Getting rid of a timeshare can be a tricky business. Follow the advice below to sell or otherwise get rid of your timeshare and avoid timeshare scams.

Q: I am successfully retired after making very good personal money decisions for 50 years. I think I’ve only made 3 huge mistakes: I did not buy Home Depot in 1981 after getting solid advice to buy it; I did not buy gold at around $100 ounce; and I purchased a timeshare.

I need advice on how to get rid of the timeshare I have and not leave this mess for my heirs. There are so many “deals” on Internet to take this off my hands, but I do not know whom to trust.

A: We’ve regularly get questions about how to get rid of timeshares and the unfortunate news is we have yet to find a good reliable way to get rid of a timeshare if there is no real market for its sale.

Generally, the first route to go to sell the timeshare is to see if the operator of the timeshare property actively participates in buying and selling those timeshares. Some larger timeshare companies work as a broker to sell their member’s timeshare properties. They certainly take a hefty fee to sell the property, but getting something is better than getting nothing.

We generally shy away from companies that promise to sell your timeshare company if you pay them a fee upfront or any of the other companies that have non-conventional ways to try to sell your timeshare, including lotteries and raffles. We think most of this stuff smells like scams.

If the manager of your timeshare property does not work with its owners to sell their timeshares, you can try to find a real estate broker willing to handle the sale, particularly if that real estate agent handles a fair number of timeshare sales. You can also advertise your sale through the Internet including, along with others. If you use any company to sell your timeshare other than a nationally known real estate company, you should look up their record with the Better Business Bureau.

You might not get much money for the sale, but once you have had a timeshare for some time, the real issue becomes the annual costs to keep the timeshare. If you and your family have gotten to the point that you no longer want to have the annual expense of paying for the timeshare and your family no longer wants to use the timeshare, then you’ve come to the point where you might have to get close to giving it away if there is no market for your type of timeshare.

In some cases, some timeshare developments are not part of a larger organization that allows the exchange of timeshares or that are harder (or nearly impossible) to sell. In these situations, you might need to consider doing whatever it takes to get rid of the timeshare.

Whatever you decide, you need to make sure that you take proper care in selling your timeshare. Once you have a buyer, make sure that you know what it takes to transfer your property interest in the timeshare to the buyer, have the buyer sign all the documents necessary to accept ownership to the timeshare and have the timeshare development manager accept the transfer on their books.

The last thing you want is to lose control over the timeshare and somehow still have the timeshare manager continue to bill you for any past or future timeshare costs.

Please tell us how things work out.

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