original purchase paperwork.
  • Order an Estoppel (if possible). An estoppel may be called different things by different companies, but in simple terms it’s a declaration of ownership which also provides written proof on mortgage balance and maintenance fee status. This can be really useful when you start to advertise your property or hire a company.
  • Be realistic. Do some research on what your property is worth and what other timeshares are selling for. The unfortunate circumstance of the industry (with a few exceptions) is that timeshares are selling for pennies on the dollar versus what they were originally bought for. This is a simple supply and demand issue, and it’s unrealistic to think that just because you paid a certain amount or the timeshare is of a certain quality that it’s worth much. Supply and demand directly impacts timeshare prices – there are more timeshares for sale, than people looking to buy them, as a simply matter of economics this drives the price down.

We hope this article provides at least some guidance for timeshare owners that may be looking at selling, or at least show you there are options prior to walking away from your timeshare. As always our agents are available to assist with friendly advice and more information about our services.