The main reason is quite simply, supply and demand. The supply of timeshare resales greatly exceeds the demand for resales. This has always been the case in the timeshare industry due to the fact that so few people even realize you can buy a timeshare resale!
The vast majority of owners only discover (or even think about) selling a timeshare on the resale market, when they are ready to sell! As a buyer it is common knowledge that you can buy a used car, but for some reason people fail to discover that you can do the exact same thing with timeshares! Most also dont consider there is no such thing as a "new" timeshare. Unless you are absolutely the very first person to stay in that room at that resort, someone has been there before you!
With this information and considering the struggling economy in the past years and ever increasing maintenance fees, sellers outnumber buyers by a huge margin. This has driven the prices of resales down to levels never before seen in this industry. Some timeshares have depreciated over 99% and it is more and more common for individuals to actually list their timeshares for a single dollar in hopes that someone will take them!
There are hundreds of Timeshares for sale right here on TUG, and eBay from owners who are just looking to get out of their annual Maintenance Fees! While we are not saying this is the case for all timeshares, it is certainly a much different message than you would read on other resale websites that want nothing more than for you to pay them money upfront in the hopes your timeshare will get sold.
The fact remains that if you do NOT do your research and obtain an accurate and REASONABLE resale price for your timeshare, it simply wont sell...PERIOD. If someone tells you differently, they are lying to you...and are likely about to ask you to pay them money. Telling you the TRUTH is not going to get you to part with your money, as who would pay knowing their timeshare has zero chance of selling at a price anywhere near what you paid for it new from the developer!
It was probably in response to a promotional offering with some type of free gifts or vacations. Then you where probably only informed about the developer's property and prices. Nothing at all about resales, even if they were available at the same resort. The developer spends between 40 and 60% of the selling price of the timeshare just to MARKET each unit at a new resort.
Then in spite of the over inflated prices and high pressure sales tactics, many people buy without really knowing what they are getting involved in. Being shown a book full of thousands of resorts and being told they could trade to any of them they wanted is persuasive and distracts the buyer from reality. Sound Familiar?
When you buy a timeshare, you are not given instructions on how to use it. You are not told that you can rent it out versus leaving it unused, you are given no explanation the exchanging process detail. It's like being handed the controls to an airplane and being told to figure it out on your own! It's no wonder so many people just give up in frustration! I know TUGGERs who have been doing this for over 20 years and still don't know all the ins and outs, so it's absurd to expect someone to just know everything right after they purchase!
My first Timeshare Presentation
I know my first presentation was for a free telephone(note this was more than 20 years ago) to view what turned out to be a less than desirable resort, where all the salesman talked about was all the other great resorts I could trade for. He even said I would never have to use their resort which was actually a rundown converted hotel, but just trade to all these other places (spending almost 30 minutes just pointing out wonderful resorts in the RCI book) anytime I wanted.
Fortunately, I smelled a rat and didn't buy there. So I know where many of the bad feelings and disillusioned timeshare owners come from. Especially, after finding out that not only could they not trade into all these great resorts but if they wanted to sell their units they would probably only get a small fraction of what they paid for them and that was if they could find a buyer. So much for the great investment angle to the sales presentation.
The Demand Side
Unfortunately, the demand side is just as bad for timeshare resellers. Most people don't even know there is a resale market available until after they buy from the developer. Those who do know about the resale market are usually more experienced timeshare owners looking for real bargains. This is furthered by the industry who has zero desire or benefit to promote resales as if they did, there is no way they could continue to charge what they do at sales presenations!
Why would anyone buy new if they could get the exact same week, at the exact same resort, for pennies on the dollar from an existing owner?
So where does that leave you as an owner looking to sell? Of all the factors (price, location, time of year, amenities, quality of resort, advertising etc.) that determine if and when a timeshare will sell, you can only control two factors .....Advertising & PRICE! Unfortunately you can't spend $1000 on dinner and gifts for your prospects as the developer did for you. The developer is spreading his cost over 100's or 1000's of units and is inflating the price to cover the cost ( which he can get because new buyer don't know any better). On the other hand, you are trying to sell just one unit to someone who knows about resales, is informed about timesharing and is comparison shopping among hundreds of like offers available. Each of these factors is the reason why timeshares sell for so little in the resale market.
What are your options to Sell a Timeshare?
