What is a Timeshare?
A timeshare is a type of vacation ownership in which multiple individuals share rights to use the property, each with his or her own allotted time frame (in its most common form, this is a fixed week each year). Despite “timeshare” referring to a very particular type of ownership though, the term has become associated with the vacation ownership industry as a whole and is used colloquially to refer to everything from actual timeshares to fractionals, vacation clubs, travel clubs, and even exchange companies.
Why Choose Timeshares for Your Vacations?
Timesharing is often mentioned in vacation discussions, but it seldom gets its due. With all sorts of stereotypes and stigma out there, it’s no wonder many don’t understand what timeshares have to offer.
Timeshare ownership is a great option for many individuals and families, but it is not right for everyone in every situation. Some vacationers are better served by renting than by owning, but for those who do choose ownership, timeshares can offer tremendous vacation benefits.
With timeshare ownership, you can:
- Explore thousands of top destinations in over 100 countries around the world.
- Lock-in today’s price for timeshare vacation lodging for as long as you own your property.
- Avoid the end-of-vacation sticker shock frequent at expensive hotels.
- Give vacation weeks to friends and family as gifts.
The bottom line: Individuals who purchase timeshares enjoy luxury getaways at prices they can actually afford. Discover the diversity and affordability of vacation ownership by browsing our inventory right now.
There are lots of terms you’ll come across if you look into timeshare, but here are a few of the commonly encountered finer points of timeshare you’re likely to come across:
Weeks vs. Points
Generally speaking, the two most common types of time share ownership fall into one of these two categories. If you own a week, you’ve been deeded a specific week in a specific unit at a specific resort, that is set aside for you every year. That doesn’t mean that you can’t exchange it for a different week or location, though, and be aware that every resort is different—sometimes you’re deeded a week for inventory purposes only, and have in actuality a floating ownership.
Points, on the other hand, come in a wide range of amounts and are what you’d use to exchange for weeks with the resort or the resort’s preferred exchange program. On the whole, points programs are seen as more flexible (and often, points can be used for things like airfare and car rentals, too), but on the flip side, you won’t have any week guaranteed, which will mean you’ll have to be proactive about making reservations for the time periods of interest to you as early as you can.
Deeds versus RTU
“Deeded” usually means the ownership is yours for life, although there are some memberships that are technically deeded with expiration dates (they’re rare). RTU stands for Right to Use, and indicates that there’s a designated end date to the lease agreement. RTUs might expire in a certain year, or be “in perpetuity,” meaning they can be continually renewed to last forever, acting as de facto deeds.
Mexico timeshare properties, for example, will always have RTUs instead of deeds. If you’re interested in an RTU property, it’s a good idea to establish the expiration date before you make an offer—it could expire next year or in 2099, greatly affecting the value.
Annual, Biannual, Biennial Usage
You might have privileges to use your week or points every year (annual usage), twice a year (biannual), or every other year (biennial). With biennial usage, you’ll usually be further designated to either even or odd years, which simply specifies which years you’ll be able to use the timeshare. If you have a biennial odd membership, for example, you’d be looking at usage in 2015, 2017, 2019, etc. Seldom, memberships with triannual, triennial, quadannual, and quadrennial usage are also available (three times per year, every three years, four times a year, and every four years, respectively).
Savvy vacationers know that timeshares purchased on the resale market usually offer the same benefits as timeshares purchased directly through a vacation ownership resort or brand. Timeshare resale refers to timeshare ownership sold and purchased secondhand either through a for-sale-by-owner process or through a licensed timeshare broker.
Buying timeshare on the secondary market rather than through a resort eliminates many unnecessary expenses. By circumventing developers’ front-end marketing costs, you can save anywhere from 20 – 80% off the original selling price. Renting timeshare properties from the owner has similar benefits. Most owners will charge you hundreds less per night than the resort, and you can select among thousands of similar rental timeshares to find the one that best suits your needs.
Below are some of the pros and cons of buying a time share on the resale market.
The Pros of Timeshare Resales
- Better accommodations. In most timeshare suites, you can expect to find kitchens, washers/dryers, separate living spaces, and much more.
- Affordability. On the resale market, you can purchase timeshare ownership for a fraction of the cost of timeshare on the primary market.
- Value. In most cases all the benefits that are given to retail timeshare buyers also transfer to resale buyers. There are some instances where not all benefits transfer, but you can always supplement these with an exchange club membership that allows you to travel to other resorts and destinations.
The Cons of Timeshare
- Timeshares do not increase in value like traditional real estate.
- Timeshare can be costly if you purchase on the primary marketing or don’t do your research (some programs have high annual fees that make the expense of ownership less cost-effective).
- If your program is not part of a club, you can get locked into vacationing in the same place each year. Thankfully, you can join an independent exchange company to solve this problem, but there will be an added expense.
When you decide you want to buy, you can browse an excellent selection of timeshare resales on this site. We recommend you do a little research on the brand/resort of your interest, and then go ahead and see what’s available that matches what you’re looking for. You’ll then make an offer, and negotiate from there with a licensed broker. With the broker involved, the process will be easy.
Similarly, our licensed real estate agents will be there to help should you wish to sell your timeshare property. For more information, contact VacationOwnership.com’s brokers by calling (866) 633-1030.
You also have the option to rent out your timeshare if you’re just looking to cover expenses and can’t use your week in a given year, or of course you can browse our existing rentals if you’re looking to book a trip without commitment. Renting can be a great way to expose yourself to a location or resort and inform your purchase decision.