The Truth About Timeshare Resales

November 15th, 2013

the-truth-about-timeshare-is-out-thereThere is an a lot of misinformation on the internet. The more one uses the internet, the more glaringly obvious this fact becomes. While some of this misinformation may be deliberate, most of it is innocent; a manifestation of the democratic nature of the internet, where everyone has a voice.

The topic of timeshare (and timeshare resales) has literally millions of webpages dedicated to it, with nearly every possible viewpoint represented. In recent years, some of the more popular pages about timeshare have been those that purport to offer “the truth” about selling timeshare. I can understand how this could be an appealing concept to many timeshare owners – learning “the truth” in one sitting. Invariably, “the truth” seems to be a rather bitter pill to swallow: Your timeshare is worth 90% less than you paid, timeshare resale companies are a scam, and selling timeshare is difficult if not impossible. It is an abrasive and cynical message to be sure, and perhaps that’s why it’s believable to those looking for easy answers. But what if “the truth” is a bit more complicated?

There are over 5,000 different timeshare resorts worldwide; some are still under construction, some are new, some have long since sold out, and some still make sales daily. It is an absurdity to think that any one version of “the truth” applies to all of these properties, or even to a majority of them. And while it would be nice to distill the multitude of truths about timeshare into a catchy webpage or blog post, it would not be intellectually honest. What I will offer here are some proven ideas about the timeshare market that can help guide you toward your truth, as is relates to the timeshare you own or want to sell.

Realtors are Great (When They Sell Timeshare)

Since timeshares are real estate, only a licensed Real Estate Broker can sell them for you on a commission basis. Many supposed “experts” will tell you to only sell your timeshare through a commissioned broker, but very few commission brokers will list timeshares. (By telling you to only sell your timeshare via nonexistent means, these experts are actually telling you not to sell your timeshare.)

The real estate brokerage business model is not compatible with most timeshares, and thus there is no economic incentive for a broker to enter the timeshare arena. That said, if you can find a Real Estate Broker that will list your timeshare, consider yourself lucky and give it a shot. Otherwise, you will have to sell the timeshare yourself – which will mean paying to advertise it for sale.

Developer Sales Drive Resale Demand

Timeshare is not a product that “sells itself.” Resort Developers spend a fortune to bring families to their resorts, where skilled salespeople show them the property and explain its features and benefits. It is this process that creates the desire on the part of consumers to buy a timeshare, and many will buy right then and there. Many others will leave without buying, but still have a serious interest in doing so – these people make up the bulk of resale buyers. As long as developer sales continue at your resort, there will continue to be people shopping for resale deals. (You could say the demand trickles-down to the resale market.)

Generally, once a resort is “sold-out” of inventory, developer sales will end permanently. In the absence of both salespeople and consumers, the only people visiting the resort will be existing owners and exchangers who own timeshare elsewhere. Demand for resales becomes practically nonexistent. Many of the people who complain about how difficult it is to sell a timeshare are telling the truth, but they fail to recognize why it is true – They waited until after the resort had “sold-out” and now there are no buyers. Had these same people acted quicker, their “truth” would have been much different.

The Real Resale Value vs. The Right-Now Resale Value

What is your timeshare really worth? Timeshares cannot be accurately appraised, so their value is inherently subjective. According to some quite popular websites, “the truth” is that your timeshare is pretty much worthless. What is rarely mentioned is the element of time – how fast you need the timeshare sold. If you need your timeshare sold right now, the self-help websites are correct and it is practically worthless.

The home my wife and I own is in the Tudor Revival style, which we both like. As is common in this style, the second floor hangs out asymmetrically over the first, the roof is steeply pitched, and the windows have diamond pattern grills. Over the years we’ve owned the home, we’d made sure any modifications are in keeping with the architecture. Should we decided to sell, I’m sure we would find a buyer – but it would not be fast, as the architectural style of our home appeals to a small minority of potential buyers. In fact, when we bought our home it had been on the market for over a year – despite having numerous advantages compared to other listings. Should we have to sell it right now, our home might be worth almost nothing. Of course, no one sells their home that way, and no one should sell their timeshare that way either.

Assuming there are still developer sales going on at your resort, your timeshare is probably worth a few thousand less than the developer’s current best price – on a long enough time-line. Only 6% of Americans own timeshare, so it’s still a niche market. The truth is that it may take a few months or more for the right buyer to come along. Given the average cost of a timeshare is now over $20,000, the difference in the real resale value and the right now resale value could be substantial!

Discovering Your Truth

It would be nice if understanding timeshare resales or selling your timeshare was simple, but it’s not. “The Truth” cannot be summed up in a few paragraphs, or by a few immutable key points that apply to all owners equally – but that does not mean there is no objective truth at all. I’ve done my best in the post to share some truths about the actual timeshare resale market; things I’ve learned over nearly 20 years working in the timeshare industry. Relating these truths to your specific circumstances is something only you can do – but you can do it. Demographically, I know that since you own a timeshare you are: successful, mature, probably married, and that you value vacations. You don’t need to buy into an over-simplified, one size fits all, negative, and unempowering “truth” wherein you lose your shirt when you sell the timeshare. Think smart and walk away a winner!


Entry Filed under: Perceptions,Resale Market,Sell Timeshare,Timeshare Owners

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ashley Murray  |  November 27th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Time shares can become a huge financial problem for those who have bought one, and don’t know what to do with it. Should they sell it, donate it, rent it or cancel the contract? The truth is that the cancellation of the contract has always been the best and most viable solution to get out of a timeshare legally. Therefore, it is very important to know the rules of timeshare cancellation to get the process done in a secure way.

  • 2. Kelly Evans  |  February 22nd, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Time share has a resale price if it was possible to find a buyer. Most of the people I know who have time share are happy with the holidays they obtain and know they cannot sell, even if they wanted to. Holiday clubs are simply membership clubs and ownership has no resale value as there is no entity (like a week’s holiday at a particular resort). Best to keep away from both unless you want to buy enough points to get six weeks winter holiday a year from the purchase of two weeks in a resort in July.

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