What to do with your unwanted timeshare

© Andrea Reynolds, 2005 - 2014. From the archives.


A few years ago my elderly father gave up traveling and decided his two week (back-to-back) Labor Day timeshares on the coast of North Carolina were costing him $1,000 a year in maintenance fees. He had paid two "timeshare advertising companies" upfront at least $500 each to sell his shares for him. That was a waste of money. Months went by and all they did was print a tiny ad in tiny type which was lost in a large catalog of other unwanted timeshares.

So I took on the task. I posted six photos of the timeshare unit, its location, description and map on my
web site and waited to see what would happen. Yes, this is passive selling, but it cost me, and Dad, nothing. In a little over a year someone contacted me and offered $3,000 which was the current value of the points. I knew we would not likely find another buyer so I urged my father to accept, and to handle the transaction, they used a local lawyer in the same town as the timeshare. There was no realtor commission to pay, just the lawyer fee which was nominal.

One day I heard
Clark Howard say on his radio show that there was no way his caller was going to be able to sell her timeshare and urged her to just give it as a gift to family members. Obviously, I only partly agree.

My father could have done that: he could have just given me his two weeks and then I would have had a lovely vacation spot that would have cost me only $1,000 in annual maintenance fees. I could have stayed in it, or traded it for a different location.

• If you have two children and own two timeshares, it would be somewhat easy to split them between the two. And of course, if you have only a one-week timeshare that sleeps six, perhaps your adult children could share.

• Yes, you could sign over a timeshare week to your children as a
wedding gift so they have a free honeymoon location (for the rest of their lives).

• Or you could simply allow friends to use your week for a fair payment for
honeymoons and vacations. If you can break even on renting it out, you can keep the timeshare in your name for years to come.

• You can designate family members as beneficiaries of your timeshares in
your Will.

• Or you could
donate unwanted timeshares to your local PBS station and let the station figure out a way to sell the timeshares for cash (if they are willing to take it).

• Or put your timeshare in their annual fundraising auction to offer to subscribers. Consider
other charities that accept vehicles as donated items.

If you give away a timeshare, you don't make money, but you stop having a money drain from the annual fees, and if you
talk to your accountant, there may be a tax advantage in giving it or donating it. If you donate it, be sure to get a receipt from the recipient with a date on it.

And of course, if you insist on selling it, there is eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji, and some local buy/sell groups on Facebook, etc. Those may involve an element of danger - both physically and financially - and I'm not sure I'd attempt to sell anything of significant value that way. I've encountered a number of scammers on those sites and an elderly person who is trusting may not fare well with a masterful scammer.

So giving away your timeshare(s) may be less hassle in the long run. But keep in mind not everyone wants to own timeshares even if they can trade for a more desired location.

But if your timeshare is sitting vacant, I'd be happy to use it so it doesn't go to waste. ;-)

Andrea


Comments?
crisiswriter@gmail.com


Money blogger Andrea Reynolds doesn't have another timeshare to sell you, but she is renovating a 2 bedroom bungalow which will be for sale in a few months. She is the author of Sell Your Mobile Home in 60 Days or Less and Save $500 to $6000 on Agent Fees. The 150 tips work for all kinds of homes. Order your copy here: www.AndreaReynolds.com/sellhome.html


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