Last updated Mar. 24, 2023 by Peter Jakes
Timeshare ownership can be an amazing experience, but life changes, and so do your needs. You might discover that you no longer have the time to use it.
Or you were duped. You went to a timeshare sales pitch, listened to the sleazy salesperson, handed over your credit card, and agreed to a timeshare you later regretted.
You’ve decided that timeshare ownership isn’t for you now that you’ve spent so much money and time traveling to your unit.
Alternatively, you may be paying maintenance fees for a product that does not correspond to your travel habits.
Most people regret buying a timeshare.
Over 9.8 million Americans own a timeshare. And according to research by the University of Florida, it is estimated that 85% of people with timeshares regretted purchasing a timeshare.
If you are in this situation and wondering how to get rid of a paid-off timeshare, you have a few options. However, determining which is best for you can be difficult, depending on your timeshare developer and their cancellation policies.
Even if you don’t have a loan to repay or interest rates to pay, you can’t just walk away and hope for the best.
It would be best to weigh each option to get a paid-off timeshare.
Before considering any of these options, check with your timeshare developer to ensure you can legally sell your timeshare.
Some scenarios may prevent you from disposing of your timeshare or alter your approach to it.
For example, if you still owe money on your mortgage, you may have to pay it off or disclose it during the selling process. And if you have not, there are simple ways to pay off your mortgage early you should try.
If you have no interest in keeping your timeshare contract, you have options to get out of it.
This article shares 3 legit ways to get out of a timeshare and alternatives to consider.
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A timeshare, also called vacation ownership, is a deal to pay for yearly trips to the same resort or family of resorts for the rest of your life. You prepay or finance a lump sum upfront plus annual maintenance fees.
If you want to stay somewhere other than where you paid, you may have to pay an upgrade or exchange fee. Most trips last for one week.
Most of the time, it’s not a good idea to buy a timeshare as an investment.
There are so many timeshares on the market that they rarely have a good chance of being sold again.
Once bought, the value of most timeshares goes down instead of up. Many of them can be hard to sell at all.
In recent years, consumers have become more aware of scam exit companies and the difficulties of getting out of a timeshare. However, experts say that owning a timeshare is still popular, and there are top timeshare exit companies to use to get rid of your timeshares successfully.
The coronavirus pandemic hurt the timeshare business, just as it did other types of travel. However, an American Resort Development Association report says net-originated timeshare sales have since increased.
Canceling a timeshare agreement can be difficult, and there may be financial consequences.
Depending on the contract terms, the owner may be required to pay cancellation fees or other charges. Furthermore, the owner may have difficulty breaking the contract and may have to go to court.
From the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, they increased by 67%. Sales have not yet reached what they were in 2019,
For people who already owned timeshares, the pandemic may have made them rethink their needs.
“The pandemic has made more people want to get out of their timeshares,
Perhaps you haven’t gone on many vacations in the last few years, and since the pandemic, you haven’t been able to use the timeshare at all.”
There are legal and safe ways to get out of a timeshare, whether the coronavirus pandemic changed your ability to take vacations or you no longer want to pay the maintenance fees.
But many of these options won’t bring you the big money you might be hoping for.
“People shouldn’t buy timeshares with the idea that they’ll make money from them,
1. Check Your Timeshare Contract And Cancel It
Many timeshare agreements provide cancellation or retraction periods. The timeshare contract shows the requirements for termination and the period suitable for cancellation.
If you still have time to change your mind, that’s great! Now, all you have to do is get rid of that annoying timeshare.
To do this, you’ll need to write a timeshare cancellation letter telling the resort that it’s over and mail it to their cancellation address.
But because these resorts are sometimes sneaky and dishonest, many of them hide the address in tiny print or just don’t give it at all. (They’ll do anything to keep from having to pay money for cancellations.)
You can ask the resort for the address if you can’t find it. Don’t take no for an answer; you have the right to this information under the law.
In some states, your right to cancel won’t start until you get the cancellation address and instructions. So make sure you know every little detail about the deadline.
