How to get out of a timeshare without ruining your finances

Published Date: August 12, 2023

A beautiful timeshare with palm trees in the yard.
Did you once dream of owning a timeshare fit for luxury vacations only to have your fantasy ruined by high fees? If so, it’s time to learn how to get out of a timeshare with little to no financial damage.As you may already know, a timeshare is a vacation property that operates within a shared ownership model. It often requires a lengthy commitment and boasts high maintenance fees that are subject to change. Getting out of a timeshare is a notoriously difficult process that can quickly eat up your time and money. Read our guide to learn the top five strategies for how to get out of a timeshare, the associated costs and who would likely benefit most from each method.

1. Use the rescission period

For those who just bought a timeshareCost: less than a dollarA rescission period is a short period of time you’re allowed to change your mind and walk away without incurring a fee. It varies state by state (where the timeshare is located, not where you live), but state rescission periods are usually between three and 15 days.To take advantage of the recission period, you’ll need to write a letter to the timeshare developers with the following information: 
  • The names on the signed agreement
  • The name of the timeshare developer
  • Cancellation address of the resort
  • Today's date
  • The purchase date
  • The agreement contract number
  • The amount of the original purchase price
  • A statement declaring your cancellation
  • Your contact information, including mailing address, phone number and email
This is one of the cheaper options to get out of a timeshare considering you only need to purchase a stamp to send your letter. For best results, consider sending a registered letter to ensure that the timeshare company receives your document.
A rescission letter template to use when researching how to get out of a timeshare.

2. Try a timeshare deed-back

For timeshare agreements with a buyback programCost: freeA timeshare deed-back program, also known as a buyback program, is when the timeshare company buys your timeshare back from you. It’s a legal, low-cost way to give the property back to the resort.However, not all resorts and timeshare developers offer this option, and you may have to be in good standing with the resort to qualify for the program. Even if this option is available, sometimes only major life events like job loss or death qualify. Check your contract to learn how your timeshare works and search for stipulations about your developer’s deed-back program before pursuing this option.

3. Hire a contract law attorney 

For timeshares with multiple contractsCost: $4,000 to $15,000+Although it’s one of the most expensive options, hiring a timeshare lawyer (aka a contract law attorney) is a must for timeshare owners tangled in multiple contracts.These legal professionals can teach you how to legally get out of a timeshare. They will help you comb through your timeshare agreement(s) for loopholes like the recession period and deed-back programs.If you try to negotiate these terms on your own, a timeshare developer may try to sway you by offering “free” upgrades if you keep your timeshare. However, each upgrade can generate a new contract that further complicates the exiting procedure. A contract law attorney can help you make sense of these contracts and mitigate the costs of exiting.

4. Sell your timeshare on the resale market

For those who paid off their timeshare loanCost: $300 to $700 for closing costsIf your rescission period has expired and your timeshare developer doesn’t offer a buyback program, take matters into your own hands by selling your timeshare on the resale market.Keep in mind that this option may only apply to those who have completely paid off their timeshare. Timeshares still tied to loans will be listed as “encumbered.” Here is a step-by-step process for how to get rid of a timeshare that’s paid off:
  • Check if your purchase agreement allows you to sell directly to a new owner or if your timeshare developer has first dibs on buybacks via a "right of first refusal" (ROFR) clause.
  • If it is eligible for resale, find out how much it’s worth by looking at the price of timeshare listings similar to yours. Pay close attention to similar locations, square footage and amenities. 
  • List your timeshare on an online resale website like RedWeek, and beware of companies that charge hefty fees to list on “exclusive” websites.
One of the major drawbacks of timeshare ownership is that they typically depreciate in value, so don’t expect to recoup the purchase price. You will likely lose money through this transaction, but doing so will free you from maintenance fees and the stress of having something you don’t want.

5. Find a timeshare exit company

For those who want to skip the headacheCost: $2,000 to $15,000+A timeshare exit company is your likely last resort for getting out of a timeshare. Only if the other methods are unavailable should you consider working with a company that specializes in complicated timeshare exit procedures.Since there are many timeshare exit company scams on the internet, here are a few tips for how to find a legitimate contender:
  • Search for a company with a proven track record. Check their website to see how many years they’ve been in business and if they have testimonials.
  • Check third-party reviews. Search for the company name on business review platforms like Yelp to see if there are any customer reviews.
  • Avoid companies that ask for payment upfront. This is a red flag that the company is potentially a scam. 
Keep in mind that exit companies do what you can do yourself, but simply free you from the headache of communicating with the timeshare developers.

Do’s and don’ts when exiting a timeshare

A graphic shares tips for how to get out of a timeshare.
In many cases, exiting a timeshare requires a solid game plan and multiple exit strategies in case your first plan doesn’t work. Follow these best practices for how to get out of timeshare ownership:
  • Do contact the timeshare developer. See if you are still within the rescission period or if your developer offers a buyback program that you qualify for.
  • Do read through your timeshare agreement. You may find helpful information that can help you craft your exit strategy.
  • Do hire an attorney (if needed). If the low-cost options don’t work or if your timeshare is bound by multiple contracts, a lawyer can take care of the details.
If you want to learn how to exit a timeshare without spending thousands of dollars or falling prey to a scam, avoid these methods:
  • Don’t rent out your timeshare. Many timeshare developers don’t allow this, and you will still be responsible for any maintenance fees.
  • Don’t give away your timeshare. Although this may seem like a win-win situation, it may not be legal, and you could still be responsible for maintenance fees and any future issues due to your contract.
  • Don’t quit making payments altogether. For obvious reasons, the timeshare developers could take legal action against you if you quit paying your timeshare fees.
A graphic shares five ways of you can learn how to get out of a timeshare.
These five methods — each with a different cost and level of interaction with the timeshare developers — are ways to get out of a timeshare. If you still want to enjoy a vacation property but skip the headache of timeshare ownership, consider becoming a co-owner of a second home in your dream destination. Pacaso offers real estate ownership of a luxury property without the pitfalls of timeshares. Plus, unlike a timeshare, you can sell your home through a streamlined resale process if you decide to move on.

How to get out of a timeshare FAQ

How much does it cost to get out of a timeshare?

Fees can range from $0 to over $15,000 depending on which exit strategy you pursue. Working with a timeshare developer directly is often the cheapest method, while hiring an exit company or lawyer are more expensive options.

Can you get out of a timeshare without a lawyer?

Yes, you can get out of a timeshare without a lawyer. You can try to sell your timeshare directly to the developer, list it on a resale market or hire a timeshare exit company if you don’t want to get a lawyer involved.

Can I sell my timeshare back to the resort?

Every timeshare developer has different policies regarding when and if you can sell a timeshare back to the resort. Check your contract to see if you qualify for a buyback program.

Why is it so hard to sell a timeshare?

It can be difficult to sell a timeshare because they have the potential to be expensive to own and typically depreciate in value over time.

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Ashley Rappa

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