The term “timeshare” is used to describe a type of property in which an owner buys the right to use the property for a designated period of time each year. Timeshares are most often condominium units, and there are usually many different “owners.” Many people bought timeshares in the 1970s and 80s as a result of mass marketing and, in some cases, high-pressure sales tactics.
Because they are a type of real estate, some consumers bought them as investments, assuming the value of the property would remain steady or even rise with the passage of time and the popularity of the property’s location. Some timeshares were marketed and sold as investments. Unfortunately, the timeshare market was grossly overdeveloped, resulting in a glut of properties that has depressed values and made resale difficult. In addition, if there are any unsold timeshares in the development, an individual reseller must compete for sales with the developer.
Now, facing increasing assessment and maintenance fees, many timeshare owners are desperate to sell. A number of operations have sprung up to take advantage of the desperation of these owners. They offer assistance with selling the timeshare and relief from the burden of the continuing costs of ownership. But, in many cases, these promises are false.
Tips for reselling
- Beware of timeshare resellers who contact you unsolicited with a promise to help you resell your timeshare.
- If they say they have willing buyers, it is probably a lie.
- Never pay a substantial advance fee for resale assistance. A reputable reseller will charge a commission paid only upon sale, just like a normal real estate transaction. An advance fee may be called a “marketing fee,” a “listing fee,” an “Internet advertising fee,” or something else. No matter what it is called, do not pay it in advance.
- Get an independent appraisal from a licensed appraiser before agreeing to any resale assistance contract.
- Deal only with licensed agents.
- Check with the Arkansas Real Estate Commission at (501) 683-8010, the Better Business Bureau, and the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 before entering into a contract for resale, or if you have general questions about timeshare resales.