Emma owns timeshares in DVC and Wyndham and wants to help you get the most out of your timeshares and keep you from losing big on them too.
If you own a timeshare and are struggling to keep up with the maintenance fees every year, not to mention the occasional special assessments, you might wonder what would happen if you just stopped paying the maintenance fee and allowed your timeshare to get foreclosed on.
If your timeshare is actually paid for, this may seem like an easy way out. But if you are thinking that the resort's HOA (homeowners association) will just let you slide on the maintenance payments and repossess the timeshare, no harm no foul, that is very far from the truth about what will happen.
There are big consequences to allowing a timeshare foreclosure, so you want to avoid it if at all possible. You don't want to take that kind of hit on your credit report, especially if you are already in financial difficulty. Damage to your credit usually only makes things worse.
How Deliquency and Foreclosure Can Hurt You
If you decide to simply stop paying your maintenance fees (or your loan, if you still have one), you will end up taking a pretty big hit to your credit rating.
In addition to that, though, you may find yourself on the receiving end of aggressive collection agency phone calls and letters, and eventually either the HOA or the timeshare developer may decide to both foreclose on your timeshare and seek a judgment against you. So in the long run, you may not even get out of paying what you owe.
Alternatives to Timeshare Foreclosure
This advice here is primarily for owners who have already paid for their timeshare. If you no longer can keep up with your annual maintenance fees or special assessments, your best option is to get rid of the timeshare. This may take some time and may cost you a bit more money in the short term, but once you can transfer the ownership to someone else, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
First things first, though, pay what you currently owe. If you are delinquent with your maintenance fees right now, try to get the money together to pay it. You don't want to risk a ding on your credit report for late payments or non-payment.
1. Sell Your Timeshare
If you own a desirable resort and your week is highly sought after as well, you shouldn't have any problem selling the timeshare as long as you set a reasonable price. You can check completed auctions on eBay to get an idea of what your week is actually worth. Or check sites like Redweek.
Even a very desirable resort may take some time to sell, however. If you want to get rid of your timeshare quickly, you may want to improve your chances by offering to pay closing costs and not attempting to recover this year's maintenance fees from the buyer, essentially giving them a free week if you have not already used this year's week yourself.
Just keep in mind that the best way to sell your week or points sooner rather than later is to set the right price. This will usually be MUCH lower than what you paid for it—as much as 50% to 90% less, depending on your resort and the brand. So walk into this with your eyes open and set a fair price upfront, and you will be out from under your maintenance fees that much more quickly.
2. Give Away Your Timeshare
Is your timeshare not that great? Is it for an off-season week or is it located someplace that is overbuilt like Orlando, Florida? Then you might have problems selling it at any price. Your best option here, then, might be to simply give it away. Even then, this might take some time, but usually you can give away a timeshare as long as it isn't a total dog.
A couple of things I would try:
- List the timeshare on eBay for $1 with no reserve.
- Post it to Craiglist as a giveaway.
- Start with an offer that asks the buyer to pay only closing costs. If that doesn't work, then you can offer to pay closing costs, but I would wait on that. If you are current with this year's maintenance fees, you probably have a bit of time to play with. Your goal is to get your timeshare sold before next year's bill comes due.
- If your timeshare is a dog, you could offer to pay someone to take it off your hands—but only offer closing costs and this year's maintenance fees.
And whatever you do, do not pay thousands of dollars to some timeshare resales company that wants you to pay upfront. You will often find that you are still the obligated party in that case, so avoid resellers that solicit you and offer to sell the timeshare for you or take it off your hands unless they are actually having the deed transferred to them. Consult with your own attorney to make sure you are not getting ripped off.
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3. Donate Your Timeshare
If you don't want to bother with the hassle of selling your timeshare or prefer not to spend money to give it away, then you may want to donate your timeshare to a non-profit. There are a couple of organizations like Donate for a Cause that are set up to take timeshare donations in exchange for a tax deduction for you. They use the proceeds to support various causes.
But if you want to go this route, then you must be current with all of your fees. You cannot donate a timeshare if you aren't up to date with maintenance fees, and you can't donate one if you are still paying off a loan.
What to Do If You Are Still Paying the Loan
If you still owe big bucks on your timeshare, you have a lot fewer options. Most of the time, your unit won't be worth what you owe on the loan. In this situation, you may want to approach the developer's association about deeding back your timeshare to them. In most cases, they won't even consider this option, but if the property is still in development and/or the construction phase and they are actively selling it, you might have a little more bargaining room to maneuver.
