Real Estate Matters: Reader adds to discussion about unloading timeshares
Q: This is a comment regarding your article on getting rid of timeshare properties several months ago. I have two bits of information for disillusioned owners.
Two of the major timeshare companies have a process where they can assist you in disposing of your timeshare ownership. Vistana Signature Experiences has an “exit” link that discusses how its specialists can help you unload Marriott vacation properties. Diamond Resorts (part of Hilton Grand Vacations) likewise has a transitions page that gives you the specifics of how to qualify for their exit program.
Both processes take a bit of time and communication with the companies, but they eventually worked for us. For those of us that own a timeshare albatross, it’s worth a try to work with the timeshare company to see if you can find a solution.
A: Thank you for your helpful suggestions. It’s good to know that some timeshare companies have set up a mechanism for selling an unwanted timeshare back to the timeshare company. We’ve received quite a few letters from readers over the years inquiring about selling their timeshares and the difficulties they are having in finding a satisfying solution.
First, we know that many people happily purchase and use their timeshare. If you buy a timeshare in a highly desirable timeshare development, it may be quite easy to sell it when the time comes. However, if you buy a timeshare in a development that is less desirable, it may be tough or impossible to sell.
As we’ve warned our readers through the years, many companies offer to help owners get rid of their timeshares, but most charge you a significant amount of cash upfront and never produce the expected (or advertised) result. We have yet to receive any letters from our readers letting us know that they have had a positive outcome from these companies.
As you mentioned, there are some timeshare companies that have a process to dispose of a timeshare. You may not get all of your money back, as there are commissions to pay and the price may have declined since you purchased your timeshare. But, you’ll be out from the burden of the annual cost, including paying real estate taxes, insurance, assessments and costs for the upkeep and maintenance of your unit. You may also have special assessments over time for building repairs, replacements and improvements.
If you are able to exchange your timeshare for points in a system that you can use worldwide to defray or eliminate the hotel cost of a vacation, that may be one way to successfully unload your timeshare.
If you no longer use the timeshare and want to have nothing more to do with it, you might be willing to chalk up the initial investment to the many years you got to use it. At that point, getting whatever you can for it should eliminate the periodic payments.
But if you purchased the timeshare on credit, selling doesn’t eliminate whatever is outstanding. You will still owe the bank or finance company for the unpaid balance.
(Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, an app that employers provide to employees to measure and dial down financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact Ilyce and Sam through their website, bestmoneymoves.com.)
©2022 Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.