Use a service like USPS-certified mail to send the letter. The resort then has to sign for it to show they got it. (Otherwise, they might just act like they didn’t know. So. Shady.)
Also, keep extra copies on hand to send as many as you need.
Also, some resorts try to charge things like “cancellation penalties” and other fees. But some laws make provisions on whether or not timeshare sellers can do this. Most of the time, they can’t, so keep an eye on them like a hawk on its prey.
They are breaking the law and trying to steal from you. Don’t give in!
Read through the timeshare contract rescission. Formal timeshare cancellation often requires written notification.
Prepare a letter to your timeshare provider, and keep a copy yourself. Once you send this letter through registered mail, your attorney general’s office will assist you with the rest.
Right-to-use timeshares frequently expire after a set number of years, such as 20 or 99 years, at which point your right to use the timeshare terminates.
A timeshare is a property that it can be sold privately. However, if you choose this path, you will have to do all the advertising, negotiations, and legal paperwork.
Most owners take this approach because they want to make more money. But unfortunately, resale value, high hopes, and a lack of experience make this road hard to navigate, and sellers rarely get as much as they want.
You should ask the following three questions about any company you are considering hiring:
- Has the business been in operation for at least five years?
- Does it have a track record of positive online reviews?
- What types of guarantees does it provide, and how does it back up its promises?
On the resale market, you can sell your Timeshare (Expect to Take a Hit)
Timeshares don’t get more valuable over time, so don’t expect to make money by selling yours.
Your timeshare’s resale value will depend on things like where it is and how much is left on your mortgage. You could talk to a real estate agent or look up similar timeshare resale prices online to better understand how much your timeshare might be worth.
Be careful if you decide to get help from someone else to sell your timeshare.
“Unfortunately, third-party exit companies often bug timeshare owners with promises of money-back guarantees that are backed up by nothing but words.
A licensed real estate agent who has sold timeshares before will save you the trouble of doing it yourself.
But if you go this route, you’ll have to pay a commission out of the money you make, and there’s no guarantee that your timeshare will actually sell.
Many companies help you transfer your ownership. They are in charge of everything and take care of the whole process.
The good thing about this is that you have a team of experts working for you. It makes you less likely to get hurt and is usually the fastest way out.
On the other hand, you usually have to pay a company to get rid of your timeshare instead of selling it, and the costs can be very different.
Call the Timeshare Developer.
The ARDA says there are more than 1,500 timeshare resorts in the U.S., and each resort may have a different process and set of rules for selling or giving up timeshare ownership.
Experts say that a property owner should contact the Developer as the first step in making an exit plan.
Developers may let owners give up the deed to their homes through a deed-back or surrender program. In this case, the timeshare owners do not get any money from selling it.
But these types of surrender programs are more common now and maybe the safest and easiest way to get out of a timeshare.
Some developers might even make the owners pay the resort if they want to get their timeshare back.
You can sometimes give your timeshare back to the Developer you bought it from, but this is rare. You don’t have to deal with anyone else, which is nice.
Most of the time, giving back your timeshare is hard because the process is hard, and many developers have strict rules about which properties they will take back.
Another way to get rid of a timeshare is by selling it or donating it. If there are no buyers for your timeshare, consider donating it to avoid the yearly fee that comes with it.
A timeshare forum called TUGBBS Bargain Bin is designed to assist people seeking to eliminate a timeshare. It also connects buyers of timeshares to sellers like you.
You can give your timeshare to a non-profit organization with a 501(c)(3) status.
This is definitely good, and you might even be able to get a tax break for it. Giving your timeshare to a non-profit organization is usually done by having a professional appraiser look at your timeshare.
The process can also take a long time, and because it is so complicated, the fees are often higher than with other ways to leave.
Which choice is best for you depends on your situation.
The one thing that all of these situations have in common is that the process can take months or even years to finish. During that time, you are still financially responsible for the timeshare.
Renting your timeshare while you try to sell it is also a good way to bridge that gap and reduce maintenance fees. We’d be glad to help you with that. Click here to learn more.
