How to Sell Your Timeshare - Real life case study

How to Sell Your Timeshare - Real life case study

How can I sell my timeshare? The fact is that sooner or later, all timeshare owners want to sell and get out. Situations change, and what suits you at one time may not be what you want or need years later.

Since this is a frequent question I get, I decided to do a real life case study for you.

I'm selling a timeshare myself right now, so let's walk through it all step by step!

There are a couple of ways you can go with selling:
(a) Sell through a reputable timeshare broker, or
(b) Sell it yourself.

In this case study, I'll be going through option (b) - Sell your timeshare yourself.

What NOT to do? Do NOT pay any company an up-front fee who is claiming that they have a buyer for your timeshare, especially when they contact you out of the blue. Yes, it would be nice if it was true, but there are many people who have been scammed this way. A typical outcome is that you lose your up-front fee, that buyer and their payment never materialize, and you still own your timeshare.


Real life case study in How to Sell a Timeshare

Since I'm selling a timeshare right now myself, this is an opportunity for a real life case study. I'll walk you through all of the steps that I'm taking to sell it here. I'm posting the sales ads on the same day I'm writing this blog post, so this is literally "as it happens".

I'll also write a follow up post later, that talks about the results I got, what went smoothly, what didn't go smoothly, and anything I'd do differently in the future.

Hopefully this will help if you decide to sell your timeshare yourself!

So let's get on to the step by step...


1. Do market research

The timeshare you're selling will be in competition with other people selling the same or similar things. Researching the competition will help you position your own timeshare for sale.

 Do market research when selling your timeshare Market research helps you understand your timeshare's competition

Your most direct competition is other similar timeshares that are currently available on the resale market. These are appealing directly to the same pool of possible buyers that you are trying to reach -- people who want to buy a resale timeshare.

If your timeshare currently has developer sales going on, that's another piece of competition, but it's quite a bit different. They have a high-powered sales system that you don't have, and they'll usually be selling for a much higher price than you are. Also, their target audience is a bit different than people looking for resales.

So, it's good to start by researching other resale timeshares that will be competing with yours. A few places to check on resale timeshares are:

* EBay
* Redweek
* TUG (Timeshare Users Group)
* General Google search

Look around, and see what other timeshares like yours are currently on the market, and what they're going for.

Here's what I found.

  • My timeshare is a floating week at the San Diego Gaslamp Plaza Suites, in downtown San Diego. so I searched for those on different sites.
  • Price comparisons. On EBay, there were several of these in completed listings, that sold for $7 to $102. Redweek showed 4 of them available, with prices from $99 to $2500. TUG has 3 available, with prices from $0.01 to $3500.
  • Rental prices. I also looked at the prices to stay here directly through Booking.com, just so I have that comparison info, too. Searching with random dates, the best prices I found were $146/night (Monday) or $203 (Friday).

2. Decide on your price

The sad fact of the matter is that most timeshares will not get anywhere near the price on the resale market that they went for when the developers sold them. If you paid $30K for a timeshare, you can't expect to get it back when you sell.

--> For more on this, see Timeshare owners concerned about resale issues

If you really want to sell, you'll need to be realistic about the price you're going to get. Yes, you could list it for that $30K that you spent, but if your market research showed that other people are selling the same thing for $1K, you're not going to find a buyer who wants to pay 30 times the price.

Set the asking price for your timeshare Use your research results in deciding on your asking price

Some of you may know that I'm a big fan of buying resale timeshares for bargain prices. In addition to spending less money up front, another advantage is that you don't need to worry about losing a bundle when you sell!

  • My selling price = $1. That happens to be the same as I paid for it! I don't think I'll lose too much $$ on the sale. 😉
  • Closing costs? I'd like the buyer to pay for the closing and transfer costs, which once again is the same deal as when I bought it.
  • Net outcome? If I sell for the same price I bought it for, I basically got the usage of it for free (not counting maintenance fees, of course). Hopefully the next owner could do the same thing!

3. Decide what sites / companies to use

Where are you going to advertise your timeshare for sale? Who is going to handle your closing? Are you going to use escrow services? These are the decisions you need to make next.

  • Advertising. Popular sites to advertise your timeshare for sale include EBay, Redweek, TUG, Craigslist, and Timesharing Today. You could also come up with many other possibilities -- post it on your Facebook, on a bulletin board at work, in the local newspaper...
  • Closing. It is possible to prepare closing documents yourself, but it's safer to use a company that is experienced in timeshare closings. TUG is a good place to research available companies, and see what experiences other people have had with them. You can then contact specific companies and find out their prices or other details.
  • Escrow. Depending on your sale price, you may or may not want to use an escrow service. If there's much money involved, using an escrow service can provide some security and reassurance for the purchaser. Once again, TUG is a good place to do some research.
  • Advertising my timeshare.
    * TUG listings are free for members, so I'll certainly list it here.
    * Craigslist is free too, so although I'm not a huge fan, I might as well list it there, too.
    * Redweek listings are $60/year for a DIY listing (more for their full service listings). I'll hold off on this for now, and list it there if I don't get any results from other ads first.
    * Many timeshares are sold on EBay, but since I'm not an established seller there, and have no star rating, I'm not going to try that.
  • Closing. I read through reviews on TUG, and selected LT Transfers to handle the closing. Their fees are reasonable, and many people have been happy with their service.
  • Escrow. My sales price is only $1, so escrow seems like an unnecessary cost. I'm not planning to use this.

