Buying or Selling a Timeshare? Read This First

Photo (cc) by petersbar

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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

Sometimes it’s simply safer to keep the plastic tucked away.

8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths

Think you’re ready to buy a house? Don’t fall victim to these rookie mistakes.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020

Follow these tips to save — so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health
7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health

These Amazon finds can help ease foot aches, boost energy and even protect your heart.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps
How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps

Does it feel like your paycheck is gone the moment you get it? You can break that vicious cycle.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Seniors With COVID-19 May Display This Unusual Symptom
Seniors With COVID-19 May Display This Unusual Symptom

Largely asymptomatic seniors may experience a symptom not commonly associated with the coronavirus.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

18 Early Black Friday Deals on Amazon Today
18 Early Black Friday Deals on Amazon Today

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card
Never Buy These 10 Things With Your Credit Card

Credit cards offer many conveniences and protections, but sometimes it’s simply smarter to keep the plastic tucked away.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash
8 Surprising Household Items You Can Sell for Fast Cash

Sometimes, the humblest household items are worth the most money.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.