There were no injuries thankfully, due to a quick evacuation. However with 30% of the resort in a 100 ft. sinkhole you can bet some owners will soon be taking a direct hit to their back pocket. The term “special assessment fee” is thought by some to be a myth in the timeshare world. Unfortunately most owners find out the hard way that this fiscal legend is all too real. Not all special assessments are a product of a sinking aquifer, on the contrary many are more closely tied to sinking earnings. Even the most frugal HOA can’t always be prepared when times get tough. Maintenance fees are sometimes not enough to cover mounting debt and unrelenting elements. So when margins get thin and expenses mount up who is financially responsible when it’s time to pay the piper? Contractually when you get that bill in the mail, you are.
What will listing your timeshare on e-bay really cost? Selling your timeshare on e-bay for next to nothing may seem like a good way to get out from under it but in reality it may just land you another debt. Lets take a look at some of the factors at work in this process. Let me start out by saying that the most important thing about this post is that you read it in its entirety. If you’re going to list anything for sale it helps to look at what similar products are selling for in the market place. The biggest mistake I see owners making here is that they look at what is current retail value. What I mean by that is they look at what a comparable resort is selling for on the sales floor at the resort. There are many reasons why someone would think that this is a good comparable. It is not. The easiest comparable that is the most up to date and the most credible is E-bay. Some will argue with this but I will show you why I say this. First and foremost is the quality of the data. An item is worth what someone is willing to pay and on e-bay you can see on a second by second basis what someone is willing to come out-of-pocket for a timeshare “right now”.
To do this you need to go to e-bay, type a resort name and or location into the search field and press enter.
You should see something that looks like the picture above. There is a “sort by” field that I have set to “Price + Shipping: Highest First”. Here I did a search for “Westgate timeshare” and the first seller thinks his four bedroom Orlando week is going to sell for somewhere between eighteen to twenty thousand dollars. It is not. This seller is an individual that has previously conducted eight transactions in the past. As a buyer I wouldn’t even consider buying from someone with so few previous sales especially for this amount of money. Based on the amount of time left on the Item I can tell it was listed for more that a seven-day period. That means they spent more money for a longer listing. This listing is for a set price and no one is actually bidding on it. If I scroll to the bottom of the page I can see items that actually have buyers bidding on them.
The highest bid on any of them so far is $20.00. If you click on the number of bids on that item (which is 5) it will show you who are making the bids. Half of the buyers that are bidding have zero bid history. Zero bid history means that this is the first transaction that they have ever been a part of on e-bay. As a seller this makes me very nervous. Three listings actually have live bids on them and two of those are under $2.00. So what does this tell us? It tells us nothing but we are getting somewhere. Now let’s do a search for just the word “timeshare”. Mine pulls up almost 1,500 listings. There was a time on e-bay when this broad search would have pulled up tens of thousands of weeks for sale. Now, high fees and a severe lack of bidders shows how dry this market is currently. We also need to change “Sort by” to “Time: Ending Soonest” and look for listings with actual bids that are ending sometime within the next hour. There is actually one on my list that has 56 bids and is selling for $1,226.00 and ending in 35 minutes. To the untrained eye this is looking somewhat hopeful. However clicking on the name will reveal that this is not an individual this is a “power-seller” and their specialty is Timeshare. They currently are listing 150 plus weeks. What does that mean to you? Well for starters it means that they have a closing company that they have used before and that probably specializes in timeshare closings. This is important because not every deed transfer is done exactly the same way and they probably have the experience that comes from transferring over 200 deeds per month. It also means if it took twelve months to sell a less desirable property the listing cost is diversified by all the multiple listings. In addition I would say buyers are more likely to make bids on weeks that have been listed by a seller that has a power-seller rating and positive feedback for completed timeshare sales. I wouldn’t be comfortable giving a seller over $100.00 if they had sold less that 30 items and had any negative feedback. As a seller I would also not want to deal with gambling on the legitimacy of a buyer that hadn’t purchased over 30 items. They also probably have some sort of outside marketing going on. We’re getting close so stay with me. So what the average owner should do is create a profile, search for properties similar to theirs that are listed by individuals, and add those listings to their watch list. Then watch to see how many actual bids there are and what the final price was when it sold. I have been watching timeshare sales on e-bay for the last ten plus years and market value is nowhere close to where it was five years ago. Now lets put you into the seat of the seller. How many things have you sold on e-bay? Would you say fewer than 30? Are you a power-seller? Who are you using as your closing company? Have they transferred that exact resort and location before? How much do you think it will cost? To list a Timeshare on e-bay you have to list it in the real estate section. The cheapest ad with one picture that runs for seven days will cost you $35.50.Pinnicle vacations which is the resale arm of Blue-green resorts tells potential resale clients that they should expect at least a year or more for their unit to sell. Remember they’re trying to entice you into using them as a resale outlet and they are saying best-case scenario is one year this means in reality it will be more like two years or if you don’t own what people want it could be more like never. So what will two years of the cheapest listing on e-bay cost? Around $900.00 but don’t forget you still pay your maintenance for two years as well so add around another $1400.00 on to that figure. That also assumes the new buyer is paying all the fees involved for the transfer to take place. Most won’t. The most elaborate listing on e-bay is $301.50 for a 90-day listing. So over two years you just spent $2400.00 plus $1400.00 in fees so your grand total is around $3800.00 or if it sells in one year it would be $1900.00. Is that the exception or the rule? Is there a guarantee involved? Some will say just list it for a week and see what happens however one week will always mean two weeks which then turns into a month and at some point your what a poker player calls “pot committed”. This means you have so much money into listing it that it’s hard to walk away.
Both AARP and the BBB posted articles today reiterating the growing concerns with the “resale” model currently in place. Sid Kirchheimer clues owners in on a new twist. This may be news to Sid but we have been warning families about this particular twist for over a year now. Part of bringing people together in a seminar like this is getting to share real world data. It’s nice to see others identifying the problem but we also found a way to provide a solution.
When you see this in mainstream media you know it is way past the recovery point. AnnaMaria Andriotis is basically preaching to the choir here as far as we are concerned. This reminds me of a statistic I saw yesterday that said out of the 4.7 million timeshare weeks that are “sold” inventory 3 million are on the resale market. AnnaMaria tells us that up to to 48% of timeshare owners are behind on their annual maintenance payments by at least a year. Ozark Liquidation helps to reposition those weeks into the hands of willing recipients and alleviate that burden from families that have already made the commitment to stop the bleeding. Smart Money
This is a place for us to share some of the experiences and real world data we encounter. This will be a great source for those of you who wish to dig a little deeper. These individual stories and factoids may help paint a more detailed portrait of what is going on. Feel free to send in questions and stories of your own. Let us know if we have helped you out as well. Thanks to everyone who have helped to make this possible. If you are booked into a seminar, we will see you soon!