Are you no longer using your timeshare? Have the maintenance fees started to pile up, or has a lifestyle change made it more difficult to hold onto? For whatever reason it may be, there are many people just like you wondering how to sell a time share.
According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), more than 80% of timeshare owners express satisfaction with their vacation ownership. So it may come as a surprise that there is a thriving secondary market of people selling their timeshares. Although vacation ownership is meant to be a lifelong product, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to keep holding onto. The good news is, the timeshare resale industry has so many options for timeshare relief. Learn your different options to selling responsibly.
If you’re a golfer, chances are you already know about the incredible Hilton Head Island golf courses that dot South Carolina. Hilton Head was even listed among the top five golf destinations in 2016. It’s actually no surprise, since there are more than 30 golf courses on Hilton Head Island. The best golf courses and resorts in Hilton Head are here, and they come with great vacations too.
You may have heard of Welk Resorts, known for having several beautiful locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Aside from Welk Resorts’ six amazing locations, Welk also offers owners the ability to travel to exciting destinations through their Experiences Collection.
As a Welk Platinum owner, you can also travel to a collection of resorts affiliated with the favored brand, and use points to experience greater vacations.
Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria is the perfect theme park resort, within close proximity of top tourist spots, and all without the price tag. If you have little kids in your family and are planning a trip, chances are you’ve heard the vacation plea. You know how it goes. It’s some variation of, “Can we go to Disney World?!” repeated several times in quick succession. Heading to Disney World is a big deal (and a big expense) but there are lots of ways to mitigate the cost while having an unforgettable vacation.
One of these money-saving strategies is to stay at a resort that is not located on Disney property. Many of these resorts offer exciting amenities that cater specifically to families. If you’re planning a trip and looking for ways to get out of the Disney bubble while still giving the kids plenty of time to enjoy the land of Mouse, consider vacationing at Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria.
If you’re a timeshare owner in 2019, you have to learn to avoid all the timeshare scams out there. Sometimes it can be difficult to detect who is trustworthy and who isn’t. A name you’ve heard on television or radio might approach you and you’ll think they must have good intentions if they’re advertising with celebrities or heavily in the public eye. Unfortunately, these people aren’t following a strict code of ethics, nor are they following important laws that protect timeshare owners and sellers. Keep reading to find out what the common timeshare resale scams are that you need to look out for.
1. Non-Legitimate Timeshare Buyers
One of the most popular timeshare resale scams out there is “out of the blue” phone calls from a company claiming that to have a legitimate buyer for your timeshare. This person might say they have a buyer waiting, but need funds to close the sale first.
While you are still spinning from excitement, they might ask for personal information. They also commonly ask for up-front payments in order for the sale to close. Transfer fees, taxes, international transaction fees or any other fictitious explanations are a red flag. You might even be so excited about the idea of never paying another annual maintenance fee that you don’t see the red flags here.
First of all, a legitimate timeshare resale agency will never reach out to you unsolicited. Unless you have given permission for them to contact you, this is illegal. Additionally, the buyer typically pays for transfer fees and commissions, not the owners selling their timeshares. When you sell your timeshare, you will usually receive 100% of the proceeds.
Sometimes there are exceptions here, like if you are behind on your dues or the buyer has negotiated terms ahead of time with you to pay some of the closing fees. These are terms you would have agreed to during negotiations, not unanticipated expenses demanded from you to close.
If someone asks you for up-front fees or personal information, they are probably not a legitimate timeshare buyer. Make sure you recognize how to avoid this timeshare scam.
2. Fake Timeshare Resale Agents
Todays timeshare resale scams are more tech-savvy, being able to manipulate the phone number that shows up on caller ID. A timeshare resale “representative” has contacted a few of our customers this way, claiming to be one of our employees.
These con artists do their research and represent themselves as employees of established and credible timeshare resale companies. They call timeshare sellers and make claims that they have a buyer interested and require funds up front to close. We have even had reports of an email address ending in @timesharesonly3.com.
You might not be able to avoid this timeshare scam, but you can proceed with caution. Never pay up-front closing costs or “luxury taxes”. As a general rule of thumb, never give out personal information like your credit card, social security or bank account when someone calls unsolicited. Do your research – make sure the company is legitimate and this person actually works there – then you call them! If anyone contacts you unsolicited claiming to be with Timeshares Only, we urge you to contact us directly at 1-800-610-2734.
