Real Estate

How Do I Get Rid of My Vacation Condo or Timeshare When Nobody Wants It?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I bought a vacation property at Lake of the Ozarks. It. It is free and clear, but the fees are killing me. The seller refuses to take it back and I have been trying to give it away with no success.

If I quit paying the charges, do you think they would sue me or mess with my credit? Are there any reputable companies that specialize in the cancellation of this type of debt?

A BIG Thanks to you. I value your opinion!

Joel

Answer:

Dear Joel,

Your vacation property sounds like a timeshare. The way these vacation properties work is the initial price is cost and sales profit, the property really gets paid for with the backend fees.

Even worse, buyers of these vacation properties can see steep increases in these yearly fees and even a special assessment for big work that has to be done to the real estate.

So the big noose around your neck is not the sales price, but being on the hook for the ongoing fees.

There are a number of companies out there that advertise they can break you out of your timeshare agreement. But companies like Timeshare Exit Team, Pro Timeshare Resales, or Universal Timeshare have been found to be problematic.

You have all the characteristics of a victim if you are desperate and willing to hear an incredible sales pitch to buy services to break free of that vacation property.

You have three logical choices.

1. File bankruptcy and end the debt.

2. Negotiate with the property manager attempting to collect the fees and buy your way out of the property.

3. Default on the fees, get the attention of collections agents, attorneys, maybe get sued and lose the property nobody wants. You can then play defense and try to beat them back from winning in court.

Now option three is a bit of a risk but it can result in a ding to your credit and getting this monster off your back. For example, here is one reported outcome of this approach. “I would also explain very slowly that I had no intention of ever paying the maintenance fee,” she says. Failing to pay the maintenance fee meant the timeshare would eventually foreclose, which meant paying a lawyer. “Why not just take it now, voluntarily, with no legal expense?” she says.

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She ignored the timeshare company’s threats to “ruin” her credit rating and simply stopped paying her maintenance fees. A month later, her timeshare company relented, agreeing to release her from her contract.

“I promptly printed the attached documents they emailed, got them notarized, and completed the transaction before they could change their mind,” she says.

This option, commonly referred to as a deedback, isn’t well known. Diamond Resorts, Marriott and Wyndham offer them. But according to Jeff Weir, the chief correspondent for RedWeek, an online listing platform for timeshare sales and rentals, they aren’t well publicized.

“It’s all like a black ops program – off the books,” says Weir, a Marriott timeshare owner himself.

The reason the seller doesn’t want it back is they have you on the hook and don’t want to waste the time to try and hunt for someone else. – Source

Finally, you could hire a local attorney to attempt to help you with option three above.

Please post an update in the comments section below and let me know what you decide to do.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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