At Timeshare Nation, we field dozens of questions about timeshares from prospective customers. We have found most people are unsure of what exactly a timeshare consists of. With the poor reputation and general lack of awareness surrounding timeshares, we have decided to try and alleviate these concerns or questions with a blog!
What is a timeshare?
A timeshare, sometimes referred to as vacation ownership, is a property with a particular form of ownership or use rights. These properties are typically resort condominium units, in which multiple parties hold rights to use the property, and each owner is allotted a period of time, generally one week, in which they may use the property. Units may be on a fixed term, floating term, right-to-use basis, or a points based program. We will cover the different types of ownership later.
So basically, the idea of a timeshare is rather simple: you share the costs and use of the timeshare unit with other people at different times throughout the year.
Timeshare units are almost always more spacious than a regular hotel or resort unit. Timeshare units come in various forms: studios, one, two, three, and four bedroom units; cabins; homes; condos; or villas. These units typically offer fully-equipped kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms, all of which are furnished.
In-unit amenities often include hot tubs, jacuzzis, fireplaces, or entertainment center. On-site amenities are vast; they almost always include swimming pools, sports and recreation courts, fitness centers, and spas.
Timeshares are strategically placed, as well. Off-site amenities are almost always located conveniently nearby. Depending on the region, outdoor activities such as boating, skiing, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, and scuba diving are close by.
Most timeshares are located near points of interests like theme parks, restaurants, bars, festivals, museums, parks, bodies of water, and mountains, too.
How do timeshares work?
Remember the four types of timeshares we mentioned earlier? Well, let’s discuss those further:
The timeshare owner owns the rights to a specific unit in the same week, year in and year out, based on the timeshare calendar for as long as the contract stipulates. This provides a sense of certainty. You can count on and schedule the same vacation time every year.
The timeshare owner can reserve his own week during a given period of the year. The ownership will be specific on how many weeks the owner owns and from which weeks the owner may select for the owner's stay. An example of this may be a floating summer week where the owner may request any week during the summer season, generally weeks 22 through 36.
The catch is you must contact the resort to reserve a specific week during your floating period. While this type of timeshare gives you more flexibility it also means you can’t delay in reserving a week, as you are competing with all the other timeshare owners that share your floating block of time. Each resort will set their own policies on how far in advance owners can reserve floating weeks, with some resorts opening up the spots only nine months in advance, while others allow for reservations two years before your check-in date.
With this arrangement, the buyer leases the property for a given amount of time each year for a set amount of years. The developer maintains ownership of the property, however.
This is similar to the floating timeshare, but resort-based points programs are also sold as deeded and as right-to-use.
Points programs annually give the owner an amount of points equal to the level of ownership. The owner in a points program can then use these points to make travel arrangements within the resort group. Many points programs are affiliated with large resort groups offering a large selection of options for destination. Many resort point programs provide flexibility from the traditional week stay. Resort point program members may request from the entire available inventory of the resort group.
How can I use or exchange a timeshare?
Timeshare owners have several options as to how they can use their timeshare. First and foremost, owners can use their timeshare for their family’s vacation. Owners may also rent their owned usage to other or gift their owned usage to family or friends. If you no longer want to own the timeshare, you can attempt to sell it whenever you would like, too.
Owners often have the ability to exchange their usage within the same resort or resort network. For example, let’s say you own week 5 at Westgate Vacation Villas; you could exchange that week with another Westgate timeshare owner for another week at any resort within the Westgate Resort Network.
Timeshare owners can also exchange their timeshare usage with an external exchange program, the two largest being RCI and Interval International. Timeshare owners can become members of RCI and Interval International for a yearly membership fee and exchange their timeshare usage with thousands of other members.
What is not often disclosed is the difference in trading power depending on the location, and season of the ownership. If a resort is in Hawaii or California, it will exchange extremely well depending on the season and week that is assigned to the particular unit trying to make an exchange.
However, timeshares in highly desirable locations and high season time slots are the most expensive in the world, subject to demand typical of any heavily trafficked vacation area. If you happen to own a timeshare in Palm Springs, California in the middle of July or August for example, your trading power is greatly diminished, because those looking to come to a resort at a time when the temperatures are in excess of 110 degrees Fahrenheit are few.
What are the costs associated with timeshares?
According to Money Sense, 50% to 70% of a timeshare’s retail price, the price you pay at the resort after listening to a timeshare sales presentation, goes towards marketing. For instance, if, during one of those presentations, you purchased a timeshare for $20,000 as soon as you walked out of the room, the value of that timeshare would drop to between $6,000 and $10,000, if that.
So economically speaking, the best way to acquire a timeshare is through the resale market.
As a reminder, you can acquire a timeshare anymore cheaper than with Timeshare Nation. Our timeshares are completely FREE to acquire! No closing costs, no transfer fees! This deal instantly saves your thousands of dollars!
You should also understand the ongoing fees associated with timeshare ownership. After you receive a timeshare from us for completely free, you just need to assume the maintenance fee for the timeshare. Some of our current timeshares have free 2020 usage because the previous owner had already paid the fees! The maintenance fees associated with a timeshare are fees that cover the operation of the timeshare resort. Our average maintenance fee is around $750, but they span from as low as $250 to as high as $1,500… it just depends on the specific timeshare resort!
We hope this has helped you better understand timeshares. If so, please check out our inventory! Once you find a desirable timeshare, reserve it and we will send you the paperwork we have on file for the timeshare!