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If you own a vacation timeshare (the use of a vacation home for a limited, pre-planned time), be cautious about people offering to help you resell it for a fee. Most of these sales programs are bogus. The market for resale is poor. One recent survey found that only 3.3 percent of owners reported reselling their timeshares during the last 20 years.

Timeshare Selling Cautions
  • Do not agree to anything over the phone until you have had a chance to check out the company.
  • Ask the salesperson to send you written materials.
  • Find out where the company is located and where it does business.
  • You are responsible for maintaining your home and paying all real estate taxes
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located. Ask about complaints against the company.
  • Be wary of companies charging an advanced "listing" fee for services. Consider opting for a company that offers to sell with a fee after the selling.

Unscrupulous companies may contact you by phone or mail. Salespeople are likely to tell you the market for resale is "hot" and that their company has a high success rate in reselling units. They may claim to have extensive lists of sales agents and potential buyers. For an advance "listing" fee, often $300 to $500, some salespeople promise to sell your timeshare for a price equal to or greater than your purchase price. To further entice you, they may offer a money-back guarantee or a $1,000 government bond if they cannot sell your timeshare within a year. Others offer to purchase your timeshare for 80-90 percent of its appraised value if they do not sell it within a specified time.

In reality, the market for resales may vary considerably, depending on the location and time of year. The lists of sales agents and buyers may consist of people who have never heard of the company or have no interest in buying a timeshare. It may be unlikely that the company can sell the timeshare at all, let alone at a price equal to or greater than your original purchase price. In addition, many consumers whose timeshares don't sell after a year may be presented with a government bond worth only $60 or $70 or told there's no refund on their listing fee.

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Information provided by this website is general and is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult your investment advisor and/or attorney before entering into any transaction.

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