What’s it Worth?

The most common – and probably most difficult – question I get is, “How much can I get for my timeshare?”

Without meaning to sound like a smart-aleck, my answer always has to start with, “Whatever someone is willing to pay for it.” And I don’t say that just to amuse myself… we don’t know how much people sell their unit/weeks for. The only reason we even know that they’ve sold is that we have to update our records. We don’t ask for prices.

Beyond all that, let me try to answer the question as much as I can, considering that I don’t actually know the answer.

Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, timeshare is not an investment. For more information about what timeshare is NOT, please visit Timeshare 101. Although deeded timeshare is technically real estate, in that ownership changes have to be recorded with the County where the property is located, it almost NEVER appreciates in value. So before you go much further, please stop thinking you’re going to (A) make a profit on your unit/week, or (B) get as much out of it as you’ve put into it. I don’t say this to be mean – I say this because I want you to be realistic.

Think of it this way: If you buy a boat, you spend a LOT of money on it. You continue to spend money “keeping it up” (whether or not you actually use it), not to mention the cost of the trailer and the extra gas it takes to pull it around to bodies of water. You might even have to pay docking fees, or storage fees to keep it in dry dock. And if you’re like most people, you use it a couple, maybe even a few weeks out of the year. When you get tired of it (or decide to “trade up”), you find it’s not worth nearly what you paid for it, let alone what you put into it. There are always bigger, better, faster, fancier, niftier models out there, and the little dinghy that cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars “x” number of years ago might be hard to even GIVE away today.

Tempting though it might be, don’t think of timeshare as being like your house. Think of it as more like your boat. Yes, Canada House is a nice place to come and play. Yes, we do all we can to keep it up so you’ll get good trading power out of it. But there will always be some Developer out there building something fancier, bigger, nicer, better, with more amenities, more bonuses, more MORE… and Canada House can’t compete.

Not to mention… If you bought from/through a timeshare sales company, you’re not going to get what you paid for it, even if you turn right around and sell it the next day! The people you bought from have perks, bonuses, free vacations, highly trained sales professionals, incentives, and financing for purchases. What can you offer? Or, think of it another way… If you sell a used car in the newspaper, what will you get for it compared to what a used car dealer will get for it?

Again, I’m not trying to discourage anyone. It’s just that over and over again, I’ve heard owners say they’ve tried to sell their timeshares for years, and can’t find a buyer. When I finally do get right down to it and ask, I realize they’re pricing themselves out of the market, so to speak.

Here’s another thing I hear over and over: “I haven’t used my timeshare in years… I just pay the maintenance on it every year, and get nothing out of it.” But when I talk to them about selling, they insist on “getting back” what they paid 20 years ago.

I really want to ask you to think about this logically with me. And I’ll use round numbers for those who aren’t that good at math (that would be me, in case you’re wondering).

Let’s take someone who pays $500 a year in maintenance, and who is trying to sell his timeshare for $3,000. He’s had a couple of offers for $2,000, but he’s determined to get $3,000. So he pays maintenance for four years while he waits for someone to pony up the $3,000 that he has determined is the least he’ll take for it.

Finally he gets tired of having this “monkey on his back”, as he calls it, and he sells to the next person who offers $2,000. Now he’s paid $2,000 in maintenance over four years, for the privilege of owning a timeshare that sat empty during every one of those four years, just to get back his $2,000 in one lump sum.

Now let me say carefully that this is not someone I would like to have handling MY investments. :o)

What I’m trying to say here, as gently as I can, is that you need to think about how much you’re putting INTO the timeshare while you’re trying to get as much OUT of it as you can. If you’re using your week every year, getting something for your maintenance, then by all means, hold out for whatever price you think you deserve. But if you aren’t even using it, don’t keep putting money into it while you try to get more out of it than anyone is willing to pay. Does that make sense?

By the way, for those who may have missed the “Never Do This” page, please let me remind you that it is NEVER a good idea to give anyone money up front to sell your timeshare for you. If you wouldn’t sell your house or your car that way, don’t try to sell your timeshare that way.