Stopping timeshare payments will have serious consequences, but it is a last resort for those desperate to get out of their contracts.
Take stock of your situation before proceeding. If you took out a loan to purchase the property and still owe money, stopping payments will have an effect on your credit. “It doesn’t matter to the creditor that you bought a timeshare.”
You borrowed money and did not repay it.” However, if you simply stop paying annual fees, a company may not report this to credit bureaus.
Stopping your fee payments is frequently the push resorts require to allow you to surrender. Why? Accepting a surrender is often less expensive than foreclosing on the property.
Usually, the amount of money is insufficient for the resort to bring suit. They will usually resell the timeshare.
There are some ways out that you shouldn’t try. For example, the Federal Trade Commission recently put out a warning about timeshare resellers, saying that some of them take money upfront from seniors and then fail to sell the timeshare.
Defaulting on a timeshare contract and associated fees or mortgage payments can harm your credit.
You may face foreclosure if you stop making payments on your timeshare loan.
During foreclosure, the lender files to take possession of the timeshare property so that it can be auctioned off to cover any outstanding debt.
Most timeshare companies will tell you no unless you are still in a “cooling off” period that lasts only a few days. If you only recently purchased your timeshare, you may be able to cancel the contract (which means to cancel it).
The first step is to determine whether you can sell your timeshare. If you still owe money on your timeshare, it will be listed as “encumbered.”
Unfortunately, there is no way to proceed with the sale until the loan is paid off.
Find out how much your timeshare is worth if it is sellable. Consult a real estate agent or search the internet for timeshare resale sites or general listing sites like eBay and Craigslist.
Try to find the final sale prices for timeshares similar to yours (rather than just the amount listed).
Your timeshare may not be worth much unless it is in a popular location (such as Disney World). That’s fine! In that case, your goal isn’t to recoup past expenses but to avoid future ones. If you continue to use it, it will drain your bank account for years.
You can sell your timeshare online, but choose a website with no upfront fees to avoid being duped by companies that charge an arm and a leg to post on their “exclusive” website.
You can also speak with anyone with the same timeshare property as you the week before or after yours.
They might be interested in purchasing your contract to expand their vacation options.
If you don’t know them personally, the resort may be able to provide you with an owners’ directory.
Alternatively, contact the county courthouse in the county where the timeshare is located and request a copy of the deed. But, again, there’s no need to be creeped out because it’s public information.
As previously stated, getting out of your timeshare is not easy. Therefore, you might want to hire a professional to assist you, especially if you’ve taken advantage of timeshare “upgrade” offers (even if all you did was change your vacation week).
Those upgrades are usually considered new contracts, which means you have more than one contract to get out of to be completely free of your timeshare.
That’s a lot to do on your own, so you might need the assistance of an attorney to help you sort it all out.
Find one specializing in contract law who has helped people get out of timeshares. You don’t want someone who will muddle through this.
As you can see, getting rid of your timeshare is going to cost you some money. So here are some things you might have to plan for or think about when it comes to your money:
Using certified mail to send your cancellation letter: It will cost about $4 per letter to do this.
When you lose money on a sale: The average price of a timeshare is $24,140, but some people sell them on eBay for $1 because they want to get out of them, just like you. That’s a big price drop.
So, if you plan to sell (or use the deed-back method and give it back to the resort), know that you’ll be losing money right now (but working toward a better future!).
The cost of Hiring a lawyer will vary, but you shouldn’t hire someone who has never done this before. So don’t try to save a lot of money.
Paying a company to get out of a timeshare: Paying a timeshare company can be anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000. This will depend on how many contracts you have to deal with and whether or not the company hires lawyers.
If you intend to sell your timeshare, here’s a list of legitimate and reputable companies that buys timeshare:
- Newton’s Group of Companies
- Consultants for vacation ownership
- Ease of Exiting Now
- Seaside Consulting Group
- Wesley Financial Group
There are numerous low-cost alternatives to timeshare. Vacation rentals (such as Airbnb), vacation membership programs, and traditional hotels or resorts are among the most popular. In addition, you can get good Airbnb discounts if you look at the right places.
