Time Share Sellers Beware

Life Transitions Planning

In these tough economic times, thousands of time-share owners are anxious to dump their beachfront albatrosses. But it can be tough. Indeed, last year, time-share sales dropped by 40 percent. Preying on this period of desperation, self-proclaimed “time-share resellers” identify owners through public property records or lists bought or stolen from resort developers and then contact them with word that their problem is over.

If you own a time share, then you probably have received unsolicited phone calls and postcards from “resellers” who promise a quick sale your time share unit to buyers they have already lined up. They all make the same promises and they all say they need money upfront in order to make it happen.

In many states, time-share reselling scams are the most common consumer complaint. The typical target profile is some one who desperately wants to sell a unit that they don’t use anymore and who are having a hard time paying the annual maintenance fees.

Here are some tips if you are looking to sell a time share:

  • Never pay upfront fees
  • Any unsolicited contact from a time-share reseller, particularly with the promise of a big payoff, is a red flag
  • On average, one-week units sell for $20,000 new and, on resale, fetch as little as a few thousand dollars, depending on market conditions
  • Check with your resort about any resale programs it offers, newsletters with “for sale” listings. or partnerships with local real estate agents
  • Expect to pay a 10 to 30 percent commission to a legitimate agent
  • When listing online, stick with established websites such as http://www.redweek.com/ or http://www.tug2.net. They may charge up to $35 a year
  • Before doing business with any reseller, check its reputation at http://www.bbb.org/ and with your resort
  • Visit www.vacationbetter.org for more sales tips.
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