Posts filed under 'Sell Timeshare'

Timeshare Scams: Sympathy for the Devil

Back in 2009, a new type of scam popped up on the timeshare resale scene: The owner receives a call out of the blue from a stranger claiming their timeshare “is already sold” and then asks for several thousand dollars to complete the transaction. Of course, there is no buyer and the scammers disappear along with the money. I imagine that, when this hustle was still fairly fresh, it might have been believable to some owners desperate to sell after the recession.

On this blog, we warned timeshare owners of this “already sold” scam back in February of 2010. Elsewhere, throughout both the timeshare industry and mainstream media, similar warnings were issued around the same time. Yet, despite countless warnings – not to mention the obviously dubious story – timeshare owners continue to fall for this stupid trick. It’s almost enough to give you sympathy for the devil.

the-devil-you-know-will-not-sell-your-timeshareOkay, so maybe not sympathy exactly… But I have to state the obvious here: If you are willing to wire $3,000 to Mexico because someone called you on the phone with a catchy story, you are going to get just what you deserve. I have to wonder how someone that dumb would come into possession of $3,000 to begin with? My guess would be inheritance or personal injury settlement.

Last year, my 88 year old Grandfather received a call from Mexico: The caller told him that his grandson (he only has one, so he assumed they meant me) had been injured, arrested in Mexico, and needed $1,500 for bail ASAP. This call clearly put him into a panic, and my Grandfather was willing to pay to save me from a terrible Mexican prison – but he is not a complete idiot. After telling the caller that he’d need time to get the money together and needed to arrange a call-back, he hung up the phone and called my home number. My wife answered and assured him that I was at work here in Atlanta, not in a Mexican prison. My Grandfather kept his emotions in check – and kept his money. (Despite being particularly vulnerable due to early-stage Alzheimer’s.)

Yet, when timeshare owners wire money to someone they don’t know because they believe a fairly tale about their timeshare being sold, it’s the legitimate timeshare resale industry that gets the blame: More onerous regulations are passed and imposed upon law-abiding companies, more articles are written about “timeshare scams” that draw no distinction between the real and fake timeshare resale industry, and more consumers simply detest all timeshare resale companies because of being “burned.”

I say enough already! If someone gets tricked into wiring their money to a timeshare scam it is not my fault, it is not my company’s fault, and it is not the fault of the timeshare industry at large. If you have paid thousands of dollars because you thought your timeshare was already sold, you my friend have poor judgement at best – at worst, you are an idiot and your money probably ought to be in someone Else’s hands anyway.

This may sound harsh, it certainly is not politically-correct, but it’s true. We should not regulate every single aspect of our great country because of the stupid few, or we’ll just get more of this:


3 comments August 15th, 2013

Timeshare & The TSA – Vacation Ownership in the No-Fly Zone

Apparently, now not even Rep. Ron Paul can fly without being accused of being a terrorist, and being subjected to the depredations of the TSA. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more American timeshare owners won’t fly to their vacation destinations. This can be costly for those who own timeshares far from home, and are forced to exchange their week every year for closer drive-to vacations. Some owners have even asked me whether it may be advantageous to sell their distant timeshare and buy a resale within driving distance, while others feel being abused by the TSA is a small price to pay for safe travel to spend a week in their luxurious timeshare property. Here are the top 3 reasons I won’t fly with my family:

  1. Airports Have Become Prisons – Perhaps it is a reflection of the somewhat puritanical nature of Americans that no one wants to admit they’ve seen the inside of a jail. But, whether for an “incident” in college or an unpaid speeding ticket, many of us have been through central booking. When you arrive at jail: You have to remove your shoes and belt. Your pockets must be emptied into a tray. You have to produce identification. You must submit to a pat-down by someone wearing rubber gloves. By the time you’ve been processed into the holding area, your mental state is one psychologists refer to as total compliance. Clearly, the entire process of flying in America (post 9/11) is the psychological equivalent of being incarcerated – only voluntary; a post-modern Stockholm syndrome! Perhaps we should re-classify “frequent fliers” as “repeat offenders.”
  2. Your Wife and Kids May be Molested While You Watch – As a man, it’s hard to say which is worse: Having to watch impotently while your wife gets groped by a TSA goon, or watching your kid cry while she wonders why Daddy won’t make the mean man stop touching her. I’ll take a pass on both, thank you. Visiting Scottsdale just isn’t that important.
  3. The Moral Hazard – Not long ago I found myself waiting in a TSA line, standing behind a scruffy young man whose black clothes smelled of clove cigarettes. He was carrying an old backpack stuffed with video game gear. As we approached the metal detector, this young man was pulled to the side and made to unload his backpack and submit to all manner of secondary screenings, while I was permitted to pass through undisturbed. In that moment, I found myself actually happy to see this kid getting hassled instead of me… When that moment passed, I was overcome with guilt; guilt over not speaking up for this innocent young fellow whose only “crime” was looking a little different and loving video games. It’s this hazard, this moral hazard of hoping someone else gets picked off the queue, and of looking the other way while fellow Americans are mistreated, that poses the biggest risk to our humanity. As the German citizens of the 1930’s found, the slope from freedom to fascism is indeed a slippery one.

