Q: I am a single mother of three. A few years ago, I made the mistake of getting into a timeshare. Needless to say, the economy changed, and my home was in foreclosure; but I was able to sell on a short sale. I would like to begin working on my debt, but this is a big portion of my monthly expenses. I am currently on time with my monthly payment, but the yearly dues are in collection. Is there anything I can do at this point to get rid of the timeshare?
A: Buying a timeshare is easy. Selling one can be a huge headache.
The thing you need to be very careful about is fraud.
When the Better Business Bureau released its list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2010, timeshare resellers came in at fourth place. The BBB said complaints about the timeshare industry—including deceptive resellers—increased by more than 40%.
There are many companies that will promise to help you sell your timeshare, but then they just take your money and do nothing. The companies will often ask for upfront fees that could be in the thousands.
“Timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of their costly vacation property are being targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer,” the BBB said.
Don’t pay upfront fees. Try to find a realtor in the area where your timeshare is located, to see if they can help list it and sell it, receiving a commission just like conventional home sales.
I’ve also found another site that may be very helpful for timeshares: The Timeshare Users Group.
Here’s one last thing to consider. As Timeshare Users Group points out, most timeshares sell on the resale market for only 30% to 50% of the price you likely initially paid.