Selling a Timeshare? Florida Might Have Your Back

They sing a popular song in the south that goes…  In Birmingham, they love the governor…, timeshare owners looking to sell their unit should just substitute Tallahassee.  Specifically they should love the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott.  Earlier this month, Florida’s new Timeshare Resale Accountability Act went into effect.  The law specifically regulates sales in Florida and while it doesn’t cover every possible scam, it’s a good start for sellers looking for protection.  The law went into effect on July 1 and offers some important protection for timeshare resales by providing penalties for resellers that:

  • Misrepresent that some buyer has an interest in buying a timeshare resale
  • Collect payments from sellers before the seller signs a written agreement to the terms of the resale
  • Does not honor a seller’s cancellation request made within seven days of a signed agreement or fail to provide a refund within 20 days of cancellation.


Consumer advocates, including this blog, have been warning about scams and giving advice to the pitfalls of choosing a resale broker.  Florida now provides protection from the most common misrepresentations sellers face when looking to sell a timeshare.

The second two provisions are details that have governed the resort sales center for decades in most jurisdictions.  But the first provision is the one that is most important to the resale market.  Scam agencies know that creating urgency is the quickest way to get the seller to pay fees in advance of a written contract.  Nothing says urgent more than we have a buyer waiting.  The timeshare resale market is a thriving, and important part, of the resort timeshare sales industry.  But note that Sellers still outnumber buyers in the market, which means quite simply, a good broker will be outlining a more realistic sales timeframe.  Anyone saying they have a buyer waiting is likely lying, but at least those liars are now regulated in Florida.

The Act fails in my opinion to completely rein in scam agencies because it fails to eliminate upfront fees; it simply requires that the fee come after the signing of a contract.  So while there is some protection that Florida is providing, it could have gone further in my opinion.  This is why my advice in previous blog articles is still relevant.

  • Don’t deal with a broker demanding an upfront fee from the seller.
  • Do your homework, and
  • Do your homework.

While this is a Florida law and applies to only Florida, it is a good start as we now have a major jurisdiction recognizing and being proactive to protect resale consumers.  Hopefully we will see similar legislation make its way into other popular timeshare states, such as California, Hawaii, South Carolina, and Arizona.  Some of the good and well respected resellers are solidly behind the new Florida law, such as Concierge Realty, FiveStar Timeshare Realty, and Timeshare Broker Sales as the new law puts into place practices they have been following for years.

The fact is if you want to sell your timeshare you must be pay attention to the process and choose to deal with respected brokers.  The new Florida law allows you to proceed knowing the government is at least trying to cover your back.

Choosing a Reputable Resale Broker

The Timeshare resale market is by no means a new wrinkle to the global timeshare sales world.  The Timeshare industry projects sales for 2012 to exceed $8 billion dollars in U.S. sales alone.  While a small percentage of that figure is made up of timeshare resales, that percentage continues to grow yearly as the timeshare owners become more savvy to available options to purchase additional weeks through “independent” realtors.

The decision to BUY a timeshare comes with choices as a consumer can purchase from either a developer at a resort sales center or from a trusted resale realty company.  The decision to SELL, however, comes with little choice, as the selling consumer is often not given the option to sell the unit through the sales center that represented the sale.  A selling consumer is forced to navigate the internet to locate an honest resale broker.

Timeshare scams have been rampant on the resale market, but there is good news, there are plenty of honest resale brokers, some of who go to great lengths to prove their legitimacy. Finding a legitimate, licensed broker is not that difficult, consumers should follow some basic steps to ensure they are dealing with a legitimate company.

  1. Is the resale agency licensed?  Do not take their word for it, check with the Real Estate Commission in the state where they are located.  Reputable agency’s proudly list the licensing information on their website.
  2. Check with the Better Business Bureau, is the agency accredited?  Dealing with an accredited agency is advised.  However, the fact that an agency is not accredited is not fatal.  Bureau accreditation often takes one year of continuous stellar business practices, so it is possible the agency you find may be legitimate, but new.  Check the bureau complaints and steer clear of any business (accredited or not) that has a multitude of complaints relevant to a sale.
  3. Does the agency charge a listing fee?  This is important.  Reputable, legitimate real estate resale agencies do not charge a listing fee nor do they charge you to speak to an agent.  They are willing to make their fee through traditional real estate commissions.  You want an agent who is motivated to SELL your week, not one who is motivated to LIST your week.  Too many resale sellers have paid a listing fee only to find the number for the agency is “no longer in service”.  Don’t make this mistake.
  4. Other simple ways to check exist on the internet.  If the agency uses ebay for listings, you can check the seller ratings.  Various message boards and forums are available and a quick search within the forum will reveal information on an agency.

These are just some simple steps to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate agency.  While the advice is basic, you don’t want to be the consumer that should have known, but didn’t check.

Anyone with a specific question about an agency or agent, feel free to email this site using the “Contact Us” tab at the top.

I will not only provide a response, but I will provide the backup work (websites, ratings, links) so you can independently verify the information I provide regarding the particular agency or broker.