The timeshare industry is riddled with confusion, scams, and rip-offs. If a Family Fued game show question came up as, “Where would you find a sleazy sales rep?” then I’m sure “Timeshare office” would be right behind the used car lot. (South Park once did a whole episode on the hard-sell pitches at a Rocky Mountains ski lodge.)
The resale market is a different story though. Here buyers and sellers are doing the transaction directly to the benefit of both.
So we wanted to review one company that shows up high on a more positive list: Google searches. BuyaTimeshare.com has been around since the year 2000 and helps you buy, sell or rent a timeshare on the resale market. We figured this would give us a good window into the process. Let’s take a look at their claims and see if they’re legitimate.
About the Company
There are a lot of these resale companies around and they’re kind of like cheap guesthouses in Southeast Asia or India: once one with a certain name has success, lots of others pop up with similar names to try to cash in on the goodwill. BuyaTimeshare.com is one of the oldest timeshare resale companies in the world, however. It was created in 2000 to give timeshare owners an online outlet to sell or rent out their timeshare to potential buyers and renters. The company began with an office in Tampa, Florida and later opened an additional office in Merrimack, New Hampshire. It is accredited by all of the big industry associations in America (ARDA), Canada (CRDA) and Mexico (AMDETUR) plus timeshare owner groups NTOA and TATOC. This supplies some proof of legitimacy and there’s the security of knowing there’s a trade organization to speak to if there’s a dispute.
Buying, Renting, or Selling Your Timeshare
For timeshare sales on the secondary market, current owners advertise their units and designated weeks for sale on the site and prospective buyers make offers on those timeshares. These offers are sent to the timeshare owners who then negotiate a final price directly with the potential buyers. Once the deal is finalized the timeshare owner receives cash for their timeshare and the buyer or renter receives their vacation ownership.
For rentals it works the same way, but the price is just for one period like a week or two instead of a transfer of ownership into the future. In both cases, BuyaTimeshare.com is simply the advertiser paid for a service: they don’t take a commission on the sale price.
The company says that organic search traffic is the primary way it attracts potential buyers and renters to the timeshare ads. When people search timeshare-related terms on services like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, they land on the pages of the companies advertising properties for sale or rent. When we reviewed search terms related to timeshare we found that, across the board, BuyaTimeshare.com had a strong first page presence in the results. Considering most people use search engines to find products and services now, the company’s strong presence leads to a high number of potential buyers and renters visiting the timeshare ads and making offers.
Deals for Buyers and Renters
Making an offer on a timeshare is pretty straightforward. We tested the site by searching for the Wyndham Grand Desert resort in Las Vegas and clicking the “Make Offer” button. Within about two days we had several timeshare owners respond to our offer. Most wanted to counter our offer with a higher amount, but some obviously just wanted out. From what we could tell, we’d be able to buy a timeshare on their site for far less than what we’d pay as a first-time buyer at a resort.
You can see see what other buyers have paid already on the Timeshare Sold Properties page. There are same crazy low sale prices on there, like Wyndham Nashville for $50 and $100 for Sand Pebble Resort in Treasure Island, Florida, near St. Petersburg beach facing the water. Here’s that unit from the outside.
Of course the selling price is not the whole story as there are closing costs and annual maintenance fees. For the Sand Pebble one pictured above, that’s $708 per year.
Premium condos in high demand or with strong rental income records can sell for much more of course. On that same rundown of sales, one unit in the Disney Beach Club Villas in Orlando sold for $17,700 and one two-bedroom in Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas North in Maui went for $23,500. Most sales are in the range of $500 to $10,000.
Timeshare Rental Deals
Renting works in a similar way. Instead of making a purchase offer at the Wyndham Grand Desert we looked at rental prices, knowing that those are also open to negotiation. We were surprised to see how low some of the timeshare owners were willing to go to rent out their timeshare. We found one owner offering their week for just $150.
We also found listings for Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan, Mexico, a gorgeous luxury resort right on the beach. As a hotel rooms here rent for hundreds of dollars a night, but one owner is renting out a week for $500.
Our BuyaTimeshare.com research determined that this site has a long-established track record and reputation. It stands apart from some of its less savory rip-off companies making hard-sell cold calls or saying they have guaranteed buyers for your fractional week when they really don’t. It has been doing business for a long time and isn’t some fly-by-night company that’s going to disappear with your money. We emailed and phoned their customer service to see how’d respond and found they were prompt. They answered all of our questions clearly and professionally.
If you have a timeshare to rent out or sell, or want to take advantage of a good deal on the other end of the process, give them a try.