Many money-pressed vacation home owners find themselves wondering how to get out of a timeshare. Sure, it sounded like a great idea when they initially purchased it. After all, they were probably enjoying an extravagant meal while friendly salespeople sold them on all the wonderful benefits of timeshare ownership. But now that they’re struggling to pay maintenance fees for a timeshare they barely visit, they’re starting to regret the purchase.
If this sounds like you, we’re sad to say that you may have been caught up in a scam. In a perfect world you would have been given all the time, information, and cost breakdowns required to make a responsible decision about a timeshare purchase. But that’s not how timeshare sales work. The goal of timeshare companies is to sell, sell, sell. They will do everything in their power to convince you that buying a timeshare will save money spent on Marriott or Hilton hotel rooms and allow you to take more vacations. What they often won’t mention are the downsides of owning a timeshare. Because if most people knew these things, they’d probably have a harder time making the sale.
Since these companies often make it hard to navigate timeshare exits, what can you do to get out? There are easy ways and hard ways — it really depends on your unique situation and how long you’ve been in your timeshare contract. So let’s discuss your options for getting out of a timeshare as painlessly as possible.
Why Are Timeshares Hard to Get Out Of?
The downsides of owning a timeshare may include annual maintenance fees, booking inflexibility, and difficulty renting out your timeshare — not to mention how unbelievably tough it is to get out of an unwanted timeshare agreement. However, it’s all too common for timeshare companies to omit this information during their sales presentations. And unfortunately, doing so is technically legal.
As long as the company provides you with documents that discuss their rules on renting, reselling, timeshare cancellation, and general resort policies, they are not obligated to actually discuss these things during the presentation. The unspoken rule of the timeshare industry is that it’s the responsibility of the customer to research the downsides of owning a timeshare. And if the customer doesn’t do that in due time, the timeshare developers are not to blame for buyer’s remorse.
So, how do you get out of a timeshare? There are easy ways and hard ways depending on how deep you are in the process of ownership. Let’s start by discussing the ideal ways to plan an exit strategy.
Getting Out of a Timeshare: The Easy Way
how to get out of a timeshare: Businessman walking towards a fork in the road
If you’re a day or two out of the timeshare sales presentation when you realize timeshare ownership isn’t for you, you’re in luck. State laws require every timeshare company to have a rescission period. This is a period of about 3-10 calendar days where you have the right to cancel your contract. So if you’ve read through all the paperwork you’ve been given and have decided that you don’t want to be involved in vacation ownership, you are allowed to cancel for any reason.
Any upfront fees you’ve paid on your credit card or otherwise must legally be refunded. Just follow the exact rescission instructions on your timeshare contract, write your cancellation letter, and address it to the proper address as soon as you can. If it arrives on time, the timeshare company must legally accept it and cannot charge you any added fees for cancellation.
The rescission method is obviously the easiest way to give your timeshare back without affecting your personal finances or credit score. However, many people are still so excited about owning a timeshare that they don’t really think about the negative consequences until they actually start using their timeshare.
If you’ve had your timeshare for a significant amount of time, you may be able to sell it back to your company if they offer a buyback program. Some timeshare resorts will take back your timeshare if it’s been paid off and you are in good standing with them. The process of doing this is called a deedback, and it allows you to sign your deed of property back to them. Most of the time, you won’t recoup any money for doing this (and you may even pay a transfer fee), but it gives you peace of mind knowing that you no longer have an unwanted timeshare and pending maintenance fees on your hands.
Though deedbacks may be disappointing to those who dreamed of making a profit off giving their timeshare away, keep in mind that being able to give it back to the resort is actually a privilege. Most timeshare companies do not provide a buyback program to their customers. After all, doing so is a financial loss for them since they’re losing out on your future maintenance fees and continued business. If you are out of the rescission period and cannot sell your timeshare back to the resort you bought it from, you’ll have to learn How to get out of a timeshare legally the hard way.
Getting Out of a Timeshare: The Hard Way
If you’ve found that your company can’t help you get rid of your timeshare, consider entering the timeshare resale market. Start by determining the value of your timeshare by comparing it to similar units at the same resort as well as surrounding timeshares in the area. If you own a timeshare with Wyndham or another prestigious timeshare company, this may boost your resale value.
To sell your timeshare, you can use the real estate sections of websites like eBay or Craigslist. However, you may notice many people selling timeshares on these sites for as low as a dollar — and getting no bids in 99% of the cases. If you want to get the most money out of your timeshare resale, contact a real estate agent who specializes in selling timeshares. They will help you properly market your timeshare to potential buyers and determine a realistic range for what your timeshare should be valued.
But what if you don’t have the capabilities or right to resell your timeshare? Or you own a timeshare that no one wants or will even take for free? If you can’t find a practical way to get rid of your timeshare, should you just stop paying your maintenance fees, submit to foreclosure, and take the credit score hit? Unfortunately, some people who feel defenseless against their timeshare companies are forced to choose this option.
Getting Out of a Timeshare: The Best Way
If you were misled into thinking that timeshare resale was possible, and you don’t know how to get out of your timeshare contract without suffering major financial and personal losses, you may benefit from working with a timeshare exit company, like Centerstone Group. Unlike other exit firms, Centerstone Group utilizes a proprietary three-pronged process that includes timeshare transfer, pressure campaigns, and attorney exit. The path to resolution is based on each client’s specific needs.