8 Tips to the Exit Process, some of this article was contributed by ARDA-ROC and as always, we add our outlook and opinion to better explain how the timeshare industry is changing.
ARDA says you must research your timeshare product, and we agree, before you choose an exit strategy go into it knowing your property's value.
Its age, the desirability of location, costs of ownership and restrictions—all will impact the price. There is a lot of information about timeshare listings available online to use for comparison pricing.
Our view: Be careful where you are checking this information, there are a lot of places that will inflate the "value" of your property just to sell you ads or a service that promises to find a buyer for your timeshare, the average money timeshare owners spend without results is around $2700. That number is based on volunteered information from our clients that have tried selling their properties before they came to us. It’s probably a low estimate, what we see happening is the more people have spent on trying to sell their property the more they feel, in poker terms “pot committed” and feel defeated if they give up on it now. Ultimately, they end up giving it away, or lowering their price to $1 and often that doesn’t work either.
Contact your resort, HOA or the management company to see what kind of programs they have in place for owners who want to exit, such as give-back or buy-back programs. They may also recommend in-house services or preferred resale company partners.
Our view: We agree this is a great first step, the things to be prepared for are HOA’s and management companies are often not the easiest groups to contact, and when you do get in contact with them they do not always have timeshare give-back or timeshare buy-back programs. If they recommend a resale company, make sure you have read our view above to know what to watch for.
There are three types of companies in this arena: resale advertiser, licensed reseller and other resale company. Do your research first to determine the company’s reputation, past resale success and current license state. Here's a list of a few providers that can assist.
Advertisers are companies that only help you market or advertise your timeshare.
Licensed resellers (with licensed real estate agents) help with all aspects of selling and renting.
Other resale companies can offer to buy your timeshare interest, take it away for a fee, help you give it to charity, put your timeshare in a travel club or some other workable solution. Use caution with these companies, as many have used deceptive practices.
Our view: Caution is what we stress, the ideas ARDA suggests above are the same ideas we have been told by our clients that did not work for them.
Armed with your research, post your product listing with as much detail as possible on free listing websites like eBay, Craigslist or through your HOA (newsletter or message board). Keep in mind that if you sell it yourself, you will be responsible for handling the entire transaction, transferring documents, titles, etc.
Our view: Timeshares that should have “value” get sold for $1 on eBay all the time, and then you have to deal with the whole transfer process, where the rules with Resorts, an HOA, County/State change all the time, and hope you get it right. We have department whose sole job is to keep up with industry and governmental changes. It can be frustrating to think you are doing the right thing and then find you were playing by the rules, but they were the old rules.
Have a conversation with your family about your timeshare product. If they’re interested, transfer of ownership rules makes it possible to give your timeshare to a family member to enjoy future vacations. Laws and regulations concerning timeshare transfers vary state by state.
Our view: We get clients all the time that at first thought it was a good idea to take on the obligation of their parents or grandparents ownership only to find they didn’t know what they were getting into and it ended up costing them more money than they wished they’d spent, as well as feelings of guilt or shame when they decide to unload it. This is where we see the most emotion when it comes to getting rid of a timeshare.
Some charities accept donated timeshares. Fees are likely associated with the transaction. It’s always best to perform research before choosing this option, as well as to contact your tax advisor.
Our view: Be careful in the past there have been many unscrupulous companies that have occupied this part of the industry. The thing to remember you aren’t just donating, they are also going to charge you and then a percentage of that will go to charity, but how much? Attorney Generals have done an excellent job of busting up a lot of the companies so it’s a lot safer than it used to be. The horror stories we have seen is the owners think the property is gone, out of their name and then they find out the company the “donated to” illegally transferred the property to a fake or offshore corporation who is not a new maintenance fee paying owner, so the resort then looks to the previous owner for back fees and penalties. When this happens, it can be devastating to a timeshare owner thinking they have entered a win-win charity situation. We suggest taking care of getting out of your timeshare the proper way, and if you still feel charitable take donate the money saved each year to your favorite charity.
If you’re unsure about selling it, try to rent it out. Check with your resort manager to see if your resort has a rental program or policy. Or, list the rental opportunity on an owner site.
Our view: We have a division of our company that rents properties we have decided to add to our inventory, even though a lot of these are select properties in wonderful places, and times of year, they do not always rent. When they do rent we don’t get a price that makes it worthwhile because supply is plentiful and drives the price down, or we are going up against a discounted price offered by the resort. We have other properties that do bring a profit and help even out the total picture but when a timeshare owner with 1 or 2 properties tries to do this without a select property the odds of renting getting even lower.
If someone contacts you (via phone, mail, online) in an unsolicited manner and offers to help to sell or transfer your timeshare product, use caution. This is a common scam tactic to get money from you without providing any services. See our consumer advisories warning of resale scams.
Our view: Hopefully armed with ARDA’s information and our behind-the-scenes truth about the industry you will be able to navigate the timeshare waters and find the option that best suits an approach you are comfortable with.
If you are at a place where you’d like to have all this done for you, we suggest first checking your Up-Front Pricing to see what it would look like to work with us. Our domestic pricing is $595 + the fee your resort charges for a transfer (called a resort transfer fee).
Watch this to find out...
You can search far and wide for transfer companies that will show you the pricing up front. If you find one, let us know. We will give you a dollar. As mentioned throughout this website, many "transfer" companies are simply sales organizations that send their "transfers" to third party companies. They incur costs and expenses for marketing, traveling, phone representatives, mail pieces, administration, just to mention a few. Resort Transfers International is a transfer company. We are not a marketing company. We do not carry that overhead. Our prices are our prices. That being said, below you will find our transfer fee calculator. Our transfer fee formula is relatively simple. It includes:
1. A base fee of 595.00 depending on the resort.
2. The resort transfer fee and any other fees required by your resort to facilitate transfer.
3. Any special fees such as "attorney fees" in states that require filing by attorney only.
4. Any additional fees that may be charged by resort developers and associations outside of the U.S.
While we try to keep up to date with industry and resort changes in real time, prices and fees at the developer and association level seem to change daily, so on occasion, there may be a price discrepancy. And while we do not haggle or give discounts on single units, there are certain instances where you may own multiple properties at the same resort or under the same association. When this is the case, there may be cause for lower pricing. Feel free to ask!
Your rights as a consumer are important. While we firmly believe that any problem can be worked out, it is inevitable that there are situations which seem impossible to find a compromise on. Before filing a complaint about your travel club, timeshare developer or HOA, you should first understand the rules and regulations set forth by the parties that govern the industry. Next, you should make every effort to find an amicable solution to your grievance. Take every path possible to find common ground. Many complaints and issues that could have easily been solved with just a little effort can wind up costing owners, developers, associations and travel clubs a lot of money. In many cases, more money than was originally in the dispute.