Timeshare Donations

Timeshare Resales

Buying a Timeshare FAQs


A timeshare purchase can take one of two forms: Fee simple plans (usually referred to as a "timeshare estate,") offer the benefit of ownership, tax advantages, and equity. They also allow the buyer a voice in management of the resort. Most timeshares are fee simple.

With a right-to-use timeshare (usually referred to as a "vacation interval"), although usually less expensive, you do not own the property, but have the right to use it for a specified period of time. Because it will revert back to the developer at some future date, the developer has a greater incentive to keep the property in good condition. However, your resale rights may be limited. Also, with vacation intervals or right-to-use timeshares, your unit may be "fixed" (you’re entitled to use the same unit each time) or "floating" (you’re entitled to a similar unit, but not necessarily the same one). The time you’re entitled to use your timeshare, also, may be fixed or floating. Time and unit could also be some combination of fixed or floating.

Can it get more complicated?
Deeded Timeshare Ownership. In a timeshare, you either own your vacation unit for the rest of your life, for the number of years spelled out in your purchase contract, or until you sell it. Your interest is legally considered real property. You purchase the right to use a specific unit at a specific time every year, and you may rent, sell, exchange, or bequeath your specific timeshare unit. You and the other timeshare owners collectively own the resort.

Unless you've bought the timeshare outright for cash, you are responsible for paying the monthly mortgage. Regardless of how you bought the timeshare, you also are responsible for paying an annual maintenance fee; property taxes may be extra. Owners share in the use and upkeep of the units and of the common grounds of the resort property. A homeowners' association usually handles management of the resort. Timeshare owners elect officers and control the expenses, the upkeep of the resort property, and the selection of the resort management company.

"Right to Use" Vacation Interval Option. In this option, a developer owns the resort, which is made up of condominiums or units. Each condo or unit is divided into "intervals" either by weeks or the equivalent in points. You purchase the right to use an interval at the resort for a specific number of years typically between 10 and 50 years. The interest you own is legally considered personal property. The specific unit you use at the resort may not be the same each year. In addition to the price for the right to use an interval, you pay an annual maintenance fee that is likely to increase each year.

Within the "right to use" option several plans can affect your ability to use a unit:
Fixed or Floating Time. In a fixed time option, you purchase the unit for use during a specific week of the year. In a floating time option, you use the unit within a certain season of the year, reserving the time you want in advance; confirmation typically is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fractional Ownership. Rather than an annual week, you buy a large share of vacation ownership time, usually up to 26 weeks.

Biennial Ownership. You use a resort unit every other year.

Lock off or Lockout. You occupy a portion of the unit and offer the remaining space for rental or exchange. These units typically have two to three bedrooms and baths

Points-Based Vacation Plans. You purchase a certain number of points, and exchange them for the right to use an interval at one or more resorts. In a points-based vacation plan (sometimes called a vacation club), the number of points you need to use an interval varies according to the length of the stay, size of the unit, location of the resort, and when you want to use it.

Timeshares are usually sold in one-week increments, often through promotions offering "free" vacation certificates or other prizes or gifts as inducements to inspect the developments. The cost of a unit depends upon size, amenities, location, and time of year in relation to the area's peak or off seasons, but usually ranges between $8,000 and $12,000. As we all know, it can be much higher… Factor in the maintenance fees that accrue over the years and you have yourself quite an investment! The big question is… Where’s the return? This often leaves the owners wondering… “What have I gotten myself into?”

According to information from resort developers, property managers, homeowner associations and vendors, consumers have little appreciation for the limited resale potential of their timeshare. Another problem, unique to vacation ownership, is that resale "bargains" hurt developers. But development of a secondary market for timeshare units has also been difficult partly because, from the consumer's standpoint, "vacation ownership resale" conveys a "tired," "worn down," or "cheap" image.
Timeshares are resold daily; this secondary market can benefit consumers greatly as you will pay a greatly reduced price for the same property that commands a much greater value in the primary market.

What is the difference?
Am I getting a “used” fruit basket?

The truth is your neighbor with the same accommodations, week, bedrooms, bathrooms etc. may have paid double for exactly what you have the opportunity to enjoy for much less!

Timeshare Buyer FAQ

  • Why buy a timeshare?
    A timeshare is normally purchased as a vacation investment. Many times, the cost of owning a good timeshare is less than renting comparable accommodations year after year. Another advantage of owning a timeshare is the ability to trade vacations with other timeshare owners through exchange programs and travel to destinations all over the world. Non-travelers also buy timeshares simply to resell them in order to make a profit. However, this is usually only successful with high-demand properties and locations.
  • Should I purchase a fixed week or floating week?
    The advantage of owning a fixed week timeshare is that you are guaranteed the same specific week and unit every year. On the other hand, having the option to request a week within a specified time period of each year (the floating system) allows for flexible planning. A few timeshare programs also use a rotating week system, in which your usage week changes from year to year on a fixed schedule, allowing all owners to stay during the most popular season. Choose a timeshare plan that best fits with your lifestyle.
  • How popular are timeshares these days?
    According to the ARDA (American Resort Development Association) State of the U.S. Timeshare Industry report: There are 5,310 timeshare properties worldwide. There are 1,517 timeshare properties in the U.S., an increase of more than five percent per year since January 1997, when 1,204 were identified. Nearly 85 percent of timeshare owners call themselves either "somewhat" or "very satisfied" with their timeshare.

    These are just some of the issues that make timeshare re-sales a much more attractive prospect. When you eliminate the costly promotions, the astronomical overhead that some of the resorts assume to sell these properties, it can become a much more attractive prospect, making much greater financial sense.

    Take advantage of this and enjoy yourself!