Credit: Photo: Robby Wells
Let's face it, most of us only have a few weeks of vacation a year. With what little time we have, who wants to spend all their time researching places to visit? Enter the timeshare sales pitch, promising to save you money and time on all of your future vacations.
Hopefully, with the options I have provided getting rid of your timeshare will be an easy process.
Option 1: Sell It
This makes the most plausible sense. After all, this is what we typically do with real estate. Before you can sell real estate you will typically research to see the market value of where you should start your price point. Unfortunately, you will be very surprised of the market resale value of a timeshare. I had to come to realization that the $20,000 I spent in this "real estate" had lost ALL of its value.
For those who really want to try to sell their time share, I encourage you to do A LOT of research. A bit of advice I can tell you right off is to NEVER pay someone up front to advertise your timeshare. Think of it like a realtor, you wouldn't pay them a commission before they sold your house would you? Below is a list of websites that can assist you selling your timeshare.
- TUG - Timeshares Users Group - Free
- RedWeek - $15/yr membership & $60/yr sale posting
- Craigslist - Free
- EBAY - $70 for a 7 day auction
- Your resort - they may have buyback program...most don't but it’s worth a shot
- Local realtor - If you are in a large market area there may be a realtor who has experience in this area
Option 2: Title Transfer
If you have never heard of this before do not feel alone. This was a new concept to me as well. A title transfer means that you are going to pay a firm to replace your name on the deed with that of the companies.
There are some major concerns you need to be aware of when it comes to this type of transaction. First and foremost, you need to read and then reread every document you are provided to insure that your name is being removed from the title and from being responsible for the property.  Otherwise you could be stuck still paying the annual maintenance fees but have no ownership of the property.
The transfer company I researched was Newton Group Transfers. Once you have been in contact with them they will set up an appointment for you to join an online presentation. They walk you through a PowerPoint presentation outlining how worthless your timeshare really is in the resale market. For me this was truly an eye opener and really helped get the ball rolling for me to unload my timeshare. After the presentation you should then brace yourself for a value you never thought you might pay to get rid of a $20,000 investment. For my timeshare it was determined that with an annual fee of $750 I would have to pay around $4,000. After I picked my jaw up off the floor. I left the presentation wondering how am I going to get rid of this timeshare without going bankrupt.
Option 3: Donate for a Cause
After writing off the title transfer idea, I found through more internet searching another avenue called "Donate for a Cause".  If you have ever searched YouTube videos on timeshares then you will have come across this name before. Surprisingly there are a lot news channels who have interviewed representatives of this company. Upon further review they appear to carry the credentials needed to perform the task.
Don't let the "Donate" fool you into thinking this transaction will be free. You should by now nothing that involves a timeshare is free. The cost quoted to me for donating was around $1,300 with some additional fees (~$500) for lawyers and title companies. This is by far a cheaper route then transferring your title. During my discussion with Donate for a Cause it was mentioned that I could potentially write off the value of my timeshare on my taxes. As it will be going to a charity. Please do not believe this. We have already found out in the previous options how valuable your timeshare really is, and thats $0. There is no write-off for this donation. IRS won't buy it and you will be stuck having to pay back the IRS. 
Option 4: Give it Back/Deed it Back to the Resort
By this point, I was debating about holding on to my timeshare. Especially, after considering how much costs I was going to have to pay to get rid of it. My hopes for a cheap vacation getaway was fading fast. Then one day I was listening to Dave Ramsey and heard him tell a caller to try "giving it back to the resort". I took this simple advice and gave my resort a call. Be warned though when you call the resort and ask about giving it back each person you are transferred to will want to know why. Just get ready to tell your story a few times...
If you are lucky enough and the resort you have your timeshare through allows you to give it back then CELEBRATE! Crack open a cold one and relax. Working with Orange Lake Resorts - Holiday Inn Club Vacations, the total cost to me was $250. After all the other options I had explored this was a drop in the bucket.
I hope that my story helps provide information and hope for those who are trying to get rid of their timeshare. Have any other timeshare owners found another way to get rid of your timeshare?