While your vacation timeshare purchase seemed like a good idea at the time, some of you at home home might deeply regret it. However, simply walking away from your timeshare will eventually result in foreclosure and significant damage to your credit, which is why it’s best to be proactive. Don’t automatically believe it when you’re told that you absolutely cannot cancel our terminate your time share contract — it is possible to get rid of it for good.
Some of you may have had a timeshare for years, have rarely used it, and are tired of wasting tons of money on fees. You are not alone. Thousands of people encounter these scenarios, but getting out of a time share can seem nearly impossible. No matter how iron-clad the agreement is, there may still be a way to legally break it.
Here are some ways to get yourself out of a timeshare deal.
If you have a timeshare interval in a highly desirable area or at a top resort, selling it is a good option. Even if your timeshare isn’t very marketable, you can attempt to sell it — but be prepared to take a loss. Sites such as RedWeek and Sharket will give you an idea of the price range you can expect.
You can also sell your timeshare as an owner by placing ads on eBay, Craigslist, or RedWeek. If you’d rather have an expert navigate the sale of your timeshare, find a real estate agent who is apart of the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association. Your timeshare company may also be able to recommend brokers who have had success selling intervals at your specific resort. The agent will list your interval, manage the sale, and then get paid by commission. Be aware that the commission for selling a timeshare property is usually much higher than selling a residential property — it’s not unheard of for commissions to reach 25%. However, the cost will be worth it if you’re determined to get out of your timeshare contract and eliminate having to pay maintenance fees each year.
One important thing to remember when selling your timeshare through a broker is to never pay an upfront fee. Legitimate agents earn a commission after the sale is made, they don’t take money before the deal is done. Most of the widespread scams that target timeshare owners are companies that claim to sell timeshares, but charge an upfront fee of several hundred dollars. If you take the risk and give your money to such a company, odds are you’ll never hear from them again, never get your money back, and will still be stuck paying for a timeshare that you don’t want.
While you’re trying to sell your timeshare, consider renting it to cover the maintenance fees. Property management companies near the resort may be willing to manage renting your property for you in exchange for a reasonable fee.
Few timeshare owners realize that it’s possible to give back a unit through what’s called a deedback. You’ll sign the deed for your timeshare back over to the resort and will then be free of the hassle and yearly fees. The caveat: the resort has to be willing to take it back, and they’re not obligated to do so.
To see if a deedback is possible in your situation, call your timeshare company and ask to speak to an upper level manager or operations manager. Customer service representatives and lower level management likely won’t be able to help, and they many not even know what a deedback is.
Some top timeshare resorts have established buy back programs that they don’t advertise to owners, while others may be willing to take the interval back instead of having the timeshare unit go into foreclosure. There are usually fees associated with deedbacks and transferring ownership back to the resort, but those fees will be lower than paying for the timeshare for years on end.
If a deedback isn’t an option, your timeshare company may have an exit program. Also known as exit solutions and transfers of ownership, this will involve someone else taking over your timeshare and the responsibility of paying for maintenance fees. You won’t be paid for the timeshare transfer, and will essentially be giving it away to get rid of your contract. However, going this route will prevent the problems associated with being foreclosed on and it can be a relatively quick way to get out of your timeshare deal.
Cancel Your Contract
Timeshare contracts often have extreme provisions, such as requiring that the responsibility for paying maintenance fees be passed to your heirs and executors after your death. Some agreements even state that the contract can’t be canceled under any circumstances. Still, most states have a rescission period where you can cancel your timeshare contract and get back any payments that you made, no matter what the timeshare company’s contract states. This cancellation period is usually short, about a week or so, making this option best for people who are new timeshare owners that are having buyer’s remorse.
If you’re beyond the rescission period, you can still contact your timeshare company and press them to cancel the deal. It’s also possible, and at times advisable, to hire an attorney who has experience successfully getting timeshare contracts canceled to handle the matter for you.
Timeshare owners who are absolutely fed up with paying maintenance fees have a last resort to get rid of their intervals: gift it to someone or a charity. Some sites allow owners to list timeshares that they want to give away for nothing. If someone goes along with the deal, they’ll become the new owner and you won’t be bound to pay anything else for the timeshare. If you have a family member or friend who is willing to take the timeshare, you can give it away to them as well.
Charitable donations are another option, as long as your timeshare unit is paid off. Some nonprofits accept deeded timeshares, which they then sell or auction off to make a profit. You may have to scout around for a charity that will willingly take your timeshare, but you can deduct the price the organization sells it for at tax time.