Q. My timeshare is paid off and I want out. What are my options?
A. There may be a time in your life, where you decide that you no longer want to be in the timeshare game. Maybe you don’t have time to travel. Maybe it’s getting too expensive. Maybe your health is making it hard to travel. Whatever your reasons, there are options that do not involve dealing with a shady timeshare exit company. It would be important to research any company you have never heard of, especially if they are making claims that seem too good to be true. Never pay money upfront. Once they have your money, they have no motivation to do anything. Here are some of your options to consider before paying anyone to get out of your Timeshare.
Wyndham Ovations – Ovations is a free program by Wyndham. There are zero costs to you. It is their deed back program. They do not buy back your timeshare. You turn it back into them for free. If it’s an annual contract, that you bought from Wyndham directly, ask them about their Limited-Edition program. That is where they give you three years’ worth of points to use, maintenance fee-free. Resale and biennial contracts (retail or resale) do not qualify for Limited Edition. The process starts with a phone call to 855-312-9040. They will tell you if your points qualify, talk with you about your contract, and what the process is. They will do a deed search and gather the paperwork. Then they send you the paperwork that you sign and have notarized. Once you send it back to them, they record the new deed, to put it in their name. Once the deed is recorded, the maintenance fees stop for that contract. You’re free at that point. You have to maintain the maintenance fee payments while you are waiting for the process to complete. Otherwise, they will not take it over until you do. Ovations is the safest and quickest way to divest your timeshare. It is usually done within 90 days or less. Many people have been happy with how easy it is to use Ovations. If you have more than one contract, you do not have to turn them all in. You can choose to only turn in one or more, and keep the rest. If you turn in all your contracts, you will not be allowed to become a member again. So, if you want to buy more points, buy them first, and wait for the transfer process to complete, before turning in your other contracts to Ovations. If you’re wondering what’s in it for Wyndham, they take that inventory and resell it at retail prices or they will add it to the Club Wyndham Access trust and sell it as CWA points.
Sell your timeshare – eBay, RedWeek, and Tug all offer options to sell your timeshare. Search completed listings on eBay, to see how much yours is worth. You will, unfortunately, find, that you cannot get what you paid for it. In some cases, people have to give them away. If you’re going to do that, make sure the new owner pays the fee. If they won’t, call Ovations to see if your resort qualifies. There is no sense in paying the closing fees and transfer fees to get rid of it if Ovations will take care of that for you. If it looks like you might make a couple of hundred dollars, remember that you have to pay the maintenance fees while you wait for the transfer to complete. I’ve heard of them taking as little as four weeks, and other times, as much as six months. Factor in those costs too. So, if it looks like you will make $200, but your maintenance fees are $100 a month, and it takes 3 months to transfer, you lose $100. Again, Ovations might be a better option because it’s faster. With a resale transfer, the maintenance fees stop when the ownership is transferred to the new owner. That’s about 4-12 weeks after they receive the deed.
Tribute by Wyndham – Tribute is Wyndham’s free program, that helps you transfer your timeshare to your immediate relative. Immediate relative currently includes spouses, domestic partners, parents, children, domestic partners, siblings, and grandchildren. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins do not qualify as a direct relative. If you use tribute, all the benefits of retail will stay with the contract. That includes VIP or the ability to use those points in Club Pass. Transferring to a relative is ideal because the retail “perks” you paid for, stay with the contract. This is especially true of VIP. If you spent $50,000 on VIP and used it for 20 years, your children can use it and enjoy those benefits for years to come. With that said, make sure the family members are finically sound and know that they will lose it if they stop paying the maintenance fees. Or if they get a loan to buy more points and default on the loan, Wyndham can take everything. Make sure they are ok with taking that responsibility on. You can have up to four names on the account, so multiple kids can share the account and financial responsibility.
Give it away – It may hurt to give away something you paid 10’s of thousands of dollars for. The fact is, there are many timeshares out there. Wyndham is just the largest. There are a lot of timeshares and not enough people that want them. So, if you find someone willing to take the contract, and pay for the transfers, that would be a good option if you’re ok with paying the dues while waiting for the transfer. If it is a friend or relative that takes it over, they may pay the maintenance fees for you. It’s up to you both to work out. You could try to advertise it on TUG, and see if someone will take it off your hands. There are Facebook groups for buying, renting, or selling points. I advertised on one of those and found someone to take one of my contracts. I didn’t charge her anything. She paid the fees for the transfer, and I paid the maintenance fees while waiting for the transfer to complete. She got a lot of points for very cheap, and I get out of those maintenance fees. I only paid $1 for it, so I was not out any money. I have since replaced it with a resort with lower MF. When you get over a million points, you start to notice what a difference a couple of dollars per 1,000 points makes.
Walk away (nuclear option) – If for some reason, Ovations will not take it, you cannot find a buyer or taker, and no friend or family member wants it and before you walk away, call the Wyndham Cares line at 866-434-9046. They may be able to provide you with an alternative solution to suit your needs that might not be listed here. If you choose to walk away, Wyndham will foreclose on the property. Even though there is no loan, they have to foreclose on it, to take it back. It’s called an HOA foreclosure. Wyndham may choose to go after you legally for the back fees, but it’s possible they won’t. Your biggest issue will be that you will have a foreclosure on your credit report. If you think walking away is your only option, call the Wyndham cares line and tell them that’s what you will have to do, if Wyndham cannot come up with an alternative. Usually, that will get them to take it off your hands “in lieu of” foreclosure. You may have to prove that you tried selling it, by providing eBay item numbers for the auctions, or links to the advertisements you put out there. Give them a call, and let them tell you what they can do or what you should do.