At any rate, you should at least talk to the financial office before you make any decisions about defaulting on your loan. Because of the times we are in, many people are experiencing the exact same difficulties you are, and so you may find some companies are willing to help you avoid foreclosure because it saves them money and hassle as well. Timeshare foreclosures are a big hassle for the developers as well.
Before you leave a comment or question, I cannot offer any advice on specific circumstances. I am not a lawyer, and I am not giving legal advice. I'm a timeshare owner just like you. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
kimt on February 27, 2013:
hi we got a timeshare in the summer now is feb. stopped paying last mth cant pay for it no more. we did try to get out of it when we got it within the 7 days and they said it was a day late yeah so we kept paying. we never used it.. they call and i said im not paying you anymore thye said well we are foreclosing on it do you knw what that can do to your credit... and yes i said yes but to me its money in the trash!!!!
Jenn1111 on June 08, 2012:
Does anybody know what I can do??? We owe 6,000 towards our timehare mortgage. When we were on our honeymoon in Mexica we got suckered into a tour. They got us drunk and basically I got suckered into this timeshare I never wanted. We have barely pd anything towards it and cannot afford to pay. My husband at the time of our honeymoon had just lost his job but the ppl told us to lie and say we made a certain amount of money. Our payments are only $150/month but now my son had just been diagnosed with ASD and any extra money we have is going towards his therapies. A collection agenacy called me last night and threatned me with a judgement! I don't know what to do??? I told him we don't have the money and he can look at my bank statement which is in the negative right now. I need to seek legal advice but obviously cant afford that either. I don't want someone coming into my house and taking stuff. We rent but I read they can take property. Is any of this leagal and true and what should I do. The Occidental refuses to help us. They just give us a month extension then call the next month asking for their money. I already feel like I was taken advantage of and ripped off by these people. I am so mad.
bighead on May 21, 2012:
we have an orange lake timeshare they have reported that we were delinquent. we are set up on a bank draft but orange lake says my credit card info has changed and can no longer be used. my card has not this is their mistake and they will not help at all. is this fraudulent credit reporting and can i use it to get out of this timeshare
c bennett on March 21, 2012:
We have a timeshare that the mortgage has been paid but the maintenance fees are out of control. When we got the timeshare we were not told of how much the maintenace fees would be. I have been making payments and even $300 this January to catch up. We are bad, we had not paid since we got the place, because we have had pitfall after pitfall and even lost our home. So, this was the last thing we thought about paying. I know it's our fault they now they have gotten ridiculous. They have fee on top of fee on top of fee which has pretty much doubled what we owe. Now they have not said a word since we got it, until now. Now, they have given us 3 weeks to pay $5600 which we don't have. So, all the payments I have made only went to fees. Any suggestions on how to compromise or get this resolved. We don't want to lose our place and they are not allowing us to use it, but they are letting others use our time each year.
Adriana A. on March 20, 2012:
Help what to do, just received a letter of foreclosure in 30 days, for late taxes and fees, I don't have the money, but I don't know what to do. Timeshare already paid Westagate vacation villa week 35, can I still try to sell it somewhere and recover some of what is worth instead of letting it go? Don't know what to do.
Fred on March 06, 2012:
I think I'm in trouble... I owe $3,000 in maintenance fees.(almost 2 years.) I lost my job, I broke my foot (couldn't work for 3 months). Any exit to my situation? Please help!
Emma (author) from Boston on February 18, 2012:
I doubt very much that you will, but I'm the wrong person to ask. Who handled the foreclosure?
Brian on February 16, 2012:
Here's a question. I have a Disney Vacation Club that was foreclosed on by getting behind $7,000 in payments. However when it was foreclosed the vlaue of the club that was paid off was apporx. $25,000. Should I receive a check for the difference.
amanda on February 03, 2012:
We own at Orange lake and can't affors our monthly mortage payments anymore nor the maintence fees which are now past due! It seems that the inly option is to go to a forecloser! Is this even possible with us having a mortage on it still?? I have contacted orange lake and the refuse to do anything to help us! How bad can it really effect us since we are from canada and the property is in the usa?!
Please and help or advice would be great!!
gloria chandler on January 30, 2012:
this only explains what would happen if you allowed your time share to og into foreclosure. what can you do to get help?
Emma (author) from Boston on January 20, 2012:
I don't understand why everyone thinks that a timeshare company will just take a timeshare back. It's yours. You own it. If you want to get rid of it, SELL IT.
Doodles, you own a Marriott. This will be easy to sell or give away as it is quite desirable. You just need to do some work. You are not stuck. Try joining Tugbbs.com and list it there for free when you become a member.
