Following is an e-book written for the team at RedWeek, who requested an accessible but informational overview of the complicated timeshare resale process to serve as a lead magnet on their website.
Smart Selling: What You Need to Know to Get the Most Out of Your Timeshare Asset
So, you want to sell your timeshare?
If you’re looking to sell your timeshare, odds are you’re feeling a bit of emotional whiplash. It’s no secret that the buying experience can be stressful, high-pressure and yes, even a tad on the slimy side. Still, it’s hard to resist the overwhelming allure of a well-dressed salesperson offering you a free week in Vegas, Hawaii or Florida, glamorizing all the upsides of owning a timeshare… while conveniently leaving out the challenges.
Key factors such as high-interest loan payments, escalating annual fees, high maintenance costs or the difficulty of trading points for various destinations can drastically affect the degree of satisfaction you feel with your purchase. When payments and fees that once seemed manageable become harder to bear or life gets in the way of making time for travel, selling can feel like the easiest, fastest solution. But before you dive headfirst into the complex timeshare resale market, it’s important to understand what, exactly, you’re getting into when you’re ready to get out of your timeshare.
First, let’s shift your thinking around timeshare ownership.
Despite what you may have heard from an industry salesperson, your timeshare is not an investment, capable of generating income or appreciating in value as a primary residence might. When you purchase a timeshare, you’re paying upfront for an annual vacation, not purchasing a property meant to be turned over for profit. The value of a timeshare lies not in its market worth, but in its ability to provide you the travel experience you crave.
Imagine that you plan a trip to Las Vegas. You purchase the plane tickets, pay for the hotel accommodations and budget a sum of money for delicious food and poolside fun. You don’t expect to get that money back, nor do you consider these purchases investments. Think about your timeshare like you would a brand new car: it is an asset that does not hold its original value and in fact depreciates quite rapidly post-purchase.
This doesn’t make your timeshare a bad or unwise purchase – after all, a new car loses around 11% of its value as soon as it leaves the dealership and up to 30% of its total value within the first year of ownership, but plenty of people still buy new for various reasons, from the latest technology updates to the best reliability. Your timeshare was a worthwhile purchase if it held value for you and your family – just be aware that it does not hold that same value in the resale market.
Consider what your timeshare is really worth.
You can expect to get, on average, around 10-15% of the amount originally paid for your timeshare – and it may take a fair amount of time to get it. The timeshare resale market is flooded with owners just like you, eager to unload their assets quickly and painlessly, and this creates a challenging environment for owners looking to recoup as much money as they can while losing as little as possible.
If you’re not ready to let your timeshare go for $1.00 or to give it away for free – as some frustrated sellers choose to do – there are certainly other options available, but not all of them are created equal (and some are downright unethical). A quick Google search of “how to sell my timeshare” reveals hundreds of seemingly legitimate third party resellers ready and waiting to lend you a hand with the process. Many are looking to make money off of you as much as help you by overcharging for their assistance while doing very little to actually move your asset or by selling your contact information to companies specifically looking to target timeshare owners with scams.
Some owners try to escape the madness by turning to online marketplaces such as Craigstlist or Ebay to unload their properties, but these do-it-yourself sites leave you vulnerable to scam attempts that target your hard-earned money and waste your precious time. Even savvy owners with plenty of experience navigating the Internet fall victim to timeshare fraud simply because they are unfamiliar with the market and unaware of scammer tactics. Within the last few decades, an entire industry developed around timeshare resale fraud, generating more than $24 million from over 80,000 victims last year alone. With a pool of almost 10 million timeshare owners to pull from, these scammers know the market, they know how to target their victims and they’re coming for YOU.
Here’s what you need to know about timeshare fraud.
There are no clear regulations governing the timeshare resale industry. As a result, fraud attempts are widespread and increasing at an alarming rate, even among established resellers. The growing number of timeshare owners seeking to unload their asset quickly creates an opportunity for resellers to make easy money – and they know it. While many scammers operate out of organized call centers, plenty of “reputable” resale companies engage in similar dishonest practices, from overcharging for shoddy services to call soliciting. In such a turbulent environment, sellers must remain vigilant in order to avoid falling prey to scams that can cost thousands (or even the deed to your timeshare) and leave you no available legal recourse.
