The following are
suggestions of the author, may not cover all
the legal requirements of all states or foreign countries, are meant
merely as a guide, and are specifically NOT offered or intended as
legal advice. For legal advice on this and other ownership issues,
please contact an attorney of your choice.
Initial Issue - Developing a Buyer-Seller
Relationship Based on Trust
For many TUGgers, the first chance to sell that unneeded
timeshare, or purchase that bargain timeshare, may result from an
Internet ad. The following discussion is assuming that the parties have
never met in person, but have reached agreement over the Internet or
via telephone. Should you attempt to transfer the timeshare yourself?
Share Information The buyer and
should have initial discussions and exchange of information via the
Internet. By carefully reading the responses to questions of the other
party, it is possible to get a good indication of the trustworthiness
of that individual or company. The first rule - if you do not feel
comfortable with the other person and the information furnished, do not
go through with the transaction. Exchange full names of all persons
whose names will appear on the new deeds; social security numbers;
telephone, fax, and e-mail contact information; physical addresses (not
just post office box addresses, which may not be adequate for deed
recording purposes). At this point, it is often good to have a
telephone conversation, so that the parties can further evaluate the
other people involved in the transaction. If the other party is
unwilling to exchange such information, you may have to re-evaluate the
Contact the Resort or Management Company -
Call the resort. Get the names of contact people. You will get a good
indication of how cooperative and helpful resort management is. You may
find at this point that you would rather not own there!! Find out if
the seller is up-to-date on maintenance fee payments, whether there are
any liens on the property, whether there is still money owing on an
original sales/purchase agreement through the resort, whether the
current weeks are still available. Also, ask questions about the size
and condition of the resort, the homeowners’ association, history of
special assessments, plans for upgrades and improvements, special
awards, planned activities, amenities, sales and resale activity.
You can also get specific information on things like
swapping of weeks through the resort, cost and availability of
inexpensive bonus time, whether the resort belongs to a larger grouping
of resorts and rights to use of other resorts, and exchanges within
that group, how the floating week or points system works, and whether
there are options like "split weeks". Are there additional costs if
family members, friends, or associates use your week? Are pets allowed?
Midweek linen exchange? Washer/dryer in the unit? Full kitchens? Boat
ramps? Golf privileges? On-site restaurant or party facilities?
Suitability of resort activities center for children? Whether ownership
is tied to specific real estate - like a specific unit number/week. You
can also find out if the resort will send you copies of past
newsletters and resort information.
Draw Up An Earnest Money Contract
timeshare transfer is a real estate contract, just like the purchase of
a house, and should be as detailed. List in the Earnest Money Contract
the name of the resort, the week(s) and unit number(s), and season(s)
of the weeks being transferred. Whether the week(s) are fixed,
floating, or tied to a points system. Whether the interest is "fee
simple" or "estate for years" or "membership" or some other system.
List also who is responsible for past and present maintenance fee
payments, special assessments, and delinquent fees; who has the right
to use present and future-year weeks; and whether any spacebanked weeks
are included in the sale. Is there a transfer of an RCI or II
membership included with the sale? Is the sale being financed by the
seller? What happens in case of a default? Who pays any resort transfer
fees? Terms of the sale should be detailed! List names, address,
telephone numbers, and have all parties sign the contract (and initial
Exchange Copies of Original Deeds and Sales
- from such documents, you can often determine if there
"release of lien" from the original purchase, who the real owners are
(including if any are deceased and whether ownership is subject to
probate proceedings), and any specific state or county or resort
requirements for transferring ownership.
Title Insurance -
it is assumed that both parties have done "due diligence" in finding
out anything adverse about the transfer and the resort, and that the
purchase cost is fairly small. If you are very conservative in your
money management, it may be worth your while and your peace of mind to
purchase title insurance from a title company and pay all the other
closing costs associated with closing a standard real estate contract.
Such fees and costs may easily add a thousand dollars or more to the
transaction. It is your call. This article discusses Title Insurance
at minimum, there
1) a new deed drawn
2) a covering letter and check to be
sent to the County Clerk’s/Recorder’s Office in the county in which the
timeshare is located
3) a covering letter from the seller to the
resort notifying the resort of the change of ownership.
