For so many people, just hearing the word “timeshare” brings chills, angst, and anger to the surface. There are 10 million timeshare owners out there, and as many as 80 percent of them aren’t just unhappy with what they purchased – they don’t know how to get out of it.
If you’re one of the many unsatisfied timeshare owners looking for an exit (or know someone with a timeshare horror story), today’s episode is for you. I’m talking to Allie Olson, the CEO of Give Up My Timeshare, where she is revolutionizing the timeshare industry and helping people put their nightmares to an end.
In this conversation, Allie breaks down how to get out of a timeshare, the common scams out there preying on people trying to get out of their timeshares, the mistakes people make along the way, and what you can do to stop this liability from passing on to your children.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
Andrew Rafal: The word timeshare, when I say it, for many of you, brings chills, brings angst, it brings anger. Out of the 10 million timeshare owners, up to 80% are not happy with what they purchased, they feel stuck. How do I get out of it? So, that’s why today’s show is for you. And whether you have a timeshare that you want to learn how to get out of, you have a friend, family, that’s why Allie Olson is on the show today.
She is an experienced first timeshare seller up in Sedona. She was in the industry for years, and then realized that the industry was changing. And so, what we’re going to do today is break down how you can get out of your timeshare, and some of the scams that are out there for people that want to get out of their timeshares, the mistakes people make. We’re going to learn so much today. And Allie is going to be able to help you, she’s going to be able to guide you through. She takes a consultative type of approach, no upfront fees, and she’ll help you understand what your rights are, but you got to remember, this is a liability, it’s not an asset, and it could pass down to your kids as well and they could be stuck with it. So, let’s get into it. Without further ado, my episode with Allie Olson on how to get out of your timeshare.
Andrew Rafal: And welcome back to another episode of Your Wealth and Beyond. I’m your host, Andrew Rafal. And today, we’ve got what I think is an extremely important topic, one that we hear a lot from clients, as well as friends and families, a lot of horror stories out there. And that is the timeshare space. And I’m very excited to introduce all of you to Allie Olson, who runs Give Up My Timeshare. And Allie, welcome to the show. How are you this morning?
Allie Olson: I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me.
Andrew Rafal: A fellow Arizonian, I know you’re maybe about five minutes away from our office. It’s pretty this time of year where we can gloat and be pretty happy about the weather versus what’s been going on with the rest of the country.
Allie Olson: Oh, I know. It’s beautiful out, absolutely beautiful. All the deserts are starting to bloom. And yeah, it’s just a really nice early spring for us.
Andrew Rafal: And Arizona, has it been your home? Or have you lived in other places?
Allie Olson: Yes. I’m from Arizona. My family actually came here from Washington State in the 50s.
Andrew Rafal: Wow. So, a real native, very few and far between, although, with our kids here now, we’re seeing more and more of it, obviously. Awesome. Well, thanks for taking the time today. So, this world of timeshares, we hear mainly– we don’t hear good things on it, right? I mean, I rarely really say, hey, this timeshare I have has been awesome. So, before we jump in, I think the listeners need to learn a little bit about you because you spent over 15 years in the industry on the other side, the selling side, and you were a top salesperson on it. So, let’s start there, like how did you get into the industry? And walk us through what that looked like and how the industry maybe has changed over the years.
Allie Olson: Yes, so I’m actually from Sedona rather than Scottsdale, and grew up there, a beautiful place to live and a beautiful spot to visit. There’s a huge tourism industry there, and timeshare is kind of the biggest industry in town. It really runs all of the gifts people get for going on the sales presentations, really funds the activity companies, so many realtors go into it. There are five sales centers in Sedona alone. So, it’s a really prevalent industry in that town.
And I was 20 years old, licensed realtor, decided to go and check it out, and had friends that were selling it. And I really fell in love with both the sales process and the product at that time. It was quite different 15-plus years ago than it is today. And the environment was different, the sales environment was quite different. It’s not to say that people that bought their timeshares 15 years ago loved them. However, it was just a simpler system at that time.
Andrew Rafal: What do you mean so simpler, like walk us through what that meant? Was it just less sales-y, less stress, less pressure? Because that’s when I think of the “timeshare sale,” it’s like, hey, come out to Hawaii, you’re going to spend three days with us, all you gotta do is listen for that one hour, and then we know what happens in a lot of that. That wasn’t the case with the higher end up in Sedona, and the way you operated in the company you work for?
