10 Frequently Asked Questions About Timesharing
Courtesy of Affordabletimeshareresales.com
Excerpts from timesharing groups
1. What is a timeshare (a.k.a., Vacation Ownership or Fractional Ownership)?
It is an investment in your leisure time and an opportunity to experience the world of adventure.
A timeshare is a program in which a group of people shares the use of a property by dividing among themselves the rights to use the property for specific time periods. Timeshare intervals are normally one week long; a few timeshare projects, however, use other ownership fractions, such as one-twelfth or one-quarter ownerships: others may opt for ownership in alternating years (odd or even years). In addition to the purchase price, timeshare owners also pay an annual fee for property upkeep and management. A timeshare should never be considered as a financial investment.
2. Are there variations among timeshare programs?
There are Fixed, Floating and Rotating weeks. In a fixed week system, your occupancy right is for the same week, and usually the same unit, every year. In a floating week system, you have the right to use a unit during a specified period (the “float” season or “flex” time), but you must contact the resort to reserve a specific week during the float period. A few timeshare projects use a rotating week system. In this type of program, your usage week changes from year to year on a fixed schedule.
3. What is a Deeded interest or a “Right-To-Use” interest?
Most deeded programs divide ownership of each unit into specific week increments. As a buyer, you actually purchase a fractional ownership of the unit, you would receive a deed conveying to you ownership of that specific timeshare fraction; this deed is recorded with the local governmental agency that records deeds and maintains property ownership records.
In a “Right-To-Use” program, you receive the right to use the unit for a specified number of years. At the end of that period, the usage rights revert back to the property owner.
4. What are Vacation Clubs?
A vacation club is an organization, usually administered by large, well known resort chains, that own multiple timeshare properties in different locations. As a club member, you can reserve time at the various resorts that are part of the club in accordance with club rules. You pay annual fees, and there is an initial cost to join the vacation club. Vacation club memberships can usually be bought, sold, or passed to your heirs. Examples of “Vacation Clubs” are: Marriott, Fairfield, Hilton, Sunterra, etc.
5. What are Points?
Points are a marketing tool used by the timeshare developers in an attempt to encourage you to buy directly from them, but at a much higher cost. Generally the costs are excessive for the benefits received. Points are not essential to utilize the benefits of your timeshare.
6. What is exchanging (swapping your week for someone else’s)?
It is the ability to exchange your timeshare week, within your network, for someone else’s week. It also allows you to vacation at different times of the year, in different locations, even if you own a fixed week.
7. What are resort Seasons (aka, the “color” of a week)?
The demand for many resorts varies seasonally and by location. Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II), are the two largest exchange companies.
For RCI, the designations are:
Red: High demand season
White: Intermediate demand season
Blue: Low demand season
For II, the designations are:
5-Star High demand season
Non 5-Star Intermediate to Lower demand seasons
Resorts that have float weeks or internal exchange programs may have their own seasonal designations; these are often identified by such terms as “prime,” “peak,” “holiday," “swing,” “platinum,” “gold,” “silver,” etc.
8. What types of units (Rooms/Suites) are available?
There are “Studio,” “One,” “Two, and “Three” bedroom suites and some have “Lockout” units that might be attached to larger units, A “Lockout” unit is a “Studio” that is accessible to the public corridor as well as to an adjacent suite, most suites have balconies, many suites have “Jacuzzi” tubs and many suites have more than one bathroom. Studio units are “Hotel” type accommodations but usually include limited kitchen facilities. Many suites have a washing machine and a dryer within the unit, others have them available in the resort. The one, two and three bedroom suites generally have fully equipped kitchens, living and dining rooms, which make them attractive for large families or groups. Buy breakfast foods at local supermarkets and save money and time. You can even make your own afternoon cocktails while relaxing in your suite or out on your balcony. These are luxury accommodations, just relax and enjoy
9. What kind of Amenities might you find at the resorts or in the general vicinity of the resort?
Depending on where you are “World Wide” and what you want to do, generally the sky’s the limit: concierge facilities, car rentals, restaurants, supermarkets, professional golf courses (some free to guests), indoor and/or outdoor swimming pools, water sports, fishing, snow skiing, amusement parks, theatre, shopping, baby sitting, dry cleaning, etc. and etc.
10. Are there benefits to belonging to a major exchange company like RCI, II?
There are many benefits that you derive when you are associated with an exchange company, including many “Getaways” and “extra vacations” weeks that can be bought for a fraction of their retail value. Developers would rather have their available units occupied with the chance that you might like to buy one, as opposed to having it remain unoccupied for a period of time. You may, choose to, spend some time listening to the developers sales pitch. Afterwards, you can expect to be compensated by the developer in the form of gifts or dinner vouchers. Have fun, just remember, someone has to pay for all of these extras. YOU do, if you buy a unit from the developer; generally twice the price of private resale costs.
All information presented is deemed accurate but cannot be guaranteed until all official resort and owner documents are reviewed. The information on this site is provided by individual property owners, marketing and ad agencies or owners associations through the Timeshare Resale Division of: Andrew Hunter Real Estate, Licensed Real Estate Brokerage # RB 046454-L, Suite #8, Merchants Plaza, Tannersville, PA., 18372 USA, Andrew D. Hunter, Broker, Dennis Huber, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson # RS 301188.