If you’ve decided to either gift your timeshare to a family member or sell your timeshare, you will need to transfer ownership of your timeshare to the new party. A transfer of ownership is handled in a formal, and often complex, process. Because of the nature of the process, it might be in your best interest to hire a closing company to take care of the paperwork for you. You can, however, handle the process yourself if you choose. If you decide to do it yourself, follow these steps to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership:
- Make sure you are up-to-date with all payments. You might also want to call the resort to see if they charge any fees for transferring the timeshare. If so, you and the buyer of your timeshare will need to figure out who will pay those fees.
- If it is required by the resort, you might also need to fill out a membership transfer application before continuing with any legal paperwork.
- Draw up an earnest money contract. A timeshare transfer is a real estate contract, and should be just as detailed. Be sure to include:
– the name of the resort and unit number(s)
– the weeks in which the timeshare is available
– whether those weeks are fixed, floating, or tied to a points system
– interest information (fee simple, estate for years, membership, etc.)
– who is responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, and delinquent fees
– what will happen in the case of default
– names, contact information, and signatures of all parties
– any other relevant terms of the sale
- If it’s a deeded timeshare, you will need to get a new deed with the county clerk’s office in the county where the timeshare is located. Both parties should sign the deed in front of a notary public, and then have copies made for each party. Submit the original notarized deed to the county clerk’s office, along with any required recording fees or tax fees.
- Send a copy of the recorded deed along with a covering letter to the timeshare management company detailing the transaction, including information like the designation of the timeshare, internal account numbers, the week, unit number, and season as well as the social security number and contact information of the purchaser.
If you or the other party is uncomfortable with navigating this process without the help of an attorney or closing company, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Otherwise, be meticulous when filling out your paperwork and you should be able to transfer your timeshare fairly easily.
Unfortunately, divorce is a very real possibility for some married couples. Timeshares, like all other shared assets and liabilities, must be addressed in the event of a divorce. Because divorce is a complicated and often emotional process, it is a good idea to consider hiring a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the system. But whether you have a lawyer or not, your options for handling a timeshare in a divorce are the same as any other asset: sell, award, or share it.
- Sell: Timeshares can de difficult to sell, but if neither you nor your spouse wants it, selling is worth a try. You can try to sell the timeshare yourself by listing it on websites like Craigslist, eBay, or TUG. Or you could list the timeshare through the developer or through a resale broker, but be cautious of large upfront fees. Also be aware that you will likely lose money if you choose to sell because more often than not, timeshares are a depreciating asset. If you are able to sell your timeshare and also manage to make a profit, split the proceeds evenly between the two of you.
- Award: This is the best option if one of you wants the timeshare more than the other. In this case, one spouse will need to “buy out” the other, meaning you will need to give the other another asset or cash that reflects half the value of the timeshare, or simply split any equity between you. You must then determine if the timeshare is an asset or a liability. One way to do this is by having it appraised. If one of you is willing to just walk away from it, however, you may not even need to place value on it. If there is still debt on the timeshare, make sure your separation agreement contains specific terms for how and when that debt will be paid.
- Share: If both you and your spouse have enjoyed using your timeshare over the years and neither of you are willing to part with it, you may opt to share it. This can be risky, though, and should generally only be an option for amicable spouses, as it will require you to maintain some level of communication with one another. Be sure to include very specific details of how this will work in your separation agreement. Address any and all questions you may have in this agreement so that you don’t face any unwanted surprises down the road.
The bottom line here is that you cannot simply ignore your timeshare in a divorce; you have to deal with it, and should do so as early on as possible. Timeshares involve many complicated elements that often require thorough investigation, so give it some serious thought before moving forward. And, again, if you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on what to do with your timeshare, consider consulting a divorce lawyer to help.
One of our users posted this comment in response to our “Timeshare Rescission Period” article:
“And what can you do to rescind the contract or mortgage AFTER that cooling-off period?? In my case, me and my family were on vacation in Orlando, FL and we unfortunately bought a timeshare from westgate resorts.. when we went back to Brazil we started paying the mortgage but due to the bad economic crisis going on in the country we cannot afford it anymore and we need to cancel or rescind the contract, but we signed it on April this year.. PLEASE, DOES ANYBODY KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM????”
The easiest way to get out of your timeshare is during the rescission period, but if you missed the deadline, you still have several options.
- Sell–This can be difficult to do, but it’s worth a shot. Try to sell the timeshare yourself by listing it on sites like Craigslist or eBay. You can also list it through the developer or through a timeshare resale broker.
- Transfer–You may be able to transfer your timeshare to a third party, but here’s the catch: the third party won’t pay for you it; they’ll simply take ownership and start paying the maintenance fees.
- Donate–There are a number of organizations and charities that will accept timeshares if they are paid in full and up to date with annual fees. Charities can use the timeshare weeks to generate revenue, and you may even get a tax deduction.
Unfortunately, none of these options will be hassle-free, but they are all legal and will ensure that you don’t run into any legal and/or financial consequences.