What is Timeshare Ownership? Can we stay in any resort? What do I get for my money? When can we stay? Can we give it to friends or family to use or can we swap it for another resort? What other charges or things we need to know might there be?
Timeshares are a type of holiday vacation property ownership. With timeshares, the use as well as the costs of maintenance are shared among the owners. Exchange agencies offer memberships where your timeshare units can be 'banked' and can be swapped for another of their affiliated resorts. There are over 5000 resorts worldwide
Timeshare owners can choose to stay at their resort during their allocated period, which will vary depending on the type of ownership and resort. They can rent out their week, or they can give it to friends or family to use. Timeshare owners can become members of an exchange agency such as Resort Condominiums International or Interval International, which are the two largest, or one of several others. This allows you to 'bank' your unit and save it to use at a later date (usually within a 3 year period) and swap it for another resort or accrue so that you can have a longer holiday or have additional people come along.
Types of Ownership:
Ownership is often sold as weeks which may be fixed, floating or rotating weeks.
The most basic timeshare is sold as a fixed week. The resort will have a calender numbered accordingly from the first week of their year (may be a calender or financial year). An owner will own a deed relating to a single specified week.
Ownership may be for a floating week which will relate to how many weeks you own and from which weeks you are able o select your stay.
Some timeshare may be sold as a rotating week which may be rotated forward or backwards each calender year. This allows each owner to have the chance to use the resort during peak periods but it is not flexible.
Deeded vs. Right to Use:
There is a major difference in timeshare ownership between deeded and right to use contracts. A deeded contract usually relates to a resort that is divided into weeklong increments and are sold as fractional ownership and are real property. With the right to use contract, the purchaser has the right to use the property according to their contract but when the contract ends the ownership reverts to the property owner.
Unit sizes and types:
Timeshare properties are usually apartment style units ranging in size from a studio unit (which may sleep only two) up to a three or four bedroom unit. Timeshare units have a kitchen complete with all the cooking and eating utensils according to the amount of people they sleep. They have a dining and lounge area (sofas may be included in the lounge room and double as sleeping accommodation). There are televisions and vcrs and other furnishings to may your holiday comfortable. The rooms may not contain washers and dryers however there are usually common laundries with washers, dryers and ironing board and iron (though the washer and dryer may be coin operated depending on the resort).
Timeshare units are usually listed by how many a unit will sleep ( the first number) and how many it will sleep privately (the second number). ie:
- 2/2 would normally be a studio unit or one bedroom.
- 6/4 would be a two bedroom unit with a sofa bed or lounge.
Timeshare resorts restrict the number of occupants to the maximum number it will sleep. An infant in a cot will usually be counted and not included as an extra.
Facilities and activities that are included or offered at each resort will depend on the location of the resort and the style of the resort. A resort based on a beach will usually offer more water based activities, a rural or farm retreat will offer experiences of bushwalking, nature watching and other related activities. The resort may offer a range of activities that are free to members, and additional activities that may be undertaken at an extra cost. Each resort will have its own website and all the relevant information should be included.
The availability will be dependant on the nature of the resort. A resort based on the beach will have greater availability during the cooler months than the warmer seasons. A resort nearer the snow will be booked further ahead for the ski season. City and rural resorts may vary according to what is happening in the area.
The Good and the Bad:
One of the main benefits of timeshare ownership is that it is real property and is able to be used as such. When choosing to give the holiday time to friends or family be aware the you may have to pay for a gift certificate in their name to allow them to use the unit.
There are additional costs involved in ownership such as the yearly maintenance and upkeep of the resort and grounds. The resort will send you a yearly budget and your yearly maintenance costs will be outlined. These vary depending on the resort and the area the resort is situated, and the size of the resort and grounds. An island resort may have higher costs relating to staffing, upkeep and laundering facilities as more services may have to be utilized offshore.
Things to consider when buying:
- What style of vacation suits your families needs best?
- Does the resort offer lifestyle and activities that are able to be utilized by your family?
- Are there additional activities offered, and what are the costs involved?
- Is the size and style of accommodation suitable for you for a weeklong stay?
- Are you able to drive there, or does it involve a plane or boat trip and possibly hiring a car or taking a tour? What are the costs involved?
- Do you need to take along supplies or are there stores close buy that will meet the dietary or health needs of your family?
- Is the allotted timeshare week availability going to be able to coordinate with your families holiday requirements such as school holidays and time off work to allow for travel time to and from the resort?
Where to find out more information:
Check out the individual resort websites for detailed information on what they offer, the activities and style of accommodation, pictures and contact information so that you can make further enquiries.
Search for Timeshare exchange companies and affiliated resorts to learn more about where you can swap or exchange yur timeshare for.
Search ebay for Timeshare Opportunities at: