Pricing: The Truth

By M. Beddingfield

OK, so you bought a timeshare. Whether you’ve just came to the realization that it’s not the best financial move you ever made or you’ve been trying to unload your timeshare for months, now is always a good time to get rid of a timeshare.

The first thing you have to do, if you are serious about selling, is admit that your timeshare is worthless. The only value in a timeshare is in its use. Do not think of selling as a way to recoup your losses, that’s just not going to happen. 95% of all timeshares have a resale value of 15% to 35% of the original developer’s cost. The other 5% are high demand locations and red week timeshares. They typically sell for only 35% to 50% of the original costs.

Don’t think about the profit you will be making from the sale of your timeshare. Accept that there will be no profit. Consider instead, all those years of maintenance fees and other costs. When you begin to calculate the savings of say $500 a year for 10 years, the money begins to really add up. Keep in mind that maintenance fees increase just like the cost of living, so your savings could be substantial over the lifetime of your timeshare.

You have to realize that you can’t use the same methods to sell a timeshare as you would a house. A house is a unique, permanent family dwelling. A home. When selling a house, you start with the highest price and leave room to come down if needed.

A timeshare is transient. It’s a cookie-cutter copy of a hundred other timeshares. Its value is in the location and amenities. If you want to sell your timeshare, you must decide what the lowest acceptable price is and quote that price.

A common mistake that many owners make when trying to price a timeshare is to call the resort that sold them the property. The resort will quote a price that they would attempt to resale at. This price will be highly inflated with commissions, incentives and closing costs. The seller thinks this is the value of the timeshare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are many things to consider when setting the lowest acceptable price. Don’t make the mistake of comparing listings and basing your price on what other timeshares are listed for. There are hundreds of owners, just like you, trying to unload timeshares. Only they haven’t done their homework and they’re listing for the same price as the next guy. Think like a buyer. If you were looking to purchase a timeshare, wouldn’t you go for the lowest price?

Decide how you want to sell your timeshare. The most logical way is to list online and reach a larger market. Do you use an agent, classified ads, or auctions? Do you want to tackle this without a middle man and sell it yourself? Be smart and do some research. Don’t be taken in by any company that asks for non-refundable fees, such as up-front listing fees or inflated advertising fees. They don’t care if they sell your timeshare and will often overprice so that they can continue to collect more fees with relisting. Don’t be so eager to sell that you fall for the increasing amount of companies that actually make you pay a fee to let them take the timeshare off your hands.

I would suggest that you first try to sell your timeshare yourself. Use due diligence and frequent websites that sell timeshares. Watch what sells and what doesn’t. Price your timeshare at or below the lowest prices in a comparable area. Let the buyers know that you are willing to negotiate. Remember, you are not looking to make a profit, but saving thousands in yearly costs. If you are serious about selling your timeshare, there are buyers out there looking for you. Make yourself accessible and they will come.

The actual selling of a timeshare is complicated; there are many details and parties involved. Although the monetary value is less, there is more documentation and processing involved than when selling a house. Consider using a reputable, licensed escrow company or attorney to protect you and the buyer.