Timeshare, also called vacation ownership, is a popular option for those who love to go on vacations. However, a change in financial situation, not to mention the restricted travel that’s been set in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, makes committing to an annual vacation spot impractical and perhaps senseless. You’re probably wondering, how to get out of a timeshare without ruining your credit score, especially during the pandemic?
In this article
- Can You Get Rid of a Timeshare?
- Will Canceling Your Timeshare Ownership Ruin Your Credit?
- What Happens if You Stop Paying on Your Timeshare?
- How to Get Out of a Timeshare?
- How To Write A Timeshare Cancellation Letter?
- What is the Average Cost to Get Out of a Timeshare?
- What are the Considerations if You Want to Get Out of a Timeshare?
- Tips For Managing The Situation
- What are the Options to Avoid?
Fortunately, timeshare cancellation is possible. You may terminate the vacation ownership contract if it’s within the rescission period. You may also return your timeshare to the timeshare company or the resort or sell it for a cheaper price.
You won’t ruin your credit if you get out of a timeshare as long as you continue to pay the mortgage or any annual maintenance fee on time. Regardless of how you plan to get rid of a timeshare and at what stage of the exit process you’re in, you need to keep up with your payments. Whether you still need to list your timeshare or you’ve found someone you’d like to give it to, you need to keep up with the payments.
Not only will you get rid of a timeshare without ruining your credit but you’ll also have higher chances of getting out of the timeshare successfully. If you list your timeshare ownership, you’ll get to attract more buyers if all fees have been paid up.
As a timeshare owner, you have financial obligations that you need to fulfill, such as annual maintenance fees. If you stop or fail to pay your timeshare fees or cost, the company that manages it may take legal action against you. Plus, the delinquency will be reported to all major credit bureaus, which could lead to a lower credit score. If you own a deeded timeshare, you may face foreclosure if you stop paying on your timeshare.
If you own a right-to-use timeshare, you will start receiving calls and demand letters. The timeshare management company may also send your bill to a collection agency or take you to civil court. If they manage to get a judgment, they may be allowed to execute a bank levy or wage garnishment to get the money you owe.
1. Timeshare Cancellation
Timeshare cancellation allows you to get out of a timeshare purchase and get a full refund without incurring a penalty. However, it must be executed within a certain time frame.
Use the Rescission Period
If you recently purchased a timeshare, you can still cancel as long as it’s still within the rescission period. It’s a short time frame, which usually ranges from 3 to 15 days starting from the day you bought the timeshare or in some cases, the date when you got the public offering statement.
The rescission laws are based on the location of the timeshares and not your place of residence. For example, if you bought a timeshare in Indiana, you have 3 days to rescind the contract. If you bought a timeshare in Alaska, you have up to 15 days to cancel. Therefore, if you purchased a timeshare in a different country, you need to research their laws for timeshare buying and cancellation.
Furthermore, you can’t rely on a verbal agreement when canceling a timeshare. You need to write a timeshare cancellation letter to the developer or resort. Make sure that the letter has been mailed and received by sending it through certified mail.
What if the Timeshare Cancellation Period has Passed?
You still have some options if you want to get out of a timeshare but it’s past the rescission deadline. Talk to your timeshare company or developer and inquire if they offer deed back programs, which allow you to return or sell your ownership if you meet certain requirements.
You may also consider working with a timeshare exit company to help you with the cancellation. Check the American Resort Development Association and the Better Business Bureau to help you find legitimate companies.
2. Sell Your Timeshare
Prepare To Sell In The Resale Market
If you’re no longer covered by the rescission period, you may consider selling your timeshare. However, you need to be realistic with your asking price. If the supply exceeds the demand in the real estate market, it means there are more people selling timeshares than the number of individuals looking to buy one. So you’d have to sell your timeshare at a price that’s much lower than the price you initially paid to the developer.
You can list your timeshare on social media giants, such as Facebook, or on online listings including Craigslist and eBay. You can also try Redweek.com or TUGBBS.com, which are online portals that accommodate the timeshare resale market. Timeshare Only is a resale marketplace that is accredited by the BBB and ARDA where you may sell your timeshare.
Find a Broker Who Can Help You Sell Your Timeshare
If you can’t find a buyer for your timeshares or just don’t want to spend time figuring out how to sell it, you can find a broker who can help. You’ll find companies such as Time Share Broker Sales and A Timeshare Broker, Inc. that offer a paid timeshare for sale service.
