Eighty-five percent of people who buy a timeshare regret the purchase. Only a small fraction of these buyers, however, move fast enough to cancel their purchase during the legally-mandated recission period. The rest are left with timeshares they do not want or cannot use, and all the costs associated with them.
Unfortunately, figuring out how to get rid of a timeshare is much harder than buying one. Here’s what you need to know about avoiding scams and unloading your timeshare for free.
What is a timeshare and why do people want out of them so badly? As you probably already know, timeshares are a form of vacation property.
Buyers purchase rights to a certain amount of time at a property. In return, they pay annual fees. These fees can be hefty and go up over time, leading many owners to seek a way out.
How to Get Out of a Timeshare
When you buy into a timeshare, you sign a legal contract. Owners who want to get out of timeshare properties often find that doing so is a time-consuming, expensive, and complicated process.
The primary options for getting out of a timeshare include:
- Selling it
- Renting it out
- Gifting or donating it
- Deeding it back to the timeshare company
- Getting help
Owners who look into how to sell a timeshare often find that the resale market is a nightmare. The sale process can be long and difficult, and they rarely get back what they invested in the original purchase. Reselling can be a good option, however, for owners who need to recoup some money from the property.
Renting is another option that sounds good in theory but seldom works in practice. It is time-consuming and difficult to rent out your timeshare if your contract even allows you to do so. Owners are also rarely able to rent their properties for enough to recoup what they are paying in fees.
Gifting or Donating
While is it possible to gift your timeshare to someone, this only works if the other party is willing to fully assume the financial burdens associated with the property. While donating property shares to charity is a popular idea, most legitimate charities will not accept timeshares unless you continue to pay the fees which does you no good.
Moreover, the laws and tax consequences around such gifts can lead to unpleasant situations.
Deeding It Back to the Timeshare Company
Increasingly, timeshare developers are quietly offering programs by which owners can give their timeshare back to the company they bought it from. These programs can be hard to find, as developers intentionally do not advertise them. They can also be expensive, as owners often have to pay several thousand dollars to surrender their shares.
Defaulting is when owners simply stop paying their timeshare fees. While this will eventually result in foreclosure and loss of the property, it can also ruin your credit and finances.
For many owners struggling to get out of timeshare properties for free, the best solution is to get help. Working with specialty companies who deal exclusively with this issue is often the fastest, cheapest, and least stressful solution.
Making Good Financial Choices
Getting rid of a timeshare can be a great choice financially. Find more great information on how to make the best choices for your money in our finance section.