Deed - depending on the county and
and the ownership being sold/purchased, there is almost always a deed
involved. Some "memberships" may only involve a change in the owner of
the membership (for example, right-to-use the remaining twenty years
membership in a club), and no deed may be involved. Obviously, such an
ownership is probably not as valuable as is one involving a sale of
deeded real estate. The deed may be a Warranty Deed - where the
purchaser is warranting the ownership, or a Quitclaim Deed - where the
owner is simply transferring whatever interest he/she owns (or doesn’t
own). (For some states, the document may be called a Bargain and Sale
Deed, or a Cash Sale Deed, or one of a myriad of other possible
documents). The previous deed can give your attorney (or you, if you
want to chance it), a good indication of the requirements of that
county, including the sort of acknowledgment/declaration, witnessing,
and notarization required. In some states, you must disclose exactly
how much money was involved in the transfer; in others, "ten dollars
and other valuable consideration" is sufficient.
Recording - if there is a deed, you
need to record it with the county clerk’s or county recorder’s office.
You will send the original of the signed and notarized deed. Make
copies for all parties before sending off the original. There will be a
recording fee of anywhere from about $10 on up. Check the clerk’s
website or call the recorder’s office. The county will often have
specific requirements for recordation that you must meet, or the deed
will be sent back. Most specifically, you must pay ALL of the recording
fees. Sometimes, the various states require a "use fee" or "sales tax"
or "county fee" other fee to be paid at the same time. Sometimes there
are additional affidavits or tax forms detailing the dollar amount of
the sale and the contact information of the parties - especially if
taxes are involved!! Many of these forms can be downloaded from the
websites of the county clerk’s office. Let the recorder know to whom
the recorded deed should be sent - usually to the "Grantee" (the
purchaser). Florida, California, and Louisiana are among the states
where you must be especially careful in filling out the forms properly
and including all the necessary forms.
Resort Notification - the seller
a letter to the resort or management company detailing the transaction.
The letter should include the designation of the timeshare, including
any internal account numbers, the week and unit number, and season.
Also, the contact information of the purchaser including social
security numbers, telephone numbers, and addresses should be included.
List who has the rights to particular weeks, and billing addresses and
dates from which responsibility for paying maintenance fees and other
delinquent amounts will transfer. There may be a transfer fee collected
by the resort - most likely if the resort is part of a larger group.
Finally, the purchaser must insure that the resort gets a copy of the
signed, notarized AND recorded deed. Many will not transfer ownership
records (and allow rights to use) until such is received.
Membership Transfer Application - if
spacebanked weeks or exchange company membership are included in the
transfer, both parties must fill out and sign the Membership Transfer
Application in the back of the RCI book There may be a similar form for
So, should you attempt the transfer yourself without the
of an attorney? Are you comfortable that you can fulfill the above
guidelines? You decide. You may want to look below for some more
potential pitfalls in drawing up your own new deed.
One more thing. You probably do not "legally" need an
to draw up the documents - if you are one of the parties involved in
the transaction. However, if you decide to draw up a deed for someone
else, you are probably practicing law without a license!!
This page discusses the legal requirements by state for
this: Timeshare Closing Requirements by State
Pitfalls in Drawing Up Your Own New Deed
Because of my profession, I may be a little biased, but
somewhat concerned about the advice being offered recently on TUG in a
thread on "Selling a Timeshare". Again, I am not suggesting that a
party to the transaction could not or should not draw up the new deed -
only that there are some things you might want to consider, to avoid
some real problems.
Again, the following is NOT
intended as legal advice, but just
a general guideline when you are drawing up a new deed. First, if you
are not sure what you are doing, you might want to consider the
SUGGESTION 1: Call the legal department at your
They MAY be able to furnish you with 1) hints for
the new deed - including deed formats or headings that could trigger
large tax assessments, or little or no tax assessments on the
sale; 2) addresses, telephone numbers, and websites for
local county clerk/county recorder's office; and 3) blank deed forms
(or recent deeds with names removed) that the resort is currently
using for ownership transfers.
SUGGESTION 2: Call the county
They will give you information regarding mailing
recording fees and tax fee information, and any other tax forms or
affidavits that have to be included with the new deed - in
order to get it recorded.
