Should you use a Real Estate Broker to sell your timeshare? It's a question that comes up often, as owners consider the various ways to approach selling timeshare. There really is no short answer, so let's take a look at a few scenarios where using a Broker might come up:
Timeshare Brokers That Charge Upfront Fees and Commissions
I don't believe in "two bites at the apple" - and Real Estate Laws in most locales prohibit Real Estate Brokers from accepting advance fees anyway. If you want to sell your timeshare through a Real Estate Broker, then choose one that works on a commission-only basis. If you cannot find a Broker to sell your timeshare on commission, you'll have to sell the timeshare by-owner. There may be (and probably will be) upfront expenses to the Broker with whom you list, but asking for money upfront demonstrates a lack of confidence that should raise red flags for myriad reasons.
On-Site Timeshare Resale Programs
For some time now, one of the most popular pages on our website is a step-by-step guide I wrote on How to Sell Your Timeshare. In it, I suggest checking first with your resort to see if there is an established on-site resale program. These programs usually begin after the resort has fully sold out, and management responsibilities have passed to the HOA/POA. On-site resales are handled by a Real Estate Broker - one who is intimately familiar with your resort, resale values, and transfer procedures. Plus, you won't be required to pay an up-front fee.
If this is an option for you, then look no further: You've found someone with the means, motive, and opportunity to sell your timeshare at current market value!
(A note of caution: Many resorts will tell owners that an on-site program is coming soon... Don't get caught up spending thousands more in maintenance fees waiting for on-site resales to materialize. Either your resort has a program, or it doesn't.)
High-End & Niche Vacation Ownership Resales
If you own a fractional quarter-share in Aspen, an ultra-luxury residence club, or Disney Vacation Club points, then there are Real Estate Brokers who specialize in your niche, and are more than willing to sell your timeshare at a fair price and solely on commission (and you're doubtfully reading this post anyway.) With respect to fractionals and residence clubs, the sale prices are high enough to make handling resales profitable for a Broker. With Disney points, demand is high enough to keep a Broker busy - The Timeshare Store specializes in selling DVC points resale with no upfront fee.
Selling The Typical Timeshare - By Broker or By Owner?
If you are selling the "typical" timeshare - one without an on-site resale program, and one that is not in a high-end or niche market - then you fall into the vast majority of timeshare owners that want to sell. You may find yourself unable to locate a Real Estate Broker who will take your listing, but, if you do, the decision of whether to sell with a Broker or By Owner should be based on your desired outcome.
Real Estate Brokers are men (and women) of action; I have great respect for them. Brokers are likely to work towards a quick sale of your timeshare. Brokers are likely to be working with motivated and highly-informed buyers. Brokers are likely to consider the state of the market now when suggesting a sale price for your timeshare. Brokers are likely to minimize their upfront cost on your behalf...
As has been stated in this blog, and elsewhere, postcard companies/relief companies have literally flooded the market with near-zero priced timeshares over the last couple years. If the resale value of your timeshare must be based solely on past results, be prepared to take an enormous loss at time of sale.
Choosing to sell timeshare by owner, whether by advertising on your own or with a timeshare resale company, means you decide what the asking price will be. (Your asking price should be less than current developer pricing.) Selling timeshare by owner allows you to bait the hook, and wait to catch the right buyer - one that, perhaps, just heard the developer sales pitch at your resort, and has a higher perception of value. You won't be limited to only the most informed buyers, making only the most bottom-line of offers. Selling your timeshare with by-owner advertising is really not selling at all, in a traditional sense, it's putting it out there in a visible fashion - where it can be found by a willing buyer.
Currently, there is no accurate way to appraise the value of a timeshare - a fact that should delight timeshare owners, as their values mustn't be tied to the depressed market of the last few years. By advertising your timeshare by-owner, you are free to pursue a fair resale value. When an interested buyer presents themselves, you might consider bringing in a Real Estate Broker to close the deal - after all, that's what they do.