You must do your due diligence when looking for legitimate brokers or companies to avoid getting scammed. You need to check and verify the reseller, ask for their service fees and put everything in writing.
Work with a Timeshare Exit Company
If you don’t want to deal with the ins and outs of selling a timeshare, why don’t you hire a timeshare exit company? You must do your research so you can avoid getting scammed by people who just want your money and have no plans of helping you out. You need to find a reputable firm, such as Time Share Exit Companies and Wesley Financial Group, with an excellent track record of helping people get out of a timeshare.
3. Giveback or Sell Your Timeshare To The Developer
Some timeshare companies allow their buyers to sell their unit back at a certain discounted amount. Check your contact if there’s a clause that says you’re allowed to do this. You will incur losses because the selling price will be lower than what you originally paid. But when you manage to sell it, you no longer have to deal with the maintenance costs and annual charges for something that you can’t or no longer want to use.
Deed Back Clause
If your contract has a deed-back clause, you can return the ownership rights or timeshare to the resort or developer. However, you need to meet certain conditions as stipulated on your contract including making timely maintenance or mortgage payments.
Since you’re returning or relinquishing ownership, no money will be involved. It means any equity you may have built up through the timeshare will be forfeited. It may seem like a waste of money but on the other hand, you’ll be free of this financial burden.
Deed Back Program
Check your contract if it supports a deed back program, which allows you to return your timeshare to the resort or developer provided that certain requirements are met. The eligibility criteria differ but most resort or developers require that all the charges, including the maintenance costs, are paid in full. Some require an upfront fee while others may offer to purchase the timeshare back at a fraction of its initial price.
4. Ask Your Developer For Temporary Relief
Reach out to your timeshare developer for help. They may offer relief packages to timeshare owners who are struggling financially because of the pandemic or other financial difficulties. Ask if they offer any loan deferral options or other financial assistance that can give you some sort of temporary relief until you can come up with a strategy to get rid of a timeshare permanently.
Just like all other agreements, everything must be put in writing when you cancel your timeshare contract. Your timeshare exit letter must include the following information:
- The current date
- Name of the timeshare company
- Names on the timeshare contract
- Your address, phone number, and email address
- Contract number
- Date of purchase
- Brief description of the timeshare
- A clear and concise statement of cancellation
Make sure to have a copy of the timeshare exit letter before you send it through certified mail with proof of mailing date and receipt.
The cost of getting out of a timeshare varies depending on various factors including the number of contracts attached to it. According to the data provided by the Timeshare Exit Team, the average figure is $4,000, which includes the annual maintenance fees, closing costs, broker fees, lawyer fees. Some say it could reach up to $6,000 if it comes with multiple contracts.
A new contract is added to your timeshare every time you make changes or upgrades to your current agreement such as changing the vacation dates. When you try to get out of a timeshare, each contract needs to be canceled. It means more work for the timeshare exit service, which translates to higher costs.
A timeshare’s average cost is $22,942 per interval, according to a report from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). You have to pay an average of $1,000 for its annual maintenance depending on its size. Aside from the annual fees, you also have to factor in the mortgage payments. You need to cover all these costs if you don’t get out of the timeshare.
How will you take care of these expenses if you’re having money worries? Not to mention the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the government to set in place travel restrictions. Owning a timeshare but not being able to use it makes no sense.
Timeshares lose their value over time. If you decide to sell your timeshare, you need to expect to get a lower resale price than what you paid for initially. You may not get all of your money back but you’ll save money in the long run since you won’t be paying for something that you can’t or won’t use.
Is it a Waste to Sell a Timeshare Since there’s Already a Vaccine?
Although the U.S. and other nations have started to roll out their vaccination programs, it’s still too early to tell if it’s already safe to travel. Some states have opened their border but there’s still a possibility that they may shut down once again if there’s a spike in new cases. It’s up to you whether you would like to take the risk or sell the timeshare you have now and just buy another one later on once the problem with the pandemic has been resolved.
Is it Worth it to Get Out of a Timeshare?
Yes, it is worth it to get out of a timeshare especially if you’re struggling financially and can no longer pay for it. You may have to spend thousands of dollars to get rid of it but you’ll realize that the cost is worth it in the long run. You will also save yourself a lot of mental stress not to have this as an albatross around your neck.