Given that both candidates for President in 2012 support continuing the TSA, it’s a safe bet that its assault on Americans’ civil liberties will continue, at least for a while. For timeshare owners that share my concerns about flying, selling a timeshare that can’t be easily driven to is probably a sound idea.

Recently, a neighbor of mine here in Atlanta decided to list her Napa Valley timeshare for sale, and perhaps consider a resale in the nearby Hilton Head Island area. The good news for her, and anyone in her position, is that today’s resale market is not only full of great deals, but bustling with activity like never before. With sophisticated new internet platforms for buying and selling timeshare resales, both buyers and sellers are increasingly choosing the resale market… And, if enough of us choose not to fly with our families, financial pressure on the airlines may eventually end the TSA, making the skies friendly for Americans once again.


2 comments August 30th, 2012

Using a Broker to Sell Your Timeshare

Should you use a Real Estate Broker to sell your timeshare? It’s a question that comes up often, as owners consider the various ways to approach selling timeshare. There really is no short answer, so let’s take a look at a few scenarios where using a Broker might come up:

Timeshare Brokers That Charge Upfront Fees and Commissions

I don’t believe in “two bites at the apple” – and Real Estate Laws in most locales prohibit Real Estate Brokers from accepting advance fees anyway. If you want to sell your timeshare through a Real Estate Broker, then choose one that works on a commission-only basis. If you cannot find a Broker to sell your timeshare on commission, you’ll have to sell the timeshare by-owner. There may be (and probably will be) upfront expenses to the Broker with whom you list, but asking for money upfront demonstrates a lack of confidence that should raise red flags for myriad reasons.

On-Site Timeshare Resale Programs

For some time now, one of the most popular pages on our website is a step-by-step guide I wrote on How to Sell Your Timeshare. In it, I suggest checking first with your resort to see if there is an established on-site resale program. These programs usually begin after the resort has fully sold out, and management responsibilities have passed to the HOA/POA. On-site resales are handled by a Real Estate Broker – one who is intimately familiar with your resort, resale values, and transfer procedures. Plus, you won’t be required to pay an up-front fee.

If this is an option for you, then look no further: You’ve found someone with the means, motive, and opportunity to sell your timeshare at current market value!
(A note of caution: Many resorts will tell owners that an on-site program is coming soon… Don’t get caught up spending thousands more in maintenance fees waiting for on-site resales to materialize. Either your resort has a program, or it doesn’t.)

High-End & Niche Vacation Ownership Resales

If you own a fractional quarter-share in Aspen, an ultra-luxury residence club, or Disney Vacation Club points, then there are Real Estate Brokers who specialize in your niche, and are more than willing to sell your timeshare at a fair price and solely on commission (and you’re doubtfully reading this post anyway.) With respect to fractionals and residence clubs, the sale prices are high enough to make handling resales profitable for a Broker. With Disney points, demand is high enough to keep a Broker busy – The Timeshare Store specializes in selling DVC points resale with no upfront fee.

Selling The Typical Timeshare – By Broker or By Owner?

If you are selling the “typical” timeshare – one without an on-site resale program, and one that is not in a high-end or niche market – then you fall into the vast majority of timeshare owners that want to sell. You may find yourself unable to locate a Real Estate Broker who will take your listing, but, if you do, the decision of whether to sell with a Broker or By Owner should be based on your desired outcome.

Real Estate Brokers are men (and women) of action; I have great respect for them. Brokers are likely to work towards a quick sale of your timeshare. Brokers are likely to be working with motivated and highly-informed buyers. Brokers are likely to consider the state of the market now when suggesting a sale price for your timeshare. Brokers are likely to minimize their upfront cost on your behalf…

As has been stated in this blog, and elsewhere, postcard companies/relief companies have literally flooded the market with near-zero priced timeshares over the last couple years. If the resale value of your timeshare must be based solely on past results, be prepared to take an enormous loss at time of sale.

Choosing to sell timeshare by owner, whether by advertising on your own or with a timeshare resale company, means you decide what the asking price will be. (Your asking price should be less than current developer pricing.) Selling timeshare by owner allows you to bait the hook, and wait to catch the right buyer – one that, perhaps, just heard the developer sales pitch at your resort, and has a higher perception of value. You won’t be limited to only the most informed buyers, making only the most bottom-line of offers. Selling your timeshare with by-owner advertising is really not selling at all, in a traditional sense, it’s putting it out there in a visible fashion – where it can be found by a willing buyer.

Currently, there is no accurate way to appraise the value of a timeshare – a fact that should delight timeshare owners, as their values mustn’t be tied to the depressed market of the last few years. By advertising your timeshare by-owner, you are free to pursue a fair resale value. When an interested buyer presents themselves, you might consider bringing in a Real Estate Broker to close the deal – after all, that’s what they do.

1 comment January 25th, 2011

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