Ready to get rid of your timeshare? Research companies and don't pay upfront

PHOENIX - Getting out of a timeshare isn't nearly as easy as getting into one, but it can be done.

The first place to start is at your home property according to timeshare industry writer Jeff Weir.

"Ask them if they have an internal program where you can either sell the program back to them, deed it back to them or possibly even give it back," he says.

If that's not available your next best option is to rent it out or sell it.  

"The rental market is very robust, the resale market is very slow except at some very high end resorts," Weir says.

Selling is where a lot people get in trouble and can easily fall prey to scammers. That's why it's important to research the process before you do it.

Timeshares are essentially pieces of property you own. That means a lot of paperwork and marketing when you want sell.

You may want to hire a licensed real estate broker to help with the process. You can check their credentials through the Arizona Department of Real Estate or through the Licensed Timeshare Resale Brokers Association.

You can also do it yourself.

Weir works with timeshare listing website Redweek.com. Members pay $14.99 annually for access to properties that are on the market or for rent. If you want to list a property, it costs $59 for the do-it-yourself option. The price goes up if you hire one of their brokers to complete the transaction.

Whatever you choose to do, avoid signing with companies that cold-call you out of the blue and never, ever pay a large sum of money up front.  

"Most of those companies will take the $1,000 and put your name on a website then walk away from you never take your phone call," Weir says.

Some are out and out scams.

Timeshares are a largely unregulated industry so doing your own research is key. Check out companies reputations online, with the Better Business Bureau and with Arizona Attorney General's Office.

"Make sure that you're working with professionals who have your best interests at heart," Weir says.

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