SUGGESTION 3: Look at the above information on
Transferring a Timeshare Ownership for general information.
What are the problems with the thread on "Selling a
The consensus seems to be that all you have to do is
copy the old deed, or buy or obtain a form deed from a stationery
store, or from a reseller, or from a website, then fill in a little
information. In many cases, that will work fine,
THE OLD DEED MAY IN FACT BE AN OLD DEED
- Real estate transfers are governed by state and local
statutes. The state legislatures pass new laws, including Timeshare
Acts, and they do revise those laws. There may be new requirements for
the deed based on the new/updated statutes.
- Timeshare resorts change "by-laws", change ownership
including season designations. The deed may need to reflect those
changes. Otherwise, someone may be buying a red week which RCI has
changed to a white week, or visa versa. Your "super" season may have
been changed by the HOA to "special" season. You may need to add
information in the deed referring to the changes in the Amended
Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, which would have been recorded
in the county clerk's office.
- The Original Grantor on the old deed may have been
developer. Developers often reserve rights to themselves and to the
other owners - such as use of the resort during all other time
intervals that you are NOT purchasing/selling. If you simply put the
seller's name in place of the developer, the Grantor's (seller)
"reservations" will not make any sense.
- If the Original Grantor was a developer or
"acknowledgment/notary" block will have to be changed to a format that
reflects that the seller is an individual, not a corporate officer.
- 5. The state/local laws may have changed to require
be information on the deed as to who actually prepared it, and contact
IF YOU PREPARE A DEED FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Real estate transfers are legal documents. A "party" to
transaction may almost always prepare the new deed. However, if you are
preparing a deed for someone else, whether or not you charge a fee, you
may be practicing law in that state without a license.
OTHER POTENTIAL PITFALLS
- If one of the sellers is deceased, the title needs to
changed to reflect the current owner - otherwise, ownership transfer
may not be proper in that state.
Consult your attorney or the attorney that dealt with the estate and
- Each state has individual statutes and regulations.
that great-looking deed from your purchase of that Texas timeshare will
NOT work in neighboring
- If you don't fill out and send any required tax forms
affidavits with the new deed to the recording office, or if you do not
figure the fees and taxes correctly, they WILL send it back.
- In one state, you need to send the new deed to the
town hall clerk's office so that they can put a stamp on it - that all
transfer taxes have been paid. You also need to send two different
checks and stamped and addressed envelopes so that the town hall clerk
can forward the deed to the County Treasurer's Office (along with the
check for the "County Transfer Tax"; then to the Clerk of Court of that
county, along with another check, to cover the "Recordation Tax", the
"State Transfer Tax", and the "Deed Recording Fee". That is admittedly
one of the more difficult transfers and for most states it is much
simpler - simply sending the deed and a check to the County Clerk's
Office. But, you need to know!!
- Make sure the "legal description" of the timeshare
is correct - including if you are only transferring one of several
- Make sure the resort gets a cover letter and a copy
SIGNED AND NOTARIZED AND RECORDED DEED - otherwise, they may refuse to
change the ownership records, and someone may lose the rights to use or
spacebank a week.
- Look the old deed over carefully for tax stamps and
similar. It may give you some strong hints that you will need to
prepare tax forms and/or affidavits to go along with the deed.
- In some states, the notarization block requires one
witnesses to the signing process. Add the proper "witness block" if
that state/locality so requires.
- If you are transferring the deed by mail or Internet,
will need to provide separate blocks for notarization by the sellers
and by the buyers.
Again, the above is not intended
as legal advice; only as a
general guideline. If you have questions, consult an attorney of your
choice. I am not suggesting that you should not draw up
your new deed yourself, only that you be careful. In some states, the
transferring procedure may not be obvious from the old deed or from the
store-bought blank deed.
The Final Word!
you buy a Timeshare, you simply aren't given any sort of instruction
manual or advice whatsoever about how best to use it, or even what is
expected of you as an owner
! TUG exists to
answer these very questions and help you make the most of your
Timeshare! Whether you are an existing owner, brand new
owner, or simply looking to buy your first Timeshare, finding TUG will
be the next best thing in your Timeshare Journey (right behind actually
taking your vacations!)
certainly suggest you
read up on any and all of the other articles in the TUG advice section
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