There are literally thousands of timeshare owners eager to sell their units and that has produced a resale market. If you decide to try and sell your resort property through a resales agent, be extremely careful and know exactly what you are paying for. Above all else, get everything in writing. Unfortunately, you can lose a lot of money trying to sell your unit if you’re not careful.
First and foremost, you should avoid resellers that charge an upfront selling fee. Many owner, desperate to get rid of their unit, end up paying a listing company an upfront fee of anywhere between $300 to $900. The listing company representative is often able to talk the seller into the listing price by convincing the owner that the unit can sell for a price many times more than its true worth.
Once the owner pays the listing fees, the unit will rarely sell because the price is far too high for the market and the selling agent has no incentive to try to sell the unit since he has already been paid. In fact, the agent has an incentive for the unit not to sell. When the one-year listing contract comes to an end, the agent will contact the seller in an attempt to get him to re-list the resort unit for another $300 to $900. This means if the timeshare fails to sell, he has an opportunity to earn more money.
To make matters worse, the owner has been incurring maintenance fees, special assessment fees and taxes on the property the entire time the unit has not sold. In worse case scenarios, a owner can spend more money trying to sell their unit than the price that it eventually sells for.
If you decide to go with a reseller, make sure to choose one who earns his money through commission after the sale. In addition, you will want to take the following steps to ensure you have a legitimate agent representing you rather than a con-artist trying to take you for more money.
1) Always thoroughly check out the reseller by contacting the Better Business Bureau, your state Attorney General, and the local consumer protection agencies in the state where the reseller is located. If there are any complaints against the reseller, walk away.
2) Never make any commitment over the phone or online until you’ve had a chance to check out the reseller.
3) Ask the reseller for all information in writing.
4) Ask for proof that the reseller is licensed to sell real estate where your timeshare is located. Always verify the information you receive with the Real Estate Commission in that state.
5) Ask for references from satisfied clients of the reseller and contact those references for any problems that may have occurred.
6) Get in writing exactly how the reseller will advertise and promote the unit and what services he will perform. Have the reseller list in writing exactly what type and how often you will receive updated reports on the progress of the sale. Also get in writing whether you can rent or sell the unit on your own at the same time the reseller is trying to sell your unit, the length or term of the contract to sell, and who is responsible for documenting and closing the sale.
7) Ask the reseller about all fees involved and the timing these fees cover. Get all refund policies and promises in writing.
8) Never sign a contract if it has wording that you are not 100% satisfied with. Request changes to any part you disagree with and walk away if the reseller won’t make the changes.
Choosing the correct reseller will likely determine whether you sell your unit at a fair price without excessive fees, or find that you are out a lot more money with the resort propery still in your name.