How to Legally Dispose of a Timeshare

Timeshares may be a trap for many wide-eyed consumers.

Timeshares may be a trap for many wide-eyed consumers.

Timeshares are available either as a single vacation property or as a points system that allows owners to choose from a selection of properties. You buy "time" to use your property as long as you pay the maintenance fee. If a timeshare was not your best investment, you may be looking for a way to sell or unload it. And that is not always easy. Disposing of a timeshare legally -- not every timeshare gets swept away by a hurricane -- may require a bit of effort and some creativity depending on its location and market value.

Contact the company that sold you the timeshare and notify it of your desire to sell. Ask the staff if the company has an assistance program for owners and ask how much of a percentage it charges to help you sell a timeshare so that you know what you are getting yourself into before moving ahead with the process. If the terms are agreeable and the company is willing to help, let it find you a buyer and be thankful that you found an easy way out.

Sell the timeshare back to the company that sold it to you if you cannot find a buyer or don't want to deal with the annoyance of a general listing. Contact the company and tell it that you wish to sell. Ask how much similar units are currently selling for, and offer to sell yours to them for half the rate. Offer to pay double the seller's commission to sweeten the pot and see what type of reception you get. If the company agrees, you are home free; if not, some more negotiation may be in order.

Donate your timeshare to a charity or organization that is willing to take on the responsibility and have the paperwork signed over to it. Most charities are only willing to accept such properties if they are paid off and no money besides maintenance fees are owed. Since timeshares come with a lifetime of maintenance attached, they still cannot be handed over as a gift and forgotten. Only if the receiving party agrees to transfer the burden is the deal doable. You will receive a tax deduction for the donation of your timeshare up to a value of $5,000 without an appraisal.


  • Some real estate agents specialize in selling timeshares. If you are looking for a way to sell your timeshare that won't occupy your entire schedule with showings and negotiations, consider taking this route. Just beware of high percentages due to the agent once the sale takes place.


  • Late or unpaid timeshare payments are due in full at the time of sale, transfer or death of the timeshare owner. Ignoring payments and hoping they will go away does not settle the debt, which will come back to haunt you.

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About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.

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