Reporting Jim Donovan
By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you could get a vacation home for free or for just a dollar, you’d jump on the deal, right? Well in this economy, some time share owners are resorting to just that; giving their vacation homes away!
But as 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan shows, you may not want to take them up on it.
Irene Smalls’ New York City timeshare has been on the market for nearly a decade. She paid $24,000 to use a room like this, one week a year. But she hasn’t come close to breaking even selling it.
She says, “I’ve been getting these really low ball offers.”
And Irene is not alone.
Brian Rogers of the Timeshare Users Group says, “When you have an industry that has far more sellers than buyers, it’s automatically going to depress the sale price.”
Timeshare buyers pay upfront for the rights to use the same hotel, resort or condo for a certain time period year after year. Some say they were led to believe their investment would even increase in value, but the reality is very different.
Rogers says, “You’re finding people who have already tried or already discounted their timeshare up to 99 percent off and in many cases giving it away for free.”
That’s because in this economy many can no longer afford the required maintenance fees.
Former Orlando timeshare owner John Chase sold his timeshare for a buck! He says could no longer afford the fees and if he didn’t pay it would have affected his credit record.
He says, “It was a big relief to sell it even at a dollar.”
If you don’t mind paying yearly maintenance fees, you can pick up a time share for cheap. But not from Irene Smalls. She is going to hold on to her unit, hoping the market improves.
She says, “My interest is recouping as much of my money as I possibly can.”
If you’re trying to sell a timeshare experts say you have several options: including renting it out, asking the resort to buy it back, inquire if they have a resale program or listing it with a real estate broker. But whatever you do, never pay a company that calls you and claims they have a buyer lined up for your unit and asks you to send them closing costs in advance. That’s usually a scam.