Avoid Being The Victim of A Timeshare Scam
The phone rings. A pleasant sounding man asks if you are in the market to sell your timeshare ownership and tells you that he has a buyer on the hook for $35,000, but you have to pay an upfront closing cost, or listing fee to get the deal done. You wonder, “Where did he get my number?”, but are enticed into listening by the large numbers and confidence coming through the phone. This is an all-too-common scenario, playing out all across America.
How Should You React?
Due diligence will be your best friend. You should always err on the side of caution when dealing with your hard earned money or timeshare property. Is the broker you’re speaking to licensed in their state of operation? If you contact the developer, have the transfers agents ever heard of the broker you’re speaking with? Are they using a licensed, bonded, and insured closing company? Is the price they are quoting you too good to be true? You can always contact us for a free, detailed market analysis.
Avoid The Pitfalls
It is very easy for a dishonest brokerage to over-quote you to try and entice you into paying an upfront listing fee. Actually delivering on that price is a much taller order. After you pay them their upfront fee, their incentive to help you sell at a good price is effectively gone. You wouldn’t pay your Realtor before they sell your house for you, so why do it with a timeshare?
Whatever a buyer will pay, and whatever other sellers of your same property will accept is what your ownership is worth in today’s market. Be realistic about comparing your ownership to the others you see selling. Remember, what a timeshare is listed for is not always what the ownership is sold for. Most brokerages let you choose the asking price, so keep in mind, the asking prices you see online, are what the seller is asking, not what the buyer is offering.
What To Look For
Look for a brokerage that will offer you a free listing with no obligation to sell the ownership. If they cannot get an offer at the top end of the market value for your ownership you should not be forced to sell or pay anything. You may want to consider not signing any exclusive listing agreements, so multiple brokers can work on selling the ownership at a time. The one who gets the best offer the quickest, will be the one who earns your business if they meet the criteria discussed in this article.
Every offer should be voiced in a contract form. If someone has an offer, and refuses to put it in writing, you should not consider the pricing or terms valid. Any honest broker will forward you a purchase agreement that you can have your lawyer review to ensure all terms are fair and equal for all parties concerned.
The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people in the timeshare industry looking to make a quick dollar. To add complexity, there are even well respected companies that are known to burn you on the details, so follow these guidelines as closely as possible, and most importantly, trust your gut. Sometimes you can just feel when someone is trying to cheat you, but not always, so think logically and never go against your better judgment.
Thanks so much for listening and happy traveling!
Shot, Written and Edited by:
Licensed Real Estate Agent
David has over 6 years of experience in the timeshare resale industry. He was originally hired on for a timeshare sales position, but his innate passion for technology and marketing has proven to be a useful addition to the team’s marketing efforts. David writes and produces many of the educational timeshare articles and videos that are released by our company, so feel free to check out the blog and share it with your friends!