Our Hope

Can you imagine a half a billion dollar a year industry where no one knew what anything was worth?

Buyers and sellers could only find data on other unsold products.  Devoid of information the public was susceptible to fraud, vilifying a crucial market.  This was the timeshare resale market.

What is my timeshare worth? How can I sell my timeshare? How do I buy a resale timeshare? How can I get rid of my timeshare? These questions have cost timeshare owners millions. A quick search of those questions will lead you to very few facts and plenty of “inquiry” forms that are nothing more than lead generators for the relief companies, advertising companies and worse – those that falsely promise to have a buyer. Until now, even the vast information on the Internet turns out to hold few reliable clues about the facts about the actual value of a timeshare.

Compare the information available about timeshare resales to the data that is available for other types of consumer products that are often bought and sold and it becomes apparent what a difference having access to market value can make. For example, ever wonder what your used car is worth? Simple – check the Blue Book®. What is my house worth? Look at comps of actual sales. What is Apple stock worth? Check Bloomberg, Google Finance or analyst reports. Something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay.  Your home is not appraised based on what your neighbor would like to sell his house for; it’s appraised based on what has actually sold in your area.  Yet when you want to know what your timeshare is worth you fill out an inquiry form to be shown the asking prices at which everyone else is trying to sell their timeshare, not prices at which they have actually sold!

Why is the timeshare resale market so opaque? Simple – many of the stakeholders in the resale market benefit from and often perpetuate this opacity in order to protect their product or to make a margin.

An unscrupulous agent can create a nice commission if a buyer and seller do not know the market value of the transacted property. An internet marketing resale company can sell an expensive advertisement if the seller has every reason to believe his property is worth substantially more than it really worth. Paying a high price for an ad is one thing; but even worse, this void of public resale data is the space where fraud works.

The concealment of information to produce false hope IS the timeshare resale problem

There is a propensity for fraud anytime you have a large gap between what someone thinks something is worth and what it is actually worth. The timeshare resale market is particularly susceptible to this due to the massive difference in the developer price versus the resale price. If I think my timeshare is worth maybe $15,000 (after all, I paid $18,000 for it!) and someone calls to let me know they have an offer at $11,000, the offer may seem quite reasonable. At $11,000 I know I would be taking a hit but I have heard timeshare can be difficult to sell so I accept the offer. After all, it seems I just need to prepay the 10% processing fee ($1000) to the nice man on the phone and the deal will be done. I can even make the payment with a credit card…

If the seller knew the property only sold for about $1,000 would he be more inclined to feel it was too good to be true? We hope so. Informed stakeholders narrow the gap, reduce fraud and increase liquidity.

As we set out to build Sharket, we were hoping to create a timeshare platform that provides free data of actual timeshare sales and activity reports. We wanted it to act like any other market where clear data and public information fuels efficient, reliable transactions. We hope you will get educated and get the facts. We are contributing our data. We hope you will contribute what you know about timeshare to help make Sharket an essential resource for all timeshare owners, buyers and stakeholders.

Changing the timeshare resale market together – that is our hope.