Unfortunately, ridding yourself of a timeshare is not an easy process. Most people who want to get out of their timeshares hire professionals to help them with the process.
Here is the first thing your timeshare exit professional will ask you: what is your timeshare worth? Do you already know the answer? If not, how do you figure it out? Let’s take a look.
Need to Determine Your Timeshare’s Value? Start Here
The timeshare market is very different than the housing market. While property values are determined by a variety of things, the value of a timeshare is determined by one: how badly do you want to be rid of it?
That said, it is still a good idea to compare your timeshare to similar timeshares that are currently on the market. How does yours compare to others? Even if the market value of the timeshare doesn’t necessarily matter, it’s good to have a ballpark figure in mind when figuring out a fair sale price.
Other factors that contribute to the value and potential selling price of your timeshare include:
- The view: Does your timeshare look out over the ocean? A courtyard? The street? Into someone else’s windows?
- Number of people the space can accommodate
- Resort quality
- Square footage
- Seasonal availability and demand
- Ownership type
What’s Your Seasonal Availability?
How flexible is your timeshare arrangement? Is booking on a first come-first served basis or are you only able to use the property on fixed dates? Can your visits vary in length?
If you have some flexibility, how easy is it to book time during “peak” seasons? If your stays are fixed, is it during “peak” season? If your fixed stay is in the off-season, what is the resort like at that time of year?
Are you required to use the timeshare every year or can you exchange your reservation for points if you can’t make it to the resort that year?
Are you and your family the only people who can access your reservation? Or are you able to “loan” your timeshare to friends? Can you trade dates with other timeshare owners at the resort?
How Desirable is Your Location?
The more desirable your timeshare’s location, the more money you will be able to get for it when you sell.
How Many People Want to Visit There?
Not all timeshares are at lavish beach resorts or theme parks (though those tend to fetch a larger sum than those that are located elsewhere). Is your timeshare in a popular city? Does the area appeal to pretty much everybody or is it more of a niche market? Does the area cater more to specific demographics? For example, timeshares near theme parks are usually geared toward families, while health spas are typically geared toward singletons and older adults. Disney Vacation Club memberships are usually in demand — especially for the properties in Orlando.
What is the Population of the Area Now vs. When You Purchased the Timeshare?
Were you lucky enough to buy your timeshare when the area was still growing? Has its popularity exploded since you opted in?
Or did you buy a timeshare in a very popular destination that has lost its appeal? Acapulco, Mexico is a good example of this. Once upon a time, it was the place to go on vacation with your partner. Now there are travel advisories warning vacationers against going anywhere near the city. Cancun has also seen some violence against vacationers. Puerto Rico was out of favor for a few years due to destruction from Hurricane Maria, but the COVID-19 pandemic has helped it rebound as people want to travel overseas but bypass other governments’ COVID testing protocols. Timeshare resales remain on the lower end, though, as people fear making a long-term commitment as long as the infrastructure is still shaky.
Does the Area Have Any Other Selling Points?
Here are some questions to keep in mind.
What kind of fun stuff does the area around your timeshare offer? Is there awesome shopping? Is there a thriving arts scene? Are there a lot of gorgeous natural areas to explore? Do you need a car to go anywhere or is transit available (and easy to navigate)?
What kind of amenities are offered at the resort itself? Is everything included? Do they provide entertainment? Good meals? Fantastic service? Can you have a great vacation without feeling the need to leave the resort if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Which Company Owns Your Timeshare Property?
Branding matters. People are more likely to trust properties that are run by brands they recognize. A property run by Hilton, Marriott, Vacation Club, Hyatt, etc. can increase your timeshare’s resale value. RCI offers a well-known brand with a lot of options.
If the property isn’t as well known, people are more likely to be hesitant. You’ll have to put a lot more work into playing up the features of the property and surrounding areas.
How to Appraise Your Timeshare
A good place to start is to pretend you are shopping for a new timeshare. Look at timeshare sales at your home resort and near your property. What does the resale market look like? Are people actually buying them? What is the asking price? What do they offer? Use the criteria we explained above to help you figure out the fair market value for your property, especially if your timeshare has a unique feature, like an ocean view.
Usually, you can do this research on your own and choose your own sale price, but it might also be worth it to have a professional timeshare appraisal done, especially if you don’t have a recognized brand that can help you prove the property’s value. It can also help save you some hassle, especially if a potential buyer asks questions about the resale price.
In some cases, a formal appraisal is required for legal purposes. For example, if you are getting divorced, you will need to know how much the timeshare is worth as you and your spouse are dividing your assets. Formal appraisals are also helpful when evaluating someone’s estate.
If you choose to go the DIY route, here are a few ways to research your timeshare’s market value.
Call your resort’s management. Ask about the recent resale prices for units. You should also ask if they offer a resale program. These programs can be extremely helpful when you need to offload your timeshare and don’t have the time/energy to do the work yourself. Bluegreen, for example, has some options.
Go to eBay and search for the name of your timeshare. You should focus on the completed auctions of timeshares in your area. This will help you get a better idea of what people will pay for a “used” timeshare property. Pay attention to the difference between what the seller thinks the property is worth and how much people spend on it.