Vacation rentals: With the use of companies such as Airbnb and VRBO, the vacation rental industry has exploded, and there are cheap places to rent RV rentals. Both of these businesses are well-known for their ease of use. You can book a weekend stay in minutes using their mobile apps or online website.
Membership programs: While vacation clubs offer discounted trips, they also have high initial buy-in costs and variable annual fees. Be cautious when investigating this option.
Traditional hotels and resorts: Almost all popular vacation destinations offer fantastic and reasonably priced resort stays in hotel rooms. Because of the short-term payments, hotels, and resorts are excellent alternatives to timeshare locations. You can also get cheap alternatives to hotels when traveling.
They aren’t worth the money. But what about selling a timeshare? Worth every penny. You might have to pay a few thousand dollars now, but you’ll get your money back in the long run and save more.
Remember those maintenance fees of $1,120 a year? Those won’t go away; they worsen each year you “own” this thing. Get out!
You might wish right now that you had never bought into this timeshare scam. The salesperson said you’d be clear, but their shady business just tricked you.
It’s true. But you can stay away from the next trick.
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As you can see, getting out of a timeshare contract is not easy. There are only a few paths to timeshare freedom, but you must follow one of these strategies to get there. Choose the method that best meets your requirements.
Though it may be tempting to stop paying your timeshare developer and surrender to foreclosure, other options for timeshare cancellation will not significantly harm your credit.
Returning your property through a deed-back program, selling your timeshare on the secondary market, giving your timeshare to a family member, and renting out your timeshare are all options for how to get rid of a paid-off timeshare.
While the timeshare developer may go out of their way to keep you tied to your contract, you know you can permanently cut ties with them. You no longer have to deal with the agony of unwanted timeshare ownership.
There are three methods to use to get out of a timeshare legally. First, you can sell, return, and terminate your contract. Websites like ARDA’s Responsibleexit.com provides inexpensive timeshare departure choices.
To help you get out of a timeshare, most timeshare departure organizations demand payment of $5,000 – $6,000 and a 12- to 18-month exit period from your timeshare agreement. However, this depends on the number of contracts associated with your timeshare and other factors.
Q: Can I donate my timeshare to charity?
Yes! You can donate your timeshare to charity. This makes you eligible for tax advantages. After completing your donation, you can claim a tax deduction upon your annual return.
Q: How do you forfeit a timeshare?
Writing a cancellation or departure letter to a timeshare provider is one method to forfeit a timeshare lawfully. In addition, you must let the timeshare provider know about your changed situation.
Q: What is the cheapest way to get out of a timeshare?
When you give the resort your deed back, the resort can take back the property and sell it to someone else. So if you want to get rid of your timeshare cheaply, a deed back is your best bet.
Q: Can I cancel my timeshare on my own?
Yes, you can legally cancel your timeshare on your own. But this demands that you engage in direct negotiation with your timeshare provider.
Q: Can I get sued for not paying timeshare?
Many people are unaware that even if your deeded timeshare mortgage payments are current or your timeshare purchase price has been paid off, you may face foreclosure if you fail to keep up with the assessments. You could also be sued for the entire debt amount.
Q: Does canceling a timeshare hurt your credit?
A timeshare foreclosure will not permanently harm your credit, but it may make it difficult to obtain a new mortgage for up to seven years. In addition, if you apply for other types of credit, such as a car loan or credit card, you may be denied or face higher interest rates in the future.
Q: Can I sell my timeshare for cash?
A timeshare is real estate and can be sold privately. If you choose this route, you will be responsible for all advertising, negotiating, and filing of any legal paperwork. The majority of business owners take this approach in the hope of increasing profits.
Q: How much is my timeshare worth?
So, how do you determine the value of your timeshare? Begin by determining the approximate value of nearby timeshares. Then, check the resale prices of other units at the resort if your timeshare is at one. You can also conduct a quick market analysis by searching eBay for comparable properties and seeing what they’re listed for.