Tips For Managing The Situation
1. Check If You Can Still Cancel The Contract
If you signed on a timeshare contract recently, you may still have time to cancel the contract. Most timeshare contracts come with a rescission period wherein you can back out of the agreement when you feel buyer’s remorse. This retraction period varies from one state to another but it can be between 3 and 15 days. It starts on the date you signed the contract. If you decide to cancel it within that time, you don’t have to provide any elaborate explanation.
How to get out of timeshare legally? In Michigan, you have 9 nine days to cancel your timeshare after you signed the contract. In Alabama, the rescission period is five days, seven in California, and ten days in California. The cooling off or revocation period is different from one state to another so be sure to check your contract first.
You should also check your contract for a deed-back clause or program that allows you to return or sell your timeshare back to the resort or developer if you meet certain conditions.
2. Consult an Attorney
When you have a timeshare, any upgrade or change you make to the original agreement will be considered a new contract. The more changes the more contracts you need to get out of if you’re thinking of getting rid of a timeshare. You may consider hiring an attorney who can take care of the legal aspect of exiting a timeshare. If you do, make sure to hire one who’s an expert in contract law.
3. Work With A Timeshare Exit Company
You may also hire a Timeshare exit team to take care of your timeshare problem. A timeshare exit company gives you access to the professional help and resources you need to get out of a timeshare contract legally.
4. Continue Paying Your Fees
You should continue paying the fees until the timeshare exit has been finalized. Always remember that you still have to meet your financial obligation until you get out of your timeshare legally. You have to settle the fees as expected to avoid credit damage, additional charges, and the hassle of dealing with a collection company, or worse facing a lawsuit.
What are the Options to Avoid?
You’ve probably heard or read about how you can get out of how to get out of a timeshare. But not all suggestions are appropriate. You need to steer clear of some options such as the following.
Giving Your Timeshare Away
Remember that only a few resorts will agree to buy back timeshares. But many of them offer programs that allow timeshare owners to give them back for free. It may be a waste of money and investment, but if you or your broker can’t sell it, relinquishing your ownership for free could be your last option. This way, you no longer have to pay the ongoing fees for a timeshare that you can’t use or no longer afford.
However, this is not a recommended option. Come to think of it, you’re only giving it away because you want to get rid of the expenses and fees of keeping it. So, giving it away for free means you’re saddling the other person with the fees. The non-negotiable costs that the receiver needs to cover outweigh the benefit of receiving a timeshare for free. Do you want to pass on that burden to someone else?
Renting Out Your Timeshare
Renting out the timeshare is an option that many owners consider particularly those who can’t get rid of a timeshare. They believe that they can use the profit they get when renting out their timeshare to pay for the annual maintenance fees. However, this option comes with a lot of disadvantages. First of all, most resorts don’t allow renting out of Timeshare. Next, the renter may trash the place and you’ll end up having to pay for a massive repair cost.
Stopping Your Payments
Stopping your payments won’t make your timeshare go away. Even if you try to forget your financial obligations, the timeshare company won’t. They will turn over your unpaid dues to a collection company that may harass you until you pay up. Your credit rating will take a hit and you may even face a lawsuit.
Beware of Scams
Remember that scammers are everywhere and they’re just looking for the perfect timing to take advantage of people.
Here are some tips to help you avoid timeshare resale scams.
Verify The Reseller – Get in touch with the Better Business Bureau and check if there are complaints filed against the company. You may also contact your local consumer protection agency or the State Attorney General.
Ask For References – A reputable seller will not hesitate to provide you with references. When they do, get in touch with their past clients and ask about their experience.
Don’t Pay Upfront – It’s better to deal with a reseller who doesn’t require you to pay upfront so you don’t have to go through the hassle of coming after the seller and asking for a refund, in case they were unable to sell your timeshare.
Read and Understand the Contract – Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you read and understand everything that’s written on the contract. Pay close attention to what services you’ll get as well as the commission, fees, and other costs that you need to pay.
Timeshare is a good investment for some people. But if you can no longer afford to keep it or if the travel restrictions are preventing you from going on a vacation, then it may be sensible to get rid of your timeshare. Are you wondering how to get out of a timeshare without ruining your credit? Check your contract if timeshare cancellation is possible. You can also sell your timeshare or work with the best timeshare cancellation company. Just remember to keep on paying your fees until the timeshare exit has been finalized to avoid ruining your credit.