3. Timeshare Contract Cancellation or Timeshare Exit Lawyers
These companies are popping up everywhere lately. Backed by celebrities who have most likely never owned a timeshare, these scam artists make promises to “get you out,” “cancel your mortgage” or “exit your timeshare” with a 100% money back guarantee.
You most likely had a “right of rescission” period when you first purchased your timeshare, usually around 10 days. Unless you cancelled your timeshare contract during that period, the purchase is valid even if you change your mind.
These exit companies play on the emotions of regret, financial hardships and changes in circumstances of unsuspecting owners. Timeshare exit lawyers will say that there is no resale market and offer their “services” for thousands of dollars.
During this “exit” process, owners are told they can stop paying their timeshare mortgage and maintenance fees. Unless you receive a satisfaction letter and hear directly from your resort or HOA that your debt is fulfilled, you should never stop paying on your timeshare. The last thing you want is the accumulation of late fees, collections, hits to your credit or worse, foreclosure.
Exit companies paint pictures of a dismal resale market and scare timeshare owners into not trusting legitimate companies. Know your options. There is no reason you should be shelling out thousands of dollars when there are reputable companies to market your timeshare for sale or rent and even put cash back in your pocket while waiting for your timeshare to sell.
4. Viking Ship Timeshares
Not to be confused with the cool looking vessels used to transport goods during the Viking Age, we’re talking about viking ship timeshare shell companies. Formed without any assets in them, their sole purposes are to intimidate and defraud.
A viking ship is a timeshare industry term for shell companies formed solely to transfer ownership to. These “relief companies” usually start by putting ads on the radio claiming to make offers for a timeshare. They use scare tactics and false statistics to show owners that their timeshares are a burden. Then, they’ll swoop in and save the day, telling you they are there to help and all you have to do is sign your timeshare over (or pay a fee for their “services”). Most of timeshare resale scams take your money and never transfer the timeshare out of your name, resulting in collections and additional expenses to clean up those maintenance dues you stopped paying.
Let’s assume they actually did take the timeshare out of your name (you remember what happens when you assume?) Let’s say they do transfer the deed into their company name. When the maintenance fees come due, they have no intention of doing anything about them. The companies are usually an LLC so no real person can be sued. Even if you can track down a responsible party to prosecute, they are long gone. This type of fraud is responsible for upwards of $8 million in unpaid maintenance fees in the industry, spilling over on to other owners and raising expenses for everyone. Viking ships are critical timeshare scams to avoid.
Looking to Learn More About Selling Your Timeshare? Subscribe to our blog for tips, how-tos and everything you need to know to responsibly sell your vacation ownership.
Taking a Rocky Mountain vacation soon? Adult beverage enthusiasts will love these Colorado breweries and distilleries. From craft beers to locally made whiskey, Colorado offers some of the best places to get boozy. Consider taking a tour or making a visit while away on vacation in the Centennial state.
We are quickly approaching the launch of our new and improved website! It’s going to change the way the timeshare resale industry is perceived forever. The 25th Anniversary of Timeshares Only will bring exciting updates, including up-to-date timeshare information and content. As pioneers of the timeshare resale industry, we strive to be a hub of resources, education and information for every owner, buyer, seller or vacation renter!
A Library of Timeshare Resale Information
You may have already noticed that the Timeshares Only blog is running ahead full speed with a handful of new posts every week. We will continue to provide content on every beautiful or exciting destination timeshare can take you and your family, as well as filtered pieces that apply to your specific timeshare brand.
There is an unfortunate lack of resources out there for owners, future buyers or sellers of timeshare and this is something that the industry as a whole is striving to mend. Think of the TSO blog as your new go-to for all that relates to vacation ownership. Think of it as “Timeshare Information for Dummies,” and find an answer to every burning question you may have.
Need a wealth of knowledge about timeshare within seconds? The new website launch will include in-depth guides that cover all the bases. An official timeshare seller’s guide, timeshare buying guide and even a vacation renter’s guide will be available to download.
The Hyatt Residence Club on Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach is the perfect place to relax and unwind during your next Hawaiian vacation. Hyatt Residence Club members have exclusive access to this resort with their points, but non-members can rent a timeshare from Timeshares Only. At this Hyatt Residence Club in Maui, guests have access to almost 2,000 feet of pristine beach and a large tropical sanctuary to enjoy scenic views of the island’s natural beauty.
