A timeshare can be sold by advertising online, in print, or by hiring a timeshare resale company.
There are various options for someone wondering, "How can I sell my timeshare?" However, it can be a difficult and painful process because the supply of timeshares greatly outweighs the demand for them. Timeshares, typically owned by resorts, constitute a major vacation industry in the United States and around the world. According to the American Resort Development Association, sales volumes of timeshares in the United States have increased each year since 1995 and reached $10 billion in sales in 2006. In total, the timeshare industry promotes over $60 billion in spending each year. Though the industry is booming, owners of a timeshare looking to resell may not see the same profits that a resort does. Most people buy timeshares directly from developers, often unaware that a resale market even exists. Unfortunately, most resold timeshares do not necessarily return profits on the initial investment, especially if the timeshare is in a less well-known location or if the property has been owned for a short period of time. According to the Timeshare Users Group, most resold timeshares only sell for 30 to 50 percent of the initial purchase price.
A number of factors determine the resale price and whether or not a timeshare will sell, including time of year, location, unit age and unit size. Owners looking to resell cannot control most of these factors, but they can control advertising and price. To determine an appropriate price to set for a timeshare, owners can check closing sales prices of other timeshare properties at their resort or contact resale brokers for pricing information. Resold timeshare prices must be competitive with prices for other properties on the market in order to sell.
Once a price has been determined, owners can advertise their timeshares in a variety of places. It may be useful to run ads in both local and national publications. Local newspapers may have real estate or travel sections appropriate for timeshare advertisement, and national travel or leisure magazines or websites may provide classified sections for vacation real estate. A resort may also help an owner advertise a timeshare for resale, either in newsletters or on public bulletin boards around the resort.
Many websites involved with the timeshare industry may offer paid or free advertisements. Internet newsgroups offer a free place to advertise but may not be the most efficient place to target potential buyers. Craigslist and auction sites like eBay and RedWeek let sellers post timeshares for sale. Targeting an online audience through websites focused on the timeshare industry may be the most effective method of finding a buyer, even if placing advertisements requires a paid registration or other fees.
Licensed timeshare resale brokers can help owners gain exposure for their properties but will charge either an up-front fee or a commission for their services. Owners should be certain to understand how a resale broker will go about advertising and selling a property before signing a contract. A contract should specify a number of terms and conditions, including all costs, the length of the contract, what services are provided and who is responsible for closing a sale. Owners should be certain that a company holds a real estate broker's license before doing business and should see evidence of past resale work or success.
Some timeshare resale companies may ask for up to $1,000 in up-front fees for advertising, appraisals or listing fees. Paid appraisals should not be necessary, as a legitimate and successful company will know the selling prices of similar properties. Appraisals are generally only necessary for charity donations or estate purposes.
One scam involves an offer to pay more than the asking price of the timeshare. The scammer sends a check and asks the owner to refund the difference from the asking price, after which the check bounces. Scammers may also offer vacation packages in exchange for timeshares that are worth much less than the property, or may ask for thousands of dollars in exchange for a timeshare that is not selling. The scammer tells the owner the fee paid is tax-deductible, which is not true.
If a timeshare owner cannot find a prospective buyer or anyone willing to pay the asking price, there are other options for getting out of a timeshare. Timeshares may be rented or exchanged for timeshare properties at other resorts. Owners may donate timeshares and, in some cases, receive a tax deduction for their donation. According to the Timeshare Consumers Association, some charities in the United States are willing to take ownership of donated timeshares.