Allie Olson: Yeah. So, it was simpler in the sense that most people were purchasing a week, knowing that they wanted to use it in a certain place, or that it was very easy, hypothetically, to trade, it was a fairly straightforward system. Nowadays, you have all these points, programs, and the exchange companies, which have begun to really get into the vacation rental space, big time. So, they’re renting online the better inventory. Availability was significantly better 15 years ago than it is today. So, that was one thing.
As far as the sales practices, yeah, they’ve evolved a lot, they’ve become much more intense. I mean, when I started it was, here’s a pad of paper and a pen, and go talk to them, and see if there’s a deal. You didn’t have this intensive psychological training, and all these steps and things to try to get the best conversion that you see today. There’s a really intensive training and manipulative sales practices that are used, for sure. It’s not to say that it wasn’t always a little bit arm twisty, but it’s really gotten to an extreme at this point,
Andrew Rafal: And I assume up in Sedona, you maybe had a different level of client as well, some higher end stuff. So, it was not saying it was more sophisticated, but it was just a different process there, and with Sedona, also a little bit more spiritual, so maybe there was a little bit of a different connection than some of the other types of environments that we hear about.
Allie Olson: No, I always felt very good about the idea that people wouldn’t have the best memories of their life, but the people they love using it, that’s what made it feel okay to walk people through a sales process, and as time went on, understanding what motivates people better and utilizing that in a sales process. It felt okay, because of the memories that people were making, the repeat clientele, those kinds of feel-good things. Unfortunately, the industry just shifted a lot and so has the world. I mean, the need to have timeshare in order to travel to condos, is just not there anymore. With Airbnb and Vrbo, the Internet has eliminated the need to have something like this.
Andrew Rafal: And then that is one of the areas I was going to chat with you on the advent of the technology, it’s definitely changed the world there. So, you did this, you were successful at it, you enjoyed it. So, how did you pivot then, as you created your company, Give Up My Timeshare, and kind of transition to that other end of how do we help people get out or make the best business decision possible? What does that look like?
Allie Olson: So, when I began in the industry, I was really young, I thought it was a great thing as I owned it, timeshare myself over the years, and just in starting to really see clients coming back with issues and things like that. I realized that there was a need for people to get out at some point. We were often doing sales with trade-ins where clients would come in and buy the new points and get rid of their old timeshare weeks that weren’t functioning as well anymore.
And when trade-ins went away, it really created an issue, kind of a crisis in the industry, because you couldn’t get out of the old ones any longer through the timeshare companies. So, there was no way to kind of move up into a more modern product in a legitimate way. And so, scam started popping up and things like that. For me, there was a real specific moment when I decided to make the shift, and that was when a past client came back. He had become terminally ill, wanted to get rid of his timeshares, and I wasn’t able to do a trade-in for him at the company I was working for.
And so, I really wanted to help him. He and his son had been traveling the world scuba diving, his son did not want to inherit 27 weeks of timeshare. So, I really thought it would be a couple minute Google Search just to find a good company for him to go through. And that’s when I realized how the sales practices that had really become so manipulative in the timeshare industry had been applied to the exit side of it as well. And that was very disturbing to see that, oh my gosh, this is the same thing where people are being just walked down this hallway of covering objections and all this stuff when I really expected timeshare exit to be more of a professional service.
And I really couldn’t find a company that I felt comfortable referring him to, everyone wanted thousands of dollars upfront. They felt kind of sketchy. I couldn’t understand their business model. And that’s when I started to realize, my god, there’s 10 million timeshare owners in America, most of them are not happy with what they own. And there’s got to be some straightforward company to emerge that is just professional and simple to deal with.
Andrew Rafal: And it’s on that exit, too, you would almost think, because most people are exiting, sometimes there’s a financial issue, maybe there’s a health issue, and so the vultures come out. And it’s probably even easier to take advantage and the scams are easier because they have, where you’re buying versus selling, and it’s like this fire sale, like, I gotta get out of it. So, all of a sudden, they’re just doing anything they can to get out of it, and that’s where they can fall into a lot of problems.
Allie Olson: Definitely, it’s upsetting the amount of fraudulent companies in the exit space. It’s taking money upfront.
Andrew Rafal: So, 10 million owners, like, how many of those percentage wise, and I know it’s subjective, but like, what do you think the numbers of how many have buyer’s remorse or were unhappy which we’ll talk about the rising costs of just the maintenance, what does that number look like?
Allie Olson: Somewhere around 80% would be my guess.