This year’s annual ARDA World convention was held at Hilton Orlando, bringing our largest developer clients right to us! ARDA World brings leaders and professionals in the timeshare industry together to share ideas, network and get the latest updates on the industry.
“50 Forward” was the event’s theme, celebrating 50 years of advocacy, inspiration and success.
A Note From Our President
This year’s ARDA World conference was a huge success for our organization as we witnessed a new wave of leadership assume key roles within ARDA, driving the changes our industry will see for the next generation.
There has never been a stronger awareness of the importance for developers to put resale programs in place for their owners. We continue to see these “exit” and “cancellation” companies hit the industry hard and the message was clear: we must all work together to control the conversation, offer solutions and protect owners.
The Timeshares Only and Fidelity Real Estate developer programs have already proved that it is possible to bridge the gap between the primary and secondary markets. While we have been tirelessly working hand-in-hand with developers to create liquidity in a safe and secure resale environment for owners, ARDA has simultaneously been collaborating with developers and demanding action from its members. The Coalition for Responsible Exit is just one example of their efforts, enlisting the top developers in our industry to set the example for their peers.
Now more than ever I feel we are on the right track to be part of a much larger shift, leaders in the resale industry impacting lasting change. Our mission, to legitimize the secondary market, is directly aligned with the future of the timeshare industry and I am excited for us to be part of this great movement.
The Passing of the Baton
ARDA recently announced that the current President & CEO, Howard Nusbaum is retiring after 20 years of dedication to the reputation and protection of our beloved timeshare lifestyle products. Day One of ARDA World included a celebration of Nusbaum’s success and farewell. On stage, Mark Wang, President and CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations as well as Chairman of ARDA honored Nusbaum’s leaving with a grandeur custom lei flown in from Hawaii, Nusbaum’s favorite place to vacation.
“Howard is one of those truly special people to work in the industry… He was always there and had time for us.”
Mark Wang, President & CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations
“This is emotional for me,” Nusbaum admits. “I think I get a little too much credit,” he continued, comparing his time as CEO of ARDA to being a conductor of an orchestra. “You have to have great music” to be a great conductor, and Nusbaum feels that his audience and community of individuals within the organization were the real music-makers. “All I do is just hit the baton.”
To conclude his farewell, Nusbaum wanted to make it clear that he was not leaving due to a lack of interest. If anything, he is more invested in the message of timeshare and vacation ownership. “The golden days of timeshare are ahead. The sharing economy is us. This is our time.”
Welcoming Jason Gamel
After an extensive nationwide search, we are welcoming ARDA’s new CEO Jason Gamel, Senior Vice President of Legal at Wyndham Destinations with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality and timeshare industries.
“I could not be more excited. He is someone I truly love, someone I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with, and someone that I am confident is going to take this platform to new and exciting levels” says Nusbaum before introducing Gamel to the stage.
Gamel was exuberant to be accepting his upcoming position as CEO. “I’m so glad this transition is happening here at ARDA World.”
“You’ve led us up to this point. The point of 50 Forward. I promise you, and all of you, I will help lay the groundwork for the next 50 and beyond.”
Jason Gamel, ARDA’s Incoming CEO
Regaining the Narrative
The overarching setback in our industry for the last several years has been widespread misinformation about timeshare, how owners feel about timeshare and the issue surrounding timeshare exit.
“We as an industry lost control of the narrative. The current message has gone out of balance,” said Mark Wang. He cited that timeshare is outpacing hotels every year, with a 50% growth rate since 2010. That’s huge! Despite negative messaging that there is no way out of a timeshare once you own it, Wang believes “the industry’s in a much better place than it was in 2008.”
Cancellation and exit companies prey on the vulnerability and financial instability among owners looking for a way out. Howard Nusbaum wanted it to be clear that the most important solution to this is “nurturing the secondary market. That journey is not done. I’m proud of what we accomplished but there is more that has to be done.”
Not only are ARDA and its members working on giving owners positive, reliable resources when they need to make a lifestyle change, but the CEO of Wyndham Destinations Michael Brown shared the role Wyndham is taking in identifying the frauds. So far, Brown has taken down seven well-known exit or cancellation companies. As a result, two major lawyers have been disbarred.
