Though the demand for timeshares plummeted during the pandemic, experts expect the industry to make a full recovery and even grow by the end of 2023. With a post-COVID interest in travel, many people are seeking properties that let them vacation in their favorite locales once more.
Unfortunately, not all of these new buyers will be happy with their purchases. Even worse, timeshare exits are notoriously difficult, with many buyers not realizing how many disadvantages their new purchase will bring them. Though diving into quick and easy solutions may be the first urge, there are plenty of pitfalls and scams to watch out for.
If you want to ensure that you’ve researched and planned your timeshare exit, here’s what you should know.
1. Heed the Deadlines
If you’re lucky, you’ll get cold feet before the rescission period on your timeshare ends. During this short window, which often lasts only a few days, the timeshare developer legally has to allow you to back out of your timeshare purchase. They’ll also have to refund you in full or in part.
However, you’ll need to pay close attention to the deadlines. Not only does the window of time available vary from state to state, but the requirements for submitting your written notice may vary as well. The company may require you to have the letter postmarked by a certain date, for example, or they may expect it to arrive at their office by a certain date. You’ll want to send your notice using a certified mail service, ensuring you have proof that you’ve met the deadline.
2. Call the Developer
If you’ve missed the window on your rescission period, you’ll want to get in touch with the timeshare developer. Each timeshare company is different, and you’ll want to make sure you understand the process for relinquishing ownership of your timeshare.
Though it’s rare, some developers have more forgiving policies than others when it comes to contract cancellation. They may offer special deed-back or surrender programs, for example, that let you relinquish your deed. In general, you won’t receive any kind of refund, and you may even have to pay the developer to buy back your timeshare.
None of these options are as ideal as using the rescission period, but they’re better than making continued payments toward an unwanted timeshare.
3. Read the Fine Print
Timeshare companies are great at entrapment. Their contracts tend to be solid and binding, making it difficult for buyers to get out from under them.
However, some shady developers may put things in the fine print of a contract that make said contract illegal. If you’re lucky enough to catch these things, you may be able to have the authorities declare your contract null and void.
A contract may be illegal if it never mentions the exact location of the property you’re buying, for example. Beyond your contract, your timeshare might also be illegal if no one ever told you about the rescission period or engaged in other shady sales practices.
If you believe your contract may be invalid, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a lawyer. Seek one who specializes in timeshares or contract law. Though their services may be expensive, costing up to a few thousand dollars, partnering with an expert can help you save many thousands more over the lifetime of your timeshare contract.
4. Avoid Selling or Renting
Selling a timeshare may seem appealing if you’re hoping to avoid regular payments. Even better, there are plenty of resale markets for timeshares, depending on the developer and the property you’ve chosen. You’ll often recoup little of your initial investment, but it may seem better than your current situation.
However, keep in mind that you’ll still be on the hook for payments if you rent or sell a timeshare. This is even true if you manage to find a charity willing to accept your donation and you don’t mind the additional costs.
If the person or organization to whom you give your timeshare fails to make payments, the timeshare company can come after you.
5. Don’t Stop Payments
No matter how fed up you get with your developer, it’s important not to stop making payments. The only reason you should ever do this is if you don’t have enough savings to continue paying.
If you stop making payments while you’re working to get out of your contract, you’ll run into several unwanted consequences.
Debt collection phone calls, legal fees, and even court battles may be part of the fallout. Some people even find themselves having to rebuild their credit scores. While some developers will eventually foreclose, this isn’t guaranteed, so it’s crucial not to stop payments except as a last resort.
6. Watch for Timeshare Exit Scams
Timeshare exit companies make big promises, but not all of them are created equal.
If you stumble across an exit group promising to help you resell your property or claiming to have an interested buyer, turn and run! As we’ve mentioned above, this isn’t a true solution to your problem.
Instead, the best method for timeshare cancellations is often a title transfer. Transferring your property title means that you can avoid any financial liability associated with your timeshare. Alternatively, you may prefer a mortgage cancellation if you still have a mortgage.
Like the attorney fees we mentioned above, you should expect to pay for these services. However, if you’re ready to get out of your timeshare, it can be hard to say no to a team of industry experts working to resolve your issue. Do your research to be sure the company is genuine, and don’t forget to look for testimonials from satisfied customers before working with one of these companies.
Plan Timeshare Exits With Us
When you’re sick and tired of paying your developer for a property you no longer want, it can be tempting to reach for the first solution you see. However, using the tips above and keeping a cool head can help ease your way forward. This can even save you money in the long term.
When it comes to timeshare exits, finding the right partner to help is key. Our team at Lonestar Transfer has worked to cancel thousands of unwanted timeshares, and we’re here to help you get rid of your property the right way. To learn more, call our office for a free consultation or contact us online today.