Andrew Rafal: Wow.
Allie Olson: I do seminars and actually had one in South Tucson and Green Valley at Quail Creek the other day, and some people are happy with what they own. Oftentimes, someone will say, I have three timeshares, we love this one, we want to get rid of these. So, it’s not unusual to meet people that are happy with something or really using it. The majority that were not happy with it, and that mostly has to do with just the fact that it’s such an obsolescent product now, it’s totally unneeded with the other vacation rental options.
Andrew Rafal: I look at it. My folks who live in Cleveland, where I grew up, and years ago, they bought into the JW up here in Desert Ridge. And they’ve actually been very happy with the way they did things, they get to, I think, two weeks a year, and obviously, with family that’s out here. So, it’s been a good one for them. I’ve never really heard any complaints, maybe just trying to get the right week, but that’s like few and far between from people that we come across. AndI think part of it today is we can go through what the process would look like, if somebody wanted to get out of one in today’s world, both US as well as if there are any in Mexico and things of that nature, because I would assume most of what you deal with are, is it location wise? Well, where is the majority of the timeshares that you can help people get out of?
Allie Olson: So, we do basically North America, Canada, Mexico, United States, Caribbean, and that’s really it. We’ve done a couple in Austria, but it’s a little complex to go across the pond basically,
Andrew Rafal: I can imagine. So, how does the process work? So, like we got a situation where somebody bought one a few years ago, they want out. Walk us through, what does that look like, they find you, whether it’s through searching, or they see one of your videos, or you have a great webinar that breaks things down in less than 20 minutes of what it looks like, but what’s the process? What do I do?
Allie Olson: So, the process with us is really pretty simple. We will collect a few documents, IDs, a recent maintenance fee bill so we can confirm what the client is paying annually, a copy of the deed if they have it, if not, the title company can find it. We send out a contract for e-signature, open escrow, then within a few weeks, just depending on what resort it is, where it’s located, what company we’re dealing with, there are about a thousand different companies out there.
Andrew Rafal: Wow. Thousand? That’s ridiculous.
Allie Olson: Yeah, I mean more, if you counted all the mom and pop individual resorts, but we’re versed in really, pretty much all of them. It’s rare that we come across one we haven’t done. So, anyway, escrow is open, the title company will send out the new deed for notarized signature within a few weeks. And then, at that point, the client sends it back and pays our fee at that time, directly to the title company. So, funds are held in escrow until closing.
Andrew Rafal: So, one of the main differences on how you build the company, take a consultation type of approach, and you’re not charging the fees upfront. And that’s what we’ve heard a lot of is that finding the shady company, and they want $3,000 upfront and then, there’s no real guarantee that they’re going to be able to get out of it.
Allie Olson: Right. Even the leader in the exit industry that’s endorsed by Dave Ramsey recently had five different attorney general investigations and things, finding that only 13,000 of 60,000 cases were solved. So, it was really important to me to eliminate the risks for the client to just take that out of the equation, it’s a quick transaction, and we’re able to close most transactions in three to six weeks. So, yeah, it’s very essential for us. And we’re built the whole business on having no money upfront, no deposit, and we are not paid until the transaction is completed.
Andrew Rafal: And you talked about this transferring of title or deed, so that, like when we talk about mistakes that people make before entering into something, like what do people not realize that, what type that the contractor getting into, what mistakes do people make? And there’s good timeshares out there. So, what can people do going into one, to be able to make the right decision and to understand their rights, but also what their risks are?
Allie Olson: So, I think that it’s important to look at the actual booking system. The common complaints I hear from someone wanting to get out is, Oh, I didn’t know my maintenance fee was going to go up. It’s definitely going to on average, 6% per year. So, having awareness of that, understanding the booking system is very important. Most of the time, even in sales, when I go back and think back to unhappy clients coming in, they often could be turned around and would end up purchasing more when they just saw how to actually utilize what they already own. So, there’s a lot of user error that can occur in trying to get a good reservation. If you’re not a tech savvy person and wanting to jump online and search on a regular basis, it’s probably going to be a little bit clunky for you to use a timeshare today. It’s all moved online, the availability, so.
Andrew Rafal: So, the success rate, because you walk through, get the resort to take it back or find an owner willing to do legal title transfer, what’s the success rate, realistically?