Without reservation, an interesting point-of-view that Wang shared on this subject matter was this: “If the industry started today, we’d call it innovative.” Services that bring cost efficiency to other markets have the same model as timeshare, but our voice has been covered by negative messaging.
Marketing to Millennials
The short answer to whether or not we need to be preparing for the millennial generation is simply, YES. Are they here? Have we reached the cliff? Without a doubt, millennials travel more, spend more and are the future.
Bill Caswell answered these pressing questions to emphasize the need for change. Caswell is presently the Principal and Hospitality Practice Leader of North Highland, a global consulting firm that works with the top timeshare brands.
“The current consumer base is aging out faster than anticipated.”
Bill Caswell, expert on data analytics & Principal at North Highland
He says that the new consumer market is opting out of our traditional engagement model, meaning change must come to the way we interact with our consumers.
This was a particularly hot topic during day two of ARDA World’s Chief Marketing and Branding Officer Panel. Noah Brodsky, the Chief Brand Officer of Wyndham brought some especially interesting numbers to the panel.
Millennials are “adulting” as Famous Rhodes would say. Millennials are reaching the age of 38 this year. They have income, families and more responsibility than before.
“The journey is now starting on digital,” said Rhodes during the panel. Before consumers even step foot in a resort or make contact, “they’re going to research everything about your business… Give them content proactively so they don’t have to seek it. If you don’t give them the content, they’re going to find it.”
Staying up-to-date in tech is going to play a vital role in the growth of timeshare as we know it. Tom Nelson, President and CEO of Holiday Inn Club Vacations mentions that 55% of all timeshare bookings are done on a mobile device. Millennials are coming, and they want convenience, transparency and relationships with their favorite brands.
Is Timeshare a Dirty Word?
You may have noticed that many brands and resorts have strayed away from “timeshare” in their advertisements, websites or sales pitches. With the popularity of exit and cancellation companies influencing a mob mentality that timeshare is bad, “vacation ownership” has been adopted as a new tactic.
Vacation ownership, timeshare–it’s all the same thing.
Howard Nusbaum asked the Chief Marketing and Branding Officers Panel at ARDA World what their stance was on timeshare vs. vacation ownership. Noah Brodsky was first to say that Wyndham is “timeshare positive.” In fact, a vast majority of potential customers either are neutral or positive about the word timeshare, so it makes no difference to them whether they are “timeshare” owners, or part of a “vacation ownership” club.
Sherri Silver, the Chief Marketing Officer of Hilton Grand Vacations isn’t for or against either, as long as it is consistent through every messaging avenue. To bring this messaging back to regaining the narrative, Famous Rhodes wants other leaders to own the phrase timeshare and put a positive message behind it.
Keynote Speaker David Nour: Market Disruptors Make You Better
Every industry is changing constantly. New competitors enter the field, old ones are absorbed or re-branded. New consumer targets also force change upon business. “What got you here, won’t get you there” David Nour opened his presentation at ARDA World saying.
When we apply this to timeshare, it rings true. From the market crash and combustion in 2008, timeshare had to completely re-focus and change to stay relevant in the world. Every professional at ARDA World agrees that timeshare must be customer-focused and transparent to continue.
Today’s timeshare industry is complex, the timeshare business model has variations from brand to brand and at times can be hard to explain. When asked, “What do you do?” most people in our industry enter into a 10 minute explanation, over-complicating the real message. Nour’s advice to the hundreds of executives in the audience: “don’t dumb it down, just simplify it.”
People don’t want to know how… they want to know why. Why matters more than ever before.
David Nour, Principal at Nour Group, Business Relationship Expert and Best-Selling Author
Throughout Nour’s presentation, he reiterates that “to remain relevant, you must think differently.” Storytelling, meaningful relationships and building a brand culture are all part of the changes that have to come with the timeshare industry.
Nour is the author of several books on growth strategy and thoughtful leadership. He has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and regularly writes columns for The Huffington Post. Check out his full bio here.
ARDA World AIF Industry Research Update
Our go-to when it comes to all statistics and information we use for marketing materials and the vital information about our industry is the annual AIF State of the Industry Report. Here are some unreleased updates that we were able to have access to at ARDA World.
# of timeshare intervals sold
Sales price per interval
# of timeshare transactions
Sales price per transaction
Avg maintenance fee per interval
Subscribe to the Timeshares Only blog for a first look at all of the new tools and features coming soon to the new website!