This question comes up a lot on timeshare forums and blogs, and it can be complicated depending on the exact procedures outlined in your particular contract. There are a few main points that stay the same regardless of whether you have a deeded timeshare or right-to-use, and whether or not you have paid off the entire amount of the timeshare. The following is a description of the steps that will take place if you decide to throw in the towel and allow your timeshare to go into default, leading to timeshare foreclosure.
Timeshare is treated equal to real estate in the eyes of the law, and it follows the same rules and regulations as a homeowners deed. Your timeshare can foreclose in the same way as your home if you stop making payments – and this does not just mean payments on the principal balance, it also includes yearly maintenance fees. After your first missed payment, whether it be a monthly payment on the principal balance or your maintenance fees, you will start receiving calls from your timeshare resort’s collection company attempting to collect a payment. You will also receive information by mail detailing the amount due, including any applicable late fees, and their intentions on reporting your delinquency to the IRS.
The harassing telephone calls and letters will continue if you choose to not pay the balance due on your timeshare, and after anywhere from 6-24 months (this is dependent on the procedure of your resort company) your timeshare company will begin foreclosure proceedings on your timeshare. Timeshare companies will try to avoid this at all costs because a foreclosure means they have to take the property back and pay legal fees for the proper paperwork to be processed. I have heard instances of resorts offering to lower the amount due on the principal, changing contacts to make maintenance fees due only every 2 years, adding extra perks into your vacation package such as extended stays, rental cars, airfare, and sometimes even offering to forgive the amount owed if the two parties can reach a suitable agreement for payments to continue.
If your timeshare does go all the way through the foreclosure proceedings you will be notified by mail that your deeded timeshare will be part of a trustee’s sale or public auction. At the given date, time and place your timeshare will be sold at a sheriff’s auction to the highest bidder. The auction is public record and the transaction can be recorded and reported to the IRS and credit bureaus, effectively ruining your credit for the next 7 years. This strike on your credit score can make it difficult to finance a car, obtain a loan or even buy a home. Since timeshares rarely sell at auction for the amount owed on the deed, the timeshare resort company has the option to take legal action and sue you for the remaining balance owed. Read more on timeshare foreclosure and credit scores in the post – Timeshare Foreclosures and Your Credit Score
Timeshares can be hard to wiggle out of, but most anything is better than letting the property foreclose and take a major hit on your credit score – especially if you are anticipating a major purchase in the near future. Timeshare foreclosure should be your last resort if there is absolutely no way you can make the monthly or yearly payments. It is wise to contact your timeshare resort if you are having financial difficulties and anticipate missing a payment, some properties will even offer to take your timeshare back under some circumstances; some resorts will also offer a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. You will also want to check out possibly donating your timeshare if the principal amount is paid off in full – this is not an option if you still owe money on a loan.
Helpful Timeshare Foreclosure Links:
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure for Timeshare - http://rcivip.com/deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure-for-timeshare/
Timeshare Foreclosure and Your Credit Score – http://rcivip.com/timeshare-foreclosures-and-your-credit-score/
Alternative Timeshare Sales Options – http://rcivip.com/alternative-timeshare-sales-options/