Allie Olson: It’s 100% success rate. At the point where we’ve been paid, the transaction’s already done. There have been a couple that along the way, I’m thinking of two that were not completed, one of them, the ex-wife of the guy had not agreed to the transaction, he had let us know that, Oh, yeah, she’s fine with it. And he didn’t realize there, a notarized signature would be required from her at some point in the process. So, all parties on title have to be in agreement with getting rid of the ownership. So, that could be a reason that one would not go through.
And then, I had another where there was an open loan on it, and we did not know that. It is in our contract that we won’t do any transactions on timeshares that have an open loan, even though they’re typically a personal guarantee, not collateralized by the property, and just don’t feel good about doing business that way. I think there’s a lot of room for confusion for the clients to feel that they’ve gotten out of the loan, potentially, through us, which is not something that we do.
Andrew Rafal: Awesome. And then, somebody, like when they’re thinking dollar terms, like, if somebody paid 20 grand for something and then has the ongoing maintenance fee, what’s a realistic mount that they can expect back to get out of it? Is it a lot of times, less than 50%, 60%, but they just have now the peace of mind that they’re not going to have these huge maintenance fees that are going up, like you said, 6% a year?
Allie Olson: Yes. So, our clients pay us to take it. The reality is there’s just not a resale market. Very, very few timeshares can be sold for even $100. There are thousands of listings online, whether you go to eBay or RedWeek. There are tons of timeshares out there for a penny, well, even the first year of maintenance fees is paid or something like that. So, there’s a lot of people trying to get out of their ownerships, and that’s because these maintenance fees are going up, up, up. And when you have a booking fee added to that of $300, $400, oftentimes, people are looking at $2,000, $3,000 to secure a timeshare vacation when they could have just jumped online and book something for exactly where they want it to be when they want it to be there with a much easier process than trying to navigate an exchange of a timeshare. So, there’s definitely frustration with the annual costs increasing, and that’s really undermined the whole market.
Andrew Rafal: And what happens if somebody doesn’t find you and just like, Hey, I’m not going to pay the maintenance fees anymore, I’m done? What’s the repercussions for the owner or the contract holder, whatnot that they signed, and what kind of risk that they have?
Allie Olson: So, it varies greatly depending on what you own. So, like with your parents owning with a large developer, when you look at the hotel brands, the Hyatt’s, the Hilton’s, the Marriott’s, even the Diamond’s and Wyndham’s, the bigger brands, while they often have a pretty happy owner base, that while they’re using it, it can really be difficult when they stop paying, or if they think of stopping their maintenance payments, because these companies have big accounting departments, legal departments, they have the resources to pursue impact to credit, foreclosure, usually a deed in lieu of foreclosure, attaching liens to other assets. So, it is real estate, and in almost every case, you own real property.
And so, it’s just like, you can’t walk in the street and say, I declare I don’t want this home anymore. Your property tax bills are still going to find you until you have a new owner of the property. So, they can definitely cause a lot of financial repercussions. And what’s even more concerning is, sometimes, people own little mom and pop timeshares, where it’s just one resort, they bought it in the 70s or 80s, and they stopped making payment. I have clients very frequently, or even referrals from estate attorneys, where they’re trying to settle an estate, and they’re stuck in probate because of a timeshare that hasn’t been paid in 10 years.
So, when you have a little small resort, they don’t always have the resources to go after you right now. So, it just sits there, accumulating interests, penalties, all these fees, and of course, the annual maintenance, and sometimes it’s $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 at the time the estate’s being settled, just to bring it current, let alone figure out who’s going to take it.
Andrew Rafal: So, let’s go through that. So, we’ve got mom and dad have a timeshare, they hate it, they can’t get out of it, they didn’t find you, they passed away. And it’s in Mexico, and they’re delinquent on it, 15 grand. The kids don’t want it obviously because it’s in a different country, would they kind of fall under the guidelines?
Allie Olson: Timeshares actually have corporate headquarters based in the US. So, it’s really the same situation as a timeshare located here. Very few don’t keep a US headquarters just for that reason, so that they can have an easier time pursuing those fees. And these timeshare companies are built on the concept that they’re going to collect that fee forever, almost all deeds are in perpetuity. So, when someone’s kids are– often, I’m hearing from clients, our kids don’t want it. Well, I don’t blame them, because they’re looking at over on average, a $900 a year maintenance fee over a 40-year time span, coming out to almost $300,000 in maintenance fees that you’re passing on to your kids with the timeshare.
Andrew Rafal: So, on that note, like what can somebody who’s with us today that has not gotten out of their timeshare, I mean, is there anything they can do to protect the kids in the future from that happening?