First you must price your unit competitively if you really want to sell it. Check the prices of other resales at your resort (the closing sales prices, not the for sales listings), check out the sale history section of the resort on TUG, check ebay completed listings, check prices listed on our classified ad section and what other brokers might have your units listed for by other sellers.
You are competing against all those other sales listing. Think about it from the buyers point of view: they are looking for the best deal and if you want to sell your timeshare, yours must be that best deal!
If you take anything away from this article, please above all read the How to Sell your Timeshare article as well, it is a step by step instructional guide on how to sell your timeshare yourself for little or no cost to you, and avoid being scammed! I cannot tell you how many emails and phone calls I get from people who find TUG AFTER BEING RIPPED OFF! Be a step ahead of the game and learn. Knowledge is power!
Advertising your Timeshare for sale
Then you must use cost effective advertising to inform the public of your offer. If you are reading this article it means you have computer access to the Internet. Post as many ads as you can using the free or low cost outlets mentioned in the HOW TO SELL article above and never pay large upfront fees no matter what!
Our Timeshare Marketplace Timeshare Marketplace is probably one of the best places for timeshare ads (and its free with your TUG membership) because everyone who reads it is interested in timeshares either for sale or rent ...a major plus. Also check out Ebay and craigslist which have become a very popular place for selling timeshares!.
Also contact your home resort, see if they have a public bulletin board in their lobby or elevators or even a special internal rental or advertising program (upfront fee warning applies here) where you can post a for sale note ... this is very good because any renter using the resort who likes it will be interested in your offer. Check on posting an ad in the resort's newsletter, many happy owners are looking for extra weeks at their home resort if the price is right!
While you are at it, you can inquire if the resort HOA has an active Deedback or Surrender program allowing you to give your unwanted interval back! Article on Timeshare Deedbacks
Timeshare Resale Brokers
Timeshare resale brokers (deal only with licensed real estate brokers, they are easy to spot because they only get paid AFTER the sale) can also get you more exposure but you must pay for it.
They will charge a commission on the sale. Remember, you are paying for the extra exposure and their services,
Remember pricing is the only thing you can control. If you do not price your unit right, no one will ever be able to sell it for you. One of the reasons upfront fee scammers are so popular is that too many owners want to list their units at prices higher than the market and they will never sell. No one wants to hear the real truth. So instead, they will go on for months and even years of not selling their properties, until finally they start asking for a realistic fair market price.
I see ads on our TUG classifieds that are just unreal, but for little or no cost, most feel they might get lucky. Then after 3 months of advertising when it comes time to renew, they wonder why they didn't sell their units or only got a few, if any responses from their ad. .
Timeshare Scams and Semi Rip-Offs
There are many rip-offs in the timeshare resale area with companies asking for HUNDREDS TO THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in upfront advertising, listing or appraisal fees. There should be no need for an appraisal to sell your timeshare. Any timeshare company that is doing their job will be able to give you a good idea as to what similar units are selling for. Remember, never pay an upfront fee to sell your timeshare! This article discusses most current Timeshare Scams
Be very careful about any company that is selling you a story that sounds too good to be true! Timeshare resale scams are alive and well and these folks are extremely convincing in order to get you to pay them upfront! The best way to check on a company would be to type their name here into our Search Tool to see if they have been mentioned in the past and have any feedback from owners! Search TUG . If it sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.
The Final Word about your Timeshare Resale Value!
I know this article can be depressing for those trying to sell their timeshares, but hopefully by knowing the truth about the situation, you will be able to act accordingly. That may mean just keeping your units and learning how to best use them, or trying to price them more realistically, or increasing your avenues of low cost exposure.
Some are offsetting their expenses by renting the use of their timeshare while they try to sell it. At least now someone has been honest with you about timeshare resales and you now know where you stand and what must be done.
We would again like to thank you for your continued support of our Users Group. The TUG website has been a major break through for TUG members and all timeshare owners. It has become the most active timeshare website on the Internet with over 250,000 hits per day. Take advantage of this exposure by advertising your units in our marketplace, but be realistic about your price. Most resales even 10 years ago were lucky to get 50% of what they paid if they bought through the resort initially. Now one can only expect to get between 0-10%!!!!
IT IS NOT SIMPLE, OR EASY TO SELL A TIMESHARE REGARDLESS OF WHAT SOME PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU (usually right before they ask for your credit card information) but it can be done if you take the time to research the resale market and know ahead of time how to spot and avoid the scams!
View and discuss on our free TUG Timeshare owner Discussion forums!