I’ll tell you why and then I’ll give you my own experience and some ways to rid yourself of this expensive cash eating monster.
First, anything sold using high pressure sales tactics is a bad deal. Timeshares are often sold by getting you to a resort by giving you a “free trip” and then getting you in a room and pressuring you to sign on the dotted line. If it is such a bargain, why the need for this kind of sales tactic?
Second, timeshares have no value. They are a liability, not an asset! This is confirmed by the open market. There are thousands of people that have their timeshares listed for sale, with very few buyers. Sellers often have to pay buyers to take their timeshare. That is not an asset.
Third, you are punishing yourself by being an “owner.” As with real estate, with ownership comes expenses of property taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc. People buy timeshares to go on vacation, not to live there. Why saddle yourself with the never ending costs of ownership for something you want to use occasionally?
Fourth, you lose all flexibility on your vacations. Your family now must use the timeshare even it you don’t want to, or you are just throwing money away paying maintenance fees. You have to go to your timeshare resort or one that is part of their network. Your family can only go during the times that are permitted based on your ownership rights. Why do you want to limit yourself on when and where you can go on vacation?
Fifth, as an owner you are punished because if you don’t want to incur the annual maintenance fees your only way out is to find a buyer. If you don’t pay your annual fees they will start collection efforts against you and ruin your credit. Unfortunately there is very little demand to buy so you will often have to give it away or even pay someone to take it.
My wife and I inherited a timeshare when my father-in-law passed away a number of years ago. At the time we thought we would get value from it. We were wrong.
Our particular ownership rights only allowed us to go during off peak times, which rarely worked with our schedules, especially with kids in school. The annual maintenance fees of $700 kept coming every year, regardless of whether we could use the timeshare or not.
It cost us thousands of dollars over the years, and we rarely were able to use it. We were either going on vacation during “peak times” or to a place in the country that didn’t have a resort anyway.
After a number of years, I finally decided to get serious about unloading the timeshare. I quickly realized how hard they are to sell. The timeshare would not buy it or even take it back. Even more proof that they are a liability and not an asset.
I had to steer clear of the scam artists that wanted me to pay an upfront fee for them to market and sell the timeshare. That would have been another financial mistake.
Then I heard about the timeshare users group. I joined to to be able to list it for sale. After a period of time I found an interested party. I couldn’t believe it! The price was $99 and I paid a good portion of the closing costs. I was okay with that to get it off my hands. My wife and I were thrilled once we closed the deal!
We were lucky. There are all kinds of horror stories where people have tried for years and years and cannot not rid themselves of these budget killing liabilities.
How to get rid of, or avoid getting stuck with, a timeshare
If you are stuck with a timeshare, consider joining the Timeshare Users Group for a nominal fee and then list your timeshare for sale to other members. It worked for me and it could work for you too!
The only other reasonable option is to make sure you use it or sell your week to someone each year with the hope of recouping some of your annual cost. Donating it has been another tactic tried by some but do you really want to saddle your favorite charity with this kind of liability?
If you are concerned you might inherit a timeshare, please realize that you are not required to accept it. I was given bad advice and was told I had to accept the inheritance for the estate to close. That is wrong. You do not. See a competent estate attorney who can help you avoid inheriting a problem.
Another strategy I have heard some have tried is to put the Timeshare company in the Will to inherit their own timeshare. In other words, you are sticking them with their own timeshare. Poetic justice!