Allie Olson: You can get rid of it. So, one option is, and the first thing I always recommend is contact the company you own with, see if they will take it back. Now, that’s an option through some of them, and it’s certainly a good thing to check first. I would hate for anyone to pay us to assist them when they could have gotten out of it for free. So, contact the company you own with first, see if they will get you out, it’s unusual, but on occasion. At that point, then they can certainly try to find someone that they know that would want it. If they don’t find their own buyer, then they should call us, and we will take care of the transaction efficiently, professionally, and they will no longer own it or have the liability to pass on.
Andrew Rafal: And what is an average cost of them paying you to get out of it? I know it could be across the map there, but is there an average that somebody can wrap your head around?
Allie Olson: There is. So, it’s generally three to five times the maintenance fee.
Andrew Rafal: Based on today’s values, not with the 6% increase?
Allie Olson: Correct, based on today’s values. And it really varies based upon the transfer fee of the resort also. The process to transfer a timeshare varies so greatly, company to company, state to state. So, we’ve made it our mission to be the leading experts in the world on understanding that process. And that structure is built into our company because we don’t get paid unless we’re successful. That’s what we’re all about, it’s really being the best at getting these transactions completed. So, it’s a pretty quick process.
Andrew Rafal: And these maintenance fees that you say on average go up 6%, like in the contract that they sign, is there a ceiling on it? Or can they say, we’re going to charge you 15k?
Allie Olson: It’s rather unbelievable, but it’s set usually by the state and in general, industry wide, 125% per year is the maximum legally.
Andrew Rafal: Isn’t that usury? I think it would be, right?
Allie Olson: Well, I think it probably would be, if it were to happen, but that’s within the law, in most cases to increase by as much as 125%. With the shift in the industry, we’ve seen in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, a lot of resorts being repurposed, as the owners no longer want them, they’re being turned into luxury condos and apartments, things like that. And as we kind of start to see that shift happen in the United States, it’s concerning, definitely, that at these smaller resorts, where many people have stopped paying, or there’s been an exodus, that the remaining owners are going to see just massive increases, because once someone has taken 51% of the inventory at these properties, they can then vote to increase to the remaining owner base.
Andrew Rafal: Wow, that is scary. And I don’t think people know the ticking bomb that they have potentially, on those fees. So, that’s a scary proposition, because most people will kind of put their head in the sand and just like, Oh, I gotta pay that bill and don’t really think about it, but that is insane, that’s alarming. Wow.
Allie Olson: And you have the resorts really starting to age out. So, so many of the timeshare properties were built in the 70s and 80s, they need new roofs, they need major overhauls. And an assessment is also completely within the law. So, if a roof is replaced, it’s not unusual for someone to get a bill that’s 152nd of that, if they own a week at that resort.
Andrew Rafal: And so you mentioned earlier about Airbnb, Vrbo, that the industry over the last 10 years, it was already getting pretty bad, but then this last 10 years and really the last five years with the advent of the technology, the industry, is it in your mind, just has no chance to make it?
Allie Olson: I wouldn’t say that. I think that the larger brands, case in point with your folks, they enjoy their Marriott, they have good flexibility through it. If they’re traveling and they’re using it, and they’re using it to visit family and people they love, they’re probably happy, so it’s not that everyone’s unhappy. The timeshare industry had over $10 billion in sales in 2019.
Andrew Rafal: That’s a big number.
Allie Olson: It’s bigger than the music industry. So, it’s a healthy industry, one kind of joke inside amongst timeshare people would be, well, they never wanted it, So, it’s not like the changes have made it impossible to sell, they’re certainly still doing well. And the bigger brands have done a great job of adapting with the times, they offer all kinds of different stuff. You can do cruises when that resumes, you can do tours, shopping with the points, and a couple days here and there.
So, the programs have evolved with the times. I think what it’s kind of coming down to with the technology for most people, is when you look, especially at the younger generations, meaning not retired currently, they are just very sporadic travelers. We’ve run up, and been used to having the internet all the time, and it’s not unusual for people today to look at each other and go want to go to Hawaii next week and to book it on the fly, and have the ability to do that and the confidence that they can find somewhere to stay within a week’s notice.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, that’s so true. It’s going to be hard for the Millennials and the Gen Z’s to, in my mind, ever want a timeshare, but like you said, the cream will rise to the top, they’ll continue to evolve, they’ll figure out a way to offer something of value. Because if $10 billion, I would never have thought that, I would have thought maybe $2 billion, so that’s impressive that they’re still able to bring that, and that was last year with the pandemic?