Fraud attempts take many different forms and change regularly as technology shifts and owners become aware of their existence. This makes a scam difficult to spot unless you’re alert to the common red flags. Scammers prey on the unsuspecting and unaware, so the best way to stay protected is to arm yourself with knowledge about the marketplace and remain up-to-date about scam activities. Practice patience, stick to the five rules of safe selling and you can successfully sell your timeshare, recouping at least some of your money without falling prey to shady corporate practices or outright fraud.
The Five Rules of Safe Selling
- Be patient. The market is full of timeshare owners just like you seeking to offload their assets. Selling in a hurry will likely lose you more money and make you more vulnerable to scams. If you simply cannot afford the asset any longer, you could consider renting the property to offset costs or selling back your timeshare to the resort management company at their discretion.
- Know what your asset is worth. You may only be able to get between 10-15% of your timeshare’s original purchase price, but you can maximize your returns by staying as informed as possible about your asset and knowing it’s current worth – this will help guide your decision about the best price for renting or selling and protect you from scam offers that are too good to be true.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. When interacting and negotiating with potential buyers, trust your instincts. Ask questions when necessary to ensure that your buyer is legitimate, and never be afraid to request an alternate form of secure payment when a buyer is pushing you to accept terms with which you aren’t comfortable. Remember that YOU are in control of this process, and it’s up to you to stay informed and protected.
- Only accept verified, traceable forms of payment from trusted sources. It’s a good idea to avoid accepting payment in the form of cash, wire transfer or through PayPal “Friends and Family” (as these methods cannot be traced and are therefore a favorite of scammers), and to only accept payment from buyers with whom you have established trust. Before sending money, ask yourself: How secure is this transaction? What is the liability coverage in case something goes wrong?
- Rely on a trusted third party. The ONLY surefire way to protect yourself from fraud is to resist the urge to go it alone. When selling or renting your property, getting assistance from a verified, reputable brand can save you the headache of navigating the market solo and help you recoup the most from your asset.
In an industry fraught with both scam artists and third party resellers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting sellers, it can be difficult to know whom to trust or where to get help when you need it most. Resist the urge to throw up your hands and go it alone; the road is pretty rough out there and accurate guidance from a verified, trusted brand can help protect you from falling victim to fraud, while ensuring that your selling experience is as positive as possible.
When you’re ready to find a reliable brand dedicated to helping you expertly manage the resale process, the experienced team at RedWeek is here for you. Working tirelessly for nearly two decades to become a highly trusted resource in the field, RedWeek keeps you informed about the latest scams and industry information and empowers you to sell your asset safely. With a thriving community marketplace of more than 2.5 million subscribers, plus toolkits and resources created to walk you confidently through every step of the resale process, RedWeek is your secret weapon to get the most out of your timeshare asset.
Check out RedWeek’s full suite of resale services at www.RedWeek.com
And visit www.redweek.com/blog for the latest industry news, updates and information.
These are three top-trending scam attempts you’ll want to be on the lookout for as you begin the process of selling your property:
- Email Phishing: You receive an email containing a link to log into one of your online accounts – the catch: a scammer is waiting to capture your login information and hijack your account. Look out for: Email from an address you don’t recognize, that contains incorrect verbiage or phrasing (for example: “We’ll wait to hear from you soonest,” rather than “We look forward to hearing from you soon”), or that projects a sense of extreme urgency.
** Never log into any online accounts via an email link.
- Unsolicited Call: A third party reseller calls claiming to have an interested buyer with whom they’ll connect you for an upfront seller’s fee – the catch: there is no buyer and you’ll never see that money again. Look out for: an unsolicited call about your timeshare, any company asking more than $300-500 to sell your timeshare.
** A reputable company will never cold call you about your timeshare.
- Overpayment: You receive a check for more than your asking price with a request to send the additional amount back to the buyer – the catch: the check is fraudulent and any money you send is gone for good. Look out for: anyone rushing you into a sale or offering overpayment.
** Always use a secure, traceable method of accepting payment.
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