Whether you view a timeshare as a golden opportunity or a trap, there can come the time where you want to get out of it. In spite of what some say, a timeshare is not permanent. Getting out of it isn’t easy though, but there are several options you can utilize to help free you from your contract.
What is a Timeshare?
To put it simply, a timeshare is a property that is owned with a time-sharing agreement. Several individuals typically hold the rights to use said property as a vacation destination under certain times.
There are four basic types of timeshares:
- Fixed Week: Ownership and use is based on the same week every year, offering little flexibility.
- Floating: Buyers can reserve whatever time desired, but only if it is available.
- Right-to-Use: The buyer can lease for a specified time yearly for a certain amount of years.
- Points Club: Like a floating timeshare, buyers can choose various locations/timeslots based on points accumulated.
How to Get Out of a Timeshare
There is a myth perpetuated that once you have signed for a timeshare, you’re stuck for life. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll find below various methods to get out of your timeshare.
Understanding Your Options
First, it is helpful that you understand the options available to you. You can cancel the contract completely or terminate it. The difference between the two is that a cancelation is based on a breach of contract, while termination deals with ending the contract for other reasons.
There is also assistance available if you feel as though you cannot end the timeshare contract on your own. The company you purchased from may help you. If not, you can seek aid from a law firm or attorney in your area that specializes in timeshares and contract laws. You can even find a real estate agent that can help.
Canceling a Timeshare Contract
To cancel a contract, you must decide early on that you do not want the timeshare. This cannot be done by simply telling the timeshare company you want to cancel. You must go over the details of the contract and search for any cancellation terms (e.g. cancellation, termination).
Not all timeshares offer a cancellation window, so it helps to double-check to see if yours does early on. In the event that the company doesn’t specify a termination window, your state may have one that’s deemed a “cooling off period”. If that is the case, research state laws or reach out to an attorney who can help.
When the window from the company or your state’s cooling off period is over, some companies may try to convenience you that it is too late to get out of the contract. As stated before, that is not the truth. It’s why hiring an attorney can be beneficial to this process. Otherwise, you can look to even more options to terminate the timeshare contract.
Selling a Timeshare
It is possible to sell off your timeshare. One way to do so is through the company that manages it in the first place. Some of them out there are willing to help owners sell the property as they get to hold onto some of the sales percentage. Unfortunately, not all are willing to do this.
If the company that manages your timeshare is unwilling to help you sell it, you can always try on your own. There are timeshare-specific websites that people post on. In addition to that, owners have been known to upload to other advertisement websites in an effort to attract a broader audience.
This is also where real estate agents can come into play. They can make the process of selling your timeshare smoother. However, they do charge quite a bit.
An important thing to note about selling your timeshare is that scams do exist. If you go through someone else to sell the timeshare, they may claim to charge an up-front fee while not bothering to actually sell your property. Be wary of these types of individuals/companies.
Also, selling a timeshare is difficult as the value depreciates over time. Keep that in mind as well.
Give the Timeshare Away
To get out of your timeshare, you can just give it away. If you have a friend or relative willing to take over the fees, you can just give it to them. You can also donate it to a nonprofit organization. It does help though that the timeshare is paid off and that you’re current on your fees.
Another way to give the timeshare away is through the company that manages it. This is known as a “deedback”. Companies aren’t required to agree to this though, but it’ll benefit you more if you’ve paid off any outstanding balance on your account.