(WXYZ) - If someone made the offer for you to get a vacation home for free, or for just a dollar, you’d probably jump on the deal. Well in this economy, some time share owners are resorting to just that – giving their vacation homes away. But in some cases, they still can’t get rid of them.
Irene Smalls’ New York City Timeshare has been on the market for nearly a decade. She paid $24,000 to use a room one week a year, but has not come close to breaking even by selling it.
“I’ve been getting these really low ball offers,” Smalls says.
The reason is that so many timeshares are currently for sale. One well known timeshare resale site, Redweek.com , says ‘For Sale By Owner’ listings have increased more than 120% over the past year. TimeshareUsersGroup.com has seen the same trend.
“When you have an industry that has far more sellers than buyers, it’s automatically going to depress the sale price,” says Brian Rogers of Timeshare Users Group.
Timeshare buyers pay upfront for the rights to use the same hotel, resort, or condo year after year. Some say they were lead to believe their investment would even increase in value. But the reality is very different. In this economy, many can no longer afford the required maintenance fees and they’re forced to sell at outrageously low prices.
“You’re finding people who have already tried or already discounted their timeshare up to 99% off and in many cases giving it away for free,” Rogers says.
Former Orlando timeshare owner John Chase sold his timeshare for $1.00. He could no longer afford the resort’s annual maintenance fees, and if he didn’t pay, it would have affected his credit record.
“It was a big relief to sell it even at a dollar,” Chase says.
The American Resort and Development Association claims timeshares are “not a real estate investment” and “its value comes from using and enjoying it.”
Timeshare consultant Lisa Ann Schreier says most timeshares don’t increase in value. Instead, you’re paying in advance for a place to stay.
“If you have to use the word investment, think of it as an investment in your future vacations,” Schreier says.
If that sounds like a fit for you and you don’t’ mind the maintenance fees, you can pick up a timeshare for cheap. But not from timeshare owner Irene Smalls. She is going to hold onto her unit, hoping the market improves.
“My interest is recouping as much of my money as I possibly can,” Smalls says.
If you’re trying to sell a timeshare, experts say to try renting it out, ask the resort to buy it back, or if they have a resale program. You could try listing it with a real estate broker, but never pay a company who calls you and claims they have a buyer lined up for your unit. They’ll ask you to send them closing costs in advance, and that’s usually a scam.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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