4. Identify your main benefits and selling points

Whether you're selling a timeshare, a grand piano, or handyman services, you want to communicate to potential buyers the main reasons they should buy what you're offering. That means identifying the primary benefits. Why would somebody want this? What's in it for them?

Think about what makes your offer more attractive than all of the other timeshares a possible buyer might be looking at. Is your timeshare special because of the quality of the resorts? Its beachfront location? The range of places you can use your points?

The more clearly you can identify and communicate what makes your timeshare special and desirable, the more effective your ads will be, so it pays to put some thought into this.

Here's what I came up with for my timeshare.

  • Great trader. Using this timeshare with RCI gives a lot of value. You can get up to 48 TPUs for depositing a week (depending on the week you deposit, and when you do it), which is exceptional.
  • Prime location. San Diego is a popular destination, and this timeshare is located right downtown, in the Gaslamp district. There are tons of shops, restaurants and attractions in easy walking distance.
  • Reasonable fees. One of my pet peeves is timeshares where fees have gotten so high that it's more expensive to own than to just rent nights. That's not the case here - owning gives you an excellent price to stay in San Diego.
Rooftop terrace of the Gaslamp Plaza Suites in San Diego On mine, I identified prime location as one of the key selling points

5. Write your sales ad(s)

Now it's time to take your primary benefits, and put them together with general information about your timeshare company, points, resort, unit, fees, etc. Try to include everything that a prospective buyer would want to know.

Put it all together, and craft the ad that you'll use to sell your timeshare.

You may want to do a slightly different version of the ad for different outlets. For instance, you might expect that viewers on TUG or Redweek are more timeshare-savvy than viewers on Craigslist, so might tailor it a bit differently.

This is also a good time to gather some photographs (if you'll be posting on sites where you're allowed to include photos). A picture is worth a thousand words, and will give a potential buyer a much better idea of what you're offering. Attractive photos will also get a lot more attention than a text-only listing.

Elegant marble lobby of the Gaslamp Plaza Suites Attractive photos are always a plus - use them wherever you can

6. Post your sales ad(s)

By now, everything should be ready to go. You just need to take the ad you've created, and post it on whichever sites you decided to use.

I always feel a bit of hesitation before I publish anything on the web (even this blog post)! 😉 When it's time to push the "Publish" button to send something out into the world, I have thoughts like "What if it's not good enough? What if I forgot to include something important? Maybe I've got some horrid spelling mistakes?"

I just tell myself to get over it. If there's a glaring grammatical error in the first sentence, or I discover that I left out some crucial information, then that's just too bad. I can always go back and update it later, right?

So just go ahead and get it out there, because until you do, nothing will happen!

  • I posted my ad on TUG and Craigslist. I may add other sites later, but this is what I'm starting with.

7. Wait for results

Depending on what you own, selling your timeshare may be easier, harder, or virtually impossible.

If you're not getting any results, you may want to try modifying your offer. Perhaps you could lower the price? Or do something else to sweeten the deal? Or try rewriting your ad to be more effective?

In some cases, if selling it isn't working, you may want to try giving it back to the timeshare company.

--> If you own Diamond Resorts points, see How to get rid of your Diamond Resorts timeshare

  • My results? I don't know yet, but I'll write about it as soon as I have some! 🙂

Waiting for results of selling your timeshare Just waiting and watching...

Does this sound like too much work?

There's no doubt about it -- there is real work involved with this. Even once you know how to sell your timeshare yourself, that doesn't make it easy.

The other route is to use a reputable timeshare broker, like Tom Tubbs at Island Time Share. They can't help everybody, but if you talk to them about what you own, they could at least give you an opinion on it.

That's it for now!
I'll post a follow up later and let you know how everything went. 🙂

Questions? Comments?

What do you think? Have you sold a timeshare by yourself before? Any words of wisdom to share with others who want to do the same thing? Please share your experiences in the Reply section below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Selling a timeshare isn't always easy, and a lot of people lose a bundle when they do. That's why I recommend buying the bargains in the first place! A good place to start is with my free Consumer Awareness Guide to Buying a Timeshare.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi! I'm Deanna, founder of Winning the Timeshare Game, and author of the books. After running an international tour company, I'm now into the fascinating world of timeshares. I enjoy sharing all the tips I discover, and I'd love to see everyone have as much fun with their timeshares as we do!

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6 Comments

  1. Janis Mosher

    Is your timeshare truly being sold for $1? What are the maintenance fees?

    • Hi Janis -
      Yes, that's right! I bought it for $1, and I'm selling it for $1. (-:
      I don't have the bill for 2018 maintenance fees yet, but the total for MF + taxes in 2017 was $657. If you have any other questions, just let me know. (You can use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page to communicate privately.)
      Thanks for your message! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Are timeshares still about timeshares?

  2. Rod newey

    Why not go to the time share you purchased from (if they are still selling) stand outside their sales presentation office and as people finish and walk out hand them your brochure selling for 50% or less for the same thing they just paid $ 70k for

    • Hi Rod -
      Thanks for your comment! Interesting idea. It might work, but I think you'd need to be very discreet and quick about it, before somebody appears to escort you away from the premises.
      Thanks! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Is donating your timeshare a scam?

  3. Ed Ricketts

    I could not find you ts on TUG. Can you provide a link?

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