Allie Olson: The year before, yeah.
Andrew Rafal: Okay, the year before
Allie Olson: No, no, the 2020 numbers, I haven’t seen them, I imagine they were not very good, just because the sale centers were closed in most places and still are in many areas.
Andrew Rafal: So, the pandemic, which we’re hopefully coming out of towards the end of this year, what has that done for you? Has your business increased more so, because now people are like, I don’t know when I’m going to get over that timeshare and I just want out of it, so I’m not even taking advantage of it, and I’m afraid that I may not, over the next few years?
Allie Olson: Definitely, we had about a 300% increase right away. In April is when we really noticed, oh my gosh, I think when everyone realized this wasn’t going away in six weeks or something, it really got busy for us. And it was a combination of a lot of people saying, you know what, I have the time right now, I want to get my estate in order, I want to get things figured out. So, there was definitely a sense of that in the air, where people just wanted to take care of stuff they hadn’t had time for. And getting rid of the timeshare was one of those things.
And yeah, I think also the element of, maybe not using it, although a lot of my clients hadn’t used it for three to five years at the point where they called us during the pandemic. So, it’s not always easy to book a timeshare, what we see happen a lot is someone hasn’t used it for three or four years, that means, if their maintenance fee is $1,000, they paid $3,000, $4,000, haven’t used it, their kid will say something like, oh, let’s go to San Diego for spring break. They look in January and can’t find anything available and think, this thing doesn’t work. Have they planned two years ahead, could they have gotten something in San Diego? Probably, but who really does that anymore? So, it’s not uncommon for our clients to have been paying maintenance fees for five years and not used it at all.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, I’ve got a couple clients in mind that, once we get the podcast out, I think there’ll be definitely some phone calls. So, how do people find you? Locally, I know you’ve done a bunch of news and TV, is it mainly, though I’m searching around, get me out of my timeshare, and obviously, you got the great company name and the great URL, so Google helps you, is that the main way people are finding you besides referrals from centers of influences, like advisors and CPAs and attorneys?
Allie Olson: Yeah, I think at this point, probably half of our business is referral, certainly getting close to that, whether it’s someone’s neighbor, or if it’s actually an estate attorney or financial advisor. So, we get a lot of referrals. We can be found online easily, though, GiveUpMyTimeshare.com. You can also just search my name and timeshare, Allie Olsen, timeshare, lots of stuff pops up. And of course, you can just call us at 833-344-8387.
We have a great webinar online, I recommend anyone who’s starting to even explore the idea of getting out of a timeshare, it can be a little bit of a reality check for some people who think they might go sell their timeshare, and that it’s actually an asset when it’s certainly a liability.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, I think that’s the biggest misnomer is that they think it’s an asset still, just like I asked you, hey, how much do they get for it? And it’s like, no, you’re not getting anything for it, we’re getting you out of it.
Allie Olson: Right, and there’s a cost to doing the transaction, it can’t be free. Even if you found a neighbor that was going to take your timeshare, you’re still going to have a couple thousand dollars of costs in that transaction. So, just depending on where it’s located, you’ve got resort transfer fees, title fees, all of these costs that go into the transaction to complete it, even if someone’s willing to take it from you. So, it’s not a free process. And yeah, that can be surprising.
Because there is such an urgency for people to want to get out, I really worry about clients getting scammed. So many of our clients have already been scammed, where they spent $10,000 to $15,000, and still on the timeshare. I really advise anyone listening that’s considering getting rid of their timeshare, cleaning up their estate in that way to watch the webinar, so that you are educated on what to watch out for. And ultimately, don’t pay anyone upfront, it’s that simple. If someone really feels that they can complete the job, they’re willing to get paid afterward.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, and first and foremost, your website’s great, it’s clean, it’s easy. I watched the webinar prior to our call, it’s less than 20 minutes, and it breaks it all down, nice graphics to keep people in tuned and focused on what your message is. So, that’s number one. So, good job there, too. In the show notes, all of the links will be available in that as well. So, I mean, I think it’s an invaluable service. And I assume there’s probably not a lot of competitors to you that are doing it the right way versus all these ones that are doing it where they’re, I’m not going to say “scamming people,” but there’s a high level of scam that’s involved.
