Timesharing is one of the best vacation options when it comes to value, but many are unaware of the basic concept and typical features. Simply put, a timeshare is a type of fractional ownership where owners of shares in the property use it during designated times. Condos are the most popular type of timeshare property, but this type of vacation ownership can involve RV parks, campgrounds, or houseboats. Timeshares may also involve the use of available suites at hotel properties through a points system instead of time at specific properties.
A majority of timeshare properties use week-long intervals, with “week” being the default term used to describe each participant’s time spent at the timeshare. Some properties use other fractional forms, such as one-tenth or one-quarter ownership. Regardless of the duration of the timeshare “week,” owners also pay an upkeep and maintenance fee, keeping these costs shared across all buyers.
Many who opt into a timeshare program find them a viable alternative to full ownership of a vacation home. There are enough options that travelers who are interested in fractional ownership can choose from that allow flexibility. Rather than pay an exorbitant amount of money to own a property that is rarely used, a timeshare property allows buyers to co-own a property and use it throughout the year as desired.
One difference that prospective timeshare users will want to keep in mind is that these programs may offer either a “right-to-use” or deeded ownership. “Right-to-use” comes with a right to access returns to the owner after the interval ends. Deeded ownership is a type of real estate ownership that allows the timeshare owners to sell, rent out, or bequeath the property to others.
Timeshare users in a “right-to-use” program receive documentation detailing the program guidelines and restrictions. In the case of deeded properties, these guidelines serve as a restrictive covenant. Documents regarding all of the limitations and guidelines are available to timeshare owners and users.
“Right-to-use” intervals allow the developer to retain ownership over the property. Because of the developers’ ownership, they may sell or transfer the property along with the timeshares at their discretion. When such properties go out of business, timeshare users might not receive compensation, which is something users should be aware of.
Deeded ownership, on the other hand, comes with membership in a Homeowners’ Association. This association or a similar organization allows the owners to have a say in important matters through voting. Although both timeshare types have advantages and disadvantages, both options also provide an excellent alternative to both staying in hotels or owning a second home.