Get a Time-Share off Your Hands
(MONEY Magazine) – Q My wife and I have a time-share that we never use, and those annual fees are really piling up. Is there any way to unload it?
Answer The good news: Yes, there are ways to get out from under a time-share. The bad news? You probably won't make any money on the deal.
While a time-share can be an affordable alternative to a hotel stay, even Howard Nusbaum, head of the American Resort Development Association, acknowledges that "it's not a real estate investment." The reason: Surprisingly few time-share shoppers look to the resale market. Most are lured in by developers, as you likely were. Thanks in part to maintenance fees paid by owners ($300 to $1,000), resorts are able to seduce buyers of new time-shares with gratis vacations and other freebies. Hard to compete with that.
That's not to say you shouldn't try to sell--and free yourself from the fees and the guilt. ("We should go to Myrtle Beach since we've already paid for it.") Just have realistic expectations. "Generally you can expect to sell your time-share for half of what you paid," says Bill Rogers, founder of the Timeshare User's Group (tug2.net), an online community.
For the maximum payout, start with your resort-management company; ask if it has its own resale program. Or if you have a fixed week at a fixed place, see if the folks who own the time slot before or after yours want to extend their stay. No luck? There are real estate brokers who specialize in time-shares, but they are choosy about what they'll sell and are likely to take a 20% to 40% commission. A better bet is to go it alone using the Web. The Timeshare User's Group charges $10 for a three-month listing; RedWeek.com charges $49.99 for 12 months. Ebay has an area dedicated to time-shares; sellers are charged $70 per property.
When all else fails, ask your favorite charity whether it'll take the time-share as a donation, either to sell at a fund raiser or to use for retreats. You can deduct its fair market value (look at ads to see what similar properties go for), as well as any fees paid to transfer ownership. And you'll finally get to take a real vacation, conscience clear.
ARMS UP Rates on short-term adjustable mortgages are rising faster than fixed rates, making fixed-rate loans look even better.
1-year adj. 5.96% [UP] 5/1 adj. 6.41% [UP] 15-year fixed 6.43% [UP] 30-year fixed6.69%[UP] 30-year fixed jumbo  6.83% [DOWN] Home-equity loan 8.05% Home-equity credit line one year range
NOTES: As of June 16. $417,000 or less. More than $417,000. SOURCE: HSH Associates.
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NOTES: As of June 16. Rates and terms subject to change. SOURCE: HSH Associates.
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NOTES: As of June 19. Largest funds by assets. Annualized. Closed to new investors. SOURCE: Morningstar.