The age old truth about timeshares is that supply far outweighs demand; in other words, there are many more sellers than buyers. While the market is very competitive, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t sell your timeshare. You will, however, need to do research and educate yourself on the pitfalls of selling a timeshare.
One of the most common options is to list your timeshare with a resale timeshare listing service or agent. This is appealing because someone else will handle the advertising, customer inquiries and transfer of ownership. There are generally two fee structures to this approach; commission-based and upfront or advance billing.
Companies that operate on a commission basis will market and sell your timeshare for you, then collect a commission upon the close of your sale based on a percentage of the sales price. Companies that charge an upfront fee will collect a fee in advance, generally in an amount ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, then market your timeshare for sale. Be aware that this latter method offers no incentive to the resale or listing company to market your timeshare once they have collected their fee. In fact, on July 8, 2009, WCTV.tv reported on their online site at http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/50243487.html that the Leon County Circuit Court in Florida had ruled “that the collection of advanced listing fees from Florida residents, regardless of the location of the property, and owners of Florida timeshares is prohibited.”
Whether using the services of a resale agent, a listing site or selling on your own, it is important to know the market value of your timeshare. This is can be difficult to determine as the timeshare marketplace is decentralized. Unlike home values, where you can use neighborhood comparisons of recent sales or use a site like Zillow.com, it isn’t quite as easy to find out how much similar timeshares have sold for. Browse listing sites to get an idea of what owners are asking for their timeshares; keep in mind that the asking price may not represent the market value as many owners need to recoup the balance of their loan regardless of the value of the timeshare. You can also follow similar properties on eBay to see what the final bid price is to give you an idea of how much people are willing to pay.
There are many companies that offer to provide you a quote for free. Do not rely on just one source when researching the value of your timeshare. Many companies use free estimates as a way to drive traffic to their website, then in turn market their sales pitch to you.
You may be asked to pay a fee for an independent appraisal. Unfortunately, this is a commonly used tactic by unscrupulous resale companies to generate revenue. Appraisals are rarely required or used. Remember that the marketplace is decentralized making a specific valuation difficult to obtain.
Be wary of any guarantees to sell your timeshare, such as a guaranteed minimum price or sale within thirty days.
Selling your timeshare is not impossible; price will have the greatest impact on your success. Do your research, know your options and avoid pitfalls.