Time Sharing Property

A timeshare or timesharing property is a type of vacation ownership. Traditionally, the timeshare buyer purchases the right to spend a week per year at a certain timeshare property. A timeshare may offer greater flexibility to the buyer than a typical vacation. In addition, the timeshare purchase may offer the buyer with the ability to exchange his or her week for another week at a different resort. Timeshares may be an ideal option for many vacationers.

About 10 million people in the United States own a timeshare. Some people buy into timeshares to extend their vacation dollars. Instead of buying a vacation home—and all of the related expenses and hassles of owning a second or third home—the timeshare buyer purchases a share of the property in which he or she will spend one or two weeks each year.

Timeshare Annual Maintenance Fees

The cost of maintaining a timeshare may include what some consider “neverending” annual maintenance fees. According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the average timeshare buyer paid $880 per year in fees. ARDA reports that the average timeshare owner receives zero to 15 percent of the original timeshare cost in the aftermarket.

Perhaps the owner doesn’t want to travel to the timeshare or can’t afford the maintenance fees. Some timeshare fees increase each year, and rising costs can become burdensome. If the buyer decides that he or she no longer wants to vacation at the timeshare property, he or she may have questions like “How do I get rid of my timeshare ?”

It’s possible to get rid of a timeshare as long as the vacationer manages his or her expectations. You might not receive much (or any) money to cancel the timeshare. In some cases, the resort won’t allow the participant to give back the timeshare even at zero cost. Regardless, the participant is still responsible for the cost of annual maintenance on the property.

Timeshare Sales

The ARDA reports that it’s easier to sell a big chain timeshare, such as those offered by Starwood, Disney, Hyatt, Hilton, or Ritz. The timeshare season counts. For example, a December timeshare week in Aspen is likely to draw more interest than a timeshare in August. Use these tips to sell a timeshare:

1. Some sellers pay an upcoming maintenance fee to improve the timeshare’s appeal to a new buyer. In that scenario, the new buyer needs to pay only closing costs to complete the transaction.

2. Buying a secondary market timeshare improves the buyer’s chances of a later break-even. It’s possible to buy attractive timeshares at a reasonable cost in the resale market.

3. Don’t pay upfront fees. Never pay “appraisal fees” or “advertising fees” to list a timeshare. Member sites charge an annual fee to post timeshare investments—but don’t charge additional fees.

4. Don’t buy into donation scams. The U.S. Department of Justice says that “Donate for a Cause” encouraged timeshare owners to donate timeshares to be rid of them, promising an enticing tax loss in return.

5. A reputable timeshare broker charges commission if and only if a timeshare is sold, according to the Licensed Timeshare Resale Broker Association. Commissions average $1,500 – $2,000.

Timeshare Rentals

Although owners report it’s challenging to sell a timeshare, it may be possible to rent it out to recover some or all of the annual maintenance fee. Check the contract to learn if the resort allows you to rent out the timeshare.

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