Check the for-sale ads for your resort. You will want to focus your attention specifically on the timeshares being offered for lower prices. The number of low-priced units is a good indicator of your timeshare’s current worth/market confidence.
Consult a professional timeshare resale broker. It is often helpful to talk with real estate professionals in the city and state where your timeshare is located. They can give you an idea of whether the area is truly growing, what the tourism industry is like, etc. A lot of real estate professionals charge fees for doing individual market analyses. To save money, ask if they have any general information they can offer you cost-free, or a report you can purchase outright.
Want to learn more about your timeshare’s potential value? Check this out:
Want to Resell Your Timeshare? You Have a Few Options
If you’re in a hurry or you just want to be rid of your timeshare, like, yesterday, talk to the resort. They might have a hassle-free program that will allow you to sign your timeshare back over to them so that they can sell it to someone else. These types of timeshare exit programs usually wind up costing you money.
If you’re hoping to recoup your investment, however, reselling is the way to go. There are a few different approaches you can take if you want to resell your timeshare.
Use the tips we provided above to come up with a selling price for your timeshare. Once you have that, you can list the timeshare on websites like eBay, Redweek, SellMyTimesharesNow, Timeshare Users Group, etc.
If you want to go this route, you should hire a lawyer to help you make sure that the sale is legally binding, and the ownership rights are legally transferred. There are a lot of scammers out there. You don’t want to get swindled or wind up owing a ton of money!
Hire a Timeshare Exit Company — Many Offer Free Consultations
Take advantage of the free consultations to get an idea of what your timeshare could be worth. Then, if you decide that the sale price isn’t worth you doing all the work yourself, hire a timeshare exit company to facilitate the sale.
You will pay an upfront fee for this service. This fee can be expensive. Often the process cancels out any of the money you’d have made on your timeshare if you sold it yourself. On the other hand, when you work with a timeshare exit company you won’t be on the hook for maintenance fees assessed while you’re waiting for the exit company to make a sale.
BEWARE! There are a lot of scammers out there pretending to be legitimate timeshare exit companies. It is important that you always do your research to make sure that an exit company is legit. Always review some recommendations before you hand over a check.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Out of a Timeshare?
It can wind up costing you anywhere from $5K to $10K to get out of your timeshare. This is because you’ll often end up having to hire a timeshare exit company to help you cover all your bases.
Knowing the Monetary Worth Isn’t the Only Factor When Selling
Knowing the market value of your timeshare is just one part of figuring out how much your timeshare is worth. You should also ask yourself the following questions when determining the worth of the property:
- Why do you want to leave your timeshare?
- Would buyers have the same problems you’ve had?
- Have you had difficulties with the timeshare company or resort itself?
- Is the timeshare company’s contract misleading?
- What kind of maintenance fees will you and your buyer have to deal with during the sale process?
It is important that you scour your existing contract before you try to sell your timeshare. Many timeshare companies will bury clauses, terms, and conditions in their contracts —all of which are designed to keep you from selling or exiting your timeshare.
Other Alternatives to Get Rid of Your Timeshare
If you decide that you don’t want to deal with trying to resell your timeshare, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with it (and its accompanying expenses). There are other options available to you. T
If you have a flexible contract that allows you to “sublet” your timeshare to friends or family members, take advantage of that! You can probably at least make enough to cover your annual maintenance fees this way.
Give It Away
If all you want is just to be free of your timeshare contract, you could simply give it to someone else. You’ll still be on the hook for any debts you’ve incurred when you bought the property. However, whoever takes over the ownership will be responsible for maintenance and other fees going forward. If you choose this route, make sure you have a lawyer on hand to ensure that the new owner is legally obligated for expenses going forward!
Rent It Out
There are also companies that specialize in renting timeshare properties. TravelMag.com recommends Koala, Timeshare Users Group, and Sell My Timeshare Now as good companies to use. They each specialize in connecting timeshare owners with vacationers who are looking for a place to stay. Think Roomster, but these are for timeshares.
The Bottom Line
Your timeshare felt like a good investment when you first bought it. Now, though, it’s not a great fit. Your needs have changed, and it’s time to move on. Hopefully what you’ve read here will help you do just that.
Timeshare value is a lot like beauty—it’s in the eye of the beholder. Some are easier to resell than others depending on branding, location and any unique features. It’s unlikely that you’ll recoup your entire investment, though, unless your property is extremely rare, in-demand or you bought it long enough ago that inflation over the years has driven up the price significantly.
Not really. Timeshares require monthly and annual “maintenance fees”. So, even if you pay off your initial down payment, you’ll still be paying money to the timeshare company for as long as you use the property.
There is a short period of time during which you can cancel your contract after your initial timeshare purchase. Once that has passed, however, you probably won’t get all your money “back.” You might be able to recoup your initial investment, but that depends on a wide variety of factors.
Disney properties — especially ones in Orlando — are incredibly popular. Hawaii, New York City, and Las Vegas are other popular locations for timeshares.
Legally, yes. If you are still paying on the mortgage you used for the initial purchase though, you will have to continue paying on that debt until it is paid in full — even if the timeshare’s ownership changes hands.