Whether you bought your timeshare directly from the resort or on the resale market, you’re required to pay annual maintenance fees. These expenses can grow over time, making it increasingly difficult to afford your timeshare. Learn more about Escaping Timeshare Maintenance Costs.
But what if you could get out of your timeshare? Unfortunately, payoffs, deed transfers, and cheap cancellation services don’t always work.
1. Legally Walk Away
Timeshare companies often include a provision in the contracts that owners must continue to pay fees even if they decide not to use the property. These fees, called maintenance fees, are used to cover costs such as keeping the property in good repair and providing basic services.
The amount of these fees can vary by company, resort, and unit type. The trade association ARDA publishes estimates of how much owners can expect to pay in fees each year, but those numbers are not always accurate.
If you are unsure about what your fees will be for the year, it is a good idea to contact your company and ask for an estimate. It is also a good idea to keep track of your expenses throughout the year so that you can be prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise.
If you want to walk away from your timeshare, it is best to find a reliable company that specializes in contract law and has experience dealing with these issues. Be wary of any company that asks for payment upfront, as this is usually a red flag.
2. Take Back Your Points or Weeks
Just like owning a home or car, timeshare ownership comes with its share of annual maintenance fees. These costs go towards a variety of things, such as upgrades to the resort and units, management fees, emergency funds and more.
Whether you own a fixed week or floating points, there are many ways to get rid of your timeshare and avoid those maintenance fees. However, not all of these options are created equal.
Many companies will offer to take back your points or weeks, but the catch is that you still owe the company money in the form of maintenance fees. Timeshare companies have one fiduciary duty: make money.
When you walk away from your timeshare, the company will need to find another customer or investor to fill in the gap of lost revenue. This can end up costing you in the long run by charging extra late fees, harassing you with collection agencies or putting you into timeshare foreclosure.
3. Donate or Give Away Your Points or Weeks
Just like a house or car, timeshares require maintenance costs every year. These fees can cover upgrades to the resort, units and emergency funds, among other expenses.
According to ARDA, the average timeshare maintenance fee is $1,000 per year. However, these numbers do not account for other fees such as those imposed by exchange companies. Those companies often charge their own owners membership fees to use the company’s services, and these fees can easily add up.
Timeshare owners who are sick and tired of those annual onslaughts can rent their property to someone else. That way, they can recoup some of the expense and end those yearly fees. But many times, the property is already overpriced and it takes years to sell. And if you try to stop paying, you can ruin your credit and may even face legal action from the resort company. That’s why NerdWallet recommends seeking out a legitimate timeshare exit company.
4. Sell Your Points or Weeks
Many timeshare owners want to give up their ownership for a variety of reasons. They may be suffering buyer’s remorse after succumbing to high-pressure sales tactics, or perhaps vacations simply don’t appeal to them anymore. Or, they may find that their annual maintenance fees are no longer affordable.
Timeshare companies are notorious for raising fees faster than inflation. This is because they profit directly from charging their owners. The good news is that there are ways to escape timeshare fees.
If you have a timeshare in a resort affiliated with a points system such as RCI, you can often sell your weeks or unused points on the resale market. Alternatively, you can convert your timeshare to a points-based program if the resort offers this option. These options allow you to avoid paying yearly maintenance fees altogether. However, you will still need to pay transfer fees imposed by the resort and fee to a timeshare broker to help you navigate the process.