Every January, timeshare owners look to end their contracts as yearly maintenance bills come due. In 2021, the pandemic’s economic effects caused even more people to consider selling their vacation ownership.
While 7 out of 8 U.S. timeshares owners are satisfied, one-in-four Americans have trouble paying their bills. A timeshare invoice is probably placed at the bottom of a stack of bills in a world of tough choices.
More than 850,000 people may be looking to sell their timeshares in the next two years, according to a recent ARDA survey. If that statistic is accurate, it implies that more than nine percent of respondents wish to get out of their timeshare contracts.
Do you have an unwanted timeshare? Is the maintenance fee a financial burden? Similar to other commitments, you can’t just walk away from a timeshare company. Here are five ways you can “divorce” your timeshare legally that don’t include paying thousands of dollars of upfront fees to timeshare exit companies or to a timeshare lawyer. Did you know that ending your timeshare contract is something you can do on your own? This is The Way.
Option #1: Hurry! Use Your Rescission Period
If you just bought and want to know how to get out of a timeshare contract, hopefully, you’re reading this while you’re still on vacation. There is a rescission period cooling off timeframe to cancel timeshare purchases AND get your money back like a mortgage agreement for your house. The length of your rescission period depends on the timeshare law in the state your timeshare is located. You have 3-15 days to contact the resort and file a rescission letter for a timeshare cancellation.
How to Get Out of a Timeshare with a Rescission Letter
To start a timeshare cancellation, you need to notify them in writing within your rescission period. The contents of a rescission letter vary by resort, and the details can be found in your timeshare contract. Make sure you read this carefully and include every single item required to cancel your timeshare purchase. If you leave something out of the letter, that’s technically a timeshare contract loophole that they can use to deny your request.
Timeshare Users Group (TUG), the oldest and largest timeshare owners group and advocacy organization, developed a starter letter for people to cancel an unwanted timeshare. TUG reports that the average person saves $18,000 by completing a timeshare termination this way.
Lastly, double and triple-check that you have delivery confirmation paperwork that proves you’ve sent the purchase cancellation letter by the required date. Finally, if you contact the timeshare company, make sure you speak to a member of their financial services or legal team and not a timeshare salesperson. The latter will try and convince you not to cancel your timeshare contract as it affects their bottom line.
Option #2: How to Get Out of a Timeshare via a Deedback Program
If you are outside of the 1-2 week rescission period and want to cancel your timeshare contract, your first call should be to your timeshare company. Most large resorts and chains have timeshare exit programs for owners who do not have an outstanding loan on their timeshare. The fastest timeshare exit strategy is through your home resort if you are done with mortgage payments. It can be as simple as one phone call, and you can give your unwanted timeshare back. No expensive termination team or exit company is needed!
The best way to find your company is through the American Resort Development Association’s Safe Exit website, guiding timeshare owners through the timeshare exit process. Many people reported giving their timeshare back, quickly, for absolutely free! If your resort isn’t listed on the American Resort Development Association’s Safe Exit website, contact the Owner Services representative at your resort to see how to get out of a timeshare with their company.
Remember, no third party can end your financial obligation to your mortgage company as part of a timeshare termination. If you haven’t spoken to your lender about your hardship or that you’d prefer timeshare freedom, now is the time to communicate directly about your situation.
Option #3: Give Your Timeshare Away to Family or Friends
Have you asked a loved one if they’d like to take over your timeshare contract? Has a family member or group of friends timeshare traveled with you and enjoyed it? Perhaps they’d like a gift of future vacations. Have handy all the relevant financial information such as your annual maintenance fees, legal closing costs, and resort transfer fees for the conversation.
If you’re thinking about how to get out of a timeshare by giving it away, a little bit of marketing goes a long way! Illustrate for them that your annual timeshare fees are cheaper than booking the same vacation directly from the resort or hotel discount sites. Take screenshots of your ownership week on the hotel’s reservation page and hotel booking sites. A picture’s worth a thousand words when explaining how this saves them money on future trips.
To sweeten your timeshare donation offer, pass along advice on how timeshares work and how they can hack timeshare ownership by exchanging this timeshare for vacations across the world at a fraction of the price!
Option #4: Transfer Your Timeshare Contract to Another Owner at Your Resort
People get rid of their timeshare legally by transferring their timeshare contract to an existing owner at their home resort. Some people want to buy timeshare weeks for additional vacations or bring family and friends along on their annual trip. There is no reason to hire a timeshare exit team when you can sell a timeshare you no longer want directly to another owner! How to get out of a timeshare this way if you don’t know any other owners?
Don’t worry. Finding them is easy! Locate your resort’s Facebook owner’s group using “Name of Your Resort Owners” as the search term. Once you’ve found and joined your vacation club group, create a Facebook post to advertise the timeshare ownership that you no longer want. Include your specific week, size of your unit/number of points, annual maintenance fees, and the total closing costs.
I’ve seen firsthand many of these postings and the quick response they’ve garnered from interest owners. If you no longer want your ownership, this is a quick and super cheap way to sell your timeshare without a real estate agent.
Option #5: List Your Timeshare Contract on the Resale Market Competitively
Did you know there is a flourishing resale market for timeshares? If you’re motivated to transfer your timeshare contract, make sure that you list yours for a competitive price. Research multiple timeshare resale sites to locate comparable units and their final sales price. You don’t need a high-priced law firm. You need an interested buyer and a timeshare closing company, and you’ve got your timeshare freedom.
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This article has been produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos.
Monica Fish helps her fellow adventurers live a financially savvy life so they can travel and explore our beautiful world no matter their budget. She writes about smart timeshare ownership, vacation tips and tricks, NYC Metro Area trips and activities, and frugal, yet rich, living at PlannerAtHeart.com.