I did this crazy experiment back in 2009 where I sat through a timeshare presentation so that I could write about it afterwards.
Let me tell you, it was intense. And long. Very long.
I felt like my space − and especially my mental space − had been completely invaded. Leaving with a $40 gift card and a promise of a 3 day trip to Las Vegas seemed hardly worth it after what I went through (and it turns out it wasn’t, as the Las Vegas trip offer was pretty bogus).
Did you sit through a presentation, and − gulp − come out with a timeshare property you no longer want (and might not have wanted in the first place)? Don’t worry, there are options to get out of it.
Option #1: Take Advantage of Your State’s Rescind Period
Did you just purchase the timeshare recently (as in, last week) and it’s giving you heartburn at night? You might have an out through your state’s consumer protection laws.
Each state sets their own rules on the rescind period for timeshares (also known as the “cooling off period”). So if you got caught up in a timeshare presentation and would like to get out of your contract, start by checking your purchase documents. There should be an area explaining how to rescind the offer.
But you have to act quickly; some states only offer several days, and the most amount of days where you can give a timeshare back is in Alaska where the cooling off period is 15 days.
Time is not on your side.
Option #2: Rent the Timeshare
So maybe you can’t take advantage of the rescind period (doh!) because you bought this thing a year ago, and thinking about selling your timeshare makes your head spin. Finding someone to rent it for your available weeks is probably your next best option. This will hopefully cover at least your maintenance fees you have to pay each year (industry-wide, these are generally around $300-$845 according to the American Resort Development Association), and perhaps help you recoup some of your other costs as well. In fact, a reputable industry resource called SellMyTimeShareNow.com says that their 2014 rental offer average value was $2,000.
Not bad, especially if you have not gotten around to using your weeks anyway and it’s just sitting there unused. Plus this option buys you time as you figure out if you’re ready for Option #3.
Option #3: Sell the Timeshare
According to SellMyTimeShareNow.com’s Annual Offer Report, $270 million in purchase and rental offers passed through their site in 2015. This is good news for you! Having an active marketplace means it is more likely that you can sell your timeshare and get rid of it forever.
Not quite sure if you’re ready for this step? You can at least do a free market valuation of your timeshare through their site or others like it so that you can take the time to assess whether this is a good option or not (probably unlike the pressure tactics used when you first purchased it and didn’t really have the time to run the numbers). Keep in mind that your timeshare’s value is influenced by whether or not it’s deeded, the usage frequency, the season your week is available in, and the location, unit size, brand, etc.
As you can see, the great news is you’ve got three solid options if you’re looking to unload an unwanted timeshare. So don’t feel stuck! Even though it will take some effort to take advantage of any one of these options, it is certainly worth your time instead of hanging onto something that is draining thousands of dollars from your bank account.