Timeshares are great, right? Well, they’re great until they’re not.
Like many owners, you may consider your timeshare to be a financial burden. Or maybe you just don’t care to use it anymore. Either way, you’ve decided to get rid of your timeshare. But how?
It should be easy, but timeshares are notorious for seemingly entrapping owners for life.
Luckily, there are a number of potential solutions to get out from under the burden of a timeshare in a legal and relatively stress-free way. While you may not make a ton of money on your timeshare, and you certainly won’t recoup all your losses, sometimes it’s best to just cut your losses and get out of the obligation.
Below we’ll share how to get rid of a timeshare, including 6 potential options for you to consider. Know that these are just possible options and may not be viable for every situation.
How To Get Rid of a Timeshare: 6 Options To Consider
1. Sell Your Timeshare on the Resale Market
Despite the money spent on sales pitches and what timeshare companies would like you to believe, there is a robust resale market for timeshares. In fact, we placed this one first on the list because it is likely one of the better options for you to consider.
While there are a handful of online resellers, one that stands out for its longevity in the industry and reputation among past timeshare owners is SellMyTimeshareNow. This company has nearly two decades of experience in helping owners sell their unwanted or unused timeshares. It may be a good option to consider if you’d like a company to sell your timeshare for you.
Advertising your timeshare with an agency is one way to help ensure that your vacation ownership property will be showcased to those actively seeking a timeshare to buy. However, know that listing with an agency will require you to pay a fee to retain their services, so be sure to ask about the costs.
If you’re more of a DIY person and wondering how to sell a timeshare, there is a wealth of great information online that can help you. Just remember to review sites with longevity and expert advice. Another reputable site is the Timeshare Users Group (TUG), a large timeshare owners advocacy group featuring information and the ability to interact with other timeshare owners for advice. You can also try selling your timeshare on sites like eBay or Craigslist. However, it may be better to go with a company or site specializing in timeshares.
How you approach this option depends on how much work you want to put into reselling, your timeframe, and whether or not you’re willing to forfeit some of your sale to a company. While a resale company will be able to create a customized advertisement and take care of all the details, a DIY approach will save you in fees.
2. Utilize the Rescission Period
Have you recently purchased a timeshare that you now regret?
The good news is that you may be able to give it back and cancel the agreement without any financial or legal penalties. Timeshares come with a rescission, or “cooling-off,” period after the purchase. This period varies by state and your specific agreement, but it is generally no more than two weeks.
This is a short window of time. If you are a recent timeshare buyer and have doubts about your purchase, it’s best to utilize the rescission period before you’re locked in.
It’s common to stay at a resort and be tempted by a pushy salesman or a timeshare pitch that sounds too good to be true (check out our experiences at Westin and WorldMark). If the excitement has faded and reality has set in that a timeshare is something you do not want or cannot afford, contact the resort as soon as possible to try and get rid of your timeshare.
If you’re thinking of going to a timeshare presentation, make sure you ask about the rescission period, so you know your options.
3. Give Back the Timeshare
This option isn’t available to every owner but is worth looking into if you no longer want your timeshare.
Many resorts will take back the timeshare in the form of a deed-back. However, this option won’t be available to you if you still owe anything on the purchase or are behind on fees. If you owe any money to the resort or a lienholder, know that the resort will not take the timeshare back until those debts are paid.
Contact your resort directly to discuss giving your timeshare back to them as an option.
4. Donate Your Timeshare
If the above aren’t good options for your situation, another way to get out of your timeshare might be to donate it. Full disclosure, this option is rare, and not many have had success donating, but if you are not interested in receiving any money back for your timeshare, it is worth looking into this option.
While you may not get any money from a donation, if you can find a charity willing to take your timeshare, there are some potential benefits, such as writing it off for a tax deduction (although don’t expect the write-off to be very big).
If this option is something you want to consider, you can check to see if you qualify to donate your timeshare and get started.
5. Rent Out Your Timeshare
If you’re short on cash but unable to sell your timeshare as quickly as you’d like, you could always try to rent it out.
Or maybe you want to keep your timeshare but cannot visit it each year. Another possibility is that you’re looking to recoup some of the costs of owning a timeshare. Renting your timeshare can allow you to get cash back to help cover your maintenance fees, but you should still be prepared for some out-of-pocket costs.
However, be aware that not all timeshare ownerships allow you to rent your timeshare, and you’ll likely be responsible for any damages incurred by renters. Because of these risks, it’s important to fully understand your timeshare company’s policies before renting.
If you decide to rent, putting your timeshare on the rental market is similar to selling in that you determine a price and create an ad for your timeshare. One crucial difference is that you will still own your timeshare and be responsible for your maintenance fees. Once you rent out your timeshare, you’ll want to call your resort and notify them that a different party will be arriving in your place.
Renting may also potentially lead to a sale down the line. Travelers may want to rent a timeshare to see firsthand if they wish to buy it or not. Experiencing the resort and accommodations firsthand without any timeshare presentation or commitment allows individuals to relax in the unit without any pressure. Other timeshare owners may also be interested in picking up your timeshare options.
If selling is your ultimate goal, just make sure you let renters and other owners know you are looking to sell and are willing to work with them directly if they like the timeshare, which will save them money on the purchase and help you get rid of your timeshare.
6. Gift Your Timeshare to Someone
If all else fails, our last option for how to get rid of a timeshare is to gift it to someone. If you can’t or don’t want to use your timeshare, maybe there is someone else in your life who can?
It is a relatively simple process if a family member or a friend wants to take over your timeshare ownership. Timeshare owners often pass down their ownership to children or grandchildren in their will, but the deed can also be updated to transfer the ownership before someone dies.
Just make sure the person you’re considering gifting to is fully aware of the costs and responsibilities of your particular timeshare property.
If you need to know how to get rid of a timeshare, the good news is there are several options you can consider.
It is worthwhile to take some time and determine which is best for you and which options might be available for your particular property. Now you know how to get rid of a timeshare, you can decide what is best for you and your family.