Allie Olson: Yes. I mean, I really have had the good fortune of seeing so many competitors out of business because of lawsuits and attorney generals shutting them down. The scammers do get run out eventually. Sadly, they kind of tend to go fast and furious with their scam, so they’ll do a bunch of business and then they’re gone, but yeah, it’s been great because I really don’t know of any other company that works like we do, where they don’t take payment upfront. And I really don’t understand why it’s not, maybe because it is quite difficult to do the transactions, but it’s kind of a recipe for disaster, even if someone has good intentions, if you’re paying them upfront, they’re naturally going to have a business model that’s focused on getting more business instead of completing transactions so that they can get paid.
Andrew Rafal: Sure, and you probably keep your company lean and mean, you know also the ins and outs were because of your experience in the industry. So, that’s probably the main difference there. So, hopefully, your competitors aren’t listening to this podcast, they are going to change their tune, but I’m sure, based on the fact that everybody wants, they’re just probably, what 8 million people that went out of their timeshare.
Allie Olson: There’s enough to go around it. I’d love to see the competitors not take money, just because that would ensure that nobody is losing out on trying to get out of their timeshare.
Andrew Rafal: In our podcast, it’s individuals but also business owners. So, how has it been for you to be a business owner? Have you enjoyed it?
Allie Olson: Oh, yes, I really have. The ability to really help people is awesome, but it’s also awesome to have such an open schedule and working from home. And it’s funny, I actually had switched to working from home full time and doing the business full time, not having an office, we’d already made that change in January. So, when the pandemic happened, there was very little change for us. We’d already shifted to realizing that really worked for everybody. And yeah, it’s been really fun being a business owner. I actually owned retail stores for 10 years prior.
Andrew Rafal: Up in Sedona?
Allie Olson: Yeah, I had a clothing boutique. So, this wasn’t my first experience having a business, although I enjoy this so much more than that, because it’s intellectual, it’s very challenging, the game’s always changing. So, it’s really very exciting because the process has changed. It’s like, Oh, this company was bought by that one. And there’s so much diversity within this industry. It’s really very fun.
Andrew Rafal: Right, and no inventory that you have to deal with if some of the stuff you brought in, didn’t sell. So, that’s always a bonus, too. And I assume the margins are a little bit better.
Allie Olson: Definitely. I have a lot of dead inventory. So, [inaudible] do vacation rentals and stuff with the timeshares that we take over, lots of them that we do vacation rental with, and so inventory hasn’t gone down.
Andrew Rafal: So, I bet the listeners are asking, have you ever owned a timeshare yourself?
Allie Olson: Oh, yes, definitely. In fact, yeah, I had points with a big developer from the time I was 25. And I really like it very much. I mean, I used it a lot. I’m also really good at the system and knew how to work it. And when things went half off and were jumping online at the off-peak hours, and you can make them work and get good value out of them, there’s no question of that. What I find now is that myself and our clients don’t want the hassle of trying to make it work. It’s like, I can just go on Airbnb and find what I want in five minutes, and it’s not this big ordeal.
Andrew Rafal: Yep, and I can go to different cities, different places, it’s a no-brainer, or even with here…
Allie Olson: For me, it was so awesome, when I first was introduced to timeshare, because I thought these rooms are amazing, like they have huge kitchens and living rooms and multiple bedrooms. And if you’ve always just stayed in hotels, it really wows you. And it’s a great experience to have all the amenities of a hotel, but then also a big condo. The thing is now, it’s so easy to have those kinds of accommodations that it’s just not exciting once it was.
Andrew Rafal: But I still have people, especially certain generations, just having this system that they know every year, this is what’s going to happen, and they don’t have to hustle with trying to find an Airbnb because the technology might scare them. So, I do understand where it still works and where again, the bigger corporations doing it right, there is going to always be a home for it, especially in that realm that makes it easy, simple.
Allie Olson: And the book, now, these are wisely adding products that do not last forever. So, they’re starting to do term products, and I think that’s really going to be a hit, because there is a demographic that enjoys the travel, that enjoys the branding, the consistency of knowing where they’re going, as you said, it’s nervous to utilize Airbnb, that’s just a little out there for them to go stay in someone’s house. So, there’s definitely still a demand for the product.
