Buying or Selling a Timeshare? Read This First


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

14 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security ChecksGrow

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

8 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances — and Be HappierGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

7 Free Sources of Manufacturer Coupons You Can Find OnlineSave

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Fixing Your Credit? Do These 5 Things, Avoid These 3Credit & Debt

If you've ever thought about buying a timeshare, read this article first. Because getting out of these things is a whole lot harder than getting into them.

I’ve never owned a new car because I can’t stand the thought of buying something that’s going to drop in value by thousands of dollars the instant I own it.

But from what I learned while researching this story, buying a new car could be a smart purchase compared with a timeshare. Why? Because timeshares can depreciate even faster.

This story started with an email from a viewer. Here’s the gist: “I’m trying to get rid of my timeshare. The only help I see is those places that want to charge me hundreds of dollars just to list it. We’re barely making our home mortgage payments now. Can you help?”

To see how I answered this question, check out the following TV news story called “4 Tips to Sell a Timeshare Fast”, then meet me on the other side for more.

While that story was about how to sell a timeshare, if you’re considering a timeshare purchase, you should also be interested. Why? Because when you visit some of the sites that list timeshares and see how much they’re selling for versus the original cost of that timeshare or something similar, you might change your mind. And even if you don’t, these sites might convince you to bypass the timeshare developer “showroom” and markup by buying one pre-owned from a private party.

For additional information, read this story about selling timeshares from the Timeshare Users Group. It’s got a lot of great information, including something they put in bold and in red: “Never pay an up-front fee in an effort to sell your Timeshare!” It also tells you how to market your timeshare, what to do if you owe more on your timeshare than it’s worth, and how to transfer the title when you find a buyer. Another place for information on selling timeshares is eBay’s guide to timeshare sales. Both articles should prove interesting to prospective buyers too, since you’ll want to know what an exit strategy might look like.

One of the things you saw emphasized in my news story, and you’ll also find in honest articles about selling timeshares, is that you really need to approach a sale with low expectations. Many timeshares don’t have much of an active aftermarket, which means there aren’t a lot of buyers. Fewer buyers translates into lower values. So if you’re a seller and borrowed most of the money to buy your timeshare, you might have to pay off part or all of your loan to get out of it — not a pretty picture. That should also tell potential buyers something: This isn’t a purchase you’d want to finance, especially if there’s any chance you may have to sell down the road.

According to the Timeshare Users Group, here are some sites where you can sell or buy timeshares without a big upfront fee:

What I took away from this story — and what you should too

The more I researched the whole idea of selling timeshares, the more leery I personally became of the whole concept. Sure, it sounds cool to own an annual week in a fancy seaside or mountain resort. But after paying thousands upfront, you also often have to pay major annual fees whether you use it or not. Then, there’s the problem I uncovered in this story: Selling your timeshare, at least for what you paid for it, could be tough, even impossible.

But that’s not all. When I set out to shoot this story, the first thing I did was attempt to find a timeshare reseller who would talk to me on camera. That shouldn’t have been difficult since I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL. But despite hours of phone calls, I couldn’t.

I found one guy who advertised himself as a preowned timeshare specialist, but when I called him, he said he no longer did it, nor would he even talk about it on TV. What he told me, however, was that he couldn’t make a living selling preowned timeshares because most weren’t worth enough to provide him with a large enough commission. Then he bent my ear for nearly an hour berating the people who developed and sold timeshare properties, the state laws that allowed unsuspecting consumers to be hoodwinked by high-pressure salesmen into radically overpaying for them, and even websites promising to market your timeshare only after receiving hundreds of dollars in upfront fees.

The only other person I was able to speak with was the owner of one of the websites the former salesman was talking about — one that charges a $300 upfront marketing fee. This guy also wouldn’t talk on camera. When I asked him why, he said he didn’t trust the media to tell a positive story (go figure) and that he couldn’t really defend sites like his anyway because they don’t work. In other words, a man who makes his living charging people to list their timeshares on his site admitted to a reporter that very few of his customers actually sell them that way.

In case you’re not familiar with consumer news reporting, let me tell you: These are not good signs. When business owners in any industry are unwilling to talk about their businesses on camera, those are ones I wouldn’t want to approach as a consumer.

Bottom line? While some buildings, locations and time slots will prove more marketable than others, timeshares are a lot easier to buy than sell.

I’ll stop short of saying you should never buy a new timeshare because the world is a big place, people’s appetites vary widely and there are always exceptions to every rule. In fact, I’m sure there are timeshares that have gone up in value. But personally, if I ever decide to buy a timeshare, I’ll make sure I never intend to sell it and I won’t expect much if I do. I certainly won’t finance it, and I will try to buy it pre-owned from a website like those above rather than paying top dollar to a developer.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 5 Easy Ways to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,991 more deals!