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Timeshare is a term used to describe a method of use and/or shared ownership of vacation real estate where purchasers acquire a period of time (often one week) in a condominium, apartment or other type of vacation accommodation. Timeshare is also known as “vacation ownership.”
A timeshare is a resort or vacation property, split into shared ownership. There are many different forms, uses, destinations, resorts, and clubs. While timeshare is previously known as a piece of ownership that families go back to at the same time, at the same resort, in the same unit every year, it’s evolution has become so much more.
With Fixed Week usage, an owner is given the ability to vacation at the same right, the same unit, during the same week every year. In theory, a resort could sell a single unit to 52 different owners, given that there are 52 weeks in a year.
Commonly, the resort assigns every week a number, beginning with Week One in January. Every few years, a Week 53 will appear on a timeshare calendar. When this happens, Week 52 owners are able to add this time to their ownership, given that they pay the maintenance fees for it. For this extra time, Week 52 is a highly popular week to own.
With any form of ownership, whether it’s a home, a car, and even a timeshare, it must be maintained. Timeshare maintenance fees are due annually and include the maintenance of the resort, employee wages, and emergency funds. Timeshare maintenance fees uphold the excellent amenities that owners love about their resort, and so they are really important.
Before buying a timeshare, take into consideration the maintenance fees that are also due every year, especially if you will also be financing your purchase. The average maintenance fees were $1000 in 2019, which is a 2% increase since 2017. These dues slightly increase year over year.
A floating timeshare weeks gives owners more flexibility in when they vacation. Depending on the brand, a floating week may be able to use at any time of the year, or during the designated ownership season.
Points-based ownership is wildly popular in the timeshare industry. Owners can use their annual allotment of points as currency, spending them for other resorts within their brands portfolio, and choosing when they vacation. Points can offer the ultimate flexibility and convenience for all different travelers.
For travelers that may not want to take a vacation every year, biennial ownership is every other year usage. With biennial usage, you may own an Even (years ending on even numbers) or Odd Year (years ending on odd numbers).
A Right to Use timeshare is a contract in which the owner has full use of the ownership for an allotted number of years. Right to use contracts can vary in length anywhere from 20 years to 99 years, depending on the resort or developer.
Most resorts or developers will categorize segments of the year based on seasons, making it convenient for points-based or floating week owners to plan their vacations around the most practical times.
Most brands are affiliated with a vacation exchange network such as RCI or Interval International (II). These trading platforms allow owners to trade their points or weeks for thousands of other resorts and destinations.
Timeshare is made to be a lifelong product. Some are owned in perpetuity, meaning it can be passed on for generations, and some last several years before the contract expires or the Right to Use period is over. Although many owners love their timeshare and mean to use it for life, sometimes circumstances change. That’s why the resale industry began. When owners no longer have use for their timeshare, the best option is to place it for sale on the secondary market.
Buying a resale property can have many benefits for new owners. Resales are usually less than a fraction of the cost, and they come with most of the same benefits. If you’re looking to give timeshare a try, a resale is a great option for dipping your toes in. Plus, you can browse right from home across all of the top brands, destinations, and resorts.
A floating week is a form of ownership that gives owners a little more flexibility when they travel. Some clubs allow floating week owners to make reservations within their season. There are also clubs that allow owners to make reservations during any week of the year. Every brand is different, so make sure to check which form of ownership will work best for your travel lifestyle.
Timeshare points are used as currency when you vacation. Each point has a value that differs from brand to brand. You can use your points to make reservations at any time of year, at different resorts within the brand’s portfolio, and for different sized villas. Points are extremely flexible. Most clubs allow owners to bank their points for a bigger vacation next year. If you’re looking to make a big trip sooner, you can also borrow points from the next year to use.
Timeshare weeks are assigned a specific number on the calendar, from Week 1 to Week 52. When you buy weeks-based ownership, it can be a floating week or fixed week, depending on the brand. Fixed weeks allow owners to choose which week they want to travel every year. This makes planning easy, and guarantees your vacation time. Floating weeks allow owners to make reservations during their specific timeshare season, and some clubs allow floating week owners to make a reservation any week of the year.
Biennial timeshares grant every-other-year usage. Instead of vacationing annually, biennial owners can vacation every other year. They either have odd-year usage (years ending in an odd number), or even year usage (years ending in an even number).
Some vacation ownership brands offer owners perpetual ownership. This means that the deed never expires and your ownership can be passed onto your children, grandchildren, etc.
According to the American Resort Development Association, maintenance fees averaged to be approximately $1,000. This can differ between brands, resorts, how many points you have, or which week you own. Maintenance fees increase slightly every year, with about a 2% increase between 2017-2019. Owners normally pay maintenance fees every year.
Timeshare maintenance fees go towards “maintaining” the resort! Imagine clean walkways, new fresh flowers, bigger pools, comfy beds, and damage repairs. All owners help pay maintenance fees, so the cost of the resort is divided among each member. Maintenance fees have their benefits too. They ensure that your resort will be gorgeous for years to come, with new upgrades awaiting.
Fractional ownership comes with a registered title deed, like real estate. Some fractional ownership properties give you more time than a week for vacations, even up to months in some resorts. It’s similar to owning a vacation home, but with the benefit of sharing ownership.
Some contracts are perpetual, meaning it never expires and can be passed down to your children, grandchildren, etc. There are also Right to Use contracts, which only last for an allotted number of years.
A timeshare lockout or lock-off unit offers more space, options, and flexibility for owners. It can be split into two units, similar to an adjoining room at a hotel. It’s nice for privacy if you will be traveling with other guests, or you could even rent it out.
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