What I would recommend for people that do own a traditional timeshare where it’s deeded forever, and their kids don’t want it, and they want to take care of that, I would recommend to continue in renting timeshares. Get rid of the ownership and the forever obligation, and rent them. There are great resources for renting timeshares, and they can even keep up their membership to Interval International or RCI, the two big exchange companies, and they can rent amazing, really, the best inventory is available for rent through those websites, not for trade. So, you can rent timeshares for $1,200, $1,500 a week all over the world in beautiful Marriott and Hyatt condos. So, it’s not that the resorts are bad or the product, it’s just that ongoing obligation that has a lot of hoops to jump through to actually use it.
Andrew Rafal: So, the renting side of it is just very similar to an Airbnb, you’re not obligated, there’s no contract. It’s like you’re just basically taking a week, and you may have a much better amenities than you would if you got that house that’s a block away?
Allie Olson: Yes, RedWeek.com is a great resource. Go-Koala is a great resource, especially if you want the higher end timeshares. Airbnb and Vrbo have most timeshare resorts on there. And probably, the best value of all is to maintain a membership to the exchange companies, whether it’s Interval or RCI, and rent their getaway weeks. I’ve done that a ton, and it’s fun. It’s whatever timeshare resort they own at, they can usually still go back there every year and rent it if they want to.
Andrew Rafal: So, you’re paying us a membership fee per year, and that gives you the ability to get the deals within their inventory?
Allie Olson: Yeah, to access the timeshare, and it’s like a couple $100 or something, it varies between them, but I found more savvy timeshare owners over the years are doing a lot of getaways anyhow, because usually, and that’s kind of the client that no one wants to get in when you’re selling timeshares, the person who says, Oh, I booked this on a getaway for $400. There’s a lot of inventory that gets rented through the exchange companies to timeshare owners, very inexpensive way.
Andrew Rafal: Interesting. See, I learned everything, I learned so much on these podcasts, who knows. So, all of those things that you mentioned, all those companies, they’ll be in the show notes as well. So, there’s still some good stuff in the industry. We didn’t want to bash it too much, but inevitably, I like where the industry is potentially going with the higher– or not the higher end, but the ones that get it. And the fact that people have to look at it, like, the most important thing I think we take away from today is your timeshare is a liability, and it’s just going to get worse, and you’re not going to really, most people aren’t going to enjoy it and take full advantage of it. And then they’re going to resent it.
Allie Olson: Right. And be paying for it regardless if they use it.
Andrew Rafal: And then their kids are going to be stuck with it. What a great legacy, mom, dad, thanks, thank you so much, I appreciate it. Well, this has been great. I appreciate it. I think our audience will appreciate it. And that’s just an industry that is so unique. And I love what you’re doing and really helping people doing good work, giving them good consultation, and helping them understand what their full options are without coming out of pocket.
Allie Olson: Thank you. Yes, we’d love to help anyone, even if they’re just beginning to explore their options, always happy to give advice or point them in the right direction.
Andrew Rafal: Last question, did you ever find the vortex when you lived up in Sedona?
Allie Olson: No. There are seven supposed vortex points in Sedona, and it’s funny, you bring it up, I get asked that often when Sedona comes up. And what I would say is, I don’t know how anyone could stand up those places and feel nothing because they are so magnificent, just breathtaking, gorgeous scenery, spots. So, I’d recommend visiting all those spots for sure. As far as a vibration or like an energy surge or something, no, but I love to hike, I’m an avid hiker. That was the main joy of living in Sedona, being able to have 120 trails in your backyard, and there’s no way not to feel inspired and some kind of a boost from those beautiful spots.
Andrew Rafal: Yeah, we were up there about two months ago. I did like a hike two weeks in a row. We drove up there. It was around Seven Springs and Devil’s Bridge, but there was this one path, I forget the name of it, but because of Instagram now, we were really close to what they call “the birthing canal” and like everybody that was walking by us, it was like teams of a lot of college students and 20-year-olds and they’re like, Where’s the birthing canal? Do you know where it is? Like if I had a map that I could sell for the birthing canal, we would have just watched it that day. I still haven’t found it somewhere.
Allie Olson: It’s definitely a beautiful spot. So many people, I feel like I’ve discovered it in the last few years, and it’s a special place.
Andrew Rafal: Awesome. Well, thanks so much, and listeners again, all the show notes and ways to contact Allie and her company will be available below the actual podcast itself and the recording. So, Allie, I appreciate it. This has been great. Have a wonderful rest of the week. Enjoy the weather.
Allie Olson: Thank you so much for having me.
Andrew Rafal: And listeners, stay tuned for a brand-new episode of Your Wealth and Beyond later this month. Happy planning everybody.