Doodles on January 17, 2012:
I've owned 2 weeks during prime season at a Marriott timeshare in Orlando for almost 20 years. Bought it basically so grandchildren could get to Disney and enjoy great vacations with them. Have also traded to some wonderful places, including Europe, and considered the timeshare experience wonderful for that time. Initially we expected to "leave" it to our children. Now the grandchildren are away to college and we're retired and can't afford the maintenance fees. Our children really don't want the timeshares. So it seems we're STUCK! Even though our particular resort is one of Marriott's top resorts in the Orlando area, they really don't want it back. Hellllllp!! :-(
Dani on January 05, 2012:
I have missed the first payment on my timeshare this month. I can no longer afford the payments and all th eusage fees have gone up significantly. How do they decide whether they come after you for the balance if it goes into foreclosure? I never hear of anyone being responsible for the balance even though they threaten it. The timeshare is in Virginia. Gold Key-what a bunch of liars they are.
Denise on January 01, 2012:
My husband and I owe on 2 weeks/points at Orange Lake, the first which was a good decision, 2nd - at the time and economy wise, we were able to afford. We were even able to afford the maintenance fees. We have enjoyed our time at Orange Lake as well as the places we have traveled (as well as allowing family to stay/trade so they also had a nice place to stay!). Unfortunately, things being what they are now, we've lost a substantial amount of income, and mf's have easily doubled since we purchased. We have been in contact with them - never been later than 15 days, (except with not enough work for a time our maintenance fees were late one year)...Have received "notices" after 10 days, even when payment was already made...that they will "work" with us. And the answer is always the same..they "can't" do anything..We do NOT have the maintenance fee money and were advised to keep making our regular payments. Well, at a certain point, I'd rather concentrate on paying off my other bills, keep my house..and stop caring about what a credit score says...pay cash for everything..'cause I'll "save" $7k a year between fees, etc..Survived a bankruptcy years ago between separation and being widowed...and you can't get blood from a stone. Besides - if we can't pay for both, then we can't use just one...so we are just throwing good money after bad. Any advice? Feeling dumb enough right now...
G8rfan on December 30, 2011:
I have a Red Week at Orange Lakes. It's been paid off for several years now. I haven't used it in many years, nor have I been successful in trading the week in. I finally just gave up after several lost weeks. I haven't paid the MFs (that could actually be taken a couple of different ways, couldn't it???) in about 3 years now and owe several thousand dollars. I ignore all phone calls and letters. Yesterday, I received a package with a request from them for me to sign a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. It states that it releases us from our contract week and once properly executed, will forgive all debts. Can this be trusted??? Why would they suddendly do this after all this time???
Greg on December 14, 2011:
Beware of Palm Beach Shores Resort and Vacation Villas/Palm Beach Resort Development Group/The Berkley Group, Florida. The sales office and salesman will lie and totally misrepresent the product in order to sell you a timeshare. In March 2010, my wife and I got tricked into purchasing one. We were told that we could easily exchange the deeded week and use the "Extra Week" for beachside resorts in Panama City/Florida Pan Handle and Myrtle Beach. Since the purchase, we have found that it is impossible to exchange for or get any beachside resort "Anywhere" with what we purchased. I have tried for over a year and nothing good ever comes available. They totally lied to us.
Emma (author) from Boston on November 17, 2011:
Cindy, I'm pretty sure that it also states in your contract that the maintenance fees will be adjusted as needed. Resorts costs ALWAYS go up. You can expect most maintenance fees to increase between 2-10% per year. Now 399 to 939 seems like a lot, but I guess that depends on how long you have owned the resort.
cindy on October 22, 2011:
My contract states maintance fee per year of 399.00 its now 939.00 including taxes.. could I break contract? I own my resort and lost 3 years because I cant afford to travel.I lost 2011 because westgate didn't transfer to interval and what's with this new point system?
l.lou on September 04, 2011:
we still have loads to pay on our time share...we have used it every other year until now but now we just cant afford to continue paying for it as well as the cost of flying out to florida every other year and really don't want to throw our money any further down the drain. if we just stop payments/foreclose on our property in florida how badly will it affect our credit rating in uk? what is the worst that can happen? we reall have NO money to give them!
Emma (author) from Boston on September 01, 2011:
Florida Girl, the rescission period is 10 days in Florida. In other states it can be much less, as little as three days.
Regina, the rescission period is your protection. If you sign a contract, you should read what is in it first, but failing that, you can always read it that very same day and then decide whether or not to rescind.
regina on September 01, 2011:
Timeshares are ripping most average people off. These companies get you into their meetings. Get you all excited by showing you properties which are very nice, you sign up witout time to read all the agreement ( Two books/manuals which is in a bag). How come the law are always on their side? It is a one sided contract- The corporations side!