Unloading A Timeshare

waikiki beach and diamond head

A while back, my friend Dan asked me if I knew about how to get rid of a Timeshare.

I knew very little about that until I recently heard from an old grade school mate Tom Dulle.  Tom gets rid of timeshares for people. Email your questions to Tom.

Back in the olden days, Timeshares seemed like a pretty cool idea.  You plunked down several thousand bucks for the right to have a week or two every year at a sweet place in vacationland.  You paid a few hundred bucks annually in maintenance fees.  Nobody got hurt.  Well…

My first problem is that it’s kind of like prepaying for a hotel.  Would you give Holiday Inn $10,000 for the right to stay there every year at a lower rate than what others pay?  Nope.  You’d invest that $10k and put the proceeds toward your lodging.  Even a 1% return on $10,000 is $100.  8% return is… well… it’s more.

The world changed.  Along came the WWW and eventually Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, Expedia and a myriad of travel sites.  Suddenly it was very easy to find a nice place to stay with no huge initial outlay of cash or annual fees.

Today, you can even rent a place in the same resort where you own a timeshare – for less than owners pay in maintenance fees.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Don’t believe me, give TimeSharesOnly.com a spin.  Plug in your resort and see what comes up as available to rent.

With this realization, some folks tried to sell their timeshares.  Now it’s time to Google “Timeshares for free” (gotta love LMGTFY) or visit eBay to see that you can’t give them away.  Why?

The Catch

The resale market is dead.  People can rent a timeshare for less than the timeshare’s annual maintenance fees.  As a timeshare owner you are also vulnerable to pay special assessments on top of the annual maintenance fees.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want some knucklehead at my timeshare’s headquarters to force me to spend my money whenever they deem it necessary to retile the carpet.

On The Hook

As you can see in Tom Dulle’s employer’s video below, some folks tried to return their timeshare or donate it to a charity – but got no takers.  Why?  The timeshare company likes the fact that you are on the hook for annual fees and assessments.  Charities don’t want to be on the hook.

What’s worse, if you refuse to pay they may send it to collections and your credit score can take a hit.

Does Dying Kill It?

Not necessarily.  The timeshare company can put a lien against your estate.  That means your heirs can inherit this headache and money suck.

If you inherit someone else’s idea of a vacation, you can file a Disclaimer of Interest.  You are essentially whipping out your best Latin “Et gratias agens, non.”  AKA “Thanks, but no thanks.”

My estate attorney friend Mark Reckman wrote this to me: “Time shares are real estate and are treated like any other real estate. From an estate planning perspective, this is a nightmare. Probating out of town real estate is the most expensive thing to probate. Furthermore, they rarely have much value – no one wants these things… I’ve got one on my desk right now –  in Hawaii. Do you want to buy it? The truth is I can’t find an atty in Hawaii who will take the case to probate the thing – they do not want to fool with it. They won’t even return my calls.”

Mark also pointed out, “There are two different kinds of arrangements that are often called time shares but are different. A true time share means you own a specific week in a specific building/complex. You actually own a piece of real estate. Yes, you can trade with other time share owners at other resorts (usually through an agency) but you still own a piece of real estate.”

He continued, “Then there are ‘vacation clubs’ (my words) in which you buy the right to a week’s vacation each year. These are usually run by hotel/resort chains and you can stay at any of their locations. This can be based on a point system in which you own points that are traded for a hotel room or condo (almost like airline miles).  You pay a lump sum up front and each season you get a specified number of points you can use. In this case you do not own real estate and these are not time shares – but people call them that all the time.”

tiny bubblesThe Takeaway

If you own a Timeshare and are tired of the expense, you might want to contact Tom Dulle to discuss your best course of action.

If you want a Timeshare in Hawaii, Mark Reckman can get you one for a less money than an MP3 of Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles”!

Heartland Transfer Timeshare Presentation from James C Skidmore on Vimeo.



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